Disarray of Scanned Texts.

Scanners made it possible to store large books or whole libraries of books electronically. Scanning has many advantages – it is ecologically friendlier, you need millions times less less space to store books and it is much cheaper than to print books and texts. Well, reading a scanned book is not as convenient as reading it on paper but this is a minor disadvantage in comparison to the all the benefits.

But it is a different story when you have a disarray of scanned texts spread all over your computer. You have hundreds and thousands of small files, each of them being a separate page (or two pages) in a book and it takes ages to find the next page in the sequence. Many scanning programs do not offer a feature to arrange your scanned texts into a book, so if you want order in your digital library, you need to do the arranging yourself.

The first step in arranging a disarray of scanned texts is to rename them so that they are arranged in the order you’d like them to be. For instance you can name them 001.jpg, 002.jpg, etc. which is not very descriptive and which most likely is the name already given them by the scanning program. Or you could go an extra mile and rename them in this manner 01-1.jpg, 02-2.jpg, which indicates that it is Chapter 1, Page 1, Chapter 1, Page 2, etc. You can also include the name of the chapter because it will make them more readable.

You might wonder why in both examples the filenames start with numbers (001). You don’t have to start with numbers but keeping a number in front of the Chapter title makes it easier to sort the pages in their logical order. It is true that you can achieve the same if your filenames are of the kind Chapter1-1.jpg but if you have many pages that do not belong to a chapter (i.e. intro pages, table of contents, indices, various appendices, etc.) they will not go in the right places. Anyway, this is just a matter of personal preferences and you can rename your files in any way you like, provided that you still know their logical sequence in the book.

After you have renamed the files so that they are arranged in a logical order, you can proceed in one of the following ways:

  • Gather the files in one archive. This is the easiest ways to proceed. You need an archiving program like WinZip to collect all the files in one archive. This way you will have only one file (the archive file), which will hold all the images with the scanned texts. When you need to read the texts, you just open the archive and extract the files.
  • Merge them in a pdf. Alternatively, you can merge all your image files with scanned texts in a single pdf. However, have in mind that converting images to pdf blurs them additionally and as a result of this the text becomes even more difficult to read on screen. Generally, it is better to use OCR (Optical Character Recognition) for scanning texts but due to a variety of reasons this is not always possible.
  • Create another type of file. If the idea of a pdf does not appeal to you, you can use other file formats to store your scanned texts. The options include: a multipage image file, a presentation, animated gift, etc. Actually, your choices is limited only by the software program you use for arranging the disarrays of scanned texts and the time you can spend on the task.

Author: Ada Ivanova