Sunday, April 12, 2015

Scanner In Your Hand for Research or Other Stuff

As a school librarian, I am often witness to the trauma high school students experience when they realize that all of the world's information is not accessible through Google. Usually, this is preceded, by the statement, "My teachers says we have to use a book."

The next hurdle they have to face involves getting this printed information into electronic format without too much effort or pain. Thier choices usually include 1) take notes 2) use a photocopier or a flat bed document scanner 3) use a cell phone camera to take a picture of the page. 

They usually choose the cell phone. The phone camera takes a photo of the page, but this is inefficient. The picture is a single photograph that doesn't allow you to copy and paste information and the pictures are saved a seperate files. Instead, I point them to a few apps that make the whole process a lot easier. 

There are a bunch of scanner apps that can do the job, but I like to recommend these three. All of them are currently free.

Scannable for iPhone (iOS):

If you use Evernote or Google Drive for storing and documents and you are an iPhone user, try the Scannable app from Evernote. Here is why it is a great tool:
  • Open the app and the camera immediately starts looking for the edges of the document 
  • The picture it takes is immediately turned into a pdf document.
  • Scan multiple pages and they all can be uploaded to your Evernote or Google Apps account as a one multi-page document. 

Google Drive for Android users:

If you have an Android phone and use Google Apps, the Google Drive app is probably your best bet. Open the app and click the Add new button. Select Scan. The picture will be turned into a pdf file and you can upload it to your Google Apps account. 

Note: Though iPhone has a Google Drive app, its version doesn't have the same scanner capabilities. 

For Windows Phones (or Microsoft Office Users):

If you have a Windows phone, or if you are an iPhone or Android user and you prefer Microsoft Office products (Office, OneNote, OneDrive), then try Microsoft's Office Lens app. You can export the document to Word, PowerPoint or OneDrive apps. Or you can e-mail it or make it into a pdf document.

Microsoft Lens for iPhone and Windows phones. 
The app for Android is still in testing mode, but you can preview it now. More information from Microsoft.