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Last active Jan 27, 2020
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Scanning Guidance for Crowdmark Customers

These notes, based on input from various customers and partners of Crowdmark, provide guidance on streamlining high volume scanning in advance of an expansion of Crowdmark.

High volume scanning in support of Crowdmark takes place regulary at many universities. Universities have addressed the high volume scanning challenge in different ways involving some combination of three approaches. Scanning is sometimes performed:

  1. by a central print/scan facility within the university (USC, Waterloo, York);
  2. using distributed scanners located at the department level or within faculty offices (GWU, Queen's, Toronto (Engineering));
  3. using outsource scan service providers (Ryerson, Toronto (FAS), Northwestern).

Most universities using Crowdmark managed to complete scanning on the day the exams were written. In some cases, a portion of the exam corpus was scanned and uploaded right away with the rest of the scanning completed on the following day. Crowdmark is designed to allow grading teams to start grading as soon as the first batch of scanned exams has been uploaded and processed.

Scanning Specifications for Crowdmark

Crowdmark recommends scanning assessment papers into multipage PDF batches at 200dpi in gray scale or color. (We also support JPG, TIFF and multipage TIFF formats.) The batches are uploaded using a web browser to Crowdmark where they are split apart into individual pages and algorithmically routed based on printed graphical codes. The batch sizes are constrained for two reasons. 1. Browsers typically support file uploads with maximum size of ~25Mb. 2. Scanners typically have a limited size hopper. The fastest scan turnarounds usually involve PDF files with ~300 page images.

The Pulse of the Academic Term

Scanning activity for Crowdmark is not continuous throughout the academic year. The activity bunches up near midterm and final exam periods. Therefore, Crowdmark customers are encouraged to plan for capacity to meet peak demand for scanning.

Further Resources

  • Ricoh provides outsource scan services (used by Ryerson and the University of Toronto). The contact person for Ricoh services is Steve Spagnolo (

  • Waterloo has scanned and uploaded millions of pages into Crowdmark. The person overseeing that operation is Karen Ertel ( Karen is available for consultation if you wish.

  • Queen's scanned and uploaded more than a million pages into Crowdmark. This work was performed on an inexpensive desktop Fujitsu (FI-7160) scanner. Here is a link to a similar model. The contact person at Queen's is Alan Ableson ( and he is available for consultation if you wish. Here is a video of this scanner in action at Queen's.

  • The USC Distance Education Network in the Viterbi School of Engineering (DEN@Viterbi) scanned and uploaded many pages to Crowdmark. This work has been carried out on a Canon imageFORMULA DR-9050C Production Scanner. The contact person overseeing Crowdmark usage for DEN@Viterbi is Jairo Delgado (

  • I visited Xerox in downtown Toronto and was impressed by the robustness and speed of the Xerox Documate 4799. This is a dedicated scanner rather than a multifunction print/scan/photocopy machine.

  • Here is a video of the most ridiculously fast scanner I've seen.

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