August 5th, 2010 Brian Herzog
I'm not entirely comfortable talking about something I haven't used myself, but I really like the idea of this software - it automatically OCRs flat-scanned PDFs and creates text-searchable versions.
Alright, some of you might be saying, "it does what now?" From their description (and more on SlashDot), this is software you install on your server. Then, when one of those horrible originally-scanned-as-one-big-image PDF files gets saved to a "watched" directory, the software automatically converts it to a proper, search-the-text type PDF.
Since I haven't tried it, I don't know how well it works. It sounds like it'll take a bit of tinkering to get operational, but it'd be worth it to make those scanned PDF more useful.
It would also be worth exploring hooking up a scanner directly with this software, to help speed the digitization of historical (and other) records. We looked at the Library Scan Station, which was pretty awesome itself, but was just too expensive for us. This might prove to be a lower-cost solution.
February 18th, 2010 Brian Herzog
File this web tool under "why didn't someone think of this before?" FillAnyPDF.com lets you upload any pdf or image file (such as a blank form), type on it, and then save the completed form as a new pdf file.
It's not perfect, but it's easier than a typewriter. I'll use this both for patrons and myself, and I'm still surprised there aren't tons of these sites out there.
Tags: add, fill, form, image, libraries, Library, pdf, public, text, tool, type, web
October 10th, 2009 Brian Herzog
I was asked these two questions back-to-back one day this week:
I want to sell my car on craigslist, and I want to be able to email people an info sheet. I've already created an Excel spreadsheet with mileage and other statistics, including a couple pictures pasted in. Can you show me how to put arrows and text on the pictures, and how to convert it to a pdf file?
I've been on Yahoo for a few months now. I know that I can get letters from people, and I can reply to letters people send me, but, can I send people letters too?
Of course, both of these are legitimate questions. I was just struck by such different technology experience levels from two patrons who walked up to the reference desk at about the same time.
And the answers are:
Excel's Drawing Toolbar (View > Toolbars > Drawing) allows both of these things. Click the icon that looks like an Arrow to draw an arrow on a picture, use the Line Style to make it thicker, and the Line Color icon to change the color. Then, click the Text Box icon to create a text box wherever you want words to appear. Use the Fill Color and Line Color to make sure it's legible against the picture.
To create a pdf version, we installed PDFcreator on our public computers. It shows up in the printer selection dropdown box, and creates a pdf file patron can then save to disk
Just click the "New" button in the upper left corner of the Inbox.
Tags: arrows, comfort levels, computer, excel, extremes, help, libraries, Library, new message, pdf, public, Reference Question, tech, text box, yahoo