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Digital Scholarship Center: Acrobat Pro DC: Optical Character Recognition (OCR) for Research, Learning, and Accessibility

Information about the resources in the Digital Scholarship Center

Acrobat Pro DC: Optical Character Recognition (OCR) for Research, Learning, and Accessibility

Acrobat Pro DC: Optical Character Recognition (OCR) for Research, Learning, and Accessibility

 

This video tutorial, by the Rowan University Libraries Digital Scholarship Center, introduces users to the OCR (Optical Character Recognition) feature in Acrobat Pro DC. The software can be used to quickly convert scanned documents to text, increasing the speed of research and learning, and making the files more ADA accessible for those using screen readers.

Closed captions available through the video's  button. The transcript appears below.

 

 

Transcript:

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Hello my name is Mike Benson
and I'm the Coordinator of the Rowan

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University Libraries
Digital Scholarship Center. In this video

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tutorial we will learn how to use
Acrobat Pro to create a searchable pdf

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using acrobat's built-in optical
character recognition

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also known as OCR. OCR
is an amazingly useful feature which can

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convert text in a photograph
or a scanned document in order to make

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the text
searchable. In Acrobat Pro you can also

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edit the text. Taking the extra minute or
two to create

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OCR pdfs can help to increase the speed
of research

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and learning. It should be used for all
pdfs

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used for online or blended learning
courses

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especially since OCR helps make files
more ADA accessible

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for those using a screen reader. I should
mention

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that you can only create OCR pdfs
using the Acrobat Pro DC software.

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You can't use Acrobat Reader to create
these files

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but of course you can open the files and
search for text within

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the Acrobat Reader software. At Rowan
University

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Acrobat Pro DC is available at no
charge to students and staff through

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Rowan University's
Virtual Desktop service. To learn more

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search Rowan University Virtual Desktop
or watch our tutorial using the Rowan

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Virtual Desktop service.

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As an example of OCR we have this
historical document

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related to the Glassboro Summit.

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Within the document we can search to see if the word Glassboro

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was used. On a Mac I'm selecting the
command key

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and the letter f to open the find
tool.

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On Windows you select the control key
and the letter f.

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As we can see the word Glassboro appears in several locations.

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Using OCR and the search or find tool
can help us quickly locate relevant

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information in the document.
This can help speed up your research and

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also locate
previously unknown information.

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Though converting scanned documents
using OCR

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is very helpful, it is not foolproof.
The software doesn't always recognize

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all the text
so keep that in mind when using this

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feature.
Just remember the cleaner the scan or

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the cleaner the text,
the easier it is for the software to

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accurately convert the text
using OCR.

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to show you the steps in creating an OCR
document

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we'll use this scanned historical survey
of Southern New Jersey's glass making

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factories,
which is a little over 500 pages. This

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document includes
text that reads both left to right and

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some pages are rotated 90 degrees which
Acrobat

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will process. The document also includes
photographs,

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maps, diagrams, and tables of text.

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Some of the text is very small and in
some areas

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the OCR software won't recognize
and convert the text. But for the most

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part it will do a good job.
To convert the document to OCR we're

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going to
select the Scan and OCR button located

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on the right
within the Tools Pane.

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If you don't see the Tools Pane go to
the Top Menu

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and select View. From here select
Show /Hide and then Tools Pane.

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You can also access the Scan and OCR
tool

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by going to the View Menu then Tools
then Scan and OCR, and open.

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Once the Scan and OCR tools open,
the toolbar near the top will change

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providing access to additional
Scan and OCR options. Select

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Recognize Text and then In this File.
Confirm that you want to convert all

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pages and be sure to select the correct
language for the document.

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For example, if the document is in US
English,

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select that option. If the document is in
Japanese,

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select that option. The software does not
translate to other languages. It will

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only convert the existing language.
We also recommend selecting the Settings

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option, where you can downsample the resolution.

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For example, if the file will be shared
online

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you might consider downsampling it to
150

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or 72 dpi. Of course,
before uploading the document check the

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image quality.
For online courses I recommend 600 or

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300 dpi. Once you have selected your
options

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press the Recognize Text button. This
document is about 519 pages

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plus it was scanned at a fairly high
resolution

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so it will take several minutes to
process. You can see the status here.

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I should also mention that the OCR
software

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will automatically straighten your pages.

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Converting the text and processing the
pages

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can use a lot of RAM, so you might want
to take a break

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while it's processing.
Once your document has finished

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processing you can save your file
but be sure to save your OCR file with a

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different file name
so that you don't overwrite your

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original file.
Mistakes can happen so it's best to not

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save
over your original file.

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After saving the file, let's search the
word Glassboro

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to see if Glassboro had any glass making

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factories.
As you can see Glassboro had an

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extensive and early history in glass making.

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To learn more about this topic,
check out our Glassboro Memory Mapping

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project.
The link is available in the description

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below.

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Creating OCR pdfs can help you with your
research

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by allowing you to search the text
within a document.

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Making your documents OCR compatible
will

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also make your pdfs more accessible to
those who are visually impaired

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and need a screen reader to access the
information.

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Though creating OCR pdfs take a little
extra time to create,

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doing so can be extraordinarily
beneficial for your students

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and future researchers. In our next
Acrobat tutorial

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we will explore how to use Acrobat to
make your files more accessible. Thank

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you for watching
and don't forget to subscribe to our

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channel.