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Open Source OCR That Makes Searchable PDFs


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Just caught this off Slashdot:

 

Linux: Open Source OCR That Makes Searchable PDFs

on Thursday July 22, @03:21PM

 

An anonymous reader writes "In my job all of our multifunction copiers scan to PDF but many of our users want and expect those PDFs to be text searchable. I looked around for software that would create text searchable pdfs but most are very expensive and I couldn't find any that were open source (free). I did find some open source packages like CuneiForm and Exactimage that could in theory do the job, but they were hard to install and difficult to set up and use over a network. Then I stumbled upon WatchOCR. This is a Live CD distro that can easily create a server on your network that provides an OCR service using watched folders. Now all my scanners scan to a watched folder, WatchOCR picks up those files and OCRs them, and then spits them out into another folder. It uses CuneiForm and ExactImage but it is all configured and ready to deploy. It can even be remotely managed via the Web interface. Hope this proves helpful to someone else who has this same situation."

 

http://linux.slashdot.org/story/10/07/22/1852234/Open-Source-OCR-That-Makes-Searchable-PDFs

 

I haven't tried it myself, but it sure looks promising. It's a Live CD though, so you would need a dedicated PC/notebook, or at least a VPC/VMware session to keep it running. The setup process looks straightforward. Desc from their main website at http://www.watchocr.com:

 

"WatchOCR is free OCR server for PDFs. Based on Knoppix, WatchOCR uses cuneiform, and exactimage to create text searchable PDFs from image only PDFs. Using the web interface, WatchOCR can be remotely configured to monitor a watched folder for newly scanned PDFs for OCR conversion. Leveraging the power of a liveCD distro, WatchOCR is the fastest way to get an OCR service up and running for your network."

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