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Scanning and Digitizing

Guide for resources available in Mason Libraries in support of your project in scanning and digitizing.

Digitizing Software for Texts

ABBYY FineReader


  • Transforms paper documents, PDFs, and digital photos of text into editable and searchable files
  • Able to search, share, archive, and copy information from documents for reuse and quotation
  • Delivers editable digital copies of documents that match the originals’ text and layouts
  • Precisely re-creates the structure and formatting of multi-page documents, including text size, font styles, tables, diagrams, columns, headers, footnotes, table of contents, page numbers, and more
  • Recognizes text in more than 180 language

Best used for:

  • Scanning and converting documents to searchable PDF files
  • Extracting portions of text
  • See specifications in detail

Accessibility:  Room B (Available on the Red and Orange Macs) in Digital Scholarship Center, 2nd Floor, Fenwick Library.

How to use ABBY FineReader (step by step instruction in pdf).

Resources for learning ABBY FineReader

Digitizing Software for Maps

Digitizing maps is a task to convert geographic features on a paper or scanned map (historical print maps and aerial photos) into digital format for further editing and analysis in GIS (Geographic Information System) software.   In order to do,

1) A paper map (such as historical maps) needs to be scanned and save it in a tiff file ( as a scanned image map).

2) A scanned image map needs to be georeferenced and save as a GeoTiff file.

3) Then, import a GeoTiff file to any GIS software (see below) to digitize features such as points, lines, polygons, etc. and save it in a vector file (such as shapefile). 

ArcMap (ArcGIS Desktop Software)--see the procedure in general


Accessibility: Computers in Room A, 2701 DiSC or see Access to ArcGIS software on campus

QGIS -see the procedure in general


Accessibility: Free and open-source or computers in Room A, 2701 DiSC