Fri. Dec 2nd, 2022

    By and large, scanning is a commodity item with most suppliers providing similar services. Prices are normally based on scanning black and white A4 pages that have printing on one side, and creating TIFF images at 200 or 300 Dots Per Inch (DPI). Exceptions to either the colour or size of the document cause the price to increase. It is normal to get the vendor to use a process called Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to derive a text version of the images. Even the best OCR process will contain spelling mistakes, with a 99.9% accuracy rate equating to 4-5 miss-spellings on a single sheet of A4.

    The main issue to watch out for in scanning is that of unitisation, in this specific area we are focused on how the images that result from a document are then “bound” together to form the set of “pages” representing the document. An issue can arise whereby the supplier carrying out the scanning obtains the images, but these are passed to a second supplier for coding purposes. The individuals in the second supplier look at the images and derive the unitisation of the documents from their interpretation of where document breaks occur, without being able to reference the original documents and thus seeing how they were stapled or attached via paperclips, etc. together.

    Scanning vendors have two approaches to this issue. The majority use their operators to “manually” unitise the images of the pages in the files. The more sophisticated minority have pre-prepared slip sheets that they insert within pages to show things like document start and end, paper clips, attached post-it notes etc. Their scanning software recognises all these coding forms (and strips out the images of the slip sheets) and is able to re-constitute the electronic version of the file so that it exactly matches the unitisation of the paper version.

    For smaller scanning requirement, this issue is immaterial. However, for larger projects (say over 20 or so lever arch files) it can cause significant problems unless addressed.

    Finally it is normal practice to uniquely identify each images in some manner so that it can be referred to. The usual methodology used to be to apply BATES numbers to the document following a pre-arranged format, with a BATES number per page, though in some systems/projects this approach is now changing. As systems increasingly accept PDF’s of whole documents rather than scans on individual pages, the need to individually number each page has started to recced, with document numbers being used to identify specific records.

    See the Procurement section for draft requirements within this area.

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