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20091102mo-old-booksSummary. Scanning of books and bound documents can be difficult and time consuming since they must be scanned manually on a flat-bed scanner. The following instructions offer a faster method for some situations.

The method suggested here would probably not be applicable for valuable or rare books. Also, before spending time scanning documents, it’s best to make every effort to find searchable PDF versions of documents of them online.

Scanned documents converted to PDF, even after OCR has been performed, are never quite as accurate or clear as the original digital PDF versions.

20090827th-neat-receipts-scanner-apple-macScanning Process. That said, here is a suggestion for reducing the scan time of bound documents.

  1. Remove Binding. Most copy centers have bulk paper cutting equipment. A bulk paper cutter is able to cleanly cut through large stacks of paper at one time. For smaller booklets, it may be possible to a standard office paper cutter, or box cutter. Avoid anything that would tear the paper or create dust from fine paper cuttings.
  2. Scan Pages. Once the document has had the binding removed, then the sheets can be fed into a paper feeding scanner. The Fujitsu ScanSnap series of scanners can scan both sides of a page at one time, significantly reducing scan time. The Neat Company offers smart document scanners that feed pages through the scanner a single page at a time. The included software performs OCR on the pages, resulting in searchable PDF files.