Santa came early to the Midwest Genealogy Center, arriving on December 17th. He brought “the best present ever” for the genealogy enthusiast. No, it’s not a personal answer book to where your ancestors can be found. Better! It is an amazing scanner, that you’ll be using over and over again.
It is a Zeta Overhead Book Scanner with Touch-Screen Direction by Zeutschel.
What’s the New Scanner Do?
What makes this scanner so special – and the reason I’m bright-eyed about it – is that it is an “overhead” scanner. With an overhead scanner you simply open the book to the page you are interested in and lay it FACE UP on the scanner. The digital image is captured by an overhead camera, not one under the glass like a copier uses. No breaking the spine, no flipping and turning the book, no SCANNING THE PAGES UPSIDE DOWN (don’t tell me I’m the only one that’s ever done that), no mess, no hassle, it is super easy. Then you push the “scan” button, and voila! BOTH pages-left and right- are scanned. Turn the page and repeat. Turn the page again, repeat again, and in no time you have a whole chapter scanned. Your hands aren’t black from old book print ink and dust. And the book and your friendly librarian are thankful for the kind and gentle way you handled the reference material.
Not sure your scan took or the book was straight? Check the preview image on the screen next to your book. There’s no need to get home and find you can’t read the pages. Quality control at your fingertips!
But wait! There’s more. The scanner is smart enough to get rid of those nasty shadows between the pages in the fold or spine area of the book. So it looks like you scanned two flat pages instead of two side-by-side arched pages with shadows. Pretty cool.
What happens if the book is extra big or the arch in the pages is rather high and you want to help the scanner by holding down the pages with your thumbs? The scanner is smart enough to let you edit out the image of your thumbs. Your nail polish color will no longer be forever linked to this page of your family’s history.
Saving Your Digitized Pages
Then, you can save the pages – one or five hundred and one – to your flash drive. (You did bring your flash drive to the library, didn’t you?) You have your choice of saving to a PDF file or an image file (JPEG, TIF, GIF), which would come in handy for pictures.
But before you save your 35-page chapter of the History of , wouldn’t you love to OCR it first? Yes, ladies and gentlemen, you can OCR (optical character read) the document with this scanner. That means you can later SEARCH THE DOCUMENT for any and all references to the “Pilsner” family, or “Old Mill Brewery.” That in itself is worth the price of admission to the Midwest Genealogy Center. (The library is free to the public.)
Document Size Limits
You may be wondering what are the size limits for documents on the scanner. You may have the family treasure map, or Uncle Max’s Wanted Poster that you would like to scan. Or maybe you want to scan a plain old atlas or over-sized document. The bed of the scanner holds documents a little larger than an 11 x 17 sheet of paper. That’s pretty big.
But, seriously, what would you pay for use of this scanner? Wrong.
It’s FREE. You can sit at the scanner and scan books, pictures, whatever you like all day long for free. Bring your own flash drive, but the scanning is free.
You’ll find the scanner upstairs, on the second floor strategically tucked among the books. If you have questions or would like help getting started, just ask your friendly MGC Staff Member. I’m sure they will be happy to assist.
So, pack your bags, plan your visit, scurry on down to the Midwest Genealogy Center with your list of resources to check and scan with the new Zeta Overhead Book Scanner. And don’t be surprised if you find me already there with a book in hand!