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By Paul Nisbet on Monday 14th December, 2009 at 11:12am
Lots of teachers, pupils and parents are interested in scanning books into the computer, converting it readable text, so that for example:
- pupils with physical disabilities can press a key on the keyboard, or click a switch, to turn the pages, or
- dyslexic pupils can have the text read out with text-to-speech software, or
- pupils with sight loss can use text-to-speech software or magnify the text to read the book.
Theres a good article by Jim Kauppila on making digital files from printed materials in the latest issue of Closing the Gap. Jim's project has scanned hundreds of books and thousands of pages and in the process has gathered a lot of experience. You can read the article by signing up for a 14 day trial of Closing the Gap. Jim advocates a similar process to the one that we covered in the recent Books for All courses at Stirling, which involves:
- Scanning the book
- Converting the scanned image to text using FineReader Pro optical character recognition (OCR)
- Checking and editing the text with FineReader Pro.
- Saving from FineReader as PDF (which makes a digital book that looks like the original) and Plain Text or RTF (for further editing in Word, say, if you want for example a Large Print copy)
- Saving from RTF/Plain text/Word as MP3 audio.
- Adding structure to the PDF with Acrobat Pro.
The nice thing about this workflow model is that it generates several different types of accessible format for lots of pupils with different literacy support needs.