We are a community of people who build book scanners. We have taken preservation into our own hands. We are the missing link between your bookshelf and your e-reader. Join us! Get involved by trying a simple scanner, building a kit, or pushing the limits of scanning technology. If your questions can't be answered by reading, write us an e-mail: diybookscanner [at] gmail.com.

A book scanner is any device used to digitize the pages of a book. Every book scanner has three parts. Cameras are used to capture images of each page. A controller triggers the cameras and saves the resulting photographs somewhere convenient. The scanner rig provides an ideal photographic environment while holding everything together.

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Archivist Quill in Open Beta

The Archivist Quill is a new build of the Archivist using aluminum beams instead of plywood. The first kits are available now. See the forum thread for more information.

Pi Scan

Pi Scan Tutorial from Jonathon Duerig on Vimeo.

Pi Scan is software that runs on a Raspberry Pi to control two cameras for book scanning. Pi Scan features a streamlined interface and robust error handling. For more information, see the forum post or the project page

Book Scanner Rigs

Book scanners can be as simple as a cardboard box rig, a camera on a tripod, and your hand as the controller. Or they can have multiple moving parts with computer-controlled capture and high resolution cameras. Here is how a typical scanning rig comes together:

  • Lighting

    Though some scanners rely on ambient room lighting, dedicated lighting is important to capture good scans. You want the lights to be strong and even. The lights must also be positioned to minimize glare and reflections.

  • Cameras

    Each camera must be mounted securely and aligned to point directly at the center of the page it is scanning. If possible, you want two cameras so you can capture both pages at the same time.

  • Platen

    The easiest way to avoid page curl in your images is to flatten the pages by pressing them against glass or acrylic. While there are some computer algorithms that can help dewarp the pages after capture, it is always more reliable to just capture flat pages in the first place.

  • Book

    The book lies at the center of any scanning rig. It is alternately pressed against the platen for scanning and then pulled away so that the page can be flipped.

  • Cradle

    The cradle supports the back and spine of the book. While any contact with a book will cause wear and tear, a V-shaped cradle can minimize the wear that scanning can cause.

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