Thanks for posting about this Valerie! I hadn't heard about the Ion scanner. I went out and looked at it, and then googled for reviews. I don't want to sound too unenthusiastic because I love the idea. However, unless I'm reading the reviews of the beta models wrong (it still hasn't shipped a year after being announced), the Ion scanner only has primitive text conversion OCR software. It's really intended for creating image-based PDFs.
This is really timely for me, though, as a few months ago I found the website for an entire group of geeks who call themselves the "do it yourself book scanners." They've been experimenting for several years now with the technique the Ion scanner uses. They use two cameras, one for each page of an open book, and simple lighting, over a book that's held in a cradle. They've got full plans of several different do-it-yourself designs to make one, even plans for one you can make out of a cardboard box! This technique can only be used, I would guess, for sighted users as you would need to set up the focus for the cameras manually at the start of every book scan.
The group has also developed open-source OCRing software, but I haven't looked at it to see what it can do, and don't know if it runs on a Mac. Some of the stuff I read, though, says what many of the DIY crew does is take the images with these cameras and then use standard OCRing software on their PCs and Macs after they've photoed the entire book to then OCR it. They claim it's much faster to photo a book this way than getting an image of a page using a standard flatbed scanner, and you get better images as you can get the pages to lie flat easily without cutting the book apart or damaging its spine.
Here's the link to their site: http://www.diybookscanner.org/wiki/index.php?title=Main_Page
I'd sure love to talk to someone who has actually done this to see how well it really works! smile.
Judy s. Valerie Maples wrote:
The latest in digitizing books: http://www.ionaudio.com/news/press-releases/ion-announces-book-saver-book-scannermore information, a picture, and embedded video at:http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/2011/01/scan-a-book-in-15-minutes.html It is not small, but looks VERY easy to use! Best part, it looks like I could then OCR on my Mac as easily as a PC.On another note, someone posted on MobileRead about the mother of all book scanners. I am not sure if you can read this without an account, and it may have been found by our new fearless leader since the poster is named Alisa, but if Bookshare is looking to spend serious bucks:http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=23135 Valerie, who would love to do ALL her work on a Mac!