Answered By: Steve Runge
Last Updated: Jun 07, 2016     Views: 98

Yes. The process is called Optical Character Recognition (OCR). Most scanners at BC Libraries have an option called "searchable pdf," which uses OCR software to "read" the text on the page and convert it into computer-readable form. A pdf file created this way is full-text searchable, as opposed to simple image scan pdf's, which are not. To some extent, you may also be able to copy and paste text.

Caution: A simple "searchable pdf" scan often produces what is called "dirty OCR," which means it contains a lot of errors in transcription. If you plan to use the text electronically, it is recommended that you compare the electronic version carefully to the original text and correct it.

Software called ABBYY FineReader for creating clean OCR scans in many languages is available in the Digital Studio, O'Neill 205.