Intro: The Digital Life- Total Recall Through Scanning
Last year I lost everything, handouts were gone before they even got passed out and my completed assignments were the reincarnations of Houdini always escaping my binders at the last second. This year to combat that I am determined to digitally back up my school life and I want to share how.
What you'll need:
Hardware- A computer with scanner
Software- Evernote, and a Google account
Step 1: Your Digital Notebook- Evernote
To assist us on this endeavor of organization will be Evernote, a note taking program that offers 40mb of uploads per 30 day cycle. These notes will be accessible from all your computers with Evernote installed, on their website and from any smartphone or iPod touch. To install it first go to the website, click download, save it to your computer and run it, signing up for an account when prompted.
Step 2: Getting Started With Evernote
Now that you have Evernote installed lets add a new notebook for your schoolwork, I would suggest making separate ones for each subject and even for each semester. To do this right click "Notebooks" and select "Create Notebook". Remember to enable synchronizing!
Step 3: Start Scanning
Here comes the actual work, we are going to start scanning our notes from school. My physical notebook is one of the 39-cent ones from staples. Scan the page to a folder (or the desktop). The location doesn't matter as we will delete it after Evernote gets it recorded to our account. You may want to turn down the brightness of the image so it is readable and crop it so that only the page shows but cropping has no serious advantages. Note: I scanned at 150dpi which is more than enough for our purposes.
Step 4: Uploading to Evernote
Now that we have our file saved we can upload it into our notebook. To do this click "New Note", give your note a Title and add some tags so you can find it later when you're searching. Now for the note, Right click the body of the note and select "Attach File". Your scan should now be in the note. Sync the note to the Evernote server.
Step 5: Google Docs- Your OCR Program
OCR stands for Optical Character Recognition and basically converts text in a picture to editable text in a document. Google has been using this technology in their Books service but have recently added it to Docs. It isn't perfect but it doesn't cost a dime. To start scan a printed page, I'm using page one of the The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas at 150dpi. Next open google docs and select upload in the left corner of the screen. On the upload files page deselect the box "Convet documents... to the corresponding Google Docs formats" and select Convert text from PDF or image file...". Now you will be brought to a page with the filename of whatever you just uploaded. Click the file and you will be brought to the converted document.
Step 6: Copy to Evernote
Now we are going to select that text we just converted and move it into a new Evernote note. Open Evernote again, select the appropriate notebook and click "New Note". Title and tag your note. Open the document in Google Docs, select all and copy. Paste it to the body of your note and press sync. Congratulations, you now have all the tools to get started digitizing your schoolwork.