Document Scanning Process
The Team at BCDM has developed a proven document scanning process that ensures outstanding results. From the collection of documents through to the delivery of the resulting data every process has been optimised and is tracked for audit purposes. Our air-gapped scanning network ensures that we maintain strict security when it comes to the scanned images, while CCTV coupled to 24×7 monitored intruder and fire detection systems ensure the security of the originals.
Not only have we optimised the document scanning process, we’ve tested, evaluated and selected the best technology to used to process customer documents. The Fujitsu fi-6800 is the mainstay of our scanning fleet. Offering unrivalled scan quality at astonishing speeds (up to 120 images per minute), advanced features such as auto page orientation, auto blank page removal and auto colour recognition guarantees amazing results.
Our fleet is complimented by specialist scanners for books, large format (up to A0+ size) plans, maps & drawings, transparency scanners along with flatbed scanners for delicate documents.
Every project that we undertake is unique in one way or another. This means that the setup of your project is a crucial step in the document scanning process, beginning with the scoping and defining of a technical specification for the project. This technical specification covers project requirements including:
- Document Boundaries (where does one document end and the next document begin, is any manual separation required etc.);
- Index Criteria (how are the resulting files to be names, what other data needs to be linked to the files etc.);
- Index Data Source (e.g. keyed from scanned image, automatically indexed from a barcode, lookup from customer supplied data);
- Simplex or Duplex Scanning (are documents double or single sided, should blank pages be deleted etc.);
- Colour Format (black & white, colour or auto colour recognition etc.);
- Export Specification (data structure, OCR, metadata etc.)
Once the technical specification is agreed upon, the project build takes place. This involves the project configuration within our systems, ensuring consistent scan quality and accuracy. We follow this by processing sample documents from start to finish, delivering the resulting test data for sign off. Once everything is in place the project is ready to start.
Once the documents are with us, the first step of the document scanning process is document prep. This process includes grouping documents into manageable batches, the insertion of any barcode patch/header sheets, the removal of staples, paper clips etc. and minor repairs as required. Where sticky notes are found that obscure any information, the page is photocopied with the sticky note in place prior, both the original (sticky note now removed) and the copy with the sticky note present are included for scanning. Anything unexpected is flagged as an exception for resolution with the customer prior to the batch proceeding to scanning.
This is where the magic happens, the scanning operator sets the scanning system up according to the technical specification before scanning each batch of documents. Any documents that are unable to be scanned on one of the high speed scanners (such as large format items identified during prep) are diverted to the correct scanner and scanned, these are then automatically inserted by the system into the resulting data, mirroring where they were within the original document.
While scanning takes place, the operator will be monitoring the scanned images on screen in real time to assess the quality. In addition to this, a standard level of 10% random image quality assurance takes place following scanning. If further QC is required this will be agreed in the specification.
Indexing is a crucial stage in the process as it defines how each document is identified along with any associated data that may be used to categorise the documents or to trigger automation events.
There are several methods to achieve this, as mentioned in Project Setup above. On completion of scanning, the image data is passed to the index process.
Index data can be keyed from image, i.e. the operator is viewing the images on screen while entering the required index data, the index data can be read from one or more barcodes on the scanned page, a barcode can be used to trigger a lookup from a linked database or, we can use optical character recognition (OCR) to read information from predefined areas on the page.
As with scanning, as standard, a random 10% sample of index data is processed for quality assurance purposes. Additional QC measures can be put in place such as blind double keying, where the data is keyed twice by two different operators and an error is flagged if the data from both does not match.
Documents can be exported as single page or multipage files as PDF documents or other formats as specified in the technical specification. PDF documents allow for OCR processing which provides a text overlay for free text searching, data extraction and editing of the resulting file.
Index data can be supplied as a text document (e.g. .csv or .txt) a spreadsheet or a database. The format of the data output can be configured as required allowing direct import into most Document Management Systems and systems such as SharePoint.
Delivery can be by any appropriate method as agreed with in the technical specification. Due to the potential security risk or transferring large quantities of data, usual methods of delivery include secure cloud hosting, direct upload to customers servers over secure connections, or via FIPS Certified Encrypted USB flash memory.