Do we really even need a scanner?
A department's need for a scanner is based on how much paper you will need to capture into the document imaging system. Several departments with lower-volume scanning needs have chosen to use their departmental Lanier multi-function printer/scanner/copier/fax machine for their document scanning instead of purchasing a separate scanner. The departmental scanner has the ability to send digital images of scanned documents to a designated email address as a PDF attachment which can then be captured into the document imaging system using the desktop client software.
However, if your department plans on scanning a significant backlog of older archived documents, it may be beneficial to have a document scanner with an automatic document feeder for higher volume scanning and/or a flatbed for older items that may be too delicate to send through the feeder tray.
NOTE: Although some adjustments can be made at the point of scanning, the departmental multi-function scanners will not have the same image-enhancement capabilities as a stand-alone scanner (read more about image-enhancement software below).
What kind of scanner do we need?
The kind of scanner you choose depends largely on how and how often you plan on using it. Many, if not all, of the scanners currently in use at NDSU process a heavy volume of documents on a daily basis. This means you should consider a scanner with a high volume life cycle built to withstand thousands of scans per day. High-quality resolution is another important factor, as is having the option to scan documents in color. It is recommended that scanners have an automatic document feeder (ADF), a high resolution (300+ dpi), and the ability to do two-sided (duplex) scans. You may also want to consider a scanner that has a flatbed option for scanning documents that may be too delicate to send through the automatic document feeder.
What models of scanners can be used?
Several brands and models of scanners will work. Most NDSU departments have elected to use Fujitsu brand scanners because the purchase price includes bundled image-enhancement software, but other brands (e.g., Canon) with similar included software will work as well. Two recommended Fujitsu models are the Fujitsu fi-7260 (has document feeder plus flatbed) and the Fujitsu fi-7160 (document feeder only, no flatbed). Selection of which model is best suited for your office will depend on your office's scanning needs and available work space.
NOTE: Please contact a document imaging Campus Liaison before purchasing a scanner to see if any unused surplus scanners and/or scanning licenses are available.
What kind of software needs to be included with the scanner?
Purchased scanners will frequently come bundled with companion image-enhancement software. Image-enhancement software allows the scanner to make adjustments to the scanned image such as auto-orienting the page, modifying the brightness and contrast, removing specks, adjusting for color, filling in three-hole punch binder holes, eliminating a background watermark, or even detecting blank pages. The two most commonly used software packages are Kofax VRS (Virtual Re-Scan) and PaperStream IP TWAIN.