Daniel Reetz, the founder of the DIY Book Scanner community, has recently started making videos of prototyping and shop tips. If you are tinkering with a book scanner (or any other project) in your home shop, these tips will come in handy. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCn0gq8 ... g_8K1nfInQ

[Flatbed] Putting weight on the spine

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alexholi6000
Posts: 3
Joined: 07 Nov 2017, 00:53
E-book readers owned: (Epson flatbed A3 scanner)
Number of books owned: 34
Country: UK

[Flatbed] Putting weight on the spine

Post by alexholi6000 » 07 Nov 2017, 11:01

Hello, and this is my first post on this forum. If this thread is on the wrong forum, feel free to move it somewhere else.

A bit of the backstory (trying to be descriptive so you get the idea): I have a huge experience scanning entire books on the flatbed scanners. So far I scanned 37 books most of which I can't publish due to the copyright reasons. Frankly I learnt how to scan books all by myself and sadly hadn't come across any of the forums on scanning before. Nevertheless, my scans are (arguably) of a very high quality, with nearly a 100% of text correctly being OCR-ed (i.e. no blurry text, the text isn't curved, no rubbish on the glass and so on).

As you know, Since I use a flatbed scanner I have to do many things manually, such as page turning, spine pushing, and making sure the book edges are pushed down as well (for some large books, when scanning the very first and last pages the edges of the 'least side' might not touch the glass).

Now to the main question : When scanning books, I push the spine down to the glass. Its all usually all good, but I came across a large book with the very-very small margins. The margins are so bad that when reading something in the middle of the book, I either have to tilt my head or push the page to be able to read the text close to the spine. Obviously when trying to scan the book this problem is even worse. The best result I can get is when 2-3 letters close to the spine are blurry, and that's when I push as hard as I can.

I googled this issue up and this is what I found:
A common problem with scanning an opened book is "guttering", which happens when the spine of the book is not pressed flat enough, and the inside of each page, where it meets the spine, is curved against the glass. There's more about this, and an example, scan3, in the FAQ [S.17] "Why am I getting a lot of mistakes in my OCRed text?". To avoid guttering, make sure that the spine is held down throughout the scan. (Some people put a weight on the spine to hold the spine down on each scan; others just press their hand against it.)
Since I using hand is not enough, I'm considering putting weights on the book's spine. The problem is, what kind of weight may be applied, do you think? I can only think of the dumbbells, but I reckon these won't stand stable on the spine (i.e. they will roll out).

P.S. I don't really care how much the spine is damaged as long as the book does not fall apart. I also do not want to buy the professional book-scanning gear to replace my flatbed just because of this book.

duerig
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Re: [Flatbed] Putting weight on the spine

Post by duerig » 07 Nov 2017, 14:10

If you really don't care about the spine of the book, your best bet is to just cut off the spine. Remove the cover and then remove the glued together spine. Some people use a bandsaw. But actually, I think a simpler option (and less likely to cause issues) is to clamp the book together in a vice and then use a hand plane to shave off the top. This technique is actually what they used to use to open up the signature pages when printing books. And with this option, you can use a sheet fed scanner which is much faster than the flatbed if you want.

-Jonathon Duerig

alexholi6000
Posts: 3
Joined: 07 Nov 2017, 00:53
E-book readers owned: (Epson flatbed A3 scanner)
Number of books owned: 34
Country: UK

Re: [Flatbed] Putting weight on the spine

Post by alexholi6000 » 09 Nov 2017, 04:05

Jonathon, thanks for your reply. I really do appreciate it.

I think your suggestion is going to be a bit too destructive ;) . To be honest, when I said I don't care about the spine I meant that I don't mind the spine to be slightly damaged due to the pressure after the scanning process; like you know after you scan the book with a hard push on the spine, the spine gets damaged so is seems to be separated into two. If I use a plan and/or a bandsaw I reckon I will at least irreversibly damage the print on the spine, which unfortunately is not the option.

I think perhaps I could stretch the book and/or find something weighty, which would be heavy enough to replace the hand press and at the same time be compact enough not to fall down from the top of the spine. Yet I cannot think of anything like that

BillGill
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Re: [Flatbed] Putting weight on the spine

Post by BillGill » 09 Nov 2017, 10:25

For something that would put weight on it, how about a bag of water? It would be nice and flexible, so it would match the contour of the book and
you could add more weight by using more water.

If you want something flat you could use a board and put a jug of water on top of that.

Bill

cday
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Re: [Flatbed] Putting weight on the spine

Post by cday » 09 Nov 2017, 15:44

BillGill wrote:
09 Nov 2017, 10:25
For something that would put weight on it, how about a bag of water? It would be nice and flexible, so it would match the contour of the book
and you could add more weight by using more water.

If you want something flat you could use a board and put a jug of water on top of that.
Maybe sand (for example) might be better, to avoid accidents!

dpc
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Re: [Flatbed] Putting weight on the spine

Post by dpc » 10 Nov 2017, 11:07

cday wrote:
09 Nov 2017, 15:44
BillGill wrote:
09 Nov 2017, 10:25
For something that would put weight on it, how about a bag of water? It would be nice and flexible, so it would match the contour of the book
and you could add more weight by using more water.

If you want something flat you could use a board and put a jug of water on top of that.
Maybe sand (for example) might be better, to avoid accidents!
Fill a large ZipLok freezer bag with buckshot and glue the opening shut.

I can't imagine anything more dreadful than having to lift that weight and place it back on top of the book each time you needed to turn the page though.

alexholi6000
Posts: 3
Joined: 07 Nov 2017, 00:53
E-book readers owned: (Epson flatbed A3 scanner)
Number of books owned: 34
Country: UK

Re: [Flatbed] Putting weight on the spine

Post by alexholi6000 » 06 Dec 2017, 03:25

I apologise for a (very) late response.

I ended up severely damaging the book's spine by stretching and pushing the spine down to the glass, and after a while the scanned text could be OCRed correctly. I consider this a very good result, as now ~99% of the text near the edges is recognised correctly.

I still used my hand(s) and couldn't find anything worthy to put on the spine, so the issue is still there (although now I do not care as much since my only problematic book is digitised now)

dpc
Posts: 258
Joined: 01 Apr 2011, 18:05
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Location: Issaquah, WA

Re: [Flatbed] Putting weight on the spine

Post by dpc » 06 Dec 2017, 12:37

Something else you could try is to use a hinged lever to put downward pressure on the book's spine. That would make it easier easier on your hands at the expense of having to lift the lever each time you turned the page.

BillGill
Posts: 63
Joined: 18 Dec 2016, 17:13
E-book readers owned: Calibre, FBReader
Number of books owned: 7000
Country: USA

Re: [Flatbed] Putting weight on the spine

Post by BillGill » 07 Dec 2017, 10:16

Put a weight or spring on the back side of the lever. Then it would automatically go up when you released it. It would save you from having to lift it before turning the page.

Bill

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