We can’t seem to let our business cards go, but maybe we can toss other people’s: CardHolder
I have a sterling silver calling card tray, an essential Victorian accessory that belonged to my great-grandmother, who was born in 1894. Now we have business cards, which in France are still called calling cards (cartes de visite). And despite the digitization of absolutely everything, we’re still passing them out at even the most high-tech conferences. I get home from conferences with stacks of ‘em. If you’re in the same boat, you might want to try to do your own digitizing with ABBYY CardHolder.
The only problem with scanning business cards is that the good ones are often little works of art, and the crap ones can be crammed with too much info, which makes them hard for software to parse. I picked out a few I had lying around to test CardHolder. The result was not bad, considering, and the app is pretty full featured, but making the minor fixes to the scanned info got to be a little laborious.
You take a photo of a card and the app converts the info to a familiar contact record format. (The app has its own contacts list, so you’re not adding two dozen strangers to your “real” contacts list, though you have that option if you buy one of the the premium versions). You then fix all the things it didn’t understand. In the shots below, it thought Mississippi was the state, when it was a street in San Francisco… And it pretty much had no idea what to do with the City Canine card (TMI), even though it has French language support (and lots of others). Annoyance: To change the country to France (default is US), I had to scroll past half the countries in the world. There should be two levels of navigation: regions, and within those, countries.
Once you get the info in there and all fixed up, you can create a group to save it in. The records are searchable by different criteria, which is handy. Or you can tap a card and use the menu below the image to directly call, e-mail or SMS the contact, go to the website, or (with a premium version) see the address on a map. Obviously I didn’t take the pic the right way…
You can view all cards, or groups of cards. The group feature makes it worth giving this app a serious try, I think, just because I now have the business cards of dog groomers and plumbers and hair salons all mixed together in one big binder with professional acquaintances. It might be handy if you could assign cards to multiple groups (a group for the conference where you met them, and a group related to what they do, for example).