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Old 03-01-2005, 05:58 PM   #1
marlene
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Default Scan/OCR book pages to text file vs. retyping?

One of my clients has two old books they need to reprint, but they don't have the original text files. The books are short -- one is about 20 pages, the other about 40 -- but nobody wants to retype them.

Does anyone know of a service bureau that can scan the pages (the books are saddle-stitched and could be easily cut into single pages), run the scans through an OCR program, clean up the text and provide a clean text file?

I'm also asking around to see if anyone wants to just retype them. I don't know the going rates either for typing or for scanning/OCR'ing, so I'm not sure which would be the most cost-effective.

FWIW, pages are 8.5 x 11, text is one column (margins are enormous so the line width is not too horrendously wide) and large (looks like 12 point Times Roman). The books are probably good candidates for scanning, as well as being retyped.

Suggestions?

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Old 03-02-2005, 06:59 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marlene
One of my clients has two old books they need to reprint, but they don't have the original text files. The books are short -- one is about 20 pages, the other about 40 -- but nobody wants to retype them.… I don't know the going rates either for typing or for scanning/OCR'ing, so I'm not sure which would be the most cost-effective.
Seems to me they have three options, the third being to shoot the printed pages and make new plates. The type may heavy up a little (though a good printer could probably keep that under control).

Still need to do a cost comparison, but if I were guessing, I’d say retyping would be cheaper than OCR (possibly only half a day’s work for a good typist). But you might talk to a printer about shooting the pages as well.

   
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Old 03-02-2005, 03:05 PM   #3
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I don't know of an SB that would do it but my guess is that with a decent ocr program it would be pretty straightforward, particularly given your description...a few years ago, I scanned my brother-in-law's CV--10 pages, most of it medical article citations--and was pleasantly surprised at how my no-name-came-with-the-scanner ocr software did with it...I'd say it was close to 95% accurate...

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Old 03-02-2005, 03:36 PM   #4
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Terrie:

'I'd say it was close to 95% accurate'

A good scanner & OCR program should do better than that, but a good typist will probably do even better. But a typist is more likely to be fazed by a medical article than OCR, which works by reading letters (and numbers etc.), not words.

   
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Old 03-02-2005, 03:55 PM   #5
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In the past, they have shot printed pages, but that's not an option this time. These books were printed in 1989 and 1991, and the type looks pretty bad (not the actual print quality, but the spacing is terrible, and the text is too large).

And they want to bring these books into conformance with their new branding standards, which limit us to two font families (neither of which is Times Roman).

So it's a gotta be a do-over.

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Old 03-02-2005, 04:01 PM   #6
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I used OmniPage many years ago (I'm suspect my old version, which was on floppies, probably won't even run under XP) with decent results, but that was for scanning a lot fewer pages than we are dealing with now.

I am not willing to do the scanning and OCR'ing (even if the client were to pay for the software). I don't have the patience to scan and OCR 60 pages. And I doubt my client would pay my hourly rate.

(One reason I'm not doing the retyping is that they don't want to pay my hourly design/production rate for plain old typing. And I don't like production typing, so I am not volunteering to lower my rate to get the job.)

If we don't find a service bureau that can do it, the client will probably just hire a temp typist or something.

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Old 03-02-2005, 05:17 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marlene
So it's a gotta be a do-over.
Based on what you say, sounds like a blessing.

   
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Old 03-03-2005, 03:12 PM   #8
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>>michaelr: A good scanner & OCR program should do better than that, but a good typist will probably do even better.

There was *no* way I was going to type that CV and so the ocr output was very useful and cut the work I had to do down to a very reasonable level.


>>But a typist is more likely to be fazed by a medical article than OCR, which works by reading letters (and numbers etc.), not words.

That's really what I didn't want to have to retype...the article names were just a bear--primarily because I'm not an an electrophysiologist...'-}}

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Old 03-03-2005, 03:13 PM   #9
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>>marlene: If we don't find a service bureau that can do it, the client will probably just hire a temp typist or something.

As KT said...a blessing...'-}}

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Old 03-04-2005, 03:33 PM   #10
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Marlene,

The current Omnipage software is very good, and with the automatic page feed on my copier/fax/scanner, a job like this can be done very fast.

I send large jobs to a freelancer who does it very cheaply -- but the courier cost isn't worth it unless it's a larger job than yours. For something this small, if you don't have the software and equipment to do it yourself, it is probably cheapest for the client to hire a temp typist to rekey the whole thing.

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