How to Choose the Right Scanner
By : Michael Thomas Sometimes, it’s been said, The Simplest approach is usually the best. This is especially true when considering converting Paper Files to Digital Images. While there are many advanced capabilities that are available for scanning and capturing data from imaged documents, Most people simply need to be able to scan a file, attach some very simple metadata, and retrieve that file when it’s needed later on. For many businesses, the question is not whether or not the Paper to Digital process makes sense, but rather how to select the right scanner. Step One: Examine your Needs Before you purchase a scanner, you should consider what types of information you’re looking to capture. What is the size of the pages? Is there Color on the documents? If so, is it important to preserve the color on the scanned version? These questions and more will weigh heavily on how you proceed. If you’re capturing standard business documents, most of these don’t need color, and are 8 ½” x 11”, making it easy to choose the right scanner. If, however, you have smaller pages, such as newspaper clippings or receipts, you may want to look for a scanner that has a Flatbed or special feeder to handle these types of pages. Step Two: Choose a Scanner Once you have answers to these questions, you can go out and look for a scanner that will suit your needs. It can get Pretty Confusing, so keep in mind that for most users, there are only three main options to selecting the right scanner, Speeds, Feeds, and Price. •Speeds – Scanner Speeds are measured by PPM, or Pages Per Minute at which a scanner will capture images. This is only applicable for scanners that have an Automatic Document Feeder, or ADF, as a Flatbed scanner will be largely dependent on the user that is working with the scanner. •Feeds – Again, a scanner with an ADF (Automatic Document Feeder) will be more useful if you’re capturing batches of files at once. For example, If you’re looking to scan and save a 30-Page Contract, it’s much easier to capture this on a scanner with an ADF than without one. •Price – Oftentimes, price is the key determining factor in selecting a scanner, and with good reason. For example, two scanners that have ADF’s and run at 25PPM may vary greatly in price, and it may not be clear exactly why that’s the case. You should take a close look at what Software is being included in the box, as that’s often the source of the discrepancy. Keep in mind that good Software will help make the scanning process much easier. Step Three: Establish a Process Scanning Files is not the magic cure to address all of your challenges with Organizing your
information. Without the proper process for attaching metadata, or establishing a folder structure for scanning, the time and money invested in purchasing a scanner can easily be wasted. There should be careful consideration given to the process for scanning these files and how they should be named and stored within a folder structure. In addition, you may want to consider capturing your files as Full-Text PDF’s so that you can perform full-text searches and find certain words or phrases within files later on. If the volume of files that you’re looking to store is significant, you may want to consider an Electronic Document Management System (EDMS) that would allow you to create a Searchable Repository of all of your scanned information. Current technology has advanced to the point where most document scanners are interchangeable. They all feature similar optics and features, buy with so many different models to choose from, choosing the right scanner can seem overwhelming. At the end of the day, users need to consider how the scanned information will be used, and then compare speeds, feeds, and price to make an appropriate decision. Buzz up!
Article Source: http://www.articlenode.com Michael R. Thomas is Vice President of Client Services for Shoreline Records Management, Inc, and Author of the Upcoming book “Practical Records Management for the Busy Professional.” Shoreline Records Management can help you select the perfect scanner: http://www.shorelinerecordsmanagement.com