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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

FAQ's for LegalScans
  1. What do you mean by document imaging and scanning?
  2. What is an electronic document?
  3. How would I access and use this electronic document?
  4. What is PDF?
  5. What is Acrobat?
  6. What is TIFF?
  7. TIFF Format vs. PDF Format?
  8. What are the legal issues surrounding document scanning and imaging?
  9. Do you store the documents on tape, CD, or DVD?
  10. Are there any hardware and software requirements?
  11. What electronic formats do you offer?
  12. How many documents can fit on one CD?
  13. Can I add notes to the scanned documents?
  14. Do I need special training to use a document CD?
  15. What if I want to add more documents to my LegalScans CD that I had made last year?
  16. What if I want another copy of my document CD later?
  17. What if I buy a new computer? Will it be able to read the LegalScans CD?
  18. Will my LegalScans CD work in a DVD (digital versatile disc) player?
  19. What if new technology should happen five years from now? Will I be able to use my LegalScans CD?
  20. How much does your services cost?
  21. How do I make my documents "scan ready"?
  22. Is there a minimum that I need to send to you to have my documents scanned?
  23. How fast can we get our documents converted to CD?
  24. What file format are the scanned pages?
  25. Do you OCR documents as well? Can you convert the scanned files in Microsoft Word® format? What is the accuracy? How much does OCR cost?
  26. What type of processing do the images undergo?
  27. Do you offer a searchable database of my documents?
  28. Do you return the original documents?
  29. How does my company allow for more than one person at a time to access our scanned documents?
  30. Can you upload the image files to our server?

Question? What do you mean by document imaging and scanning?

The Answer Document imaging and scanning refers to the capture of hardcopy paper and the conversion of that paper to a raster image. Document imaging and scanning can be used interchangeably.   Most document management image files follow two standards:   TIFF Group IV (Industry Standard) and PDF (the de facto standard). <More Info>

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Question? What is an electronic document?

The Answer An electronic document is a digital picture of the original paper document. When a piece of paper is run through a scanner it makes an electronic image of the document, similar to a digital camera.

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Question? How would I access and use this electronic document?

The Answer There are several possibilities for your use.
  1. You can read the document on your computers monitor.
  2. You can fax the documents using your computer's fax-modem.
  3. With Internet access, you can email the document.
  4. Using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software, you can convert the document images into editable text for use with word processing and spreadsheet software.
  5. You can print the entire document or only those pages or sections desired.
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Question? What is PDF?

The Answer Portable Document Format (PDF) files are used to represent and exchange printable documents electronically. A PDF file preserves the format of an original document, and contains all the original fonts, images & graphic information, layout and formatting. A PDF file can be viewed and printed without format loss from any operating system, including Windows, MacOS, and all Unix variants including Linux, using the free Adobe Acrobat Reader.  

The Portable Document Format (PDF) was originally developed by Adobe for the U.S. Federal Government to store its legacy files.  Currently, the U.S. Federal Government is still the largest user of PDF technology. Most individuals have encountered the PDF format when downloading electronic tax forms from the IRS.

PDF format has been a de facto Internet standard.  It guarantees that the image seen by the viewer is congruent across all platforms.  While PDF requires a viewer, it is readily available as freeware called Adobe Acrobat Reader.

PDF files have metadata, such as XML tables of content and links, making images more useful to end users.  PDF files support security privileges, watermarking and signing, resulting in tools that exist to protect intellectual capital.  Also, PDF files can be streamed by page, providing the responsiveness that browser users expect.

One significant attribute of PDF format is the superior appearance of the printed copy when reproduced using a high quality printer.  Image and text characteristics of PDF files tend to reproduce very well under most display and output configurations. <More Info>

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Question? What is Acrobat?

The Answer Acrobat is the name for a family of document interchange products written by Adobe Systems, Inc. The underlying file format is the Portable Document Format (PDF). The idea is that any document you would normally print, you can now instead turn into PDF, which represents the exact appearance of the printed document. The PDF file can then be viewed by anyone with an Acrobat Reader. Text can be cut out of a PDF file in Rich Text Format (RTF) but the document cannot be edited in any real sense.

Since PDF is platform-independent, and reading and writing software is available for a variety of platforms (Windows, Macintosh, various flavors of UNIX), documents can be exchanged freely between users of those platforms.

As well as representing the printed pages of your document, Acrobat supports additional navigational aids such as hyperlinks, bookmarks and thumbnail views.



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Question? What is TIFF?

The Answer TIFF (Tag Image File Format) is a common format for exchanging raster graphics (bitmap) images between application programs, including those used for scanner images. A TIFF file can be identified as a file with a ".tiff" or ".tif" file name suffix.

The TIFF format was developed in 1986 by an industry committee chaired by the Aldus Corporation (now part of Adobe Software). Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard were among the contributors to the format. One of the most common graphic image formats, TIFF files are commonly used in desktop publishing, faxing, 3-D applications, and medical imaging applications.

Tiff Group IV is the image compression format most widely used in document imaging today.

TIFF files can be in any of several classes, including gray scale, color palette, or RGB full color, and can include files with JPEG, LZW, or CCITT Group 4 standard run-length image compression.

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Question? TIFF Format vs. PDF Format?

The Answer TIFF and PDF are both "image" file formats.    Many litigation software products use TIFF as well as many service bureaus.  PDF is also a growing standard, especially with the U.S. government. So....which one?

Actually, either one.  In fact, it's fair to analogize the connection between TIFF and PDF as similar to Word and Wordperfect files. TIFF files can be easily converted into PDF files, and vice-versa.  Both formats will stand the test of time and be universally accepted. <More Info>

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Question? What are the legal issues surrounding document scanning and imaging?

The Answer If done properly, the courts have upheld that imaging and scanning are just as legally binding as paper. Legal acceptability of document images depends on the operation or the business process used to create the documents. Audit trails are recommend and are used to prove that a transaction was properly processed by the organization. Audit trails also help insure document integrity and prove that the image is a true representation of the original. <More Info>

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Question? Do you store the documents on tape, CD, or DVD?

The Answer LegalScans stores electronic documents on CD-R media. CD-R media has a longer shelf life, wider support, fast random access to files, cannot be erased or altered, and is non-proprietary. Tape has moving parts to break, dozens of different and incompatible formats, is quite slow to access, is erasable and alterable, and can be damaged by common electromagnetic fields. We do not recommend tape for long term storage of electronic documents, nor for frequently accessed information. Tape is often not accepted as a storage method for legal purposes because of the ability to alter the files on the tape.
While it does offer promise for large volume document image storage, DVD is still a new technology and has not been standardized to provide the nearly universal access to your documents that is possible with CDs. Not all customized DVD disks are usable in all DVD players. LegalScans does not recommend the DVD format for document archiving at this time, but may offer it as standards improve.

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Question? Are there any hardware and software requirements?

The Answer A computer with a CD-ROM drive capable of reading CD-R disks and an imaging program. CDs can be formatted to be read by Windows, UNIX, Linux, OS/2, and Macintosh systems. Eastman Software's "Imaging" (also known as Wang Imaging or Kodak Imaging) is included under the Accessories menu in Windows 95 and 98 and is an excellent program for viewing, copying, and printing multiple-page TIFF files. (If you don't find it installed on your system, check Windows Setup. It is probably on your Windows installation CD.

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Question? What electronic formats do you offer?

The Answer LegalScans offers a variety of formats including those listed below. If you don't see the format you need, please inquire by phone or email. It is important to note that each of these formats have their own unique set of advantages and limitations.
(All Trademarks used below are property of their respective owners.)
  • Adobe Acrobat (PDF)
  • ASCII Text
  • JPG Images Only
  • Microsoft Office formats: MS Word, MS Excel
  • Single-Page TIFF Images
  • Multi-Page TIFF Images
  • Others
  • <More Info>


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Question? How many documents can fit on one CD?

The Answer Approximately 12,000 letter-sized, black and white pages will fit on a single CD. Color documents and photos can also be scanned to CD, but because they require more memory, fewer will fit. This will let you find your document without leaving your desk. Your files will be at your finger tips. The fact that the documents are on a CD means that you may be able to eliminate all those dusty files and file cabinets and vastly reduce the cost of storage. You can transport millions of electronic documents in your briefcase. Try that with paper!!

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Question? Can I add notes to the scanned documents?

The Answer Not directly onto the CD. By its nature it is a read-only medium. This feature keeps others from deleting or changing your originals and is usually required if the images are to be used for legal purposes. You can annotate or otherwise edit the documents once you copy them to your hard drive or other read/write media.

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Question? Do I need special training to use a document CD?

The Answer No special training is required to view or print the documents when using intuitive software such as "Imaging". Most computer users are able to get results in just a few minutes.

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Question? What if I want to add more documents to my LegalScans CD that I had made last year?

The Answer We can add more to the same CD if formatted for UDF, or we can create a new CD as required with the new files on them..

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Question? What if I want another copy of my document CD later?

The Answer LegalScans can create as many copies as required.

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Question? What if I buy a new computer? Will it be able to read the LegalScans CD?

The Answer The CDs can be read by PCs and Mac equipped with CD drives, and most new systems have the drives included. Computer manufacturers have made their CD Players compatible by having industry standards, which were established by Sony and Phillips over 10 years ago. Some older CD-ROM readers (more than 4 years old) may need firmware updates to properly read CD-R media.

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Question? Will my LegalScans CD work in a DVD (digital versatile disc) player?

The Answer Most DVD players on the market are designed to read all standard CDs including those produced by LegalScans. Check manufacturers specifications to see if the DVD drive will read CD-Recordable (CD-R).

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Question? What if new technology should happen five years from now? Will I be able to use my LegalScans CD?

The Answer If you keep your CD or DVD player - no problem. However, LegalScans will keep up with any widely-used superior technology and will offer conversion services if and when required for our customers. The format on the CDs are generic enough that the electronic industry will be able to convert or use them for the foreseeable future. If and when the technology changes, you will have adequate time to convert them.

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Question? How much does your services cost?

The Answer Pricing for scanning and indexing services is highly variable due to the volume of documents to be scanned, the nature of the original paper documents and the additional services requested. However, some rough guidelines are:
  • Scanning : $0.10 to $0.16 per page
  •  Indexing : $1.50 to $2.50 per page
  •        OCR : $0.25 to $0.35 per page
As a rule of thumb, documents which contain numerous staple and clips will run slightly higher in price.  To make your scanning project much more affordable, please remove staples at your office and insert colored sheets between sections, using binder clips to hold larger sections together securely. For an estimate, fill out our Quote Request Form or contact us directly.

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Question? How do I make my documents "scan ready"?

The Answer "Scan ready" means all the staples and other paper fasteners have been removed from the files and the pages are not excessively wrinkled, torn or otherwise damaged. The pages are all oriented the same way (i.e.: all tops up) and facing the same way (if single-sided). If the pages are of odd or mixed size, charges may apply for extra processing.
The files should also be separated and labeled in a way that is logical to how you would store and access them normally. We will assign a file name based on the label on the physical folder, unless some other naming scheme has been planned. Each electronic file should contain no more than 100 images because of the limits of most computer's RAM memory prevents viewing of larger files. If a particular physical file is more than 100 pages, it will span more than one electronic file. Extra charges may also apply if there are more than 2 unique file names for each 100 pages due to the extra processing required to manually assign file names, and this requirement also applies to extra directory levels.

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Question? Is there a minimum that I need to send to you to have my documents scanned?

The Answer There is no minimum number of pages.

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Question? How fast can we get our documents converted to CD?

The Answer Turn around time depends on the volume of documents, the level of service requested, advanced notice, and our current job queue. Our goal, is less than a week.

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Question? What file format are the scanned pages?

The Answer LegalScans offers many file formats, but we recommend black and white Group 4 TIFF for most document storage applications due to its wide support by software developers, small file size, and ability to store multi page documents in one file. Also, PDF is also highly recommended. If you require a special format, just ask.<More on File Formats...>

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Question? Do you OCR documents as well? Can you convert the scanned files in Microsoft Word® format? What is the accuracy? How much does OCR cost?

The Answer LegalScans does offer conversion of paper documents to editable file formats such as word processing files, commonly called OCR or Optical Character Recognition. Accuracy is entirely dependent on the quality of the original. Claims by OCR software vendors for uncorrected documents are 99.7% accuracy with a high-quality original but expect average of 95-99% based on industry experience. A document produced by a laser printer or printing press with standard fonts on white paper is considered a high-quality original. Photocopies, low-resolution printouts, documents with non-standard fonts such as script, and documents with poor contrast due to similar colors of paper and ink, are all considered low-quality for the purposes of OCR and will probably require extensive manual processing to improve accuracy.
OCR costs are approximately $0.25 to $0.35 per page.

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Question? What type of processing do the images undergo?

The Answer Images go through extensive quality control for straightening, de-speckle, and visible page edge removal before being recorded to CD.

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Question? Do you offer a searchable database of my documents?

The Answer A searchable database can be supplied. The creation of a searchable database of document content is also called "indexing". There are many types, and therefore costs and effectiveness vary greatly. In most cases, a company is best off getting the paper documents scanned to CD, then ordering conversion and integration services specific to their workflow procedures and database software.

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Question? Do you return the original documents?

The Answer Yes we can. All transportation costs are paid for by the customer. 

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Question? How does my company allow for more than one person at a time to access our scanned documents?

The Answer If your office has a LAN (local area network) or WAN (wide area network), document CDs may be placed in CD-ROM players that are accessible on the network. For large archives spanning more than one CD, some companies use CD "jukeboxes" which hold multiple CDs ready for use. You may also get multiple copies of your archive so each key staff member or branch office has a complete set.  You can also have your IT manager copy the files to your server's hard drives for access across your network.

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Question? Can you upload the image files to our server?

The Answer Yes, we can, but the time to do so might not be as time or cost-effective as sending you a CD for on-site copying to the server by your in-house or contracted technician who already knows your network system. The CD is also your backup copy in case of hard drive failure or other disaster. We also offer private FTP downloads of your data. If you need special handling of your image files, bring up your needs to your LegalScans representative when you inquire.

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