Tools: Our beloved bookscanner


In P2P Public Library, the bookscanner has a very important role. It reminds us of the world outside of digital networks where we read, touch, smell and show books we want to digitize.

Our beloved bookscanner reminds the world outside of digital networks how it is cheap and easy to digitize textbooks for elementary schools or out of print books which still have the readers. It will remind ministries of culture of disappearing languages how it was easy back then in 2012 to digitize their cultural heritage before it was wiped out by the major languages.

The DIY bookscanner should stand today side by side with a Gutenberg’s printing press to remind us what manufacturing the dissemination of knowledge could do for the world. There are rumours that exactly that picture will be instagramed a lot from The Public Library at HAIP 2012.

It was a great pleasure and honour to look how Voja Antonić, one of those rare renaissance man of today, is assembling the  do-it-yourself bookscanner. For all of you makers, Voja prepared everything you need to do-it-yourself-too for do-it-yourself-too P2P Public library. In his own words:

This is a semi-automatic book scanner, which employs two FUJIFILM HS30EXR still cameras. Its features are:

  • Automatic acryl platen lift with stepper motor and linear bearing
  • Manual page turn
  • Two 16Mpix still cameras with adjustable positioning
  • LED lighting
  • Remote camera control
  • One cycle (2 pages): about 6 sec.
  • Platten movement, LED brightness and remote shooting controlled by microprocessor
  • Adjustable cradle position

All constructive details are visible on photos and drawings. The mechanical base is mainly made of melamine faced chipboards and glass-reinforced epoxy laminate FR4. Acryl platten holder is mounted on linear bearing, which is driven by stepper motor and controlled by microprocessor. The only operation which the operator has to do during the scanning process, is to turn the page of the book and to press the start key. It will initiate the next sequence of steps:

  • Acryl platen moves in the lowermost position and presses the pages by its weight
  • LED lighting is forced to full power (12W)
  • Remote shooting is activeted
  • LED lighing is lowered to 1/3 power (4W)
  • Acryl platen moves back to upper (home) position

On the top of the book scanner, there are four sticks, used as holders for black cloth blinds, to avoid light reflection on the platen.