Windows® and Windows Server®
Virtual Office Information SQL operates on PCs under the Windows PC or Windows network environments using the Windows graphical user interface. An ODBC interface connects Virtual Office Information SQL to industry standard SQL databases such as Oracle, MS-SQL Server and Access.
Open Architecture and Compliance with Industry Standards
With open, client-server architecture, Virtual Office Information SQL conforms to industry standards where applicable. It does not contain proprietary routines.
Configurations (stand-alone and networked)
Virtual Office Information SQL can begin as a stand-alone system. When the user decides, it can be moved on to a network. Virtual Office Information SQL will run on popular networks. Many configurations are possible. It can be used with a combination of stand-alone, a RAID system or network drives, with several scanners, and with one or more printers on the network.
Several Different Filing Cabinets
Multiple logical archives that can be thought of as independent filing cabinets with their own labels can be created. This is like a manual filing system in which there may be separate filing cabinets for purchase orders, accounts payable, invoices, and yet another for engineering documentation. Searching for information can be performed on a specific filing cabinet or across all filing cabinets.
The Folder Concept
A manual filing system is emulated; thus all information resides within folders. As in a manual filing system, where you can place documents within a folder, in Virtual Office Information SQL you can place electronically imported documents within the electronic folder. These documents can be of any origin; scanned paper documents, electronically generated files, scanned microfilm, and aperture cards. Virtual Office Information SQL lets all these different types of documents coexist in the same folder. Therefore, a user may have within a single folder with several scanned documents, engineering drawings, a document that came from microfilm, and even a word processed or CAD file. Each one of these documents would have a different description. A folder can be sub-divided into sections such that each section can have sub-folders which can be described as a folder within a folder.
Unlimited Use of an Archived Folder
In Virtual Office Information SQL an archived folder is one that has been closed. Virtual Office Information SQL allows the user to reopen the folder numerous times so that new information may be added to the same folder.
Customized Indexing Scheme
Keywords are used to index the folders, documents within the folder, and the associated folders and documents. The keywords may be alphanumeric, numeric, currency field and date field. The user can configure the indexing scheme for each type of document within a particular filing cabinet.
The Virtual Office Information SQL system will allow the user to configure a maximum of 25 fields. These indexing fields are of three types:
- Character Fields: Virtual Office Information SQL allows for 15 character fields. Each field is 250 characters long. Alphanumeric entries can be made in these fields.
- Numeric Fields or Date Fields: Virtual Office Information SQL allows for 8 numeric fields. Since dates are stored as numbers, date fields are also figured in with the number of numeric fields.
- Decimal or Currency Fields: Virtual Office Information SQL allows for 2 such fields in which an amount or a number with a decimal may be entered.
- Keywords Field: This is a field available in all index schemes and allows the user to enter 32,000 characters.
In Virtual Office Information SQL, an index to a folder can be associated to the index of another folder. In this way, there can be a folder within a folder. This relationship is called the Folder Sub-folder relationship, in which the sub-folder is stored in the folder (super-folder) along with other documents.
Similarly, a single folder may be associated to more than one folder and in this case the folder index record has more than one folder that are considered super-folders to this folder. Hence, a folder may end up having many sub-folders.
Virtual Office Information SQL therefore, can have a folder within a folder, with documents contained in the folders. It can have a multiple documents in several folders and the capability of displaying these relationships.
Searching a Document or a Folder
When searching, the user can key in a word that has been entered in any of the fields for the folder in the particular index scheme for that type of folder.
The selection of the Folder Type Search will display the proper search screen with the same index scheme that was used in creating the record. Information can be entered in each filed or one field.
If the search result is too broad or too narrow, one can return to the above screen and add or remove search conditions to obtain better results.
However, a direct search method can also be employed, in which, any word or combination of words can be entered in the “keywords” search field to retrieve the folder or the document that is being searched.
Password security is provided whereby a user is assigned a user name, the group the user belongs to, an encrypted password, and what permissions the user is given. Virtual Office Information SQL can restrict entry into filing cabinets, folders and documents. All of the inherent security provide by Virtual Office Information SQL is on top of the security provided by the operating system.
Import and Export of Information
All types of data can be imported. Information brought in can be from paper, microfilm, microfiche, aperture cards, or photographs. With the proper interface, data can also be imported from an electronically generated file, or from a mainframe, mini, another PC, or a fax line. Virtual Office Information SQL allows the import of industry standard TIFF files.
Electronic formats such as standard CAD files, proprietary CAD files such as the .DWG files of AutoCAD, word processor files, such as the .doc MS-Word files, and MS-Excel spreadsheet files can be imported into Virtual Office Information SQL. These various formats can be imported and coexist in a single set of subfolders.
E-mail messages that contain vital information or are vital pieces of correspondence need to be indexed and stored for future reference. These can be imported directly into Virtual Office Information and can be deposited into a particular folder in a particular filing cabinet making it very convenient to manage and securely store the huge amounts of e-mail correspondence and that are becoming common.
Faxes can be received directly into Virtual Office Information SQL and directed to a specific or a temporary folder at the user discretion.
Information that is stored in Virtual Office Information SQL can be exported to other computers over a network and to computers at remote locations over a telephone line or to a remote fax machine.
Paper documents (even E size engineering drawings), microfilm, microfiche, and aperture cards can be scanned. The appropriate scanner must be attached to the scanning station, and the system should be configured to perform scanning on each type of scanner. Low end scanners such as the Hewlett Packard ScanJet line and Fujitsu Scan Partner, the medium and high speed Fujitsu, Canon, Panasonic, Inotec, Kodak and other popular ISIS and TWAIN scanners are all supported.
Dual sided scanners are supported. However, for those users who occasionally scan dual sided documents or have a low volume of dual sided scanning, Virtual Office Information SQL will scan both sides of the documents using a simplex scanner. It provides very fast collating of the two files (front and back) immediately after scanning. Virtual Office Information SQL supports engineering drawing scanners for the scanning of E-size engineering drawings. Wide format engineering scanners are also supported.
Virtual Office Information SQL can support the Wicks & Wilson aperture card scanner for the scanning of engineering drawings on aperture cards at speeds of 50 cards per hour to 300 cards per hour. A smaller demand aperture card scanner is also supported. Similarly, Virtual Office Information SQL supports a very fast microfilm scanner to scan 16mm microfilm at 40 frames per minute without operator intervention for continuous unattended scanning of roll film.
Virtual Office Information SQL allows scanning of large numbers of documents (>150 pages) in a single TIFF file without degradation of scanning speed over the entire file that is scanned. In other words, the scanner continues to perform at the rated speed even when large numbers of pages are being scanned into a single multiple page TIFF files.
Normally, scanning of documents is done into a folder that has been created prior to scanning. However, Virtual Office Information SQL also has the capability to batch scan a number of pages consisting of various documents that would be indexed, after the scanning process is completed, and delivered to folders that have been created prior to scanning. New folders can also be created.
Scanning of a document with certain pages at a certain resolution, e.g. 200 dpi, and certain pages scanned at a different resolution, e.g. 300 dpi, is allowed. It displays all the documents on the screen at the same display size, taking into consideration that resolutions have been intermixed.
Batch Scanning and Batch Indexing
Virtual Office Information SQL has been designed for high productivity scanning applications. Therefore, high productivity scanners are supported. Some of these are the Kodak, Fujitsu, Canon and Inotec GmbH manufactured duplex scanners.
To maintain high productivity, Virtual Office Information SQL allows the user to scan and index documents in batches. As a result, several hundred documents can be scanned as a batch and then indexed on a separate indexing station or the scan station. The indexing operator views each page that has been scanned and keys in the destination folder name and the document description in order for Virtual Office Information SQL to automatically deliver the page to the destination folder. Virtual Office Information SQL creates the index record (destination folder) on the fly at the end of the batch indexing process.
COLD (Computer Output on Laser Disk)
Virtual Office Information SQL has a built-in COLD module. With the COLD module the user can import computer reports from mainframes, minis, or from other PCs directly into Virtual Office Information SQL. The report is split and stored into a specific folder within Virtual Office Information SQL.
A bi-tonal scanned file imported into Virtual Office Information SQL is compressed using industry standard CCITT Group IV compression to give the maximum yield of the storage media by reducing the scanned file size. The decompression is performed in software and does not require special hardware. Virtual Office Information SQL rapidly decompresses the files as they are being viewed. Color JPEG files may also be imported.
Virtual Office Information SQL has the capability to archive on various types of media, including hard drives, network drives, RAID, NAS, CD and DVD. Archiving on the optical media is performed in an unattended mode without operator intervention. Virtual Office Information SQL advises available space on the optical media and compares it to the amount of data being archived. It informs whether sufficient space is available to archive the data. At this point Virtual Office Information SQL provides enough information for the user’s decision whether to archive or not. It allows the archiving of a single folder or a number of folders in a single archiving session. After the archiving process is completed Virtual Office Information SQL can run a verification report to verify that all data that is been archived is accurate.
Virtual Office Information SQL is able to display on industry standard monitors. Virtual Office Information SQL displays documents of all sizes ranging from 3” x 5” cards to engineering drawings. The viewing of computer generated reports of 132 columns as well as 80 columns on the same monitors are possible.
The displayed image can be zoomed. The image can be rotated at 90° intervals in any direction. The image can be scrolled and panned at a very fast pace. A magnifier glass about 2.5 inches x 2.5 inches can be opened and a small portion of the image can be magnified for detailed reading. Likewise, a miniature of the image can be displayed on a window so that the pan and scroll feature can be used on the miniature with concurrent movement of the main image.
Virtual Office Information SQL allows the user to go to the end of a multiple-page document with a single key function, and jump to a certain page by keying the page number. Pages are displayed instantaneously
Scanned images of all sizes do not need specialized hardware (decompression board or special graphic boards) other than those video boards normally used for the display monitor. Virtual Office Information SQL decompresses the files to be viewed in software, whether on a single station or on a number of stations on the network.
Multiple pages from documents or folders can be viewed in multiple windows on the monitor. Simultaneous viewing of the same file or document on various stations on the network is possible if the user has permission to view the document.
Virtual Office Information SQL allows the user to view documents of various formats from a single folder, in their native formats, one after the other, launching whatever program that is necessary for the format in question.
Prior to displaying a document or contents of a folder, Virtual Office Information SQL caches the file on a local disk or on an assigned portion of a shared disk thereby freeing the master storage media for access by other users. A helpful toolbar is provided for easy manipulation of the viewed image.
Printing is supported on industry standard printers, networked or stand-alone. When the proper raster plotter is attached to Virtual Office Information SQL, it allows the printing of scanned E size drawings back on E size paper. In fitting the scanned image to the available paper size, Virtual Office Information SQL maintains the correct aspect ratio of the image and should not distort it.
Annotation (Yellow Sticky Notes) and Image Markup
Virtual Office Information SQL allows the user to attach an electronic note to each scanned page.
When saved, the note stays permanently with the page and can be viewed whenever the page is viewed. Virtual Office Information SQL also allows the user to search for the note by each of the words entered in the note, making it very convenient for a user to find a certain page through searching for a particular note.
Virtual Office Information SQL allows for image markup. The user selects areas on the image to blackout or whiteout as well as highlight. There is a limit of 50 annotations and markups per page in the image file. Image markup can only be done on bitonal TIFF images.
The user can copy a portion of the scanned image and save it to be moved to standard Windows word processing software e.g. Microsoft Word. It then allows the portion of the image to be positioned within the word processed document and further allows the new document containing the partial scanned image, to be printed at high resolution.
Raster-To-Vector Conversion (optional)
The conversion of scanned raster files to standard vector formats is a feature desired when scanned flies need to be converted to a .DXF format so they can be utilized in a CAD systems. Virtual Office Information SQL has an optional module for this task.
Deskewing and Despeckling
For many applications, it is desirable, and sometimes necessary, that a scanned document be deskewed and background speckles and over scan borders be removed. Virtual Office Information SQL can easily perform any of these tasks.
Virtual Office Information SQL supports conversion of raster images to ASCII through the use of OCR software. For example, an invoice, which has a number appearing at the same position on the document, can be put through the OCR program after being scanned for extraction of the invoice number. This number would become an index to the folder. Using OCR a document can be scanned into Virtual Office Information SQL, converted to an ASCII file, and edited with a word processing program within the filing system.
Bar Code (optional)
A number of applications require automatic indexing of documents using information from a bar code affixed to the document. Virtual Office Information SQL can provide such indexing from bar codes positioned in the same predefined position on all documents.
Folder Routing (optional)
An optional folder routing module can be supplied and seamlessly integrated with Virtual Office Information SQL. The folder routing module establishes workflow by moving folders from workstation to work station for processing purposes. Folders may be sent from point to point, or they may be stepped through a prearranged sequence of routing stations. Redirecting of folders is possible within the framework provided by the routing manager.
Full Text Indexing and Retrieval (optional)
Virtual Office Information can be supplied with an optional Full Text Indexing and Retrieval Module. With this option a scanned document that is a graphic file can be processed into a text file and all words contained within the document can be used as index words. The document can then be searched not only by its normal index but also by the contents of the entire document making Virtual Office Information SQL a Full Text Retrieval system.
Distribution Module (optional)
Virtual Office Information SQL can be supplied with an optional Distribution Module. This enables a user of Virtual Office Information SQL to scan, index, and archive folders on CD-ROM and to distribute the CD-ROM to multiple remote locations. At the remote location the user needs to have only a PC with a CD-ROM drive to retrieve the folders sent from the central location. This module is very useful for inexpensive distribution of documents to multiple remote locations.
Virtual Office Information SQL can grow as your business expands. At any time a user can add more retrieval stations, scanning stations, large document scanners, stand-alone or network printers and other peripherals.
R.A.I.D. Sub-System (optional)
A R.A.I.D. storage sub-system is integrated with Virtual Office Information SQL to operate and manage the various filing cabinets that are supported.