Note-Making on Physical Books in Drafts

Drafts 28 has been released and with it the new Scan Document feature. Even before I got my hands on it, I knew that this feature is huge… this is the missing link in getting notes and quotes from physical books into my digital Creativity System.

The simplest version is already done: simply use the Scan Documents feature. From a new draft, hold the + Button in the top left to select Scan Documents. Scan your document, and hey presto! The image is OCR’d and brought into a new draft.

Of course this is Drafts, and so more automation is possible. You can use the “Booknotes” family of Actions I wrote to build a “shelf” of books you are currently reading, then link scanned Drafts to your main booknote with an MLA styled link… or just use the “Insert MLA Citation” action I created to create a reference to your scanned note. It’s up to you!

I’m sure over the coming months the community will figure out even more clever ways to manage this, but I’m thrilled to have OCR in the Drafts toolbox. I’ll probably start writing actions here to auto-fix some of the quirks of the scanning process… combining newlines into paragraphs, prefixing with > for quotes… and honestly it’ll probably cause me to buy some more physical books.

I’m eyeing a couple of volumes I haven’t started reading yet… excited to be able to capture notes and quotes without having to retype the whole passage.