The Scanning & Indexing Process
Scan4U Scanning Services provides a document scanning and indexing service at our scanning bureau in Longmeadow (or alternatively at your site) to help you with backlog scanning of your documents. We would do this by utilising our high-speed scanners, our workstations and servers, and our scanning and indexing staff for the period of the scanning operation.
The process would work as follows:
Your staff would present us with what we call a series of “consignments”, which are essentially groups of similar documents (e.g. all the application forms for a particular service, for instance). We would then “check in” the consignments, which means that we log the arrival and print a label with the consignment number (which we stick onto the box containing the documents). This allows us to track the documents even if they haven’t been scanned yet.
Once they are checked in, we then send them to the “pre-preparation” phase, which consists of us removing any staples or paper-clips, inserting separator sheets (i.e. paper sheets with a barcode) between the documents and straightening and repairing damaged documents. These are then grouped together into “batches”, which are simply a number of documents that can fit comfortably into the scanner sheet feeder at one time.
The batches are then sent for scanning, with the scanner operator checking to see that documents go through smoothly and that images are being generated. These are usually scanned at either 200 or 300 dpi, depending on how the images will be used afterwards.
The batch of images (together with the physical documents) then goes to the “Scan QA” phase, where the QA clerk checks the quality of each image. If “bad” images are discovered the QA clerk checks it against the original physical document and rescans the document if it was a bad scan or marks the image as a bad original if the original document is the problem. These can then be returned to your staff for corrective actions to be taken.
All valid images are then sent on to the “indexing” phase where our indexing staff will capture relevant information off the first page typically (although we can capture indexing information off any page). These will then be stored as indexing metadata for later search and retrieval. If some of the indexing data is critical and must be 100% correct, we offer an “indexing QA” step which has a second operator re-capturing that particular index from scratch and the two results compared. If there is a discrepancy it gets sent to a supervisor to ensure the correct result is used.
When this is completed the images are then sent for “exporting” which results in a multi-page TIFF file being created with the filename usually being the value of the primary index (e.g. BATCH123-ServiceName.tiff). The index values are exported simultaneously as BATCH123-ServiceName.txt. Usually these are stored within specific directories (e.g. \BATCH123\) on a storage media of choice (e.g. CD, DVD, or removable hard-drive).
Once the entire process is completed, the paper documents are then sent to our “post-preparation” operation, where the documents are then either returned to their original state (e.g. stapled, bundled and filed) for transportation back to your offices, or securely destroyed, at which stage we would send you an official Certificate of Destruction, which you can keep as proof that a secure process was followed.
We charge for our scanning services on a per page basis, broken into a price for the page from which we would capture the indexing information (usually the first page of the document) and a price for all subsequent pages for the document (usually much cheaper because we don’t need to recapture the indexes). Obviously the price varies depending on which services you would like us to do for you. It might make sense for some of the phases to be done by your own staff (like the pre-preparation phase), which would make the exercise cheaper.