What is it: a black-and-white desktop scanner
Applications: multiple document imaging
As Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology advances, the ideal of the truly paperless office edges closer. Canon's latest addition to its range of document scanners adds weight to the theory that paper records may eventually be a thing of the past.
The DR-3020 is supplied with a power cord, SCSI terminator and a document eject guide which prevents input and output documents getting mixed up.
The scanner has two standard narrow SCSI-II ports and a SCSI channel select dial. These allow up to seven SCSI devices to be daisy-chained.
The DR-3020 is a little fussy in that it only works with an Adaptec SCSI adaptor.
The Bus Logic card, which had been pre-configured for testing, had to be swapped with an Adaptec 2940 Ultra SCSI adaptor before the scanner was up and running.
The DR-3020 is compatible only with ISIS drivers, a version of which is made by Pixel Translations and is bundled with the scanner. The problem is that the majority of document imaging software applications don't support ISIS drivers. For example, the Visioneer Paperport does not comply with ISIS. Canon is developing a beta version of the more popular TWAIN driver, which is due to be released soon.
The scanner was tested with Caere Omnipage Pro v6.0 which does provide ISIS support. You cannot use some of the scanner's features if your software doesn't work with them.
Scanning speeds can reach a maxi-mum of 20ppm (pages per minute) for resolutions of 300x300dpi, 40ppm for 300x150dpi, and 30ppm for 200x200dpi in Simplex mode which scans only one side of the document.
One-sided A4 pages slip through the scanner instantly. With two separate line sensors built into its architecture, the DR-3020 can also scan both sides of a page at once. However, this duplex mode requires software support.
It can operate at up to 11ppm for resolutions of 300x300dpi, 23ppm for 300x150dpi, and 20ppm for 200x200dpi.
Photo and text modes are also available, depending on the software.
The Canon DR-3020 is aimed at the high-volume office scanning market, where OCR applications are becoming more popular. As a desktop unit, it's no larger than the average laser printer, weighing about 10Kg and measuring 196x362x336mm.
The sheet-feeder on the DR-3020 can be hinged inward for neater storage and can stack paper up to 10mm high. It can handle paper of various sizes and thickness automatically, from business cards and leaflets to B4 sheets.
The DR-3020 can deal with a range of different documents, from thin photocopier sheets to thick magazine covers.
Multiple pages feed through cleanly and quickly. The unit comes with a total of 40 function sheets which have descriptions and a printed bar code. If the capability is supported by your software, the DR-3020 can read these codes and automatically set its scanning mode according to the information they contain.
This allows multiple documents of different size and format to be stacked on the feeder tray and automatically processed, without changing the software parameters. Examples range from A4 duplex mode to LTR text mode and job-separation sheets in both sizes.
Verdict: quick, quiet and well made, the DR-3020 has some excellent document-management features. However, it suffers from stringent configuration requirements and poor software support. The release of a TWAIN driver should improve its standing.
Contact: Canon on 0121 680 8062 or www. canon.co.uk
Price: u3,449. OPTICAL CHARACTER RECOGNITION
OCR is the process of converting scanned images of printed or handwritten text into a digital format, such as ASCII code, which can be read by computers.
It is this technology in particular which could turn the paperless office into a reality. This is because all documents - handwritten, printed, photographed or faxed - can be converted to digital files.
After documents have been scanned with a flatbed scanner, such as the Canon DR-3020, they can be stored on a computer. They take up relatively little disk space. OCR has been around for many years in the form of readers, which scan mail addresses, application forms and airline tickets, for example.
More recently, general-purpose page readers have been developed for the office. However, because commercial OCR software is designed to handle a broader range of documents, these scanners rarely recognise characters as accurately.
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