Wednesday, May 16, 2007

My Electronic Archives

In a recent post, I mentioned that I had been collating all of my pdf copies of articles into one location, an idea that started as something of a lark in order to procrastinate, but which is growing on me as I continue the task.

Last fall, I discovered the library's digital sender, a scanner that helps students who don't want to pay 10 cents a page just to get some non-circulating text to their home computer. The thing scans a page (or several), saves the file on a campus server for five days before it deletes it, and then sends an email message with a link. I can then go and save a copy of the file to my own computer. In August, I used this technology to create pdfs of the disparate course readings that my grad class was doing, and I burned them to a cd (following academic fair use guidelines) for future reference. It was a hit, and I also had some articles I use often now easily accessible on my desktop.

Plus, as ILL moves to sending pdfs for articles requested across the network, I had begun to accumulate some research in this form, as well.

Now, I am in the process of preparing a similar reading list for a grad student doing an independent study, and am making copies to take up to the library's digital sender to make the electronic files, and it occurred to me: while I'm up there, I might as well take some articles I have photocopies of that I use frequently, but am always misplacing. And then: I should also go find the articles on JSTOR and Project Muse that I'm constantly referring to, and save copies for myself in this library of mine.

I am now in the process of simply accumulating the scanned images into one folder (which I will likely back up onto a flash drive), but what I'd like to be able to do is take these image-based pdfs and OCR them to make them readable and searchable, though I suspect I'll need to get Adobe Acrobat, and not just Reader, to do that. Any advice would be very helpful.

What started as a way to waste some time by shuffling around my folders seems like it could turn into a useful exercise in organizing my research!

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