DEC Direct Sales Catalog

Jim Battle frustum at
Thu Jan 8 09:40:53 CST 2009

Dave Caroline wrote:
> there are ways without destroying to scan books the pro machines use a
> camera people should NOT cut spines off
> I see too much of this distructive behaviour on this list

You have to break an egg to make an omelet.

Up front, I apologize for being bristly.  Putting "NOT" in caps just set 
me off.

Have you ever availed yourself of any of the docs on bitsavers or its 
mirrors?  Guess how large that collection would be if Al had to spend 
$35K for a book scanner, or had to flip pages by hand, or had to build 
an army of tinker-toy book scanners (like the one you mention next) in 
order to get throughput?

I have scanned only a tiny fraction of the number of pages Al has, and 
it got really tiring flipping a page, orienting it on the flatbed, 
waiting for the scan, doing the next.  I did well over a thousand pages 
that way before getting pragmatic about things.

If the doc is spiral bound (or similar) or stapled, I'll work the 
staples out or the binding, scan them, then put the staple or spiral 
binding back in.  If the doc is especially valuable, then I'll manually 
page flip.  But otherwise, I have only the slightest twinge liberating 
the pages.  Some manuals have three hole punches despite being bound; 
with an exacto knife you can cut close enough to the spine that the 
loose pages fit into a three ring binder.  Otherwise I use a fat clip (I 
don't know the real name) to hold them together when I'm done.

I try to scan only things which aren't available, so either the 
information stays nicely bound on aging paper on my shelf where only I 
can use it, or the spine gets removed and everybody can use the 
information.  *Far* more information will be lost to entropy due to the 
existing copies rotting in peoples closets and garages than will be 
captured through semi-destructive scanning.

If you don't want me to cut spines off of manuals, then you can prevent 
it -- scan it before I do.  Point me at your repository of scanned work 
and I will promise to check there before I do any more scanning.  Hurry, 
though, because I have four more manuals that I want to scan this weekend.

In short, most of the time, the information is much more valuable than 
the physical manifestation of it in an individual book.

> here is a home brew one

I'd like to see the quality of the output -- the book isn't pressed 
flat, which in my experience leads to curved text in the center of the 
book and/or shadowing.  The book in the demo shots is also midway 
through the book and lays relatively flat, unlike many manuals and books 
I have.  I'd like to see the scanner scan the first few or last few 
pages of the book.

I also wonder what is the mean number of pages between failures.  Just 
tighten up the legos a bit; just add or maybe remove a little more 
counterweight and see if it works better.  Bah.

In the tiny wmv movie, I would guess it is at least 60 seconds per page. 
  For a decent scanner with ADF, 30 ppm is nothing special.

No, this isn't practical other than as a rickety hack.

Did you watch the video of his camera-based version?  It uses the same 
paper turning technology as the scanner one, but the video quality 
showing its operation is much clearer.  Watch it and you'll get a sense 
of how practical this thing is:

If you find a book scanner that is under $1000 and works reliably, has 
decent quality, and doesn't require me to build it myself, let me know.

More information about the cctalk mailing list