[ubuntu-uk] Scanners & OCR

Yorvyk yorvik.ubunto at googlemail.com
Wed Aug 18 20:06:06 BST 2010

On Wed, 18 Aug 2010 19:51:02 +0100
Simon Wears <munkyjunky at gmail.com> wrote:

> On 18 August 2010 19:02, Rob Beard <rob at esdelle.co.uk> wrote:
> > On 18/08/10 18:25, Simon Wears wrote:
> > > Heyhey everybody!
> > >
> > > I'm looking at investing in a scanner so I can digitise my university
> > > notes this coming academic year. I was wondering if anyone has a scanner
> > > they can recommend that works well with Ubuntu? Ideally it would be a
> > > tray-fed scanner, so I can put in several sheets at a time and just hit
> > > a nice big 'GO' button, and it would scan it all into a single PDF.
> > > Bonus points if it can scan both sides of the paper in one go.
> > >
> > > Also, has anyone tried any available OCR software for Ubuntu? It'd be
> > > great if I could scan in my notes into text, which would make them all
> > > searchable!
> > >
> > > Simon Wears
> > > http://MunkyJunky.comb
> > >
> >
> > Hmm, it's been a while since I looked into scanners, guess it depends
> > how much you want to spend.  IIRC some of the higher end HP ScanJet
> > scanners have ADF feeder options although the scanners I've seen in the
> > shops tend to be basic flat bed models.
> >
> > Guess it depends on your budget, but maybe you could look at a combined
> > scanner/copier/printer with ADF unit (they seem to be more readily
> > available).  One such printer I tried recently was a Lexmark (X264)
> > which was networked and scanned to e-mail, so basically you could scan
> > anything and it would convert it to a PDF (it supported colour and black
> > and white) and would e-mail it out.
> >
> > As far as OCR software goes, I've never tried any on Linux, last time I
> > tried OCR software was on Windows and I'm not sure if it's improved or
> > not, it certainly wasn't good enough to read handwriting.  You say your
> > notes are in text, will they be handwritten notes or typed up?
> >
> > Rob
> >
> The idea would be to scan in my handwritten notes, but that would also
> involve mathematical graphs & symbols, which it may not cope with well. The
> OCR isn't as important, it would just be a nice feature. As long as I can
> make a digital copy of my notes easily it would do!
I’d just get  any old scanner, you could probably get one free from Freecycle, although they are dirt cheap these days.  My experience of sheet feeders is that they will only work reliably with decent quality paper that has been kept nice and flat and hasn’t had greasy hands resting on it etc.  Exercise book paper is an absolute sod to get to feed properly, even one sheet at a time.
I haven’t seen any OCR software that works for handwriting, as I imagine it would face similar problems to voice recognition.

Steve Cook (Yorvyk)


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