Imaging is the process of creating an electronic copy of a document.


While imaging can be accomplished via renditioning of an electronic document, the term today is nearly always used to denote the use of a scanner. During the scanning process, reflected light is “read” by a series of sensors and the pattern of light and dark captured as an electronic facsimile of the document. Depending on the application, documents can be scanned as bitonal (black and white), grayscale, or in color.

The primary use for imaging is to capture existing paper document collections or to capture incoming information from third parties. Scanning large volumes of existing files is called backfile scanning. In some cases, imaging is used to capture record copies of documents created internally. Most often imaging is used when signatures, seals or similar markings are required.

Imaging is typically the first of the EDMS technologies to be deployed. Individuals desire to be able to access documents obtained from external sources in the same manner they currently manage desktop documents, in their Windows directory. Small scanners are inexpensive, drive space is readily available and the process is short and simple.

As the number of documents, users and requirements increase, larger scanners and more sophisticated indexing systems are required to process documents. Image Capture Systems are used to process a large number of documents as a single batch. Capture systems use bar code and patch code recognition technologies to separate pages of the batch into individual documents. Batch header pages are used in the front of batches to select pre-configured scanner and job settings. As the documents are scanned and processed, the information on the inserted header and document separator pages is “read” and the pages are processed according to the referenced instructions.

Today most production imaging systems use EDMS Document Management technology as the storage repository for scanned images.