SUMMARY: any recommendations for scanning solutions

From: Todd Pfaff (
Date: Thu Jun 17 1993 - 21:14:14 CDT

I recently asked:

] Subject: any recommendations for scanning solutions
] I'm looking for recommendations for scanning hardware and software
] for a Sun workstation. I'm interested in both text and colour image
] scanning and OCR capability.
] Do most scanners require a dedicated SBUS interface in a SPARCstation
] or are they SCSI devices? If both types are available, are there
] advantages to those which have a dedicated interface?
] Is there any free FTP'able scanner driver/OCR software available?

I received a few replies which mentioned the following vendors/products:

        HP ScanJet
        Adgent Imaging
        Calera OCR software
        Sharp JX series scanners
        Microtek 600 SZ Color Scanner
        Xerox ScanWorx software
        PCS SNAPSHOT software

The following vendors contacted me:

        Apunix Computer Services
        5575 Ruffin Road, Suite 110
        San Diego, CA 92123
        Tel: 619-495-9229
        FAX: 619-495-9230
        - advertisement in SunExpert Magazine, May 1993, page 11
        - Sharp JX320 300 DPI True Color Scanner
                - 1, 8, or 24 bit mode
                - 300 dpi, 600 dpi using Sharp's resolution enhancment
                - 8.5" x 11" scan area
                - comes with Apunix Openscan Software
                        - OpenLook interface
        - optional transparency scanning adaptor for Sharp JX320
        - OpenRead Plus OCR software

        Aurora Technologies
        176 Second Avenue
        Waltham, MA 02154
        Tel: 617-290-4800
        FAX: 617-290-4844
        - advertisement in SunExpert Magazine, May 1993, page 39
        - FirstScan II Image Capture software
                - supports HP ScanJet IIc
        - Socrates OCR software
                - OpenLook interface

        Productivity Computer Solutions
        Monarch House, George Street
        Wakefield, West Yorkshire WF1 1NE
        Tel: 0924-379-627
        FAX: 0924-379-632
        - SCANMASTER scanner interface software
        - FAXPAK FAX management system
        - CYPHER character recognition software

The HP ScanJet and Sharp JX320 scanners can be connected to a SCSI bus so
no special interface hardware is required for a Sun SPARCstation. The Sharp
has a SCSI-2 interface, thus (Apunix tells me) "it will not tie up the
workstation while scanning". Any comments on this? Does the HP ScanJet
have an old SCSI interface? What are the implications of this? Does it
seriously affect the performance of the workstation during the scanning


Man! You beat me to the punch by about 15 minutes. I was just about to
post the identical query. Could you please summarize the responses
that you get? I will be muchly greatful!!

The only info I can contribute is the following from APUNIX:

        color scanner $2027
        gray scale $1942
        OCR package $1300 (one user)

Comments: Both are SCSI devices. All prices are US University discounted.
           The grayscale is faster. Includes software to fiddle with and
           covert the scanned images. Supports stock X11 or OW.

           They also have faster, bigger stuff for $5,500 and $12,000.
           I didn't ask for info on that since it was outta my price

           The OCR package can be interactive and is trainable. Is
           Omnifont capable.

           I talked to a feller called Vince Skahill. 1-800-8-APUNIX

That's the only data point I have and I need to know what else is out

From: (Daniel Trinkle)

     We are using an HP ScanJet scanner with a SCSI interface attached
to a Sun IPX. One of the other members of our staff, Doug Crabill
( is the person that knows the most about the
software we use (we purchased software from Adgent Imaging, Ltd, I
think). The device driver was one that had to be compiled in to the
kernel, but it was easy to do.

From: (Kevin Sheehan {Consulting Poster Child})

Calera is the one I remember for OCR. Seems to do a good job.

Most I've dealt with are SCSI, but that is because I wrote the driver
for a good bunch of them. The Sharp JX series was quite nice.

driver *maybe*, OCR I doubt it. OCR is a "hard problem", and is
generally sold once someone has gone thru the pain of getting a good
one going.

As I said, Calera rings a bell as having a good solution.


I would be most interested in your reply. We have tried to implement a
solution to your question, with marginal results at best.

We have a SPARC10/41 workstation with 128 MB RAM, 400 MB swap space and 3+ GB
disk storage space. To this we have attached a Microtek 600 SZ Color Scanner
with a maximum resolution of 600 dpi. As the scanner is so expentive and
state-of-the-art, there isn't much software availible for it. Therefore,
we use easyscan software, which came with the scanner, to scan in images.
This software roughly equates to teachtext in the Macintosh world or terminal
in the PC / Windows world, i.e. a bare bones software interface. The scanner
attaches to the scsi bus, which is undesirable due to the fact that when it
is scanning, no other scsi activity can exist on the bus, i.e. disk traffic!
Also, it is worth noting that the RAM and SWAP space is mandatory, while the
performance class of the machine and high disk storage space are highly

Now once all that has taken place, and you have a Sun raster, a tif or xwd
image file, you can call up ScanWorx, an OCR package by Xerox, which will
read the image and perform OCR. Note that this software supports some scanners
directly, although no 600 dpi scanners. I'm not sure how effective this
OCR software is, because that effort was, and still is, on hold.

Now ScanWorx will save the processed file in a number of formats, including
FrameMaker II. So, the final step is importing the document into FrameMaker
and processing it.

As I have mentioned, we haven't completed testing this method, and frankly, I
doubt it is even mildly effective.

Please email a summary on your results - Thanks!

From: (John Murtari)

        Xerox has a product called Scan Works or Scan-X, something like
that -- it got pretty rave reviews for accuracy. They have a free demo,
it looked pretty good.

From: (Phyllis Fullerton)

Todd Pfaff: I am faxing you information about PCS`s software called SNAPSHOT. SNAPSHOT is composed of four modules, each of which is available as a stand-alone product. One module is ScanMaster. While is does work with several SCSI-based scanners, PCS has also written a driver which allows it to interface with the Canon CLC10 color copier/printer/scanner, and we are doing the same for the Canon 300 and the 800 series printers.

FYI, I will be returning to the US in approximately 3 1/2 months to bring these and other PCS software products to the US/Canadian market.

Let me know if this is of interest. I will be glad to answer questions or supply more information.


Todd Pfaff                       \  Internet:
Dept. of Mechanical Engineering   \    Voice: (416) 525-9140 x2902
McMaster University                \     FAX: (416) 572-7944
Hamilton, Ontario, CANADA  L8S 4L7  \

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