Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Of scanned pdfs and titles

As what usually happens on Monday mornings, Mr Siva started the day (my day, not his day, his starts way earlier) by sending me off on an errand for him. This time he wanted me to scan a 50++ page document, entitled "Proposal for the adoption of a 'blue plan' in Singapore - saving Singapore's invaluable marine heritage" for him.

So I trotted off to S3 where the department of Biological Sciences is located and asked An Nee there for help in scanning. And so once again, I was amazed by the marvels of technology, and also by my own "suakuness" (fyi: it means ignorance). The scanner (from HP, I didn't check the model) has a feeder, which of course can hold a stack of papers, When I loaded the document, the pages were swallowed in turn by the machine, digested, spewed out, and voila! Everything's scanned, all 50++ pages in a matter of, perhaps 10-15mins. (okie okie it wasn't THAT fast, but would you rather scan each and every piece individually AND manually instead of having everything automated?)

Oh by the way, from the scanning episode, I finally know how to reduce the contents of an A3 to A4 using the photocopying machine! I figured it out by myself! (Though it took me 15mins). Lolz. I'm so proud of myself =)

Then, I went all the way back into the museum, only to have Mr Siva ask me to rescan it. Reason being 1) He wanted the pdf, that's the scanned product, to be searchable, and 2) Some of the pages were the wrong side up (actually upon hindsight I didn't have to rescan if only for reason 2, 'cos I could have just used Adobe to rotate it into the right orientation. But of course, there was reason 1...)


Alright, enough of grumbling and back to work. I went back and asked An Nee again for help. And so to cut a long long long story short (the story includes a 40min attempt to upload the pdf unsuccessfully into my Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, and even my NUS account. Omg. It also includes several trips between the museum and S3 for stuff like getting Ruoyu's flashdrive, and retrieving binders.), I finally got the rescanned pdf and handed it to Mr Siva. Who was happy with it. Kind of.

(Conclusion: I am very inefficient. *cries*)

And so we were busy with stuff till the afternoon until Mr Siva decided to give us an evening lecture (Oh it happens sometimes, maybe 2 times a week? On a random basis. When this happens we'll almost certainly knock off at around 615 or later.) Out of the stuff he talked about (I'll blog about this in a later blog entry), he mentioned the importance of titles. The idea of precision (see post) can be applied here as well. The filename I labeled the pdf with: "blue plan", was too imprecise. It did not provide enough information such that another person will not be able to understand what the file is about if he/she were to come across it, just by looking at the file name. Instead, I should have given the full name of the article itself, or at least something acceptable like "Proposal for blue plan in Singapore".

This is also important if I had a lot of files in the computer and had to search for the pdf. A longer filename gives more keywords which will make the search more precise (namely turn up less false positives). Mr Siva demonstrated this to us by typing "blue plan" into Spotlight and performing a search. It turned out that there were many unrelated files, all with "blue plan" either in the title or contents, in the computer.

So, conclusion: give a longer filename next time. ^^

1 comment:

Sivasothi said...

That document feeder is impressive!

The old way was very, very tedious; e.g. see the project notes from scanning the Raffles Bulletin.

That document was waiting two months just for you. I am so relieved it has been scanned!