Does a service exist that will scan and digitize notebook pages?
August 10, 2015 7:18 AM   Subscribe

I have a LOT of hand-written notebooks. I want to move my note-taking habits into the 21st century as I've written on in the past. Future note-taking devices aside, I would like to ideally have a way of digitizing my existing handwritten notebooks.

Is there a service somewhere that would allow me to mail in notebooks, have the pages scanned and converted to PDF, and then send me the PDFs? This doesn't seem so remote an idea that it wouldn't exist but I'm not sure what to google.
posted by deathpanels to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Are you asking if you could just get scans without OCR or transcription? I'd think any copy shop could handle this. I often had paper copies of event notebooks that were produced prior to electronic materials being distributed that we'd bring down to our local print shop, and they'd give us a disc.
posted by xingcat at 7:25 AM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

I can't help you with a service recommendation, but I'm in the process of doing this myself, and it's easier than I expected. I purchased an IPEVO Ziggy-HD document camera off Amazon (here's the product page on the IPEVO website) and it's just a single-button operation.

Aside from my personal needs, I'm a historian, and have scanned entire source book this way in minutes. It generates JPG files, which can then be combined and PDF'd in Adobe in seconds.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 7:40 AM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

I would look into a Fujitsu ScanSnap.
posted by Mac-Expert at 8:17 AM on August 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

I have a friend who swears by the ScanSnap. As in, shucks the bindings off reference books and feeds all of the pages through it for speed scanning so that she can search them later. (She then drops the books into three-ring binders.)
posted by Going To Maine at 8:21 AM on August 10, 2015

Response by poster: To clarify, I don't need transcription, just high-quality PDF scans of the pages themselves.

I'd kind of prefer this to be a "drop a bunch of stuff in a UPS contain, receive a USB memory stick with all of it two weeks later" type of service. I'm in the process of cleaning out a lot of my clutter and adding a new device to my collection isn't appealing. Do you think a FedEx store or something similar would be able to do that?
posted by deathpanels at 8:48 AM on August 10, 2015

This is a thing: - just googled "bulk scanning service" and it was among the first few hits.
posted by chr1sb0y at 9:03 AM on August 10, 2015

Considering that other MeFites may have the tech and the time to do this for you, you could always post this in MetaFilter Jobs.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:56 AM on August 10, 2015

The advantage of buying a ScanSnap is that you'll have it in the future to digitize documents whose contents you want to save. It's useful even for documents where you need to retain the original: the originals can go in a safe place, and you have the digitized version for reference.
posted by brianogilvie at 10:09 AM on August 10, 2015

I agree that any copy shop will be able to scan your existing pages to pdf with great ease. This is something that any current copy machine can do.

I just saw a demo of Moleskine's new product though, that you might really like: Adobe
posted by janey47 at 10:11 AM on August 10, 2015

Yes there are absolutely companies that will do this; we get it done with great frequency in my legal practice.

A google search for "document scanning service" or "document imaging service" in your geographic area should produce a bunch of results. You might also look into "electronic discovery vendors," which are the ones tailored to legal work (but really, there is a great overlap regardless of the substance of the documents), but those searches seem to pull up fewer examples.

I'd recommend some but, assuming your profile info is correct, we have no geographical overlap and they tend to be at least regional if not local. If you know any lawyers in your area, maybe ask them where they get it done?
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 11:18 AM on August 10, 2015

There are lots of places that'll do this kind of thing... eg.

Do you need/want to keep the originals?
posted by mhh5 at 1:19 PM on August 10, 2015

Response by poster: I'm probably going to trash the originals. The idea is to unload a lot of my paper stuff that just ends up sitting in closets unused for 99.9999% of its lifetime until I want to remember something I wrote six years ago.
posted by deathpanels at 5:40 AM on August 11, 2015

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