2004 Conference Proceedings

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Margaret Londergan
Indiana University
2711 East 10th Street
Bloomington, IN 47408
Phone: 812-856-4112
Email: londerga@indiana.edu

In the four years since a nationally recognized model for high speed scanning was developed at Indiana University, the IU Adaptive Technology Center has developed many enhancements to the high speed scanning process. In this presentation, many of these "advanced tricks of the trade" will be explored and detailed. One of these is an in-house developed software tool called the "OCR Rocket" which has been made available as an Open Source application. The OCR Rocket is used to speed up the process of high speed scanning by automating many of the necessary and repetitive processes that would otherwise require human intervention. This frees the scanning operators to move a continuous stream of print materials through the scanner, which is able to scan continuously. The OCR Rocket also allows scanning operators to select multiple file formats in which to automatically save files (.kes, .txt, .rtf, .doc). This is helpful as files saved in a variety of formats can be useful to individuals with a variety of disabilities like learning disabilities (dyslexia and ADHD), low vision, blindness and mobility impairment.

Others are tools have been incorporated into the scanning process to enhance the accuracy of the scans in an effort to reduce the amount of post scanning process editing that has to take place. While the scanning process itself can be made faster, this increase in speed can be offset by the need to edit scanned material. Editing is a very time consuming and slow process. Consequently, any improvements in the quality of the scanning result that reduce the amount of editing that needs to be done are very beneficial. One such tool that has been incorporated into the scanning process at Indiana University is Kofax VRS. This tool greatly improves scanning results for books with multiple graphics, fonts, and screens of varying color behind text of different colors (eg. red text on a green background, blue text on a red background, black text on a yellow background all on the same page). (These conditions are commonly found with K-12 books and post-secondary science books.) This tool and how it can be used to improve scanning results will be demonstrated. The pros and cons of using a tool like this will be discussed.

It is also important to be able to identify the appropriate ways to evaluate materials to be scanned so that the appropriate suite of tools to be used in each scanning session can be selected. A spreadsheet of evaluation criteria that chart the path toward the best scanning process set up for a particular document will be presented in the session and as a handout.

Even with the best high-speed scanning techniques that produce highly accurate results in the electronic format, there is still a need for editing text, especially for users who cannot refer back to original source material (users who are blind). Techniques for editing materials that do not meet accuracy specifications will be presented.

If a large number of books will be turned from print into electronic text, a way of managing the collection of electronic copies must be developed. A quick look at an on-line database for saving and creating records of books that have been converted into electronic text will be provided. The on-line database at IU called "Badger" automates the process of gathering important data related to each book. Much of this information is automatically harvested from the Library of Congress based on ISBN number.

And finally, legal issues related to conversion of print materials will be discussed briefly. These issues will be more fully discussed in a companion presentation on the legal issues related to conversion of print materials to electronic materials for individuals with disabilities.

Although this presentation will not detail how to get started with high speed scanning, handouts at the presentation will fully cover the "getting up and running" necessities.

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