Category Archives: Scanners

The Last Post

Well I will say that this is the last post for the site SPA Paperless Office Project the reason why is that times have changed the site will have a new name and a new look complete with a totally new area to the paperless office, it will still have the roots of the S.P.A Foundation and still built around what I believe is still one of the fundamentals of achieving a paperless environment.

What will the new site have, a purpose built Management Efficacy SPA Template Tool and an Efficacy SPA Paperless Template Tool plus a few others.

How will the site be designed, it will have a new looking reader friendly screen a new external link friendly system plus the all the usual posts that are connected to the paperless environment for the person who wants to understand and read thought and interesting posts that are connected to this subject.

The site design will constantly be updated to improve the reader’s experience.

What will be the site called? To keep in line with the original thoughts of the first web site the name Paperless Endeavour will hope to keep the ever lasting and changing environment that to a certain degree will always try to keep up with the Technologies advances and break thoughts that are always trying to improve the world we live in weather it’s in the office or associated Technologies.

The new site will be launched in January next year, so I hope to see you then, other wise have a wonderful Christmas Holiday and a Happy New Year.

Martin Smith

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The basic legalities of scanned documents

Does a scanned document stand up in court?

In comparison to paper documents, the issues for electronic documents actually seem to rest on how much integrity they have in terms of ‘pedigree’ and authenticity rather than their admissibility. Courts and governing bodies now accept that electronic filing is normal procedure for many companies, and they fully accept electronic documents as evidence or supporting material so long as companies can prove that they’ve taken the appropriate measures to ensure their integrity.

The Basis in Law

The Civil Evidence Act 1995 is perhaps the most relevant point of law to address in relation to electronic documents. Its legacy is to take the onus off the question of physical admissibility, instead examining the actual weight carried by the electronic evidence submitted. The evidential value is then determined by the procedures followed by the company presenting the documents. To put is simply, if a company submits a document that has clearly been unaltered since its creation or which brings with it a clear audit trail that categorises any changes made to it along the way, then that holds for more evidential value than a document that could possibly have been amended in the interim. Simple procedures ensure document integrity for a company looking to move towards an electronic filing system.

Sections 8 and 9 of the Civil Evidence Act 1995 illustrate the legal guidelines for electronic documents as evidence:

8 (1) Where a statement contained in a document is admissible as evidence in civil proceedings, it may be proved;

(a) by the production of that document, or

(b) whether or not that document is still in existence, by the production of a copy of that document or of the material part of it, authenticated is such a manner as the court may approve.

(2) It is immaterial for this purpose how many removes there are between a copy and an original.

9 (1) A document that is shown to form a part of the records of a business or a public authority may be received in evidence in civil proceedings without an further proof

(2) A document should be taken to form part of the records of a business or public authority if there is produced to a court a certificate to that effect signed either by an officer of the business or authority to which the records belong.

Essentially, this law may be interpreted to show that an original document is not the only admissible evidence in civil courts. Electronic copies of documents are acceptable so long as their integrity can be proved. Criminal courts involve a more complex set of guidelines, and business with concerns about compliance in this area should check with a specialist lawyer.

Scanned documents and HM Customs & Excise

 What about the VAT

At present, the law makes no distinction between electronic or paper records. As a result, Customs & Excise simply refer to ‘records’ in their guidelines – whether a business keeps their records on paper or electronically makes little difference.

They do, however, insist that you inform them of the format you use for your records.

Section 5.4 of VAT Notice 700/21 reads as follows:

If you keep all or part of your records and accounts on a computer, you must make sure that you can meet your legal obligations to:

  • Account for VAT properly
  • Provide information to us whenever we visit you; and
  • Keep records in the required detail for the required length of time

In practical terms, a business should therefore advise their local VAT office that they wish to store scanned documents copies of all their records in ‘format X’ (either TIF or PDF format), and that those records will be held within ‘document management system

Customs & Excise do not recommend any particular software packages of file formats and at present an acceptable standard has not been precisely defined, but ‘may be taken to mean that all details on the reproduced documents are clear and legible’, which enables fairly broad interpretation.

By also following the Code of the British Standard BSI DISC PD0008 in addition to the requirements of Customs & Excise, a company can take the best precautions available to ensure that their records are acceptable for a VAT inspection.

Timescales for Record Keeping

The general requirement for record keeping is a period dating back at least 6 years. For many companies, keeping paper records for so long is fraught with difficulties. By agreement with the Commissioners, this time limit requirement may have a degree of flexibility. It could be noted, though, that if a company uses electronic filing, then the 6 year timescale is of little consequence.

One important consideration for Customs & Excise is their requirement that any original paper invoices must be retained for a period of no less than one VAT period. This would ensure that the current VAT return can be verified using original documentation. Depending on the nature of the company’s accounting pattern, this period is either 1 month, 3 months or 1 year in length.

After this time and submission of the return in question, the company can then consign those accounting records to electronic filing in confidence.

Scanned documents and the Inland Revenue

Not a world away from the requirements of Customs and Excise, the Inland Revenue has adopted a fairly flexible view of records stored electronically, based on the same grounds that the law does not at present differentiate between paper and electronic documents.

Set out in Tax Bulletin 37, the Revenue provides the following guidelines:

Records may be preserved on optical imaging systems, and the originals discarded, provided that what is retained in digital form represents a complete and unaltered image of the underlying paper document. We are now able to go further: Both in the case of companies and unincorporated businesses we can accept other methods which preserve the information in the record in a different form. This is so long as those methods capture all the information needed to demonstrate that a complete and correct tax return has been made and are capable of yielding up that information in a legible form.

They go on to confirm that some material, such as a company’s standard terms and conditions of sale, is not required to be retained for tax purposes. However, exactly what material should be retained and what can be discarded should be checked thoroughly with a tax adviser as regulations differ across industries.

In this Tax Bulletin, the Inland Revenue also makes the important acknowledgement that companies complying with the British Standard BSI DISC PD0008 will automatically satisfy the tax requirements for keeping electronic records.

At present, under the terms of the Companies Act, for most companies the timescales that the Revenue requires material to be retained is set at 6 years from the end of an accounting period. In cases of investigation or late return submission, then this period will extend accordingly. Once again, electronic records management is by for the easiest method of storage for convenience and space-saving benefits.


Scanning (more than just a machine)

This is one area that no matter which system you have weather it’s a purpose design system or an existing computer system unless you have started form scratch, scanning will be required, to copy or scan your existing documents.

This section will not cover the technical specifications but will address that scanning is a requirement if you want to achieve a paperless office .One of the main problems companies have experienced is what to scan.

If a company has decided to start a paperless environment do they start with the existing paper documents or slowly start to introduce a paperless environment or do they introduce a dual paperless and paper system.

Another area of concern is that which of the documents do you scan, do you scan all the documents when they arrive or do you scan just the important documents. Then a decision of process has to be introduced to establish which documents are important and which documents are not!

Unfortunately the scanning process is not just a straight forward procedure scanning each document as and when. There is a connecting management data requirement to maximise the efficiency to establish which document has to be scanned and copied.

If the installation is a one off installation then this requirement has already been designed but at the moment the general scanner as a design is of a stand a lone product, which will be plugged or installed into your software and this does not come part of your standard computer package installation.

Scanning and Filing have evolved around the same principal as the microfilm was developed in the year 1836, but used commercial in the 1920’s and this was a way of copying documentation to reduce its size and therefore reducing the storage area.

When you receive paper documentation you scan the document place it into a file and save the actual piece of paper then this can be disregarded or stored in the normal way.

The basics of this process have not changed over the years only the technology has changed scanning can help to reduce the overall paper holding and also storage facility.

Scanning can be an in-depth section within the Paperless office concept and a great deal of thought must go into this activity to obtain the greatest efficiency when planning the scanning requirements. The author has not decided to cover this section in great detail, just to mention that it does play a part in the overall concept of the paperless office. 

Scanning can be a complex area to cover and it has mentioned a great deal of thought must be placed before any scanning procedures are implemented another area is that of attitude and how a company or organisation.


Scanners : Fujitsu

To help you have better understanding with regards to scanners I have provided a break down to what Fujitsu can offer.This is just to help you form trailing through all the pages on there websites and brochures.

Fujitsu have segmented there scanners into the following areas.

  • ScanSnap
  • Worksgroup
  • Departmental
  • Production
  • Network

ScanSnap Section

 Idea for home and the small business

This range generally covers the following specification

Resolution

All models within the range have an Output resolution: Up to 600 dpi

Generally this is a close up of the dots produced by an inkjet printer at draft quality. Dpi: is used to describe the resolution number of dots per inch.

You will find that up to a 600 dpi is more than adequate in all normal conditions

Speed

How fast does it scan?

Range of 16 to 25 ppm (pages per minute)  

For a general rule of thumb I would recommend that you should be looking at around 20 ppm

One sided (simplex)

Double sided (duplex) 

Grayscale Monochrome Colour

Color 150dpi, B&W 300dpi) : 8 pages per minute / 16 images per Color & Grayscale 300dpi, B&W 600dpi) :20 pages per minute / 40 images per minute.

Capacity of ADF: Up to 10/50 sheets (Automatic Document Feeder)

Interfaces: One network connection RJ45 10/100 base T

Interfaces: USB 2.0

(Integrated 10/100 Base-T networking interface – usually called RJ45 in the context of … to run two network connections (or a network connection and two phone lines)

One of the main Points is that ScanSnap can scan directly to the computer’s hard drive with the capability of launching any PDF or JPEG based application to view the image.

The ScanSnap comes with custom software for easily creating searchable PDFs, but does not work with other scanning applications.

Work Group Section

Ideal for the medium-sized organization or single-department application, Fujitsu’s desktop. Workgroup Scanners, you can process up to 1,000 pages a day while accommodating a wide variety of paper sizes.

Resolution

All models within the range have an Output resolution: Up to 600 dpi

Generally this is a close up of the dots produced by an inkjet printer at draft quality. Dpi: is used to describe the resolution number of dots per inch.

You will find that up to a 600 dpi is more than adequate in all normal conditions

Speed

How fast does it scan?

Range of  15 to 40 ppm (pages per minute)  

For a general rule of thumb I would recommend that you should be looking at around 20 ppm

Departmental Scanners

Suitable for a larger organization, Adobe Acrobat Standard is included with all the  departmental Scanners, scan directly to PDF files Fast SCSI and USB connectivity, plus TWAIN and ISIS drivers.

Resolution

All models within the range have an Output resolution: Up to 600 dpi

Generally this is a close up of the dots produced by an inkjet printer at draft quality. Dpi: is used to describe the resolution number of dots per inch.

You will find that up to a 600 dpi is more than adequate in all normal conditions

Speed

How fast does it scan?

Range of  40 to 60 ppm (pages per minute)  

For a general rule of thumb I would recommend that you should be looking at around 20 ppm One sided (simplex)

One sided (simplex)

Double sided (duplex) 

Grayscale Monochrome Colour

60 / 50 ppm (simplex) / 120 ipm (duplex) in Grayscale and Monochrome @ 200 dpi; 40 ppm (simplex) / 80 ipm (duplex) in Color @ 300 dpi (Letter)

60 ppm (simplex) / 120 ipm (duplex) in Grayscale and Monochrome @ 200 dpi; 40 ppm (simplex) / 80 ipm (duplex) in Color @ 300 dpi (Letter

Capacity of ADF: Up to 50 sheets (Automatic Document Feeder) and Flat Bed

Interface : Range

Ultra SCSI (50m) / High Speed USB 2.0

Ultra SCSI 50-pin & USB 2.0 

SCSI-2, USB 2.0, Video option & 3rd party slot

Production Scanners

Production environment can scans up to 100,000 pages per day.

Production scanners includes scanners from 90 pages per minute (180 images per minute) to over 130+ pages per minute (260+ images per minute) full-rated speed at up to 300 dpi in Color, Grayscale, or Black and White modes.

Resolution

All models within the range have an Output resolution: Up to 600 dpi

Generally this is a close up of the dots produced by an inkjet printer at draft quality. Dpi: is used to describe the resolution number of dots per inch.

Network Scanners

Network scanning, collaboration, emailing and faxing

Resolution

All models within the range have an Output resolution: Up to 600 dpi

Generally this is a close up of the dots produced by an inkjet printer at draft quality. Dpi: is used to describe the resolution number of dots per inch.

You will find that up to a 600 dpi is more than adequate in all normal conditions

Speed

How fast does it scan?

Range of  up to 25 ppm (pages per minute)  

For a general rule of thumb I would recommend that you should be looking at around 20 ppm One sided (simplex)

One sided (simplex)

Double sided (duplex) 

Grayscale Monochrome Colour

Speed: 25 ppm (simplex) / 50 ipm (duplex) in Grayscale and Monochrome @ 200 dpi; 25 ppm (simplex) / 50 ipm (duplex) in Color @ 200 dpi

Capacity of ADF: Up to 50 sheets (Automatic Document Feeder) and Flat Bed

Interface: Range

One network connection RJ45 10/100 base T

Paper Input: Up to 50 sheets

I have purposely not mentioned any of the prices to each section. You really do want to shop around  but it if want a price range then it would have to start form 200 to 2000 it’s as simple as that and if you wanted to buy form an auction etc (second range) the price could be within any range.


Scanner Manufactures

When you think about buying a scanner there is so much more to take into account then just buying the cheapest, I am sure that you knew that anyway, the point is that you must plan ahead and think in forward direction, will I want to expand the paperless installation or will you want to keep it the same size.

 I the last post on scanners there was a basic introduction to the terminology with regards to the different protocol and this will continue through each post regarding scanners.

There is no right way or wrong way in which and how you choose your scanner, this will depend on your own individual requirement and with regards to the different manufactures, Fujitsu claim to manufacture more than all the other manufactures put together !

Who are the manufactures?  

  • Fujitsu
  • Sharp
  • Epson
  • Cannon
  • Xerox

The above lists are what you would claim to be the best and the biggest, there are some smaller companies but I am sure that you be able to find what you are looking for form the above.

The next post with regards to scanners will be a more in depth view on how to plan and what types would suite you the most.


Scanner Terminology and Protocol

What is SCSI?

The acronym SCSI (pronounced “scuzzy”) stands for Small Computer System Interface.

SCSI is an interface standard for connecting peripheral devices to PCs and can be found on a majority of scanners.

What is USB?

USB, or Universal Serial Bus is a standard computer interface that is included with the majority of personal computers. The USB interface allows the user to connect external devices including scanners, digital cameras, printers, keyboards, and mice to the PC. The current USB specification is 2.0. The 2.0 standard supports and is backwards compatible with the previous specification, 1.1.

What are TWAIN and ISIS?

TWAIN and ISIS are industry standard scanner drivers. They allow you to seamlessly connect your scanner to hundreds of scanning applications.

What is OCR?

OCR or Optical Character Recognition is a software process where an image is converted to text data. Once the image is converted, the text can be edited by a word processing/spreadsheet application or the text data can be used as an index to perform full text searches and retrieval.

Flatbed Scanner

Flatbed scanning may be required for customers that have photographs, fragile, old, or oversized documents.

Why doesn’t the ScanSnap include a TWAIN driver? Will there be a TWAIN driver?

The ScanSnap scanner is a personal document imaging solution. It includes intelligent document processing of images that make it an ideal fit for any business professional looking for a paper to PDF solution. The automatic processing and ease of use make it an ideal solution for any business user, regardless of their knowledge of scanner drivers and software. To streamline the paper to PDF process, a TWAIN driver isn’t included or required to operate the unit. ScanSnap can scan directly to the computer’s hard drive with the capability of launching any PDF or JPEG based application to view the image.

Long Document Scanning

Long Document Scanning functionality is used to process longer than normal paper sizes. Long documents can be in the form of loan documents, Medical equipment logs, and similar documents.