Common Terms & Useful Information

On this page are a number of common terms and phrases that you might come across when trying to choose a document scanning provider.

BUREAU – The term used for the production environment in which we scan the records on behalf of our customer base.

IN HOUSE – A bureau set up within the organisation which is manned and run by their own staff

SCANNING – The term used to describe turning paper or microfilm records into electronic images using a scanner regardless of size or condition.

PDF – Portable Document Format A term used to describe the output from paper to electronic images. Preferred by UKDM and many clients as it “future proof” the electronic image and also means the customer can view, search, print and save without the need for additional software or licences. Adobe is used widely throughout the world and can be downloaded FOC.

OCR – Optical Character Recognition Is software which we use extensively in the bureau to allow the electronic image to be searched for any text (alpha or numeric) which is contained within the body of the document or file - or across all files within a database – particularly effective when the customer has records batch indexed. It reduces the need for key indexing and therefore saves cost for the customer and ourselves.

KEY INDEXING – Manual indexing of specific information usually from the file cover/spine of a folder, but can also be from each document – typically an invoice number These are the main fields used by a customer to retrieve the files they have had scanned.

MEDIA - This is the product we use to return the electronic images to our customers, typically it would be CD/DVD or a pen-drive/memory stick. We are able to password protect any media we use to transfer data back to a customer.
We also offer FTP (File Transfer Protocol) which is where we basically squirt the electronic images and metadata down the line into a customer site (they provide a path for transfer or a download location)

METADATA – This is the term used to describe the index fields which are associated to each pdf created. Usually we rename each pdf with the key fields chosen by the customer, however sometimes they ask for the images with metadata so they would images named a .0001 pdf etc and a spreadsheet usually in excel format which list .001 pdf – Jones, Albert, 123456 etc. each field would usually be separate by a comma this is known as a CSV file (Comma separated value)

PAGE – A sheet of paper regardless of if it has information on the back and the front or one side only

IMAGES – A side of paper also the way in which we would price a job – a page with information requiring scanning on both sides would equate to 2 images when the customer is charged

DOCUMENT – Means each new electronic record whether that be one page or 500.

TURNAROUND – The time from collection of paper records to return of electronic media to a customer. Many prospects will identify this as their main bug bear with their current provider i.e. they take too long to get it back to us

ARCHIVE – a term used to describe the existing paper records which a customer may have which have never been scanned (hopefully you will find lots of large archives)

ONGOING – A term used by an existing bureau user to describe the work they sent our either regularly / periodically or adhoc but does not equate to an archive. It can be considerable but is usually generated during the preceding year.

RETRIEVAL – A service we provide to our bureau customers which means any file/document we have here for scanning if it is needed, we will find it from the boxes they sent in, scan it and send it back to them electronically – a very useful selling point as it reassures them that they will always have access to their records.

MICROFILM – Comes in different guises such as aperture cards, fiche and roll film, it was the precursor to scanning and carried out on a bureau basis in much the same way, however, it does not have the flexibility to share or interrogate the data. We can and do scan microfilm particularly aperture cards for customers but those who have a microfilm archive rarely convert it all as their need to go back to it is usually limited.

PROPRIETARY SOFTWARE – A software to search and retrieval electronic files which is exclusive to one or a small number of bureaux and means they basically hold the customer to ransom to carry on using them regardless of the level of service or price increase – which is why our use of PDF is a much better choice.

SERVER – The central computer used by companies to hold the paper records once they have been converted to electronic images.

RETENTION – The time a customer is required by law or their governing bodies to keep records – it can also be determined by their customers

ISO9001 / PD0008 – Quality standard and guidelines required to produce electronic images we are certified ISO and work to all PD0008 Guidelines we are also Data Protection Registered
A note – You may get asked if the electronic images are legally admissible, the answer is YES. Electronic images are regarded as “best evidence” in any court and approved by Customs and Excise and under Civil Evidence Act 1995/98

Should you require further explanation of any of these terms or anything else not listed on this page then don't hesitate to give our experienced sales team a call on 01625 400250.