Sciencemadness Discussion Board

Book scanning.

katavinyx - 17-8-2004 at 16:34

Any advice on bookscanning?

Some while back, I had said I'd scan 5 books for the ftp. Then, naturally, the digital camera was stolen when set down for barely a second. Now that I've got a new one, and begun scanning, I've realized this isn't quite as simple as I'd surmised.

Any of you have any tips on easing and speeding up the process?

As it is, to get pictures of good quality, I have to take them in a high resolution mode, which makes each pic half a meg or so apiece. Then I have to go through and flip the pages so that they're not sideways, and then save them all as a smaller file before converting into a pdf. And then go back and redo some pictures that invariably don't capture perfectly, and insert them in at the proper points. Only to find that they've been put in at the wrong place and finding yet more missing pages. Yeesh.

Polverone - 17-8-2004 at 17:37

Unless you have a much better digicam than I think you do, suspend your book scanning project for now and wait until you can get a flatbed scanner. You don't need a fancy scanner. It should be able to capture 300 (or, better, 600) DPI in 8-bit grayscale or 1-bit lineart. Make sure you look at the *optical* resolution of the scanner, BTW, and ignore interpolated resolution. You should be able to pick up a used scanner that does this for US $20, or $40 for a new one.

Scan at the highest resolution you can afford (in terms of time, disk space, and scanner hardware). If there's very few pages with photographs or color, you can scan the whole book in 1-bit "lineart" or "bitonal" mode. If more than a few pages have photographs or non-lineart illustrations, scan in grayscale and later convert the pages without images into bitonal images (for better PDF compression). Clean up messy edges, blotches, and badly skewed images in Photoshop or another image editor. Run the cleaned-up images through Abbyy FineReader to produce a PDF with OCR text beneath the page images. Run the PDF through Acrobat 6 or the Silx compressor to convert bitonal images to JBIG2 compression.

Especially if you end up having a lot of grayscale or color pages (illustrations and whatnot), you might want to consider using DjVu instead of PDF, since it compresses better all-around and does an especially good job of handling pages containing a mixture of text/lineart and continuous-tone images.

JohnWW - 18-8-2004 at 02:47

I agree. The best format, in terms of required space, to store monochrome scanned page images in is PCX, which good graphics viewers and editing programs can use, as either 1-bit line-art or 8-bit grayscale (the latter can use 256 shades of gray). 300 dpi resolution is sufficient for larger type sizes, and 600 dpi or more is advisable where there is particularly small type or fine detail.

John W.

janger - 25-8-2004 at 04:11

Run the cleaned-up images through Abbyy FineReader to produce a PDF with OCR text beneath the page images.
Are you saying Abbyy is better than omnipage? The latter has never worked well for me. Was going to download finereader but wanted to hear good news about it first. Is it less of a hassle than omnipage? I have several nice books I'm willing to contribute - "Lob, Lorenz (1898) - Electrolysis and Electrosynthesis of Organic Compounds" to name one.

But it all depends on finding a decent OCR app.


[Edited on 25-8-2004 by janger]

Polverone - 25-8-2004 at 11:11

I have never used omnipage, but I would say that FineReader is good. It is easy to use. If you have already scanned and cleaned up your images, use a batch image converter like that in irfanview to convert them to a format FineReader can read (if they are not already in such a format). Uncompressed TIFF is what I use.

You "open and recognize" the directory full of images. Wait for recognition to finish... then export all pages in PDF format, with recognized text below page images and page images downsampled to 300 DPI. Use Silx or Acrobat 6 to apply JBIG2 compression before distributing the PDF.

While you're scanning, make sure you your page images are named something like page0001.tiff, page0002.tiff, etc. (always writing any leading zeroes out) so that everything will be in the right order when you load the directory full of images into FineReader. If you omit the leading zeroes you will see orderings like


Organikum - 25-8-2004 at 11:19

Ask mephisto, he definitivly makes the very best pdfs from books - no doubt. He is the only one who has managed to get the pages numeration right! I LOVE him!

JohnWW - 25-8-2004 at 13:33

How would you handle graphics in books, and their positioning among lines of text? Are there other image formats able to be used with Abbyy Finereader besides TIF, e.g. JPG for color and grayscale?

Also, you say that Abbyy Finereader can "export all pages in PDF format" after OCR. Is each page an individual PDF file, and if so, how can they be combined into a single PDF file? What about the page breaks and text formats and fonts - how are they preserved in the OCR process?

John W.

Organikum - 25-8-2004 at 13:38

The OCR solely makes the book fulltext-searchable, there is the plain text seperately stored for this. The book as you see and read it are pictures stored in some compressed picture format - best is JBIG5 afaik. Needs the SILX-compressor though, but I am not the specialist.


Mephisto - 26-8-2004 at 12:16

Organikum: Nice to hear, you like my ebooks!:) Although I heard something from you, that sounds like: "Die Ammoniak-Gas Synthese ist in der Form MIST".;)

JohnWW: Pages which just contain text should be scanned with a resolution of 600 dpi (greyscale). Finereader can convert these greyscale scans very good to black/white. This is necessary, because silx can just compress b/w PDFs (not greyscale!). Silx compressed for example one of my ebooks with 2149 pages to a size of 32,5 MB. You see, silx is the most effecitve compressor, but can only handle b/w.
If the page contains text and a grey picture Finereader can't convert it proper to b/w. You can to this by yourself with Corel Photo-Paint (more pages => batch process). You get for example with Floyd Steinberg a b/w-picture, which looks like a greyscale picture.
The alternative is to hold the greyscale (or colour). Personally I convert everything to b/w, because my books contain only text an illustrations. For non-black/white ebooks I am the wrong to ask.

The size of the pages play an even more important role! Use Corel Photo-Paint (batch-process) to cut off the dark edges of the pages. In this way to pages will be also constant in height and width. An own script for a batch-process can be easily made with Corel Photo-Paint by recording a manual cropping of one page. For more professional PDFs I recommend the PitStop-plugin for Adobe Acrobat Professional (I'll up it soon to the ftp).

Note: Next month the following books will be available: "Warren, S. - Organische Retrosynthese.pdf" and "Christine L. Willis, Martin Willis - Syntheseplanung in der Organischen Chemie.pdf"

[Edited on 26-8-2004 by Mephisto]

janger - 26-8-2004 at 13:45

Just wanted to say I downloaded finereader. Very impressive! Easy to use compared to omnipage (it sux), and a damn lot more accurate.


Enfocus Pitstop Professional

Mephisto - 26-8-2004 at 14:05

You can find the PitStop plugin for Adobe Acrobat Professional now on the ftp (/upload/PDF-Tool Enfocus Pitstop Professional - by Mephisto.rar).


Hermes_Trismegistus - 27-10-2004 at 17:46

Damn geekspeak.

I've been downloading REAMS of stuff off of the ftp site, and starting to feel a little guilty about my lack of reciprocity.

I see no reason why I shouldn't be scanning some of the neat books I check out at the library, and usually only get a chance to skim through before I have to bring them back.

It has occurred to me, that I could probably scan books with one hand, at the same time I am studying my subjects.

For instance, in calculus, I read the same paragraphs as many as a dozen times before the light comes on (in my head).

Why couldn't I take a moment every several seconds to turn to the next page of a book that was sitting on the scanner and press a button?

Slowly but surely the book would get scanned in right?

However, the "tips" that were placed earlier in this thread lost me pretty quick and left me needing a compu-dictionary. So I am going to document my efforts in case there is anyone else out there as thick as I am. This is my plan.

  1. Buy a scanner
  2. Learn to use scanner to get readable text onto screen
  3. figure out how to take the readable text scans and make them into searchable PDF's like the all the cool kids are doing.
  4. Share the PDF's with anyone who'll have them.

tom haggen - 27-10-2004 at 18:03

In order to make a PDF you have to have a full version of acrobat, which I have if you need help getting. My point is that there are a lot of acrobat reader programs out there that allow you to read pdf files but not create your own. Just something to keep in mind.

I didn't know that.

Hermes_Trismegistus - 27-10-2004 at 18:07

Plan subsections

1. Buying scanner;

  1. How much can I spend?
  2. What kind of scanner fits my needs (copyright violation)
  3. What scanner will allow me to scan text in such a way as to make it possible to make a pdf later (wouldn't that be a bitch if my scanner made wonderful pictures but couldn't scan text into a format that would make an ebook!)
  4. What is a reasonable speed expectation?
  5. Are scanners reliable? Is it safe to buy a used one?
  6. what kind of maintenance costs are associated with scanners (are there any consumables within one?)

These questions might seem obvious to an average teenager, but I've only used a scanner once in my life, I was buddy-buddy with the principle in high school and he called me into the office to check out this new-fangled gadget he got the school board to pop for. It was a "scanner" that looked like a phaser off of star trek The next generation. (which was a newer show on tv at the time, and you dragged it down a page to scan in....say your signature. It took about three minutes to scan a swath 5 inches wide and the length of a page. It had resolution that almost matched the comodore computer, but it did go well with the Principles brand new 386 with 8 whole megs of memory!!!.

Anyway, an update....

I figure I should get an OK scanner if I'm willing to spend no more than 4 million dollars canadian on a used model. That's about 150 bucks US. :D (canuck joke about the state of our dollar)

In the $150 range I found that there is a CRAPLOAD of scanners...

So I searched for reviews of different scanners.


After reading all of the reveiws on that site I'm still a little foggy, but I should be back to studying now, so I'll try again tomorrow.

What is OCR and do I need it on my scanner?

Yes I do!

[Edited on 28-10-2004 by Hermes_Trismegistus]

[Edited on 28-10-2004 by Hermes_Trismegistus]

Mephisto - 28-10-2004 at 01:10

Check out some serious computer-magazines for a scanner with the best price performance ratio.

For PDF-creation you only need 600dpi and it should be hard to find even an old scanner with a worse resolution as 600dpi.

LED-scanners are often cheaper, but the LED-light isn't bright enough for the middle of the book, where the book didn't touch the glass. If there is text very near to the middle of the book, a LED-scanner would have problems to scan it bright and therefore, there would be a black place in the finished PDF. General rule: LED-scanners are the thin ones and non-LED-scanners are thick.

OCR is made be a program not the scanner itself. The scanner gives only the picture, which will be OCRed by a program like ABBY Finereader. This program is also best in making the PDF-file.

It's not recommend to buy an old SCSI-scanner (SCSI = connecting system), because of the possible trouble with the SCSI-controller. Buy simple an USB-version and you will have probably no problems.

And as said you need the Professional version of the Adobe Acrobat to manage your PDF (to correct page numbers, put some PDFs together, etc.).

Hermes_Trismegistus - 28-10-2004 at 13:48

Mephisto, I appreciate your comments and suggestions.

However, being a guy who doesn't know how to use a scanner, I can't say that I've kept my major compu-magazine subscriptions paid up!

While searching my University Library, I did have a Eureka moment.

Consumer Reports...the DOW of product reviews! My university has their stuff on e-journal and I can now access most of the e-jounals from home.


I did save the reveiws of all the scanners to my hard drive, but don't know how to insert them into this post.....:(

I have settled on an HP Scanjet 3670, by all reports it doth kick the ass of its competition by a healthy margin and is quite affordable.

[Edited on 29-10-2004 by Hermes_Trismegistus]

Hermes_Trismegistus - 29-10-2004 at 12:57

Here is the most recent "consumer reports" review.

scanner2.jpg - 147kB

S.C. Wack - 29-10-2004 at 16:32

I have a Canon and a Visioneer. I purchased my first scanner just last July 16. Being rated high or low doesn't mean much for book scanning, unless the review is on this subject.

The Canon makes a lot of noise. It scans 600 dpi grey as fast as 300 b/w. Fast. But the light is dim, and as Mephisto said... It is also quite flimsy. The cover is not removable. It will not support the weight of a heavy book - the scan head : scan surface has too close a tolerance for the flimsy plastic that supports it. The software is easy to use and very adjustable. The bundle included Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0. This is nearly as powerful as Corel 11, as far as this application goes. The other tools that I use, Acrobat 6 and DjVu Document Express, you know where to find these also.

The Visioneer is much slower in 600 dpi b/w or grey, but all of my book scanning is in 300, where it as fast and quieter than the Canon. The cover is removable. The scan head is bright white and you can press down on the glass to get the print near the center for those pesky certain parts of a book.

But you get what you pay for ($40) - the software blows. The Canon software is compatable with nearly everything, you can send it anywhere in any format. But with the Visioneer, the default settings are worthless and what you can do custom is limited. I get around this though. That is the best thing I can tell anyone about this subject and life in general - don't look for hand-holding tutorials - find the answers yourself and you will find Understanding. In other words, this takes practice.

I use Omnipage (from the Canon) to straighten bmp pages and save them as tif - this takes about 10 seconds per 100 pages. But that's all that I use it for. I use the built-in OCR of DjVu and Acrobat for OCR because I don't really care and only do it to make searching easier. When I remember to OCR before uploading. I don't use the other software (that came with the scanners) that I haven't mentioned - it is useless for books.

Inorg Syn, Inorganic Preparations, Inorganic Lab Preps, Glassblowing for Lab Techs, Systematic Organic Chemistry, Techniques of Glass Manipulation (not the scanners fault), and Preparation of Organic Intermediates were made by the Canon. Oxidations in Organic Chemistry, Reductions by the Alumino and Borohydrides, Mellor 8, and Vogel 5 are from the Visioneer.

I'd gladly trash both scanners for something that scans faster and brighter, like the copy machines at the library. I only get 2.75 pages per minute, either one. Neither will scan continuously, I have to push a button each time. I am not satisfied with either one.

Of course software that would automatically straighten and crop to a certain page size (centering the text) as the pages are scanned would be very useful, therefore it does not seem to exist.

S.C. Wack - 22-2-2005 at 23:58

This is going to be a long post. I scanned another book today, the Gattermann-Wieland that I've pasted from twice before, but I want to talk about a previous one first.

If you take a look at Zubrick, you'll see that it is better than the others, even the one after it and this latest one. This is because it was scanned in 600 dpi. The whole thing, scanning to uploading, took 4 hours. Can you make room for 4 hours?

I still have the same 2 crappy scanners, though. To recap, one scans 600 very slow, but the other scans 600 as fast as the other scans 300 - but cannot take the weight of a book pressed down on it. Well, Zubrick was a paperback. The covers were torn off and then the glue was scraped and sanded off. This made the whole process easier than usual, and allowed use of the better scanner.

I hesitated to give advice before, and I was led astray by others' advice when I got my scanner. After a lot of trial, I trashed everything that I had heard and figured it out for myself. Worked out well. I still believe in what I said about hand-holding, but then again, no one is scanning anything. So this is my process, FWIW. The straightening, resizing canvas, cropping, resizing canvas again, straightening again, then resizing again that follow are all batch processes that take 2 minutes at the most per 100 pages each. Earlier, I was trying to crank them out as fast as I could, and didn't care if they were far from professional. I deliberately put off doing the better books. I feel bad about doing some of what I've done in only 300 dpi, but can't afford more scanner right now.

The scanner is set to scan in .bmp the minimum length and height possible. The default darkness setting is perfect on the nice scanner, and worthless on the other. Experimentation showed that turning the gamma control all the way down to .5 was best. All of the left hand pages are scanned at the same time, and then the right pages are scanned to another folder. Since all of the scanning is done in the corner of the scanner, this means that the left hand pages are scanned upside down.

It is very important with this process to keep each page near the same position. This gets difficult in certain areas of the book where pages on top of the one you're scanning - or the cover - make it difficult to position the page in the corner properly. If you're careful you could do it outside of the corner, but I digress. You get the point.

Now I have a left folder and a right folder. More folders are created for each side to accomodate the next steps. Every step and every side gets a new folder.

First thing to do is straighten the pages. Maybe your scanner came with OCR software. Finereader straightens best of the 3 I've tried. You don't have to go through the reading process or anything, just File>Open>Ctrl+A and the whole folder is straightened in a flash. Select all, despeckle, select all again, save image as, in new folder, as bmp.

There is some distortion on some pages though, occasionally a line of text has a top half that doesn't quite match the bottom half, on the pages that the OCR program rotated. Unavoidable, except to keep them straight to begin with, which is harder than you think. So it might be better to batch rotate the pages that are upside down in photoshop, then run through OCR, rather than have the OCR program do it and mess with every page.

The upside down pages are now right side up. If there are pages with tables I make sure that the OCR program didn't make any pages horizontal, which is bad in the next step.

I make the pages as straight as possible to begin with, because the straightening process adds to the # of pixels. It adds blank area to make it vertically rectangular again, and you want to add as little as you can.

I've used different versions of Photoshop and Corel for the rest. With Corel, I don't know how to batch process anything when the files are in different sizes, because the script I get is based on the original size of the template. Remember that I am computer illiterate and have no desire to learn Java or Visual Basic. But with Photoshop this is easy and makes the canvas the same size regardless of whether or not the files to be converted are of different sizes. The canvas is resized to the original size of the scan. Border is trimmed off. This takes 2 minutes and no guesswork.

Now that everything is the same size, I can do the rest either in Corel or Photoshop: I find a page that is in between extremes and crop it to the minimum size, recording the script that the program uses to do this. Both programs have a script recorder, though they are not particularly easy to find. That script is used to batch crop every page on that side. With practice, you can do it right the first time.

Any pages that were too far off to one side are deleted and the page is processed manually. These are rare if you do it right.

Now any one of these cropped pages is resized to a certain size, the image is centered onto a larger canvas. Using that script, all of the pages are batch resized and centered. Using Mephisto's pdf compression tool, certain sizes do not compress at all, I've never figured out the rhyme and reason with this despite extensive testing with many sizes.

Now I go though the pages in Photoshop, erasing here and there. If a page is a little off-center, all I have to do is drag it while holding Ctrl. Super simple. A 450 page book can be half-ass edited in an hour.

But not all of the pages are straight. No matter how many times you run it through Finereader, it will find more to straighten, just a little bit more. So everything is straightened and the canvas resized (to the size before straightening) as before.

Last, I batch rename the files, putting both sides into the same folder for the first time. The right pages are given a 4 digit serial+a, then the left 4 digit serial+b. This puts the pages in perfect order, as long as there are no skipped pages. I convert bmp to CCITT G4 pdf, and use Mephisto's compression tool to shrink this. The number of pages in the pdf makes a little difference in the amount of compression. I find it best to make 200 page pdfs, compress, then put those pdfs together. Like I said, OCR keeps finding new things to do, so I don't use Acrobat's built-in OCR or Finereader because these will again increase the size of the pages they decide to align, and you can't read without realignment AFAIK.

With DjVu, I batch convert the bmp to tif because tif gives smaller djvu.

This is all very easy, the most time consuming part is the scanning itself despite all the steps I've written. Give it a try and you will see. And it really doesn't take long to scan a book. 3 or 4 pages a minute.

It's not like I go to the Library of Congress for my books or anything, I haven't yet used interlibrary loan even. What's in your library?

Anyways...Here is Gattermann. But there are already 2 widely distributed versions available, why a 3rd? Rhadon's lovely (as usual) 43rd ed. is in German, and the 1901 edition is a little, um...

This 1937 translation of the 1935 24th edition has been a treasure to me for a long time and you probably won't feel the same way. I got it from the local used bookstore and found that it had never even been read, many pages were stuck together due to the slightly imperfect edge trimming. It has "complimentary professional copy" stamped on the cover, so I suppose it became a sale reject for that reason. It is very much a product of its time, the perfect time IMHO; it has hydrogenation with Ni, Pd, and Pt alongside extraction of urea and uric acid from urine. Both Organic Syntheses and the Merck Index refer to this edition in some syntheses.

JohnWW - 23-2-2005 at 01:07

The software packages you mention - they should be uploaded to a "warez" folder on the FTP.

S.C. Wack - 23-2-2005 at 08:48

[hint]Corel and Finereader are widely available[/hint]

A few thousand people might be abusing Adobe products with emule, not that the management would condone such a thing.

thank you S.C. Wack

Polverone - 24-2-2005 at 00:33

Since your scanned version of Gatterman is old enough not to cause legal trouble, it has been added to the <A HREF="">library</A>. Downloads from the library should be quick and easy.

S.C. Wack - 24-2-2005 at 22:08

I should add that all of my scanning is b/w, except when there are pictures. These are in greyscale and edited in photoshop by using the black and white points. The covers of Vogel are the only color, also the only image resizing done, it came out pretty good.

I tried to break the speed record today, and did this in 3 1/2 hours, scanning, ocr, everything. Oh, OCR. Well-

I was doing housekeeping on my computer and found that I hadn't yet deleted the uncompressed pdfs of Gattermann, Brauer, and Zubrick. I already made OCR'd djvu of all of them and was going to upload them to the FTP when it comes back. But I got to thinking. I don't know what the latest version of DjVu Editor does, just that it must be hard to warez since I couldn't find it anywhere. But the lack of a page renaming function has always pissed me off. I mentioned the duplicate file uploading before, I'd rather upload just 1 version. I decided that the larger file size and different size pages of OCR pdf wasn't enough to warrant continuing to make djvu dupes, especially now with the higher pdf compression. So from now on, I'll only put out uncorrected OCR'd pdf, no more books in djvu.

And since I had those old pdf's handy, I OCR'd them too, and might as well since I won't be uploading the DjVu's anywhere. So all of these rars contain the OCR'd versions. There are probably some tables rotated. I didn't go though them much less change anything.

I have Shriner's Systematic Identification of Organic Compounds and was going to scan it, but then I did those 2 Vogels. Now there are 3. There is some good stuff in Shriner, but oh well. I have volume 1 of Vogels Elementary Practical Organic Chemistry (1957) and there probably isn't anything in there that isn't in the 3rd ed we already know. And the qualitative organic analysis that is volume 2 is probably the same as what is in the back of Vogels 3rd ed.

However, volume 3, Quantitative Organic Analysis (1958), is a little different, and much different than the fifth ed. that I scanned earlier. There are no machine analyses here, but the main thing is that it is a really good read. Highly recommended, lots of good stuff in this 239 page book.

vogel_elementary_quantitative_organic_analysis.rar (2629536 Bytes)

gattermann_ocr.rar (4377527 Bytes)

zubrick_ocr.rar (4475679 Bytes)

brauer_ocr.rar (17584157 Bytes)


Mephisto - 21-7-2005 at 00:58

Funny how every demand for new products even by minorities like book-scanners is satisfied by industry. I didn't noticed it, but the firm Plustek brought in the end of 2004 a 'low-cost' scanner on the market, which is specially designed for scanning books. Sometimes evil capitalism works quite well. ;):o

The advantages compared to a common flatbed-scanner are the speed of scanning and technical design that allows one side of a book to lie flat on the scanner glass and a scanning head mechanism that can read right up to the edge where the book spine is placed.
The biggest disadvantage is of course the high price of 249 $/€. I think, that's 100 too much for it. Maybe a retail version without that big software-package could lower the price a bit, but Plustek didn't offer such a version. Perhaps on eBay it will in some months at a more reasonable price. Additionally the scan quality for photos is worser than with other scanner in this price-segment, but that’s of course not such important for the target group.

S.C. Wack - 14-5-2007 at 01:36

Just thought that I'd mention what I'm doing now slightly different than above. I'm up to 90% of where Rhadon and Mephisto were with pdf quality years ago! Yay. 600 dpi book #2 was finished today. Organic Experiments by Fieser (this goes back to 1935 with the original title Experiments in Organic Chemistry, which I have the 1941 edition of) and williamson, 7th ed 1992. In the Wack folder or buy your own hard copy for $2, whatever.

The pdf was created in Finereader pro 7, after it read the bmp. Text-under-image as usual; and Finereader allows saving 600 dpi if it is the pdf creator, just not pdf opened and read with it. JBIG2 lossy was done with Acrobat pro 6 because lossy looks way good in 600 dpi. That is all.

I slightly curved the frame of the Canon for TS1 by hand, eventually fixing the problem mentioned earlier. This allows me fast 600 dpi scans now, so I thought that I would scan a somewhat modern organic textbook that is actually used (in newer edition) at schools here in the USA. Just so that there is one in the collection, and I liked this one the best even though it doesn't have many preparations in it. It's just an entry-level lab book where everything has to be explained in a simple way to stupid American slacker kids and Koreans-on-student-visas. (The local state college has a requirement that you can only take any particular chemistry class 3 times if your seat can be used by someone whose ability to fail is less proven).

It's a shame that I didn't fix the scanner sooner. It took many hours to bend it the right way. Fortunately the problem could be made worse which gave clues how to make it better. Who would of guessed that one of those weird determination jags would pay off with success?

BTW, if it isn't obvious yet to those who inquired about TS1 (my last scan before this), HH bought non-prison toilet paper with my donation to his account, yet later on wiped his ass with my mail. Not that this surprises in the least, I'm just saying. It will not be made publicly available by me any time soon, just download TS2 from somewhere and forget it. He'd be happy to hear from women, though.

Do not scan text in color or greyscale! Do not be put off by hideous quality image preview on your scanner software when you do a scan, it probably looks much better with another viewer! Do not even think of using scanner bundled software for anything except running your scanner, download non-crap software for image manipulation instead!

Mephisto - 15-5-2007 at 06:50

Originally posted by S.C. Wack
I'm up to 90% of where Rhadon and Mephisto were with pdf quality years ago!

Oh come on, that's almost unlawful modest. I've seen your e-book, it's really perfectly made.

I am just curious how fast your scanner makes a 600 dpi b/w scan now. And how did you centre the page content? Some years ago, this was the most difficult part, because the earlier Finereader hadn't this manual crop function. Or did you use ScanKromsator to centre the page content?

S.C. Wack - 15-5-2007 at 14:08

Well, I compared file sizes...It seems like I could lose a little more if I did some more experimentation, but I'm much busier now than I was 2+ years ago, I'm no longer ruled by my lower back problems. By fast I only mean at the same speed as 300 dpi with either of my scanners. The size of the scan both vertically and horizontally is adjusted for the size of the book with the scanner software, 7 seconds at that size.

So you're the person that downloaded it!...for me popularity is inversely proportional to the amount of effort made: my rapidshare links to my material die soon, while those who merely upload my books have lots of downloads. The Marianne Faithfull video that I looked for, found, and uploaded to youtube under this name is way more popular than everything that I made myself put together.

The key to getting the pages centered is getting the pages in the corner perfectly each time. Not the book, you have to physically take the page you want to scan and line it up. I hold the unscanned pages in one hand, scan, let go of the page and turn it by moving horizontally and catching it on the edge of the scanner. This was particularly easy for this book because of the construction. It lies as flat when opened as any book that I've ever seen, with the center of the book at the binding well-exposed, without a big hump rising up out from the center. So I didn't really have to press down much with the other hand.

Lining up the page also keeps page straightening in Finereader to a minimum. Finereader moves the pages a bit when straightening. I guess not all bundled software is bad: I used the Photoshop Elements that came with the Canon to center a few stray pages with the drag tool, and batch rename. And I've heard of some scanners coming with Finereader.

The pages were cropped to minimum canvas size and then resized after looking them over. As usual, a few pages with print out to the edges had to be done separately, from the straightened scans. I did take some care and more time than usual on this one.

[Edited on 15-5-2007 by S.C. Wack]

Mephisto - 17-5-2007 at 09:15

Originally posted by S.C. Wack
...for me popularity is inversely proportional to the amount of effort made: my rapidshare links to my material die soon, while those who merely upload my books have lots of downloads. The Marianne Faithfull video that I looked for, found, and uploaded to youtube under this name is way more popular than everything that I made myself put together.

Yes that's the way it is. Every dancing girly girl on youtube will get 10^3 to 10^5 more hits than a download of a good chemistry e-book.

The pages were cropped to minimum canvas size and then resized after looking them over.

That's exactly the thing ScanKromsator can do automatically for you. You can save a lot of time with this program due the creation of the e-books. ScanKromsator is freeware from a private person from Russia; nonetheless it's a piece of quality software. But unfortunately I didn't found any English documentation for it (the interface is in English language).

The most difficult part is to set the parameters in the beginning. That's important to set the sensitivity of the program to recognise between text and dirt and shadows on the scanned page. It takes some time and experimentation to find good settings, but than the software can crop, line up, centre and resize a 600 pages scan in 15 minutes.

Maybe you will try it out someday. You need just the program executive and some runtime files in one directory. Download them from the small web presence of ScanKromsator:

I think this could be a useful tool for you.

S.C. Wack - 31-10-2007 at 16:01

Thanks for that.

I had been saving this for last, but there will be one more after this, for I had decided that I would scan the 2nd edition of Fieser's Experiments in Organic Chemistry as a companion to the above, also from my personal stash. The lack of interest in the newer book just dampened my enthusiasm for doing this, so it will come later maybe.

This latest scan is Weygand/Hilgetag Preparative Organic Chemistry. It is the fourth edition of this book, which was originally published in German in 1968 and appeared as this English translation in 1972. This book is already known in djvu as the Russian translation, and the original German edition has been heard but not seen by me online. But AFAIK no one else on this planet has felt like scanning the English translation. I've never seen the translation of the 1938 first edition, which appeared as Organic Preparations in 1945, the same year that its author, Conrad Weygand, died.

This 4th ed. is best described as like March's AOC, though perhaps slighter (or rather, less exotic and current only to 1967) in breadth. But instead of a little information for those thinking about things and making curly arrows and such, it gives a little information that may be useful to those interested in actually doing things. Sort of like a combination of March and Organic Reactions. Like March, the reactions are grouped in a certain way; also, thousands of references are given. 8,181. Apparently, one thing not lacking in East Germany at the time was chemistry journals.

It was scanned in 600 dpi with the Canon (4 ppm), batch despeckled and straightened in Finereader, and batch "draft kromsated" in Scankromsator. The margins were set for 40 pixels, and the nifty thing was that the program told me at the end which 3 pages had been to big to fit, and had to be redone from the original scans manually. These cropped pages were batch resized in Photoshop (1209 pages, 2.74 GB), and read/assembled to pdf in Finereader. This gave a 137 MB OCR'd pdf which was compressed to 36.6 MB 600 dpi JBIG2 lossy in Acrobat pro6 pdf optimizer.

This is the list of all 38 of my full book scans (except for Strike's Total Synthesis), and my 3 partial book scans, and the Selected Inorganic Syntheses djvu:

The full content of my host site is available from the usual link.

Not sure that I'd describe Marianne Faithfull as a dancing girly girl...1 year and 2 days later it's up to 90,108 views. Wow.

[Edited on 1-11-2007 by S.C. Wack]

Polverone - 1-11-2007 at 08:50

That's a beautiful electronic conversion as always. If you have no objections, I'll be adding it to the site library.

I've downloaded the 4ed Fieser from your collection, and I have the third edition in paper. Is the second edition a sort of classic, like the third edition of Vogel, or will its contents be thoroughly familiar to someone with the 3rd and 4th?

Experiments in Organic Chemistry by Fieser 2nd ed 1941

S.C. Wack - 9-3-2008 at 08:23

Never seen the 3rd and 4th eds. Fieser is a popular reference in the literature, whether that qualifies as "classic" or not, I don't know. He was certainly widely read in his time. 'Fieser' "experiments in organic chemistry" gave 991 hits at the ACS. Adding '1941' to that got it down to 532.

I scanned this for the same reason as most of the other organic books - I feel that at least 51% of the strength of most but not all of the organic manuals that I've scanned lies in practical hints, not the specific compounds. And this one is another that is heavy on older technique and reagents, that I feel might be useful in some way to serious experimenters. Here and elsewhere I see proper technique ignored routinely. In the nicotine extraction thread, "Sandmeyer" [ironic - 1800's history] says "Authors seem to have limited lab-experience", after Cheapskate (without bothering to actually perform anything resembling the technique given) calls bullshit on the isolation that I posted from Gattermann, before I scanned it. It's an odd comment since the authors of the preparative works that I've scanned tend to be, if not always are, professors responsible for teaching the art to their students, and present sound syntheses. I suppose that some will think that Fieser, like all dead authors, is worthless as well.

This was scanned at 300 dpi, so as not to detail so much of the crapness that is WWII-era paper stock. Scankromsator was used again, even though a setting for all of the many pages with their page number at the bottom - pages with blank spaces at the top of the page - had to be changed manually after the "scankromsate". This meant going through every page and changing "Page v. align" from A to B in these cases, before processing the whole. The horizontal alignment of pages with blank space on the sides was changed from A to C. Finereader's scanner interface with auto brightness and custom scan area scanner settings was used, which should not be done except in a case like this where the scanner's gamma settings pick up too much of the bad details of the paper stock. Only the title page and one other page had to be altered after using Scankromsator, other than resizing to the original 5.5 x 8.5 inch size, resizing back down to 5.5 x 8.5 from another Finereader straightening, which as usual does not agree with Scankromsator straightening and enlarges some pages. The horizontal gap in Scankromsator was lowered from 70 to 20 pixels, and all other settings were default (including auto despeckle) except as noted above for the non-standard pages, and changing the output format to .bmp.

It's a shame that this is the only scan done on my new computer. All of my tools run faster with the big CPU and RAM upgrade. It took 15 minutes to convert 500 pages of bmp to this OCR'd and compressed pdf. It is unfortunate that this last scan is the worst looking, because of the bright gamma setting necessary to not detail the imperfections of the paper.

It's somewhere under the www button in the Wacksworks folder of course. I have deleted the Lassar-Cohn and Selected Inorganic Syntheses djvu's, as they have been replaced with better pdf's of the same.

JohnWW - 9-3-2008 at 14:28

That reminds me - I have a print copy of Fieser & Fieser's "Advanced Organic Chemistry" textbook, published by Reinhold in 1962, about the 4th or 5th edition, which I bought as one of the "recommended" books for my B.Sc. Chemistry in about 1967. It does not seem to have been revised again since, and has a lot of biochemical interest and on natural product chemistry. It runs to about 1,000 pages, with quite small type which would necessitate probably 600 dpi scanning. If I ever find time to scan it (about 500 scans), would anyone be interested in seeing it?

[Edited on 10-3-08 by JohnWW]

N.V. Sidgwick's The Chemical Elements and Their Compounds

Polverone - 3-7-2008 at 11:18

I have had this set on my shelf for several years now but never summoned the will to scan its 1700+ pages. I have recently done just that, so now one of my favorite older inorganic works can be found in the forum library:

Volume 1
Volume 2

I am a bit displeased with the page image quality. I manually edited out dark gutters from my 2-pages-at-a-time scanning, but in the final copy there's still a lot of dark edges around the pages that weren't obvious when I examined the raw scans in an image editor. If I come across some software that can automatically remove those sorts of defects I'll upload improved PDFs at some point.

As usual I'm distributing these PDFs at 300 dpi though I scanned at 600. My scanner seems to slow down tremendously for resolutions over 300 dpi, so I rather wonder if I can get away with 300 dpi raw images when trying to scan the 4th edition of Thorpe. If not, it will take ages. Some of the Thorpe volumes are so thick that I'm really worried about ruining them when trying to get them flat for 2 page scanning. I'll abuse bindings in pursuit of good scans, but I don't want to totally destroy them.

Organic Reactions Volume 4

Polverone - 10-2-2009 at 10:50

It may now be found in the library.


The Diels-Alder Reaction with Maleic Anhydride
The Diels-Alder Reaction: Ethylenic and Acetylenic Dienophiles
The Preparation of Amines by Reductive Alkylation
The Acyloins
The Synthesis of Benzoins
Synthesis of Benzoquinones by Oxidation
The Rosenmund Reduction of Acid Chlorides to Aldehydes
The Wolff-Kishner Reduction

I have volume 5 also and will eventually scan it too.

chief - 10-2-2009 at 12:33

Just a hint about proficient scanning under linux:
--> as scanner-program use "eikazo"
- It's a one-click-per-page thing, numbering of the output pages is automatical
- you end up with a lot of tif-files ; these can just be converted/resized etc. , by the "convert-command", output as pdf
--> Now, that you have a lot of pdf-pages, these can be chained using the "pdftk"-command .

That's the easiest way I know.

Panache - 24-2-2009 at 17:02

I can't believe you guys manually turn pages to scan in a book. I always assumed those uploads books where scanned using a page feeder after being unbound, or worse guillotined free of their binding.
I appreciate all your efforts so much more now.
The downsize of realising this however is that i always excused myself from adding references because of my reluctance to debind my library, now i know what i must do. Suddenly i wish the fires had engulfed me a couple of weeks ago.


Ignition! An Informal History of Liquid Rocket Propellants

Polverone - 14-3-2010 at 11:52

Between the ages of 9 and 12 I think I read John D. Clark's Ignition! a half dozen times. As I recall it was just a couple of shelves down from The Chemistry of Powder and Explosives at the public library, which is how I noticed it. Having read it again just now more than half my life later I think it holds up at least as well as I remember, perhaps better now that I understand more of the chemistry.

It's a historical summary of and atlas to chemical space rocket propellants. Although it was written 40 years ago, none of the fluorine-rich oxidizers or nuclear thermal rocket designs that Clark expected to continue the march of progress made it into production systems. Clark, writing in the early 1970s, didn't realize that the space race was basically over and that propellant chemistry was all but frozen. As far as I can tell, all surface-to-orbit liquid propellants in use today were test-fired before Sputnik-1 went into orbit. Systems with higher ISP have been deployed, but they are low-thrust electrical systems designed for LEO or beyond. It's the same old workhorse propellants that do the initial orbiting.

You may find Ignition! in the Sciencemadness Library.

Edit: Well blow me down, it looks like someone else already scanned this book. I knew it wasn't available electronically last year when I looked for it... guess it bore re-checking before I digitized it myself! At least it's not a long book; only one afternoon wasted.

[Edited on 3-14-2010 by Polverone]

not_important - 14-3-2010 at 22:11

Never hurts to have more than one scan, often a defect in one doesn't occur in the other. Defects aren't always the fault of the scanning operation, I've several second-hand lab guides that were obviously used in the lab to judge by the pages suffering from the effects of being splattered with reactive chemicals. Torn or missing pages certainly are not unknown.

So thanks for the effort, I don't think it was wasted. Besides, what if the other book-scanner had decided to jump into some MMORPG instead of spending a weekend with that book?

watson.fawkes - 15-3-2010 at 07:11

Quote: Originally posted by Polverone  
Between the ages of 9 and 12 I think I read John D. Clark's Ignition! a half dozen times.
Thanks for posting this. I've rarely read writing about science and technology that's anywhere near as lively as this.

chief - 15-3-2010 at 10:27

I did a lot of scanning for my bueraucracy-stuff: Fastest/best way I know now is:
==> Use linux, scan with "eikazo", convert to ps-files first,
==> and then from ps- to pdf- format with "ps2pdf14" : This implements pdf-standard of level 4, with good compression ... (thats the reason to first convert to the ps-format)

Having a directory full of tif-scans, the linux-command-lines would be:
for i in `ls *tif`; do echo $i ; convert $i $ ; done
for i in `ls *ps`; do echo $i ; ps2pdf14 $i $i.pdf ; done
pdftk *pdf cat output all.pdf
After letting it work a while on each of those commands (put it into 1 file to get a single-command-script ...) you now would have a well-compressed e-book in the file all.pdf ...

Obviously you would need to have installed "convert" , "ps2pdf14" and "pdftk" ; the latter beeing not so standard-preinstalled, but well available (recommending Debian: One-click-installation of anything ...)

In order to have the pages within the ebook sorted, the numbering beforehand should be right (no issue if you use the mentioned "eikazo"-program) ...


Though nothing is ocr-ed at this point ...

[Edited on 15-3-2010 by chief]

[Edited on 15-3-2010 by chief]

[Edited on 15-3-2010 by chief]

[Edited on 15-3-2010 by chief]

leu - 15-3-2010 at 12:03

That reminds me - I have a print copy of Fieser & Fieser's "Advanced Organic Chemistry" textbook, published by Reinhold in 1962, about the 4th or 5th edition, which I bought as one of the "recommended" books for my B.Sc. Chemistry in about 1967. It does not seem to have been revised again since, and has a lot of biochemical interest and on natural product chemistry. It runs to about 1,000 pages, with quite small type which would necessitate probably 600 dpi scanning. If I ever find time to scan it (about 500 scans), would anyone be interested in seeing it?

That's an excellent textbook that the local librarians threw away long ago rather than glue it back together :( Many members would probably appreciate it if they had a chance to read it since very few have ever had a chance to study it :cool:

Polverone - 15-3-2010 at 13:45

That book is already scanned and available through the HathiTrust. The one scanned is copyright 1961, fifth printing 1965. A brief search doesn't reveal any later editions.

JohnWW - 15-3-2010 at 18:52

I am sorry to have to disappoint would-be readers of Fieser & Fieser's Advanced Organic Chemistry, but that allegedly scanned copy of it on , found by Polverone, has only the title page and page 1 !! All the other pages are missing! I suppose I will just have to scan it all myself, when I find time.

Polverone - 15-3-2010 at 19:41

Quote: Originally posted by JohnWW  
I am sorry to have to disappoint would-be readers of Fieser & Fieser's Advanced Organic Chemistry, but that allegedly scanned copy of it on , found by Polverone, has only the title page and page 1 !! All the other pages are missing! I suppose I will just have to scan it all myself, when I find time.

No, it is scanned in full. I suspect that you are not seeing the full book because you are in New Zealand, and geolocation by IP address is being used to restrict the content served. If you view the entry through a US-based proxy you should be able to see all of it.

DJF90 - 15-3-2010 at 19:57

It is scanned in full, but you can only download a "1-page pdf", at least when accessed from the UK. I suspect this is the problem that JohnWW reported (albeit "incorrectly").

[Edited on 16-3-2010 by DJF90]

JohnWW - 15-3-2010 at 20:58

Re Fieser & Fieser's Advanced Organic Chemistry (5th Ed., 1961) on :
Yes, I AM aware that only one page, each in its own scanned PDF file, at a time can be accessed and downloaded; BUT, even then, only the title page, page 1, and the first pages of one or two other chapters, are present as PDF files! For all the rest, I get a "404" or similar message, saying that the PDF file cannot be found on the Apache server.

Because I can access and download at least a few of the pages only, I am sure that the cause cannot be blocking by country by IP address. If that were so, I would not be able to access ANY of the pages.

Polverone - 15-3-2010 at 20:59

The 1-page PDF thing is universal. The link indicates that it is intended as a convenience for printing a page. If you can view (say) page 100 in the browser, you can view the full thing. In order to download the full book you need to use a program like Hathi Helper. I was able to use that earlier today to download all the page images.

DJF90 - 15-3-2010 at 23:25

I understand what you are saying Polverone, I didnt realise it was universal for the Hathi site though. I randomly clicked on a few pages at the time and they all worked, so I don't know where JohnWW is experiencing problems.

franklyn - 18-3-2010 at 21:21


Organic Reactions Volume 5

Polverone - 21-3-2010 at 11:26

As promised a bit more than a year ago, I have finally scanned Volume 5 of Organic Reactions. I delayed in hopes that the publisher might complete the digitization of older volumes, but no luck so far. It may be found in the library.

This volume contains chapters on the following topics:

The synthesis of acetylenes
The Diels-Alder reaction: quinones and other cyclenones
Preparation of aromatic fluorine compounds from diazonium fluoborates (the Schiemann reaction)
The Friedel and Crafts reaction with aliphatic dibasic acid anhydrides
The Gattermann-Koch reaction
The Leuckart reaction
Selenium dioxide oxidation
The Hoesch synthesis
The Darzens glycidic ester condensation

Now that this volume is digitized, the following Organic Reactions volumes remain in paper-only form: 6,8,9, 11-14, and 16-24.

Excuse Me Sir, Would You Like to Buy a Kilo of Isopropyl Bromide?

Polverone - 3-5-2010 at 14:57

Columbia Organic Chemicals and its founder, Max Gergel, had the unusual honor of mention and praise by name in Kary Mullis's Nobel lecture:

I never tired of tinkering in labs. During the summer breaks from Georgia Tech, Al Montgomery and I built an organic synthesis lab in an old chicken house on the edge of town where we made research chemicals to sell. Most of them were noxious or either explosive. No one else wanted to make them, somebody wanted them, and so their production became our domain. We suffered no boredom and no boss. We made enough money to buy new equipment. Max Gergel, who ran Columbia Organic Chemicals Company, and who was an unusually nice man, encouraged us and bought most of our products, which he resold. There were no government regulators to stifle our fledgling efforts, and it was a golden age, but we didn't notice it. We learned a lot of organic chemistry.

The chicken coop lab full of noxious chemicals isn't far removed from how Max Gergel got his start in the chemistry business either.

In this humorous, anecdotal chronicle of Max's life from high school mad scientist to successful operator of a chemical supply business, you'll learn where metallic potassium should NOT be stored, how to prepare perfectly alcohol-free n-dodecyl bromide, and why one man would be crazy enough to want a preparative scale procedure for methyl isocyanide. You'll also learn, humorously but quite clearly, how the golden age of "no government regulators" contained the seeds of its own destruction, as horrendous odors, accidental poisonings, dumpings, fires, and miscellaneous accidents and occupational hazards take their toll on Gergel and his employees, neighbors, and surrounding environs.

It's a short read, at only 199 pages, and now available in the Sciencemadness Library.

S.C. Wack - 20-12-2010 at 14:43

After doing all my scanning, the hints for using Scankromsator were finally translated from Russian.

Pressing buttons and seeing what happens may still be more helpful.

It is pretty slick, check out my later work. I wish now I'd known enough to make them all look like Weygand.

The Marianne Faithfull video is up to 666,480 now.

looking for ScanKromsator

Polverone - 6-3-2011 at 20:40

Does anyone have a copy of ScanKromsator to share? It looks like it is no longer on, and I have a hard time navigating Russian-language sites in search of mirrors. Even if I can find a random rapidshare (or whatever) upload of it, I'd prefer to get a copy whose provenance is a little more clear.

S.C. Wack - 7-3-2011 at 16:58

I have uploaded the same 5.6A that I used to 4shared. Never tried 5.91 or whatever.

[Marianne is now at 741,334, all the more amazing since all my favorite videos get deleted within a year and this is over 4 years. Thinking about uploading another video.]

[Edited on 8-3-2011 by S.C. Wack]

Polverone - 8-3-2011 at 11:10

Thanks, S.C. Wack.

Mellor's Comprehensive Treatise on Inorganic and Theoretical Chemistry completed

Polverone - 6-11-2011 at 22:25

I cannot take credit for scanning these books. They were scanned by S.C. Wack, Sauron, the Internet Archive, and the Digital Library of India. All I can take credit for is repackaging some scans, doing minor cleanup, and bringing them all together in one place. All 16 volumes can now be found at The material scanned by Sauron had fallen offline for some time since the 4shared account I formerly used for hosting was neglected.

Arthur Dent - 7-11-2011 at 05:29

Thanks Polverone, I've been browsing through this immense treatise... That's one hell of a piece of work! I've seen this "Mellor" reference often stated by members on SM, now I know! :D I'll read the chapter on gold thoroughly!


The Scientific Method: A Personal Account of Unusual Projects in War and in Peace

Polverone - 6-12-2011 at 23:54

Thanks go to Dr. Bob for bringing this book to my attention.

I was obliged to give up both undergraduate and graduate teaching, as well as ordinary research, early in the school year 1941-42, and my job was taken over by Hans Heymann, informally at first and then by appointment. Douglas M. Bowen took over the lectures in the last war year. I do not recall what arrangements were made, but the University records indicate that I was not granted a leave of absence and that I continued to receive my regular salary. Apparently, for nearly four years, my services were contributed by Harvard, off the record, to the war effort.

Louis Fieser joined the American war effort before America had even officially entered World War II, as one of 20 professor invited to the house of Roger Adams in October 1940 to join the National Defense Research Committee. He was instructed early on to work on chemical vesicants but, considering them inhumane, quickly made a lateral move to begin development of gelled gasoline incendiary weapons. He led the research effort behind napalm, several other components of large-scale incendiary ordnance, and smaller special purpose incendiary devices for use by spies and saboteurs.

Fieser's strangest project was development of the Bat Bomb: a cluster-bomb arrangement of hibernating bats carrying time-delayed incendiaries. As the bats fell from bombers over enemy cities, they would rouse from hibernation mid-air and seek shelter in attics of the city below. Their incendiaries would then start concealed, hard-to-fight fires. The project was surprisingly successful for one never deployed, and included the own-goal immolation of an administrative building during testing.

When Fieser was not working on setting fires he also had time to begin work on the first edition of his organic chemistry textbook, research cortisone chemistry, and work on antimalarial drugs. The information given late in the book about getting cats to pose for photographs with chemical apparatus is invaluable because it comes from real experience.

Lambda-Eyde - 7-12-2011 at 01:35

Thanks, Polverone. Would you say that this book is in the same alley as Max Gergel's book? If so, I'll have to read it. I absolutely LOVED that one, and I can't describe how thankful I am that you uploaded it! :D

Polverone - 7-12-2011 at 11:12

Quote: Originally posted by Lambda-Eyde  
Thanks, Polverone. Would you say that this book is in the same alley as Max Gergel's book? If so, I'll have to read it. I absolutely LOVED that one, and I can't describe how thankful I am that you uploaded it! :D

Yes, I'd say it is in a similar spirit. I'm glad that you enjoyed the Gergel book; it's one of my favorites.

Magpie - 8-12-2011 at 08:49

Thanks to you and Dr Bob for posting this book by Louis Fieser. My first organic textbook that I used back in 1962 was written by Fieser. He has always seemed to be a strong contributor to organic chemistry as well as being an interesting person.

I also enjoyed the book by Gergel.

The Ageless Gergel

Polverone - 11-2-2012 at 02:23

In 1986, an EPA project manager named Dennis Manganiello wrote to the former president of South Carolina Recycling and Disposal, Inc. inquiring about any future plans for this Superfund site, plagued with soil and groundwater contamination plus unidentified drums of material still on site.

The former president wrote back:
Dear Mr. Manganiello,

Thank you for the help you have given me, Mr. Chase and my attorney Mr. Foard. Some time this nightmare should lift and we should be able to sell antiques and old books at Dixiana which is what we are hoping to do -- and why Chase and I pay the taxes. I am 65 and out of chemistry except as a writer and consultant.

Max G. Gergel

Gergel's response also attached a complete photocopy of a book review by Stephen Stinson from Chemical & Engineering News reviewing his latest, The Ageless Gergel. It begins:


For Max Gergel's friends in the chemical industry, there is good news and bad news. The good news is that Gergel remembers and treasures his friendships. The bad news is that he's blessed with total recall, and he's telling everything...

Gergel's firstborn company, Columbia Organic Chemicals, also grew up to be a strapping adult Superfund site. This book and his prior Excuse Me Sir, Would You Like to Buy a Kilo of Isopropyl Bromide? immortalize the good old days before government cared what chemical companies dumped in the bushes or told employees when to wear safety equipment, as well as foreshadowing why this freewheeling age could not last. I suspect that similarly rich memories are even now being made among the smaller chemical companies of China and India. As Gergel puts it,

"We had several things going for us. Above all, cheap prices, because I and my employees were wretchedly paid and miserly about purchasing. We appealed to the thrifty. We also excelled in preparing chemicals so toxic that only the desperate, staffed by the ignorant, would care to make them. We had many friends."

The truth of this friendship lives on in footnotes to many a procedure in JACS or Organic Syntheses, giving Columbia Organic Chemicals as a commercial supplier for necessary materials.

Many thanks go to Dr. Bob for locating and originally scanning a copy of this book. I have done some minor cleanup and placed it in the forum library.

Mush - 24-11-2012 at 05:34

Some books have disappeared from the SM library. :( I recall a very old chemical dictionary from 1880's. What has happened to them?

Polverone - 24-11-2012 at 23:28

Quote: Originally posted by Mush  
Some books have disappeared from the SM library. :( I recall a very old chemical dictionary from 1880's. What has happened to them?

I previously included Watts' Dictionary of Chemistry. I have removed it because:

-The image quality of that particular scan was poor
-The poor image quality meant image compression worked poorly, so the files were large
-It is now available in better quality from Google Books, Hathitrust, and

I also purged some other books on ozone, carbohydrates, and other topics that were printed before 1923 and had poor scan quality. Back when I started the SM library there were many fewer sources for scans of out-of-copyright chemistry books, so it made sense to include books even if certain pages were barely legible. Today it does not make sense to include low-quality scans of books available elsewhere. I have tried to pare the collection down to books that are not easily found elsewhere or that deserve special notice even when available elsewhere.

franklyn - 25-11-2012 at 17:29

- I'm logged in
Library books won't download for me
I only get a 100 kilobytes and it cuts out.

This message appears in my Foxit reader
" Format error , not a pdf or corrupted "

Next time I try , download proceeds immediately without
the dialog window in which I assign destination. The result
is the same " Format error , not a pdf or corrupted "


Polverone - 25-11-2012 at 20:28

Quote: Originally posted by franklyn  
- I'm logged in
Library books won't download for me
I only get a 100 kilobytes and it cuts out.

This message appears in my Foxit reader
" Format error , not a pdf or corrupted "

Next time I try , download proceeds immediately without
the dialog window in which I assign destination. The result
is the same " Format error , not a pdf or corrupted "


The current library hosting site has problems with longer downloads. You will need to use a download manager to get complete books. Your web browser's default file handling will not retrieve full books.

Mush - 27-11-2012 at 12:38

Thanks a lot Polverone! :D

S.C. Wack - 17-2-2013 at 09:35

Not sure if it's worth mentioning or not...for a month or two now as everyone else on the internet is already aware, Adobe has been giving away their Creative Suite with serial from their site. In big and component pieces for certain flushed turds of windows, and somehow freely available for applers.

The catch is, it's the same not so current CS2 I already have on CD's somewhere. At the very least it doesn't come with some suspect keygen, and may work on some old computers. You've probably got a photoshop and piratebat pro >9 installed already, but btw the indesign part is allegedly useful for making books, format templates, entire journals if you're going to start publishing one; typesetting and such for people who want to use the worst available application. No doubt members with such interests know tex/latex up/down/sideways already and/or have pro software.

When not installing photoshop, indesign, and illustrator separately, there may be problems when not using discs in XP; problems were fixed in Vista:
Run disc3.exe first (tell computer install correct), change disc2 extract location to 3's, then the install starts on 1. Change location of the indesign and version cue folders from outside to within the Adobe Creative Suite 2.0 folder as it asks for disc 2, press ok. I actually used the mac serial by mistake.

[Edited on 17-2-2013 by S.C. Wack]

Perchloric Acid and Perchlorates by Alfred Schilt

Polverone - 15-2-2015 at 20:03

Dr. Bob provided me with raw scans for this book more than a year ago. I have, shamefully, not undertaken to convert it to final form and upload it until today.

CuReUS - 16-2-2015 at 00:40

Quote: Originally posted by Mephisto  

Note: Next month the following books will be available: "Warren, S. - Organische Retrosynthese.pdf" and "Christine L. Willis, Martin Willis - Syntheseplanung in der Organischen Chemie.pdf"

where did mephisto upload these books?
Quote: Originally posted by JohnWW  
I am sorry to have to disappoint would-be readers of Fieser & Fieser's Advanced Organic Chemistry, but that allegedly scanned copy of it on , found by Polverone, has only the title page and page 1 !! All the other pages are missing! I suppose I will just have to scan it all myself, when I find time.

Quote: Originally posted by Polverone  
The 1-page PDF thing is universal. The link indicates that it is intended as a convenience for printing a page. If you can view (say) page 100 in the browser, you can view the full thing. In order to download the full book you need to use a program like Hathi Helper. I was able to use that earlier today to download all the page images.

the Hati helper link is not working.could someone please upload it to the SM library ?

[Edited on 16-2-2015 by CuReUS]

Approximate Molecular Orbital Theory by Pople and Beveridge

Polverone - 22-2-2015 at 02:42

This one is only interesting for theoreticians, programmers, and historians.

Before John Pople did the work in <i>ab initio</i> quantum chemistry that won him a Nobel Prize, he worked with what are today called semiempirical computational chemistry methods, methods that replace some intensive numerical operations with data derived from experiments. This 1970 book covers the early CNDO and INDO semiempirical models along with much background material. Donald Shillady of Virginia Commonwealth University has recommended this text even for modern students as providing "an exceptionally clear presentation" of the basic Restricted Hartree-Fock algorithm that is the starting point for most modern computational chemistry.

Unitized Experiments in Organic Chemistry by Brewster and Vanderwerf

Polverone - 22-2-2015 at 21:46

Magpie has graced us with accounts of several preparations taken from the pages of Brewster's Unitized Experiments in Organic Chemistry. The version I have scanned here is from 1960 and, alas, does not include preparations mentioned from later editions. At the time I purchased it this was the only edition carried by any reseller on Amazon. In any case I hope it proves useful to members who wish to follow along with Magpie, or use it for any other purpose.