August 20, 2015

My New Toy… Er, Tool!

One of the parts of my job is managing our extensive archives, which date back to the late 1700’s when we were founded. As the in-house historian and archivist, as well as the curator of our art collection, I am frequently called upon to search through our medical journals, most of which are not digitized. image

As simple as it sounds, it’s actually quite time-consuming. Our offices are actually two buildings which were both built in the early 1900’s, and then combined in the 1980’s. My office is the 4th and 5th windows from the right on the top floor of the building on the right.

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Both of the buildings have 16-18 foot ceilings, resulting in double-height staircases. So when I need to hunt up a journal, I leave my office, walk down a double flight of stairs, across to the other building and then I either stop in the reading room (the Palladian windows in the building on the left), or head up four flights (single) to the Stacks.image

Then once I find the item I need to scan, I head back down the stairs, across to my side of the building and back up the stairs to my office. Finally, I scan what I need and then repeat the process. Gawd forbid if I haven’t gotten the right volume, or the box I thought had the information I needed actually didn’t have it.

I recently heard about something called a wand-scanner, and started to investigate. After some research, I found exactly what I needed.image

This wand is about 12 inches long, about an inch and a half wide and tall. It’s got built-in Wifi, a micro-card and can scan at 300, 600 or 1200 DPI. It is nothing short of amazing. Now when I go look for something, I can just take it along with me, find the pages I need, slide it along the page on its tiny rollers, and save the scan as either a JPG or a PDF in colour or black and white!

Here’s an old medical advert I scanned in – these old advertisements are so hilarious! And a bit scary at times.image

The wand can scan up to about nine inches wide and 25 inches long. We decided to try it out and rolled it down one of our paintings! The detail is pretty good, and this is just at 300 DPI.image

The model I bought is an Avision MiWand Mobile Handheld Scanner. It was about $70, which I think is a huge bargain, considering how much time it will save me. I call it my Magic Wand!


  1. Yikes it looks like that guy could talk --if he had Clutch Cargo lips.

  2. What a fabulous little toy! I'd not heard of these before reading your post and now I want one. Sounds like an absolute godsend for your job. Have fun using it Meg.

  3. I love this gadget and I love technology in instances like this!!

  4. The wand is certainly useful and applicable for you but my friend who works in a bookstore is constantly coming upon people in her store who use the wand to scan books and their illustrations, outright theft.

  5. amazing! I may have to get one of these.....

  6. stunning + isn't technology wonderful?

  7. i have one - but was disappointed in scanning images in for the blog - but yours look great!! that painting is amazing.

  8. Hello Meg, Thanks for this tip. With all the research I do, this would be an ideal tool. Also, I am wondering how this would do on curved photographs, which are impossible to scan with a regular scanner.

  9. Whoaaaaa.... that's AMAZING! Must. Have. (Christmas list... here it comes!)


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