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In the early days of our company all our information came in on paper and all of what we sold was on paper. Because of this we literally rent our an old bank vault to house the millions of sheets of paper that, some say, still contain relevant information. That being said, I'm looking into purchasing some hardware capable of scanning all these documents and converting them to pdf. Being new at this level of digitization I would like to ask for recommendations for accomplishing this task. Most of this material exists as separate bound studies/articles/etc. Someone would have to remove the bindings and be able to load many pages at a time and have the scanner feed them all through and convert them to a single pdf (single pdf per study/article/etc). If you have any recommendations I would very much appreciate hearing about them, thanks.

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

I came from software firm that featured an integrated document imaging solution. The production scanners we recommended/sold for customers imaging more than 1,000 documents per day was the Fujitsu fi-6240 or fi-4340c with appropriate SCSI connectivity to the imaging PC (roughly 40ppm). For the extremely large environments, running 5,000 scans per day, we leveraged the newer multifunction devices from the larger copier vendors. The Ricoh MP9001 (as a leased unit) was a popular choice, and scanned at 80ppm.

In both cases, we recommended Kofax job batching software to handle the editing or OCR needs of the application.

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Kofax is fairly-well the standard for big imaging operations, isn't it? – mfinni Jan 13 '11 at 14:43
It is... but we're using it in small sites as well. But that should give a good starting place to look for imaging answers. They have a good range of products. – ewwhite Jan 13 '11 at 14:45

Enormous disclaimer - I work for Iron Mountain. If you don't want to read a commercial vendor recommendation, then stop here.

We can do all of this for you. From storing the paper in the first place, to imaging and indexing it, and providing scanned images back to you via media (DVD), SFTP, or in a hosted searchable (via the aforementioned indexes) image archive.

Industrial scanners are expensive. Doing good QA on scanned images is time-consuming. Hosting the archive in a way that renders the images usable by the business can be tricky. If you've never done this before, you may want to engage experts.

Other companies do this work too - it sounds like a big enough job that you could send out an RFP to several vendors and see how they respond. I'd be surprised if the $$ were more than doing this all yourself. Especially since, when you're done, you've got expensive scanners sitting around doing very little.

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With this much to scan- it's almost certianly going to be cheaper to out source it – AliGibbs Jan 13 '11 at 14:47

One reasonable scanner that can scan very large amounts is the Kodak i1220. It can produce scannable PDFs and scan up to 45 pages per minute. The cost is about $1000, and the optional 8.5x11" flatbed adds about $500 more (maybe there are some papers too fragile or damaged to feed through any mechanism?).

The scanner isn't the expensive part of this workflow - dealing with the results by indexing, making sure they got scanned properly and organizing them will be the hardest and most labor intensive part of what you're doing.

My goal for this scanner is to scan the several cubic feet of photographs my father left behind. Families in similar situations describe being able to scan about 2500 photos per weekend with this model scanner.

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Doesn't look like that model does duplex? The requestor didn't specify, but he's asking "what do i need to know" and that's one of the things. Other than that, it does look like a decent scanner. – mfinni Jan 13 '11 at 14:35

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