platen in Medak, Sekulic & Mertens 2014

k scanner designs:
 flatbed scanner
 single camera overhead scanner
 dual camera overhead scanner
Conventional flatbed scanners are widely available. However, given that they require the book to be
spread wide open and pressed down with the platen in order to break the resistance of the book
binding and expose sufficiently the inner margin of the text, it is the most destructive approach for
the book, imprecise and slow.
Therefore, book scanning projects across the globe have taken to custom d

hat are less destructive and better suited for fast turning and capturing of
pages. Designs abound. Most include:

one or two digital photo cameras of lesser or higher quality to capture the pages,
transparent V-shaped glass or Plexiglas platen to press the open book against a V-shape
cradle, and
a light source.

The go-to web resource to help you make an informed decision is the DIY book scanning
community at A good place to start is their intro

bookscanner. The current iterations are using two Canon 1100 D cameras with the kit lens
Canon EF-S 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6 IS. Cameras are auto-charging.

Illustration 1: Public Library Scanner
The scanner operates by automatically lowering the Plexiglas platen, illuminating the page and then
triggering camera shutters. The turning of pages and the adjustments of the V-shaped cradle holding

the book are manual.
The scanner is operated by a two-button controller (see Illustration 2). The upper, smaller button
breaks the capture process in two steps: the first click lowers the platen, increases the light level and
allows you to adjust the book or the cradle, the second click triggers the cameras and lifts the platen.
The lower button has
two modes. A quick
click will execute the
whole capture process in
one go. But if you hold
it pressed longer, it will
lower the platen,
allowing you to adjust
the book and the cradle,
and lift it without
triggering cameras when
you press again.

Illustration 2: A two-button controller

More on this manual: steps in the book scanning process
The book scanning process in general can b

up the cameras properly and prepare the printed book for scanning.
a) Loosening the book
Depending on the type and quality of binding, some books tend to be too resistant to opening fully
to reveal the inner margin under the pressure of the scanner platen. It is thus necessary to “break in”
the book before starting in order to loosen the binding. The best way is to open it as wide as
possible in multiple places in the book. This can be done against the table edge if the book is more
rigid than usu

On the lens, turn the focus mode switch to manual (MF), turn the large zoom ring to set the value
exactly midway between 24 and 35 mm (see Illustration 3). Try to set both cameras the same.
To focus each camera, open a book on the cradle, lower the platen by holding the big button on the
controller, and turn on the live view on camera LCD by pressing the live view switch (see
Illustration 4). Now press the magnification button twice and use the focus ring on the front of the
lens to get a clear image

otective rubber
cover on the left side of the cameras.
e) Placing the book into the cradle and double-checking the cameras
Open the book in the middle and place it on the cradle. Hold pressed the large button on the
controller to lower the Plexiglas platen without triggering the cameras. Move the cradle so that the
the platen fits into with the middle of the book.
Turn on the live view on the cameras' LED to see if the the pages fit into the image and if the
cameras are positioned parallel to the page.
f) Double-check storage cards and batteries
It is important that both

ng with the scanning of a new book.

g) Turn off the light in the room
Lighting conditions during scanning should be as constant as possible, to reduce glare and achieve
maximum quality remove any source of light that might reflect off the Plexiglas platen. Preferably
turn off the light in the room or isolate the scanner with the black cloth provided.

1. Photographing a book
Now you are ready to start scanning. Place the book closed in the cradle and lower the platen by
holding the large button on the controller pressed (see Illustration 2). Adjust the position of the
cradle and lift the platen by pressing the large button again.
To scan you can now either use the small button on the controller to lower the platen, adjust and
then press it again to trigger the cameras and lift the platen. Or, you can just make a short press on
the large button to do it in one go.
ATTENTION: When the cameras are triggered, the shutter sound has to be heard coming
from both cameras. If one camera is not working, it's best to reconnect both cameras (see

and backward, you
can set it to tell you what page you should be scanning next. This should help you avoid
missing a page due to a distraction.
While scanning, move the cradle a bit to the left from time to time, making sure that the tip of Vshaped platen is aligned with the center of the book and the inner margin is exposed enough.

Once the book pages have been photographed, they have to be transfered to the computer and
prepared for post-proces

the camera to double-check if there are images on the
camera - if there are, delete all the images from the camera menu
- if using batteries, double-check that batteries are fully charged
- switch off the light in the room that could reflect off the platen and cover the scanner with the
black cloth
1. Photographing
- now you can start scanning either by pressing the smaller button on the controller once to
lower the platen and adjust the book, and then press again to increase the light intensity, trigger the
cameras and lift the platen; or by pressing the large button completing the entire sequence in one
- ATTENTION: Shutter sound should be coming from both cameras - if one camera is not
working, it's best to reconnect both cameras, make sure the batteries are charged or adapt


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