They Came From Montana wrote a great review today, here, of a hand scanner which can be used to make a quick scan of a document should you find yourself in a library or archive without change for the copier, or if you come across something in a book that is too fragile to be copied. I want one!
In the meantime, I’ve discovered another cool gadget for scanning on the fly: an Android app called Portable Scanner, which works on Android phones like my HTC Droid Incredible. It’s available at the Android Marketplace for $1.99 and you can read about the app and see screen shots of it at Appbrain.com Using this software allows me to point my phone’s camera at the document and take a picture image which is then visible on the phone’s screen. This way I immediately know how good the scan was and I can repeat the scan right away if I’m not happy with it. Something about the inner-workings of the software produces an image more detailed than just using the phone’s camera. So far nine times out of ten the first scan is clear, in focus, and detailed enough to meet my research needs after I leave the repository. Once I’m happy with the scan quality, I can save the scan in PDF form, and there’s an option to share it via email, facebook, or SMS. If what I need is longer than one page, the software allows me to take a series of pictures which are then saved in one PDF file.
The camera on my HTC phone is good enough to take indoor document photos without the flash, so there’s no damage to the original. It is also able to focus from a distance of just a few inches, so I can make a scan of an 8 1/2 x 11 map in a book and it’s clear enough to be able to zoom in later and see every detail. Since I always have my phone with me, I always have a scanner available to capture something wonderful and unexpected!! Plus, it’s just way-cool