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Subject: Re: Image Delivery Systems
From: Larry Medina <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Larry Medina <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 9 Jun 2005 11:29:58 -0700
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> 
> I'm also contemplating a switch from 100% microfilm imaging to either some
> combination of imaging and microfilming or 100% imaging. 

 Hybrid systems serve a lot of purposes. Strong consideration should be 
given to the location of your user base to the repository of information and 
the access pattern of users. If they're centrally located, or they contact a 
portion of the organization (RIM or whomever) to provide service in 
accessing images, and the usage pattern is so low that it wouldn't support 
the cost of converting the images form film to anything else, these would be 
excellent candidates for leaving on film.
 If the user base is spread over a wide geographic area (or areas) and the 
access is random and frequent, then there would be a reason to consider 
imaging the film and making it available on-line.
 If you're considering 100% imaging, you have a lot of other issues to 
consider, like investigating the source of the materials and if there's a 
way to make the source electronic to begin with and skip the middle man. You 
may also want to consider the ability of your organization's communication 
system to handle the increased load of passing images back and forth and if 
this change will impact it's performance. And don't forget the need for 
massive amounts of storage and backup capabilities, and how this plays in a 
disaster recovery/business continuity scenario. 

 In past jobs,
> we've had an ERM into which 300 dpi compressed and OCR'd PDF images were
> migrated along with their index data (usually from barcode fields and the
> least amount of manual keying) from the scanning software. Once indexed in
> the ERM, the images were then available with full text searching and
> searching on metadata fields to authorized users with the appropriate 
> access
> rights.

 A 300dpi OCR'd PDF is not exactly a small file... and what do you do in the 
case of images, embedded hyperlinks, color text, etc?? Even compressed, 
these files can become storage hogs. And don't forget... compressed files 
don't always backup and uncompress well.

I'd be curious how others' deliver their common size images (Legal/Letter).
> 
> 1. ERM, EDMS, Windows Explorer or another delivery system?
> 2. PDF (No OCR), PDF (w/OCR), TIFF or another format

 We've pretty much eliminated all use of Legal size. 
 As for delivery, we use a mix. Some items are in an ERMS and in those 
cases, we actually deliver in a variety of methods. We have viewable PDFs, 
downloadable PDFs and native file formats (which are controlled by a 
'rules-based system' ). We use TIFF for most images (image only type files) 
and also manage some things like CAD files in their native forms, which can 
be accessed through a file viewer. Lots of PDF, very little with OCR, mainly 
because of the file sizes. 

I'm looking for a somewhat simple, effective and also searchable system to
> use to introduce effective imaging delivery to the company to whet the
> appetite. I have a few small projects which I'll be able to use as
> demonstrations (while probably still microfilming them per current
> standards).

 There are generally "islands" within organizations that are prime 
candidates for these type of systems, but you need to look for the right 
fit, in terms of business needs balanced against cost. The software licenses 
and ongoing support cost can be high, and you may need to look at replacing 
monitors to get higher resolution and larger screen sizes for "pan and scan" 
features to be fully usable. There will also be the need for training, and 
as mentioned a possible need to purchase additional storage and more 
efficient backup systems. 
 Keep in mind, pilots can work well... but scope creep can kill you. Find 
out what people do now and what their expectations for improved the 
technology are and get the specs for the system in writing. If the users ask 
for something more as you go along, explain the cost in terms of direct 
charges from the vendor/implementer and the impact on the schedule, and make 
sure they're willing to pay for it before you move forward. 
 Larry

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