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I have over 10,000 hockey cards that I am trying to sort and somehow put them on the computer. Is there any programs or scanners that can do this? If not what would be a fast way to enter them into the computer? Thanks

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    FYI: Probably 99% of those cards aren't worth more than a dollar. Here's a good article cardboardconnection.com/why-sports-cards-early-90s-worthless to read about the non-value of sports cards. So unless you really, really want to spend days and days of time (even with machine assisted technologies) or weeks upon weeks (without high-tech scanner) I'd advise not to do it now. Maybe in the future if those cards somehow dramatically rise in value (and they in great condition as well) and technology gets better and/or cheaper, then it may be worth the money, time, and effort. – CRABOLO Oct 10 '15 at 17:46
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Basically as I see it you have three options:

  • Forget about it, and keep them sorted outside of the computer
  • Buy/acquire a duplex card scanner with automatic document feeder
  • Rig a camera with some sort of automated picture taking

Although I do believe that the first option might be worth considering as this otherwise will be a time consuming event, I'll give some more details to the other two.

Duplex card scanner with automatic document feeder

If you want to scan that amount of cards, you need to make it somewhat automated, hence you need a scanner with automatic document feeder. In addition you don't want to load the stack twice to get both sides of the card, so you need a duplex scanner scanning both sides at the same time.

Lastly you don't want the cards to be bent too much, I assume, so you need to make sure that paper path of the scanner is as straight as possible. This rules out ordinary copy/printer/scanner multi-taskers as they tend to send the paper around rolls both to get it through the apparatus, but also to do the dual side scanning.

Therefore I would suggest looking/search for duplex card scanner with feeder or similar and see if you can't find something to suit your needs. And we don't do product recommendations on this site (Not, that I know a a particular product which does this well either).

Note that even with a document feeder, you'll most likely only be able to pass it up towards a 100 cards at a time, so it'll still take plenty of time. But if the scanner is good enough, you might get OCR (Optical Character Recognisition) as well, which would enable you to search textually through your cards afterwards.

Rig a camera (or two)

Another option, even more time consuming, would be to rig a camera and lights so that you put a card at a fixed place and then take a snap of it, either using a timer or a foot switch or some other kind of remote triggering device.

This is kind of like stop motion photographing, which can be used for this kind of endeavour as well. Advantage is that in this kind of setup you'll likely automate the transfer from the camera to the computer, and you'll have manually adjusted focus so it stays put, and you can automate any cropping of pictures as they all are in a fixed position.

Downsides is that you'll have to flip cards to get the backside (unless you rig a dual camera version, and put the card on a glass plate), and you'll have to manually go through all 10 000 cards, and if not doing anything fancy on the computer you'll only have a picture (and not text). Although it is possible to do OCR afterwards with images.

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I agree with the previous poster that getting the cards into a computer is kind of a faff (I enjoy that British-ism).

But you asked a sorting question - I am assuming the cards aren't in any particular order? It is worth thinking about sorting algorithms before you dive in -- the sort of inefficient sorts that are taught in intro Comp Sci are helpful. I did this recently with a similar number of cards and used a sort of bucket sort by year (I could know at a glance what year the cards were from). I would place them in a small number of buckets and then bucket sort the buckets until I hit where all the cards by year. Then manufacturer and I then stopped. It was an afternoon project and (admittedly) a kind of obvious solution, but I ended up with a decently sorted batch of cards that I packed and stored nicely to wait another few decades until I decide busting them open might be worthwhile.

Hope this helps.

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