Transferring ILINX Release Configurations When Upgrading

Starting with ILINX Capture v6, the Release configurations are stored within the ILINX database. In ILINX Capture v5x, the ILINX Release configurations were stored in XML files on a disk. ILINX Capture called ILINX Release using a SendAndReceivedReply IXM. The change to store the settings within the ILINX database is very useful for a number of reasons: Release settings are part of the batch profile allowing for simpler migrations between environments, Release is much easier to configure, all configurations are in the database, etc. However, this change can create some extra work when upgrading from ILINX Capture 5x to ILINX Capture 6x. Because of the different architecture, ILINX Release needs to be completely reconfigured for the existing batch profiles. In addition, the Release XML doesn’t change, but there is a shortcut that can be taken. After you have upgraded ILINX Capture to v6, you’ll notice a new IXM in the palette: ILINX_Release_IXM_Icon

The existing ILINX workflow will likely have a SendAndReceiveReply IXM on the map that the 5x version of ILINX Capture used to call ILINX Release. Most likely, it would look like this:
SendAndReceiveReply_IXMTo configure ILINX Release for ILINX Capture 6x, the SendAndReceiveReply IXM will need to be removed from the map and a Release IXM must be dragged onto the workflow map in its place. Once the new Release IXM is on the map, it will need to be configured. This is where the shortcut can be taken. Instead of having to manually enter in the correct URLs, map the metadata values, and configure any other settings, do this:
Configure and save Release with some place holder settings: I normally leave the settings at default and enter in the bare minimum:

  • Job Name
  • User Name
  • Password
  • Batch Profile
  • Release Directory

Once ILINX Release configuration is saved and the workflow map is published, there will be a new entry in the ILINX Capture database Capture WorkflowAppSettings table. The CaptureWorkflowAppSettings.SettingsXML column is where the Release configuration is stored. Now it’s time to update the SettingsXML column with the XML from the ILINX Release 5x job settings file. The Release job should be on the ILINX Release 5.x server at c:\ProgramData\ImageSource\ILINX\Release\Settings\Jobs. The only caveat here is to be sure to place single quotes around the XML content. Here is what the SQL update statement would look like:

update [ILINX CAPTURE DATABASE].[dbo]. [CaptureWorkflowAppSettings]
set SettingsXml = ‘COPY AND PASTE ALL TEXT FROM 5.4 OR PRIOR RELEASE JOB SETTINGS FILE HERE’
where settingsID = ‘APPROIATE ID HERE’

Following this procedure can save some time if upgrading an ILINX Capture 5x system that has a lot of batch profiles. A lot of the time spent on the upgrade could be in the ILINX Release configuration. If I was upgrading a system with only a few batch profiles, I would probably just reconfigure them. If I was upgrading a system with a lot of batch profiles, I would go through the above steps to save some time.

John Linehan
Sr. Systems Engineer
ImageSource, Inc.

Failover Cluster Troubleshooting

There’s nothing quite like logging in to a customer’s system first thing Monday morning only to be greeted with this:

Cluster_report

I discovered this when I wasn’t able to log into the customer’s ILINX Capture implementation. The logged error (failure to locate the SQL Server) led me to take a look at the SQL Server’s configuration to confirm that its service was not running on either node of the cluster, and the error I got when trying to start that (a clustered resource could not be activated) led me to check on the clustered resources themselves.
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When handwriting is your only option…. Peter Lang

When researching Enterprise Content Management capture projects, the question of handwriting recognition comes up again and again — and many people aren’t sure what to expect.  More commonly, their expectations are unrealistic. They think there is no hope at all, ever. On the other end of the spectrum, some think that tiny fevered cursive scribblings from a rushed meeting can be scanned (or even faxed) and read with accuracy. In helping people think about their forms and the viability of capturing handwriting, I have a few simple guidelines to consider which seem to apply in a majority of cases.

  • Are handwritten forms really the only option?  If the form is available online, can the data be made “fillable” and then submitted directly to your database tables?  Can you let the user fill the form online and print, thus producing machine print and eliminating handwriting?  How about taking the data that a user entered and bar coding it (if the form must be printed rather than be submitted)?  Also helpful and sometimes overlooked:  prefilling form  data from your database through a merge process with a bar code index for retrieval of that same data.
  • Does your Capture software support ICR?  Intelligent Character Recognition (ICR) is what you need to read handwriting.  Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is much more common and is designed to read machine print.  Please don’t try to make it read handwriting – you won’t like the results!
  • Make sure the handwriting is constrained. Annoying? Perhaps. But making the person filling the form write in boxes sets you up for the most successful ICR results.  The catch phrase here could be “Curse the cursive”.  When a character is joined to another character it is faster to write.  However,  the ICR software really struggles to figure out where one character starts and another stops.  And here’s where recognition tanks.   With the real world example below, we can generally expect 100% recognition.

  • Ask for all caps handwriting. You can often tell your ICR engine to look for upper case characters only. This really

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Lab/Development Environments – RightFax Simulation & Testing

At our company we have a lab environment that we utilize to replicate a large number of our customer implementations.  This environment runs on Virtual Servers in order to keep the cost and maintenance down for our organization.  Here are a few of the many advantages for us to maintain this type of environment for our customers;

  1. The ability to reproduce issues and in turn expedite resolution and impact to the customer
  2. A proactive approach to determining the impact (positively or negatively) of new patches, builds, and versions of software
  3. Through development procedures (testing, QA, QC) can take place without affecting customer environments
  4. The ability to give our support technicians, engineers, and developers a thorough understanding of the solution implemented

One issue that does arise on occasion is the ability to reproduce an issue that is occurring in a customer environment where we don’t have the underlying hardware or software.  This can be due to a proprietary product the software is interfacing with or a solution that is not realistic for us to manage internally.  One such case is with OpenText RightFax (formerly Captaris RightFax).  We have customers with all types of configurations from analog and digital fax boards to fax over IP (FOIP), and it doesn’t make sense for us to maintain all types of solutions.

The good news is that RightFax provides an “out of the box” capability to setup a RightFax solution without requiring fax boards or phone lines.  The power of this functionality is that it allows you to send and receive faxes internally to your RightFax system in order to simulate the real world functionality of the software.  This capability is referred to as running RightFax in simulation mode.  The following information takes you through the steps to enable simulation mode on your RightFax v9.4 (older versions of the software also have simulation mode, but the configuration is slightly different) system:

  1. Install RightFax and get it functional, with the exception of the Board Server
  2. Launch the Enterprise Fax Manager (EFM)
  3.  
  4. Open the RightFax Server that you want to configure

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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.
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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.