How to get rid of magazines while keeping the articles
May 31, 2007 5:04 AM   Subscribe

I'm trying to find a good solution for scanning and cataloging articles in magazines and books so I can get rid of the hard copies, but find the articles easily.

I need to be able to print them in good quality (sometimes) because some of them are woodworking plans I'll take down to the shop.

I don't want to put them in binders or drawers because they take up too much space.

What are the recommended flatbed scanners and software? I want a system that will work quickly (both the input and retrieval). I'm using Windows XP.

posted by GernBlandston to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Switch to Mac (sorry) and use Yep, which does *exactly* what you want... it will scan them, tag them and file them. It's iTunes for PDFs. I understand OCR is in the works plus support for other filetypes.
posted by unSane at 6:09 AM on May 31, 2007

Scanning advice: Put a sheet of black paper behind your scanned image, and you won't get noise from the page reverse bleeding into your scan.

white | ink | paper | ink | scanner-eye == you see both inks

black | ink | paper | ink | scanner-eye == you see only the local ink
posted by cmiller at 6:15 AM on May 31, 2007

hire or borrow, or find someone who has access to a high capacity photocopier with a scanner function.
That way you can just cut the spine off a magazine and feed the whole thing in. We use this method at work and you can do a file in just a few minutes. It would be well worth it. I work at an insurance company so we digitize all old claim files so they can be retrieved later if we need to, we used a custom system though which is based off a barcode, the first page of each book/file has a barcode on it on, the software picks up the barcode and we can then find them in a database. Possibly there's some free or cheaper software which can do the same for you, you didn't say how big your collection was though, so I'm just assuming rather large at the moment.

I only suggest the high-capacity system because doing it flatbed would be page by page (x2 for double sided) and I can just imagine that being highly painful.
posted by chrisbucks at 6:31 AM on May 31, 2007

MS Office OneNote 2007 is made for you. It does great at hosting images (I use it to stick both text scans and digital photos of journal pages). It has built-in integration with scanners. It will automatically (and transparently) do OCR on text in images and index the results, so you can search for words in your scanned pages without typing in anything. Or, if you wish, you can insert a scanned image into a OneNote page, and then type some text next to it (say, tags) and that will get indexed properly. The whole system is very ad-hoc, malleable, and works very well in my experience.
posted by blindcarboncopy at 7:18 AM on May 31, 2007

My boss has a Plustek OpticBook 3600 Corporate (Video).

The Corporate version has a Scan to PDF feature that also automatically does OCR. It can be configured to leave the scanned image in front and have the OCRed text under the image. This way you retain the exact look of the scanned page but get a searchable PDF that can be indexd by e.g. google desktop search.

If you do not want to destroy the magazines or books this seems to be the best option for its price.

I like it. It seems quite fast to me and the color of the top cover can be changed between black or white and it comes with a black plastic sheet that can be inserted between pages. The interface for scanning books and magazines to pdfs is quite nice and usable even though the size of the preview window can't be changed. It's just pressing one button, page orientation is adjusted automatically. The regular twain interface is too gimmicky, though. The scanner looks a bit cheap, too (silver/gray colored plastic parts).

When we bought it, I couldn't find anything else that could scan bound material and wasn't hideously expensive.

If you want to save the most money, just buy a cheap flatbed scanner and e.g. Readiris pro 11.

If you want to spend a lot of money, buy a fast document scanner that also does duplexing and a big cutter to cut up the books and magazines.
posted by mmkhd at 8:42 AM on May 31, 2007

I asked a related question and got some very helpful answers re. scanning and OCR.
posted by allterrainbrain at 8:55 AM on May 31, 2007

2nding the Opticbook 3600. I have one and I love it. I scan -> OCR -> PDF a lot of magazine articles.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 1:49 PM on May 31, 2007

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