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Search results for the Tag keyword: OCR
By Paul Nisbet on Wednesday 30th March, 2011 at 9:27am
Adobe have just released new versions of Adobe Reader and Adobe Acrobat Pro. Adobe Reader is the free program that most people use for reading PDF files, such as the Hodder Gibson textbooks that we distribute for pupils who cannot read the paper versions, or the SQA digital exam papers. Acrobat Pro is what we use for creating and editing PDF files.
We will examine the new versions and update our information and web sites in the near future, but for now here are a few important comments.
Adobe Reader X
You can download the new Reader X free from Adobe's web site. It is similar to version 9, except that most of the tools now appear to the right of the screen rather than as toolbars along the top. This makes it looks tidier and less confusing because there aren't loads of mysterious buttons littering your screen, but old pros like us get slightly irritated because it takes more clicks to find things.
The goods news is that PDFaloud and other text-to-speech programs still work with Reader X. You may have to re-install PDFaloud, or manually copy it from the old Reader 9 to the new Reader X folder. (See our FAQs on how to do this.)
Another good development is that you can add highlights and sticky notes to any PDF (not just ones which have been 'reader-enabled') which can be useful for pupils who are studying with PDF textbooks, or for staff who want to set and mark homework using PDF.
We'll review the new version in more detail soon - watch this space.
Adobe Acrobat Pro X
The new Acrobat Pro X has lots of new and refined features, but there are two in particular which make it really useful for those of us who want to make digital learning resources.
New editable, correctable scanning and OCR
With Acrobat Pro 9 you could scan paper resources into PDF and convert into readable text, but you couldn't correct any scanning mistakes. With Pro X, you can! This means that schools can, for example, scan paper prelims to PDF and correct any misrecognised words so that the questions can be spoken out correctly using text-to-speech software. With Pro 9, you would have had to buy another program like FineReader to do your corrections. We have tested the scanning and OCR with Pro X and it's pretty straightforward and easy to use.
Save to Word or text
Another major improvement is the formatting when saving from Acrobat Pro into other formats such as Microsoft Word - Pro X seems to do a much better job of giving you a Word file that looks like the original PDF. Saving to plain text also seems to give more accurate and reliable results.
Taken together, both these features now make Acrobat Pro X a very useful tool for anyone who wants to create accessible resources and Books for All: you can scan paper resources to PDF, check and correct any errors in order to produce a PDF digital version of the book that looks exactly like the original; and you can also save to Word or plain text and then edit it for example to produce a large print version of the book.
Adobe Acrobat Pro X is now available to Scottish schools from Learning and Teaching Scotland for approximately £51 per licence, plus £20 for the program DVD. You can download a 30 day trial version free from Adobe.
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By Paul Nisbet on Wednesday 20th January, 2010 at 12:54pm
Another opportunity to learn how to make Books for All!
Learning & Teaching Scotland, on behalf of the Scottish Government, would like to invite you to send a representative from your local authority to attend Books for All CPD event at Stirling Management Centre. This free CPD is a four day training course, developed and delivered by CALL Scotland and is aimed at practitioners who currently produce books in alternative formats (such as large and adapted print, digital books and audio), for pupils with print disabilities as a result of visual, physical or learning impairment.
The course information is detailed below:
- Day 1 & 2 – 10th & 11th February 2010
- Day 3 & 4 – 25th & 26th March 2010
The venue for all training is Stirling Management Centre and overnight accommodation and refreshments (if required) will be paid for by the Books for All Database project.
Some of the topics that will be covered at the training include:
- Sourcing accessible resources
- Scanning papers resources into digital format
- Making publisher PDFs accessible
- Making "intermediate" files
- Converting intermediate files to different alternative formats
If you are interested and would like someone from your authority to attend then please let Gayle Monteith at LTS know by Monday 25th January. Please note that places are limited on this course and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.
If you are unable to attend the training, you can join the books for all user group on Glow. We have formed a user group of experienced practitioners who, as part of their practice, create and use these types of resources. The aim of the group is to share information, materials and practical strategies to support their use.
Once you have confirmed your interest in this course, LTS will confirm if a place is available and send you a booking form for the training.
If you have any questions about the venue, funding or arrangements please contact Gayle Monteith at LTS. If you have any questions about the course content contact Paul Nisbet or Stuart Aitken at CALL.
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By Paul Nisbet on Monday 18th January, 2010 at 5:27pm
A new version of FineReader has just been released and the basic OCR accuracy seems to be much better than the previous version 9 (which was actually much worse than version 8 - we carried on using 8 because 9 was so bad). Here's a screenshot of a PDF image that was recognised using FineReader 9:
As you can see (and also hear, if you are using a screen reader), the recognition is pretty poor. Try right-clicking on the image and reading the alt text to see how bad it is.
Here's the same PDF page, opened and recognised using FineReader 10:
Much better! I've not had time to explore FineReader 10 in detail, but the user interface also seems cleaner and more intuitive. So all in all if you're struggling with FineReader 9 it might be worth upgrading to version 10.
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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.