Now I own a flatbed scanner that is also a printer and fax machine. It cost around $100, including software. The multi-purpose machine can scan or print in color or black-n-white.
As the technology has gotten cheaper, people think that these small low-cost scanner will work on digitization projects that require high-quality images. That is not always true, since the inexpensive scanners may not scan at a high enough dot-per-inch (DPI) or pixel-per-inch (PPI). Some scanners (and their software) won't even create TIFF files, whcih is the preferred high-quality file format used in digitization projects.
So these inexpensive scanners are great for the office, but not for working on digitization projects where you are creating images that you hope will last for years. In order to find a scanner that is appropriate for your digitization project:
- Talk to others who have worked on a digitization project and see what hardware they have used. (You can check for projects through a local library consortium or archives organization.)
- Check the Internet to see if any projects have posted information on the equipment used. (Consider checking or contacting those projects that seem to be adhering to best practices.)
- Talk to equipment vendors.
- Test equipment and see if it produces the quality that you need. Also check to see if it is easy to use.
And remember that the equipment must fit its purpose. If you are digitizing slides, then you'll need a scanner that was build for that purpose.