IRIScan: This Portable Scanner Lets you Research Remotely

Recently I was involved in a project requiring some historical research, which took me to museums and libraries in small backcountry towns where I needed to copy old photographs, original documents, and newspaper articles. I found that most of these facilities were not equipped to copy the documents conveniently or convert them into any kind of usable digital format.

I’ve never been so glad as I was then to have had the foresight to throw my IRIScan Book Executive 3 ($129) into my bag of tricks along with my laptop and other gadgets. The cool thing about this gadget is that you don’t need a computer to complete successful scans or to store or share them.

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The IRIScan is a portable scanner that runs on batteries, so I didn’t even need a power source. It is capable of scanning to an SD card for safe storage and portability.

It’s surprising how many little libraries in the boonies have a Wi-Fi connection these days. With a Wi-Fi connection, I was able to upload the files to cloud storage using such resources as Google Drive, Dropbox, and Evernote. By the way, a free one-year Evernote Pro account is included. In this way, I could share my data with a colleague instantly and remotely.

The scanner offers both jpeg and PDF formats, and with optical character recognition (OCR) software provided, can create Word, Excel, and PDF documents. It scans in black and white or in color. Color scans are a bit slower, however (2 seconds for B&W, 4 seconds for Color) and the resolution can be set for 300, 600, or 900 DPI.

The device works with both Windows and Mac. It has free apps for both iOS and Android devices that allow you to transfer files to portable devices such as Smartphones and tablets as well.

It is extremely lightweight and measures less than a foot long and 1.5-inches wide. 

In the box you get the scanner, a nice carrying pouch, micro SD card, OCR software, Evernote Pro subscription (one year free), 4 AAA alkaline batteries, manual, and a USB cable.

I consider this amazing device to be an important research tool and would not think of leaving home without it anymore. You never know when you’re going to run into an old newspaper article, photograph, or document. With the IRIScan I can grab images, and make them mine by storing them in various ways and sharing them with colleagues.

If I were a lawyer, I would want one to scan documents. If I were a business man, I would want one to scan contracts or notes from associates at meetings. If I were a student, I would love to have one. I cannot really think of anyone who would not benefit from having this device. Its uses and convenience are limitless, and it’s a good way to get rid of paper in your life too.

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