How do I use scanned documents in Perusall?

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If you have scanned materials, they can be uploaded to Perusall as PDF files for students to use as reading assignments. Perusall will automatically perform OCR (optical character recognition) on PDF files that are uploaded to a course, so that text can be selected for commenting. In most cases, OCR will also enable Perusall's read-aloud feature to work on scanned documents as well.

To ensure the cleanest possible scan, Rebecca Oling, Director of Digital Accessibility at SUNY Purchase shares the following tips:

  • Scan from a clean print copy (avoid skewing, markings, highlighting, shaded text, black gutters, etc).
  • If there is bleedthrough from thin pages (you see dots from text on verso page), try placing a piece of black paper behind the page being scanned and scan as color.
  • Scan only one page at a time if possible, but press hard on the spine if not.
  • Be sure the reading order of the document is clear (that paragraphs aren’t located in an unusual way).
  • Take a moment to crop out shadows or other artifacts so that the page is as clean as possible.
  • Set the scanner to scan at higher quality (300 dpi or above).
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