A set of The Electrical Educator books came my way today. Big fat green
things dated 1931 and in very nice condition. They have been stored in a
loft for the last 40 years.
Any ideas on scanning them as a normal scanner needs a flat sheet and I do
not want to bend the bindings too far.
Posh libraries have special scanners for this - but they cost, and take a
lot of labour to drive, so are quite rare.
Sorry, that doesn't really help you :-) But I reckon photos are a good
option these days.
Use the oldest scanner you can find. Lower resolution, but much better
depth of focus. Old HPs are nice.
You can also saw much of one side of the case off many scanner designs
(the guides are in the middle), allowing you to get closer in to the
spine without damage,
You might also make a simple book cradle, to support the book opened to
a safe angle (otherwise use a cushion), then use the scanner upside down
on top of it.
Please record metadata correctly when you scan it. get the page
numbering and orientation right at least! It's a nightmare when you;'re
just left with a diskful of scanned images and no idea what they all
I've seen a design on the 'net for a 'V'-shaped (actually upside-down
'V': in ascii-art, " ___/\___ " shape) jig you can make with a mirror
& plastic sheet etc. You can put the old book, opened just enough to
fit into the 'V', and then the mirrors & scanner optics allow you to
read the face-down pages. I suspect this was originally use to scan
large transparencies. You might be able to find the design from this,
if I come across it I'll let you know.
This would probably need modification to work with non-transparent
books - and I would be very interested to know if anyone has
successfully made a modified version - but is similar AIUI to the
versions of the scanners that libraries use, especially with old/
Does it really matter? the regulations have superceded all electrical since
Why do you want to scan a few thousand pages?
Just keep them in those large sealable plastic bags if you want to preserve
them and store them in dark conditions.
You could use the type of hand scanner which preceded affordable flatbed
scanners. In case you don't remember this type of scanner it was a
rather chunky item which was rolled down a page; different scans had to
be 'stitched' together. It would be a tedious job but quite doable if the
end result was worth all the effort.
There should be plenty of these scanners around in good condition - I've
got one lying around somewhere.
I find this quickest, I find bright daylight best but would like to have a
remote shutter release, I once photographed a full page of the FT and
e-mailed it to america as a fully legible gif. My cousin has recorded his
family album dating back to 1911, this way and put the pictures on CD.
The HP Scanjet 4600, which is a see-though panel, about 1cm thick, that you
lay on the document to be scanned. You can scan all sorts of odd things with
it that don't work with a flatbed scanner. It is not a current product, but
there must be some around.
Great fun! With cheap hard drives OCR hardly seems worth the trouble any
more, unless of course you wanted to compile indexes etc. Even more fun.
I agree with the camera idea though. An old Coolpix 995 with a shutter
release cable would be ideal
It might be worth asking your local library or archives department if
they have a preservation scanner. Unlikely, but possible. Or there are
commercial services that will scan your material for you. Otherwise, I
think your best bet is to set up a good camera and photograph them.
Libraries photograph such books. Usually they have a two camera setup
with the book supported in a frame so the cover is open about 90 deg.
One camera photographs one page and the other the other so two are
done at once.
I made a simpler one camera on swing arm setup to photograph some
large old ledgers for someone. It used the same sort of support for
the book and a wooden swing arm holding the camera so it could be
swung from photographing one page to the other quickly.
Overall it was much quicker than scanning. as well as being easier on
8> Eventually I wanted to share it on the web. Other people might like a
Try asking at
did some of my old out of copyright books. I got my books back and
searcheable cds of them. They got the right to sell cds.
They tend to do maps and books with family history or geographical
interest. Worth asking though as it's a lot easier than DIY in this