Glossary of Terms

  • Prepping – all documents need to be prepared for scanning. This means all staples and paper clips have to be removed before the pages can feed through a scanner. This is often the most time consuming and costly part of a scanning project.
  • Scanning – Every page or document has to pass over the lens of a scanner or image capture device. Most scanners are high-speed sheet feed. Larger documents like plans will still feed but much more slowly.
  • Flatbed scanning – More complicated or fragile documents may need to be layed onto the glass of a scanner and scanned one page at a time. This is slow and costly. We call this flatbed scanning.
  • DPI – Dots per inch. This explains the amount of data captured when scanning. Your computer screen is typically 72 dpi. A magazine page is printed at 300 dpi. Most document imaging is at 200 dpi. We scan at 300 dpi which provides clarity and depth and will allow more aged documents to still be readable. 300 dpi is also better for making the text readable.
  • OCR – Optical Character Recognition. This means that the printed text on a scanned page is read and recognized. Typically this can be made available in a hidden yet searchable layer in a searchable PDF.
  • Searchable PDF – PDF is now the standard for document imaging. A standard PDF is like a photograph of an image. It is effectively a TIFF file. A searchable PDF (sPDF) is PDF with a hidden text layer. This means you can search inside the PDF for a word or a phrase. This conversion is very handy for future use, when finding files or content in months or years to come after the scanning.
  • PDF/A – This is the archiving variant of a PDF file and is guaranteed to be readable in 20 years time.
  • TIFF – Tagged Image File. This is the purist image file we can provide. A Tagged Image File can be read in notepad as it literally tells a image reader where the pixels (black dots) are turned on or off. TIFF has always been the standard file output for scanning and document imaging but has been superseded in recent years by PDF

Document scanning explained

Watch our “scanning explained” video

  • Indexing – Once a document or page has been scanned, it will need to be referenced again for future retrieval. Most documents are indexed by either naming the output PDF file to something sensible or by providing a reference file like a spreadsheet with the indexing information and the associated file. We call this indexing.
  • Shredding – After scanning, the original paper files may need to be destroyed. This usually involves shredding. There are many companies that provide a shredding service. This is either on-site or off-site. There are various services available including secure shredding where shredding sacks are tagged and sealed.
  • Cloud Storage – Your files can be made available to you online in a document management system. (if you don’t already have one) There are many choices available to you including FileDirector and SharePoint.

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