Lotus Notes: Document Imaging LN:DI


Lotus Notes software, created in 1989 by the Lotus Development Corporation, offers a single point of access for everything businesses need to get their work done. For a number of years it was the industry standard in providing businesses with collaborative functionalities including email, contacts management, calendars, instant messaging, to do tracking, office applications, and access to a host of other applications and databases. In 1995 Lotus was acquired by IBM and continues to operate in the IBM Software and Systems Group.


1992 was a breakthrough year that saw the release of Lotus Notes: Document Imaging (LN:DI). It was co-developed by Lotus and Imagery Inc., a division of Eastman Kodak in order to allow users to bring hard copy documents and images into any Notes application. Priced at $295 per workstation, it was an incredibly inexpensive solution compared to higher end document management systems at the time. LN:DI allows for image capture and storage with zoom, rotation, printing and transmission capabilities. With LN:DI, a user can bring up the image of a signed contract for reference during a telephone meeting, or easily send a magazine clipping through e-mail or fax to colleagues across the country, all from the familiar Notes environment.


When it released version 2.5, it added in the ability to integrate with such heavy-duty workflow systems as File-Net, IBM, ViewStar and Wang Laboratories. The new version allowed developers to give access to images outside the established workflow system through the LN:DI Mass Storage System server. LN:DI 2.5 also added in OCR capabilities to the client rather than only through the server. LN:DI continued to develop into a comprehensive offering of Notes products to help users incorporate paper documents into network-based communications by capturing, processing and managing paper-based information as images. The last version to be released was LN:DI 4.5 circa 1997, which allowed annotations to be added to images.


What’s happening behind the scenes in a larger company utilizing LN:DI has to do with the Mass Storage System (MSS) where the images are stored. It is made up of a server responding to user requests  as well as a database manager that shuffles the images around between different kinds of storage devices. When users launch an image link or request an image via mail, a referenced number is sent to the MSS server so it can call up the right image out of the database. Where images are stored depends on frequency of use of the image. Scanned images can be large, and if not used frequently, can take up costly server space. Through storage profiles, image storage could be managed for greater cost effectiveness. There is a staging area on the hard drive where new documents come in for rapid access. Older documents are stored off-line to reduce expenses, but can be still be requested, in which case a copy is temporarily restored to the staging area for rapid access. When the staging area is full, such copies are deleted, leaving the original in tact in the off-line storage area. New images are moved to the off-line area after a period of inactivity.