IT Security

Document Scanning

Document Scanning Services

Document scanning, or document imaging, is the process of capturing digital images of paper documents. These images are then transformed into a digital format using optical character recognition (OCR) conversion software, which scans document images in order to turn them into text documents, allowing them to be searchable by keywords. Your organization may want to consider scanning and digitizing your paper records to improve efficiency, improve accuracy, improve accessibility, meet compliance standards, improve security, save money, save space, and to live better, frankly.

The type of scanning service that you will need will be based largely on what types of documents you are scanning and the format that you wish to store them in. Beyond basic document scanning, some scanning services offer added features such as the ability to edit and mark up scanned papers, hi-res images in both black/white and color, and different file formats for storing at different scales. If you are considering your document scanning options, there are several different types of document scanning services:

Bulk scanning. High quality devices can scan large numbers of documents in large batches without needing to handle each document individually. This scanning method takes less time than other methods.

Large-format scanning. A large document will require a large scanner that captures superior-quality images. Examples of large-format documents are posters, maps, and blueprints.

Optical character recognition (OCR) scanning. These files will be saved in a format that allows them to be searched by keywords; they will not be scanned as an image format.

Microfiche and microfilm scanning. Data stored on tapes and microfilms can be converted to indexable digital files.

Off-site and on-site scanning. Scanning services may be offered at the location of the service provider, but if your documents are classified and sensitive you may wish to have the documents scanned on-site where the process can be supervised by an authorized employee.

Another consideration is what formats you wish to save your scanned documents as.

Portable document format (PDF). PDF files are the most common file format for scanned documents. PDF documents have built-in OCR technology and are widely used.

Tagged image file format (TIFF or TIF). TIFF files are common file formats for scanned documents. They are image files that hold a lot of detail and compress very well. TIFF documents are commonly used to store sensitive records such as patient records, student records, and government records, as well as large sets of records.

Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG or JPG). JPEGs are one of the most common image file formats for digital photography and web images.

Portable Network Graphics (PNG). PNGs are great for web graphics, but their low resolution makes them a poor choice for scanned documents.

GIF, DMP, DOCX, and others. These are generally not recommended for scanning because there are better options such as PDF, TIFF, and JPEG.