Turn my binder collection into electronic gold!
December 30, 2011 10:05 AM   Subscribe

I want to compile and organize hard copies of recipes, craft projects, and other household things into something electronic - not particular about if local computer (Mac, OS 10.7) or cloud-based. Bonus points if accessible from multiple devices (computer, iphone, ipad, etc.). What solutions should I consider?

(Similar previous question, but not as comprehensive as I need, and previous online solutions, but looking for something offline.)

I love Pinterest, and would like to do something similar offline.

I have boxes and binders filled with recipes cut out of magazines, craft projects copied from library books, and the like. I've got the hard copy organization down (I'm a librarian, it's what I do), but would prefer to have everything in some kind of electronic, searchable format. So how do I make this happen?

I've considered:
- trying to track down internet equivalents and adding to Pinterest. The problem: time consuming, and probably would only find a fraction of everything I'd want.

- scanning everything. The problem: I don't have a scanner at home that I can use, and work scanner would result in images that would not be searchable without adding a bunch of metadata, and that seems like a lot of work for a not-great solution.

- building a database of some kind. The problem: I don't know which would be a good option to use, and need advice from those who might know (hence askMeFi) on what would tackle my problem in an efficient way.

I'm willing to put in the time and some money to do this right, but just don't know where to begin. Buy a scanner? Get some software? Type it all in to something searchable?

Anyone done something similar that worked for you? Have ideas of how to adapt known software to provide a solution?
posted by southpaw to Grab Bag (7 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Evernote. It's really handy.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 10:08 AM on December 30, 2011

Evernote and DevonThink are two Mac-compatible programs that will let you do this.

They also have mobile versions of their software.

As to scanners, the Fujitsu ScanSnap is pretty much the gold standard for trying to go paperless.

I think both of these pieces of software along with the Fujitsu ScanSnap would do exactly what you're looking to do.

Evernote has even specifically designed their software to work with the ScanSnap.
posted by dfriedman at 10:09 AM on December 30, 2011

I use Evernote for this exact thing. Right now I'm doing my scanning with JotNot on my iPhone, but have my eye on that Fujitsu ScanSnap.

I pay for the Evernote Premium membership, so I can even have access to certain notebooks even when I'm offline. I have all my recipes in an offline notebook, so that when I'm at the back of the grocery store with no cell signal I can still get to my recipes and purchase what I need.
posted by ralan at 10:16 AM on December 30, 2011

Evernote indexes scanned text, so you would be able to simply scan the clippings, you wouldn't have to manually retyping anything to make them searchable.
posted by beyond_pink at 10:24 AM on December 30, 2011

Yeah, get a scanner.

I've got the SnapScan myself. It's great for documents you can sheet-feed (although the software is non-standard and can be irritating). It's kind of expensive. You'd need a flatbed scanner to deal with books or the like. Fortunately they're cheap—like $50 or so, with perfectly acceptable results.

If you want to keep the data local to your computer, you've got numerous apps you could use. I've used Paperless for receipts— frankly, it has not-so-great metadata handling, so it might not be ideal for you. Yep looks interesting. There's also DevonThink and Yojimbo.

Evernote, as mentioned, can do automatic OCR, which can act as a sort of substitute for metadata tagging. Some of the apps that use local storage can also do OCR, I think. I know that the SnapScan can do OCRing as part of the scanning process. But I think that to make this really useful, you'll need to be prepared to do some manual tagging.
posted by adamrice at 10:51 AM on December 30, 2011

I use livebinders.com for this sort of thing.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:46 PM on December 30, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. Looks like I'll be going the Evernote (and JotNot - thanks, ralan!) route. Will also look into getting a scanner as several of you suggested.
posted by southpaw at 7:17 AM on January 2, 2012

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