Aperture Card: Card that combines a computer punch card with an opening for the mounting or insertion of microfilm. A standard Hollerith encoded IBM-style punch card that acts as a transport for a 35mm transparency. Typically, aperture cards are used to store blueprints and engineering drawings.

Append: Adding data to the end of an existing file.

Archive Film: Film suitable for the preservation of records for at least 100 years when properly processed and properly stored.

AIIM: (Association for Information and Image Management) The industry trade association that includes Micrographics, Optical Disc, and Electronic Image management markets, In 1996 the name was changed to AIIM International.

Back File Conversion: Refers to the process of converting existing files by scanning or filming them as part of the system implementation.

Barcode: A machine readable array of vertical rectangular marks and spaces in a predetermined pattern. This unique symbolic code is used for fast and accurate identification of items using an optical scanner.

Brown Tone: Polysulfide treatment for silver film that converts reactive silver to inert silver sulfide thereby reducing the occurrence of reduction oxide (redox) and extending the life of the film.

CAD: (Computer Aided Design) Computer programs used to design and draw products in an engineering environment. CAD is based on “Vector” graphics that can be mathematically manipulated.

Compression/Decompression: The reductions of image file size for processing, storage, and transmission. The quality of the image may be affected by the compression techniques used and the level of compression applied. Decompression is the process of retrieving compressed data and reassembling it so that it resembles its original form before compression.

COM: (Computer Output to Microfiche) A technology for downloading computer generated report (data) to a microfilm or microfiche.

Densitometer: A tool used to measure the amount of light that is reflected or transmitted by an object.

Density: Degree of darkness on the image. The amount of data that can be stored or the ability of an object to stop or absorb light. The less the light is reflected or transmitted by an object, the higher its density. Refers to the amount of information stored in a specific amount of space on the surface of a disk or memory chip

De-Skewing: Software ability to straighten or adjust an image that has been scanned or filmed in crooked.

De-Speckle: The process for removing specks from an image.

Diazo Film: A film used to make microfilm or microfiche copies. It is exposed to the original film under ultraviolet light and is developed into identical copies using an anhydrous (gas) ammonia for processing. It creates a negative image on the film.

Digital Documents: Documents that are stored on a computer. The documents may have been created on a computer, as with word-processing files and spreadsheets, or they may have been converted into digital documents by means of document imaging. Digital documents are also referred to as electronic documents.

Digital Video Disc: (DVD) Digital Video Disc or Digital Versatile Disc. A plastic disc on which data can be written and read. DVDs are faster, can hold more information, and can support more data formats than CDs.

Digitization: Use of a scanner to convert documents (on paper or microforms) to digitally coded electronic images suitable for magnetic or optical storage. The process of converting analog information into digital format for use by a computer.

Dithering: The process of converting grays to different densities of black dots, usually for the purposes of printing or storing color or grayscale images as black and white images.

Document Imaging: The process by which print and film documents are fed into a scanner and converted into electronic documents. During the scanning process documents can be OCR’d and indexed to insure quick retrieval at a later date.

Document Management: (DM) Industry terminology that refers to a category of software designed to perform overall management of compound documents. The main attributes of “document management” software are:

  1. Security
  2. Version Control
  3. Library Services
  4. www dissemination and communications

Document Management System: Enable you to store documents electronically. This facilitates the process of retrieving, sharing, tracking, revising, and distributing documents and the information they contain. A complete Electronic Document Management System (EDMS) provides you with all the software and hardware required to insure that you maintain control over all your documents, both scanned images, and files that were created on a computer, like spreadsheets, word processing documents and graphics. A complete EDMS includes document imaging, OCR, text retrieval, workflow, and Computer Output to Laser Disk capabilities.

Dots Per Inch: (DPI) Measure of output device resolution and quality such as the number of pixels per inch on a display device or printer. Measures the number of dots horizontally and vertically. A 600 dpi printer can print 360,000 (600 x 600) dots on one square inch of paper. Resolutions of 100 or 200 DPI are common in check imaging. A resolution of 300 DPI is common for document management systems involving graphics.

Duplex Scanner: Duplex scanners automatically scan both sides of a double-sided page, producing two images at once. Double-sided scanning uses a single-sided scanner to scan double-sided pages, scanning one collated stack of paper, then flipping it over and scanning the other side.

File Format: A type of program or data file. Some common image file formats include TIFF, PDF, and EPS. The type of file, such as picture or text, represented as a suffix at the end of the filename (.TXT or .DOCX)

File Transfer Protocol: (FTP) The Internet protocol used to transfer files between computer systems. FTP is a special way to login to another Internet site for the purposes of retrieving and/or sending files. There are many Internet sites that have established publicly accessible repositories of material that can be obtained using FTP. It is actually a set of TCP/IP protocol commands that is used on the network. File transfer is a common networking task. When a file is transferred over a network, the file must first be divided into smaller packets for transmission. The details of this “packetization” depend on the transfer protocol (communications and packaging rules) being used. This protocol also determines how the transfer instructions are given. In networking contexts, FTP (File Transfer Protocol) and FTAM (File Transfer, Access, and Management) are two popular protocols.

Final Image Resolution: Generally speaking, the higher the resolution, the larger print you can make. Although print quality is affected by other factors as well, like exposure, color quality, output quality, etc. It’s not just how many pixels, but what you do with them!

Frame: One of the still pictures that make up a video. A scanned image or a special image designed using an image-manipulation application (ADOBE PHOTOSHOP, for example) that looks like a picture frame. A datalink layer “packet” which contains the header and trailer information required by the physical medium. That is, network layer packets are encapsulated to become frames. A packet sent over a serial link.

Graphic Image File Format: (GIF) A widely supported image storage format promoted by CompuServe for use on the web.

Gigabyte: (GB) A measure of computer memory or disk space consisting of about one thousand million bytes (a thousand megabytes). The actual value is 1,073,741,824 bytes (1024 megabytes).

Gray Scale Image: An image in which variations in color and shading are represented in shades of gray. Compared with binary (back-and-white) images, gray-scale images take up more space on data-storage devices and take longer to transmit from one computer system to another. However, they are required for those item-processing applications where it is important for users to examine details of the document image.

Group IV: A compression method designed by CCITT for use with Group IV fax machines. This method is optimized for compressing scanned text.

Hollerith Card: A punched hole card used for storing information for input into the computer. Aperture cards are a form of Hollerith card with a microfilmed image included.

Image Capture: Using a scanner or other device to create a digital representation or electronic photograph of an image. The scanning process is often labor-intensive and costly, requiring a substantial investment in handling and processing original materials and their surrogate images. The current strategy is to capture an image at the highest resolution appropriate to the original, and store it off-line as an archival image on CD-ROM or magnetic tape. Techniques such as lossy compression and subsampling can then be used to create derivative images for use online.

In the future, as the ability to deliver high-quality archival scans develops, it will be possible to place the archival scan online without cost of recapture. Scanning can be done in-house or contracted out to a vendor. Whether scanning is done in-house or outsourced, quality of the images can vary widely. Image specifications should be stated clearly in the contract with the vendor and sample images (at varying resolutions) of the materials to be scanned should be requested of the vendor prior to the start of the project.

Image File Formats: File formats used to create and store images. The most common format used in the imaging industry is Tiff, PDF, JPEG, and CAD.

Image Manipulation or Alteration: Refers to making changes (such as tonal adjustments, cropping, more reduction, etc.) to an image using image processing software.

Index Fields: Database fields used to categorize and organize documents. Often user-defined, these fields can be used for searches.

Indexing: A method by which a series of attributes are used to uniquely define an imaged document so that it can be identified and retrieved at a later date.

Joint Photographic Experts Group: (JPEG) A standard image compression mechanism. JPEG compression is “lossy,” meaning that the compression scheme sacrifices some image quality in exchange for a reduction in the file’s size. JPEG has become a standard image compression method allowing for compression ratios of approximately 10:1 before differences can be seen.

JPEG 2000: Officially called ISO 15444, the “JPEG 2000: Image Coding System”, it’s a standardized format that will expand the ability to manage and transport continuous tone images without noticeable loss of quality.

Metadata: Data about data, or information known about the image in order to provide access to the image. Usually includes information about the intellectual content of the image, digital representation data, and security or rights management information.

Microfiche: A 4″ x 6″ piece of film that has reduced images of up to 700 pages of documents in a grid format for indexing. Microfiche generally refers to COM (computer output microfiche) a technology that stores computer reports on the film instead of paper.

Microfiche Jackets: A 4″ x 6″ sleeve used to store microfilmed records.

Microfiche Scanner: A type of scanner that converts microfiche documents into electronic documents.

Microfilm: A storage media for images that has been used since 1800’s. The standard is 16mm film but 35mm film is used similarly for engineering applications.

Microfilm Scanner: A type of scanner that converts microfilm documents into electronic documents.

Micrographics: A general term describing the industry and technology which focuses on various methods of using a film media for the storage of business records/documents.

Optical Character Recognition: (OCR) A technique for recognizing a font optically. Refers to the process by which scanned images are electronically “read” to convert them into editable text. This conversion is performed during or after scanning, and may output formatted text or text-only files (flat ASCII files). Text generated by OCR is often input into text search databases, allowing retrieval of the original scanned image based on its content.

Output File Formats: File formats are the means by which digital data is translated for output. To be translated there must be some common format. Frequently used file formats in the imaging industry include TIFF, CCITT Group III & IV, PDF, and JPEG.

Paperless Office: Many businesses feel that they are drowning in a sea of paper. What happened to the dream of the paperless office? Studies show that offices increase their paper demands by 25% per year; retention periods are becoming longer and access to the documents are becoming greater. What is the cost of all this paper? It runs in the thousands of dollars when considering the price of paper, storage, filing, retrieving, and managing. How can a business cope with their increased need for documentation? The ability to efficiently store documents and easily search and retrieve their contents has been a constant struggle for records managers since the time of stone tablets and papyrus scrolls.

The answer lies in Electronic Document Management (EMD) systems. EDM systems offer secure archive capabilities, elimination of lost or decaying documents, and instantaneous access to all of the documents in the repository. Today, a document can be scanned into a computer and the user can search a template profile or search the entire text of the document. CD ROM’s have over a 30 year shelf life and can store over 15,000 documents. A document that is stored on a computer can be easily located, and once it is found it can be printed, faxed or e-mailed. Another advantage of an EDM system is its archival abilities. Imagine storing 10 file cabinets worth of paper documents in your desk drawer, and being able to retrieve any document within 30 seconds! An EDM system is a great asset allowing you to concentrate on managing your business, not on managing your paper.

Pixel: Picture Element. A single dot in an image. It can be black and white, grayscale or color.

Polysulfide Treatment: This treatment was developed to combat the formation of redox spots or rings on silver microfilm, which are a result of poor environmental conditions and exposure to pollutants. Polysulfide treatment (which converts the silver to a form that better resists oxidation) can be used during initial processing, it can be provided for the master and duplicate negatives after all quality control inspections have been done, or it can be applied to older film, as long as it is not yet deteriorated.

Preservation: Refers to digitizing an original photograph, document, or three-dimensional object is only a method of preservation if the digital file becomes the access tool and the original is no longer available for use. Although high resolution scanning (i.e., scan at the highest resolution possible appropriate to the type of media you are scanning) is recommended for all materials in order to achieve the highest quality possible and to ensure that information held in the original is not lost in the scan. However, the digital file, as of yet, should not serve as a replacement of the original for preservation purposes.

Print Density: The relative darkness of print on the page, which affects the amount of ink or toner applied to a page.

Purge: The process of eliminating duplications and/or unwanted documents or images.

Quality Control: (QC/QA) Describes techniques ensuring that high quality is maintained through various stages of a process. For example, quality control during image capture might include comparing the scanned image to the original and then adjusting colors or tonal values, or checking for defects.

Raster Graphics: In computer graphics, a raster graphics image or bitmap is a data structure represented generally by a rectangular grid of pixels, or points of color.

Redaction: A type of document annotation that provides word-level security by concealing from view specific portions of sensitive documents. Like all annotations in a document imaging system, redactions should be image overlays that protect information but do not alter original document images.

Reader-Scanner: Device that scans an image on a microform and produces a bit stream (digital) output which can subsequently be displayed or printed locally or at a remote location.

Reformat: In programming, reformat means changing the record layout of a file or database. In data entry, data may be captured as it appears on the source document and reformatted to record layout specifications for processing. Disk reformat refers to initializing or re-initializing (erasing) the disk.

Resolution: The ability of a scanning device to reproduce the details of an image. Usually defined in dpi (dots per inch). Also used in micrographics, as the ability of a photographic system to record fine detail. The higher the resolution, the greater the amount of detail will be shown. Measure of image readability, usually expressed in dots per inch (dpi). The sharpness of an image on a video display or printed output is measured in dots per inch or pixels. The higher the number of dots per inch or pixels, the higher the resolution of the image.

Higher resolutions mean more detail in an image, but it also results in larger image files. Refers to the ‘image-sharpness’ of a document, usually measured In dots (or pixels) per inch (dpi). Documents can be scanned at various resolutions depending on your particular needs. The higher the resolution of a document, the greater the image-sharpness, and the larger the file size will be. Resolution also refers to the image-sharpness that printers and monitors are capable of reproducing.

Retention Period: The length of time documents must be stored and maintained to satisfy business or legal requirements.

Scalable: Refers to the ability to enlarge or reduce the size of an image. A document management system is said to be ‘scalable’ if its capabilities can be increased to support additional users or platforms.

Scaling: Technique using an algorithm to uniformly convert a bit-map of one density into a bit map of another proportional density. NOTE: Scaling usually involves enlarging or contracting an image.

Scanner: Device that electro-optically converts a document into binary (digital) code by detecting and measuring the intensity of light reflected or transmitted See also binary code. A hardware device that reads text, images, and barcodes, and converts them into a digital code. An electronic device that digitizes and converts photographs, slides, or other two-dimensional images into bit mapped images. Different methods of illumination transmit light through red, green and blue filters and digitize the image into a stream of pixels. Once an image is converted into digital form, it can be stored and manipulated on computers. A device for capturing a digital image. There are many types of scanners, such as flatbed scanners, drum scanners, slide scanners, and microfilm scanners.


  1. Operation which precedes digitization whereby the surface of a document is analyzed for characters and graphics, and analog signals are produced corresponding to the optical density of the sampled points. See also analog, digitization, document.
  2. OCR scanning is the conversion of printed or other symbolic information from paper or microform into ASCII code. See also intelligent character recognition, optical character recognition.
  3. The systematic examination of data (ISO). See Image Capture. The conversion of human readable images to electronic bit maps. The process of digitizing paper and microforms.

Silver Duplication: KODAK Duplicating Microfilms are micro-fine grain, silver reverse image films used for making contact prints from camera microfilms and duplicate microfilms in microfiche and roll-film applications. Silver duplicating films have a life expectancy of 500 years (LE-500) when processed and stored properly.

Skew: In imaging system when document is scanned in crooked. Some software has a deskewing feature that corrects this problem. The amount of variation from vertical of a MICR character with respect to the bottom edge of the document, measured, in degrees. The maximum allowable Skew is 1.5 degrees. The misalignment or slant of a character, bar, line of characters or barcode with respect to the bottom edge of the document.

Stitching: Combining parts of a scanned image into a single larger image.

Thresholding: Process by which, in a photo detector, i.e., photodiode, CCD, the analog gradation of dark to light is recognized by the scanner’s detection mechanism to produce digital signals.

Throughput: The speed at which documents pass through a transport, usually described in documents per minute.

Tagged Image File Format: (TIFF) An industry standard file format developed for the purpose of storing high-resolution bit-mapped, gray-scale, and color images. A non-proprietary raster image format, in wide use since 1981, which allows for several different types of compression. TIFFs may be either single or multi-page files. A single-page TIFF is a single image of one page of a document. A multi-page TIFF is a large single file consisting of multiple document pages. Document imaging systems that store documents as single-page TIFFs offer significant network performance benefits over multi-page TIFF systems.

TIFF Group III: A one-dimensional compression format for storing black and white images that is utilized by most fax machines.

Tiff Group IV: A two-dimensional compression format for storing black and white images. Typically compresses at a 20-to-1 ratio for standard business documents.

Vector Graphic: An image comprised of paths, lines, curves and geometric components (opposed to pixels) in the image. A series of mathematical functions to describe the geometric figure. Vector images are typically used for CADICAM applications. Vector images keep their quality when enlarged.

Zip: A common file compression format that allows quick and easy storage for transport.