Portable Scanning devices

  newface 14:22 07 Oct 2008

I have been told that there used to be hand held scanning devices that plugged into a USB port on a laptop and could be used to quickly copy pages from books etc without having to lug a flatbed scanner around. Are they still available, and are they any good?

  €dstowe 14:59 07 Oct 2008

I've tried self contained scanners which are plugged into a machine via USB at a later time.

Complete waste of time for me.

Perhaps the current lack of availability is an indication of their usefulness.

  newface 16:25 13 Oct 2008

Thanks for the post. The reason I raised was that my daughter is off the Uni next year and she wanted something light enough to carry around so that she could scan articles etc for her course without having to pay for expensive photocopying. Can anyone recommend a decent light weight scanner that can be easily carried and attached to her Toshiba Laptop?

  wiz-king 17:08 13 Oct 2008

Unless you daughter is going to be studying higher maths or the sciences she would be better to learn how to take notes (the formula's are hard to transcribe). Tell her to practise logical note taking - new page for each article, start with category (no more than ten to be used) then title, then name of source including any web reference , author, publisher. the as brief a note as it is possible to get away with but listing several quotes in full and enough to be able to paraphrase the original article.
get her to practise on the Sunday supplements or a program on radio4.
Most university libraries have cheap copying facilities but unless she has a good filing system - Excel spreadsheet - she wont be able to find what she wants in a big pile of photocopies!
Buy a selection of hardback 'shorthand' notebooks from your local office supplier.

  john bunyan 19:26 13 Oct 2008

newface -Another way - suject to legal constraints - would be to use a small digital camera to photo the articles and use a programme such as an OCR on a computer to turn the photos back into text - or even just keep the stuff as it is.

  wiz-king 06:09 14 Oct 2008

I might add that the act of having to write something down is in its self a good memory aid. Whereas photocopying is just accumulating reams of paper.

  interzone55 08:53 14 Oct 2008

I used to have a Logitech ScanMan 2000 hand held scanner, you could scan half an A4 page at a time then use software to stitch it back together.

It required a steady hand as you had to move pretty slowly to get a decent scan.

I doubt this is still available.

Most of the portable scanners I found in a quick Google search are sheet fed, so fine for scanning loose sheets, but not for pages from books.

You can get hand held "pen" scanners that will scan & OCR a line at a time, but you'd need to be pretty organised to make sure all your notes were in order...

  newface 20:03 14 Oct 2008

Thanks for the comments. The problem is that my daughter wants to study Law at Uni and there are hundreds of articles etc that she will need to refer to in the library. Some are reference only, and she wants to be able to copy these so that she can read them at a later date. Apparently there is always a long queue to photocopy things and it will cost a small fortune over a whole year. I have an all in one Epsom scanner / printer at home that weighs too much to be carried around. She was hoping to find a reliable, cheap, lightweight scanning device. She has already invested in a device that allows her to take handwritten notes and then transfer them into Word documents via some software (MyScript ??) I would really appreciate any recommendations that you good people out there can make.

  ton 22:54 14 Oct 2008

As was mentioned above, you can get excellent results with a digital camera, doesn't have to be expensive either.

  Diemmess 10:27 15 Oct 2008

Having read others' posts, I'm certain the camera is the way to go.

It is small and light. Each document is in picture form whether photographed or scanned.

The picture can be OCR'd if it needs to be treated as text, or merely filed if a simple record is needed.

The snag which is common to both photo or scan is that a picture takes more filespace than a text document, but is obviously the only way if your daughter cannot download the original document from somewhere.

  john bunyan 12:26 15 Oct 2008

If you save in black and white, at 72dpi (good enough I think) photo files should be quite small.

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