Choosing a Scanner

A museum that needs a scanner generally needs one that is:

Picture of a typical flatbed scanner, with cover Almost all personal computer scanners are flatbed type, looking rather like a small copy machine. Flatbed scanners are the best in terms of flexibility and ease of use, and also the least expensive.

Some scanners require you to insert an interface card into your computer. If you have the technical savvy to do this, or have a staff member who can, then it is a reasonable option. However, it's almost always easier to just plug a new scanner into a connection already on your computer. There are three main types of connections into which you can plug a new scanner:

How do I tell if I have a USB port? Of the various plugs, connectors, and holes in the back of your computer, only one or two will be USB ports. They are rectangular, and accept a rectangular plug. They are similar to your modem or network plug, except that they don't have the cutout in one side for the retaininig clip.

For more information, see Ziff-Davis's review of scanners (Ziff-Davis is a respected provider of objective computer and technology information, publishing such magazines as FamilyPC, MacWorld, and PC Magazine). Of the 10 scanners reviewed here, I think the Umax Astra 1220 is probably the best for museums because of the value, software, and the fact that it works with both PC's and Macs. The letter after the 1220 indicates the connector type: S=SCSI, P=Parallel, U=USB, so be sure you get the right one for your computer.

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