Throw the photocopies away

I’m surrounded by photocopies; parts of books, articles, etc.  Filing cabinets, boxes of photocopier paper.  But really, they aren’t convenient.  I can’t carry them around with me.  I don’t look at them often.

Today I ordered a Fujitsu Scansnap S300 document reader.  It’s designed to take bunches of photocopies and turn them into PDF’s.  It’s not really a scanner, as I understand it — it has no TWAIN driver.  It’s portable, mobile, and can be powered from a USB port (although it works better from mains).

I think that I would be better off if my photocopies were in electronic form.  If I can turn the page images into PDF’s, then I can carry them around on a disk.  I can email them to myself, if I need to.  I can read them in the evenings in a hotel, access them at lunchtime in the office, and so on.  And I can get some floor-space back!

Once they’re in PDF form, I can run Abbyy Finereader 9 on them.  That will give a rough output, which will allow me to do electronic searches.  So I can have all the articles that I have, on a portable disk, and just search them when someone asks me a difficult question.

You know; do I really need to buy any more academic books?  After all, we don’t sit down and read them cover to cover, do we?  So… why have paper, if we can convert them to PDF easily and make them searchable in the process?


2 thoughts on “Throw the photocopies away

  1. I’d like to recommend a free OCR program that converts from one format to another. It’s the only free program I know of that will convert the Google Books pdfs to txt with few or no errors.

    The free version has a “nag” screen which is quite bearable, and it does not have a time limit. I’ve been using mine for months and am delighted with its accuracy. It uses the Tesseract OCR engine.

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