Category Archives for "Hardware"

Abbyy FlexiCapture For Transcript Processing – A More Detailed Review

Last time we took a look at the Abbyy FlexiCapture product to perform College Transcript processing in a broad overview.  This time I would like to start looking at some lower level details of the product that show where FlexiLayouts end and Project Level Document Definitions begin.

Let’s start with some basic definitions.  A Layout is used to help the Recognition Engine to identify the document in a batch as belonging to a particular Document Definition.   A Layout is also used to help the Recognition Engine to find the locations of the data to extract and place in fields the user can then see and modify if necessary.  A Document Definition is used to determine the type of processing to perform on the document, the fields contained in the document and the type of data those fields should have.
Continue reading

There’s enough SAN for all of us!

I’m really excited that we recently got a new D-LINK DSN-3200-10 SAN (Storage Area Network) for our network. What’s even more exciting is the amount of data we are going to be able to store on this monster… 30TB! We already currently have running the same model of SAN on our network but with only 15TB’s, which is still an amazing amount of storage.  Add in our new 2010 Exchange server and the amounts of virtual machines we have running on Hyper – V  using up gigs and gigs of space plus failover drives, 15TB’s can run out quickly. Once we fully implement our new SAN we will be able to transfer most of our data that is stored on servers with hard drives pushing the storage limit. The part about adding this SAN into our environment that gets me the most excited is that it will allow us to dynamically expand our storage requirements whenever we need to make changes on the fly in order to support growing databases, image repositories, virtual machines, and any other storage issue that may arise.

Will Hart
Support Engineer
ImageSource, Inc.

Student Enrollment Transcript Processing

Many Colleges and Universities must handle transcripts received from other Colleges and Universities for Student Enrollment processing. The receiving College goes through several steps to process a Student Application for Enrollment and the associated transcript(s) that Application may have and those steps may require the application to pass to several different people.  Usually a folder is created to hold all the documents being received to support the Application and once all required documents are received this folder is passed on to Evaluators to evaluate the application and make an Admit or Deny decision.

The processing of a transcript may follow different processing depending on the College.  In one case the information on the transcript is manually entered into an ERP system for Student Processing on a line by line basis.  This is very labor intensive and slows the processing of a Student’s Application.  In addition, the Evaluator must review the transcript and mark those lines that cannot be transferred, and manually add up the Units Attempted, Units Earned/Completed and calculate a GPA to see if the Student qualifies for admission.  A lot of manual processing is done on a single transcript and a single Student may have one or more transcripts from previous institutions and all have to be evaluated in the same way to determine admission to the school.

There are a couple of products available that can help to automate this Student Enrollment Processing, Oracle I/PM and ABBYY FlexiCapture.  Oracle I/PM can provide both the image storage of all the documents received and also a workflow to route the document sets through the various stages of processing electronically.  This relives the use of paper in the processing and the associated issues of losing track of documents or folders and time consuming searches to find a document.

Since a paper transcript is different for different institutions a product that allows flexibility in processing different formats is required to read the data from the transcript and place it into similar fields that can be uploaded into an ERP system.  The ABBYY FlexiCapture product allows for the capture of information from a free format form like a transcript.  It has a module called FlexiLayout that allows the developer to specify where on a page a specific data set may reside.  It can handle table data like Session/Course data which can be repeated multiple times on a single transcript.  It can handle multiple page transcripts and multiple columns of data on a single page that continues on the next page.  This product is very flexible in the design stages to allow the developer to handle almost all the common issues when attempting to extract data from a transcript.

By using the ABBYY FlexiCapture product and releasing the extracted transcript data and the image into I/PM there are several time and labor gains to Enrollment Processing.

  • Almost all manual routing of paper is eliminated.  This saves time in both the movement of folders from one desk to another and also saves time in searching for the correct folder to place newly acquired documents.
  • Manual Line by Line data entry of transcripts is reduced.  Even with the ABBYY product some labor is still required to review the extraction results and ensure the data is correct.  However, this Validation step takes a lot less time and effort then manual line by line data entry.  The data can then be uploaded electronically into an ERP/Student Processing system.
  • Since the extracted data is now in the I/PM repository it is easy to develop a form that can allow the evaluator to select the Session/Course lines to include in a Total Summary and then press a button so the totals are calculated automatically.  This sure beats the manual method of using a hand calculator.

Using both of these products help in lowering the costs of processing Student Applications for Enrollment and the time consuming effort of transcript processing.

ProStor and Oracle IPM — First Look

ProStor Systems sells a line of disk cartridge archival systems with some very compelling features. A representative of ProStor attended Nexus 2009 to demonstrate their systems, and as an Oracle IPM architect I was intrigued to see how well ProStor’s InfiniVault® would work in an IPM environment. So an associate and I visited ProStor’s headquarters in Boulder, Colorado with an Oracle IPM test system to put the InfiniVault system through its paces.

We hooked up a direct network crossover cable to the archival system in the same NT Workgroup, and then attempted to configure IPM to talk to it. We found we had to set the IPM services account name and login to be exactly the same as configured in InfiniVault. Note that InfiniVault requires at least an 8 character password so the IPM services account must follow suit.

Once we had communication, images and universal documents flowed quickly into the archive system. Retrieval of objects from the archive system was very fast. We think setting IPM to archive older objects from expensive RAID 5 magnetic storage to InfiniVault can provide an opportunity to utilize the faster storage for current daily object retrieval, while placing less often accessed objects into long term storage.

The ProStor system comes with a built in full text indexing feature we thought might be useful with IPM but unfortunately IPM stores all universal documents in a proprietary binary, with no file extension, which is what InfiniVault keys on to apply IFilters in order to index the data from many common file structures.

InfiniVault also comes with a sophisticated records management capability but this can’t be used with IPM in any meaningful way due to the way IPM stores and tracks objects. However, the records management system could be used with many other common activities in an enterprise since InfiniVault can be used for all general archival tasks within an organization.

Many more features are available with ProStor archival systems and we will be recommending them to our customers for IPM object archival. Feel free to contact me or  ImageSource for more information.

Clint Lewis
Senior Technical Architect
ImageSource, Inc.

Business Process Optimization

For those of you who attended my breakout session at the NEXUS ECM Conference on automating business processes this topic will be familiar to you.  If you missed the session, this blog will provide a glimpse into the world of automating and optimizing business processes.
Continue reading