Document Management #

Document Management Systems #

I’ve recently found Docspell which I find to be a very nice DMS that can easily be hosted at home. I’ll look into it in the future. There’s some more listed under Software.

Scanning Documents #

For my document management workflow I have settled on an Android scanner app and optical character recognition on the commandline for now.

Scanbot #

The scanner app I use is SwiftScan (using the Scanbot SDK). It is touted as the preferred document scanner app in various articles and has a couple of advantages compared to its competitors. Among them are a nice and clean interface which is important for a quick workflow and automatic uploading to a cloud storage of your choice, including local network SFTP servers. The Pro version is required for this but it is not too expensive.

simple-scan with Samsung #

Oh my god. I’ve struggled with this for soo long. I have a Samsung M2070 and for the longest time I just could not scan from Linux. None of the answers suggesting edits to various files in /etc/sane.d/ worked. simple-scan would at best talk to the scanner but then hiccup on unexpected \x00s (I don’t remember the exact error, it was frustrating).

In the end it turns out you just need to have the samsung-unified-driver installed and start simple-scan by explicitly pointing it to your scanner with this weird syntax:

simple-scan "smfp:net;printer.lan"


OCR is performed on a Linux computer with ocrmypdf. This has the advantage of using a beefier CPU to do the OCR and save my smartphone battery. It also produces consistently nice results because the tesseract engine it uses is pretty awesome.

On many distributions it is available as a package in the repositories. On CentOS 7 you can install it and all its dependencies with (Python 3.6 + pip required):

pip install ocrmypdf
yum install -y ghostscript qpdf tesseract tesseract-langpack-deu unpaper pngquant

Additionally I use the following bash alias to easily perform OCR on documents in-place:

ocr () { 
  shift 1;
  [[ -z $file ]] && { 
    printf 'perform ocr on pdfs with ocrmypdf\nusage: %s <path/to/pdf> [<extra args>]\n' "$0" 1>&2;
    exit 1
  ocrmypdf -cd "$@" "$file" "$file"

Indexing #

After some hiccups, the GNOME tracker works pretty nicely for full-text indexing of my scanned documents. If everything was indexed correctly, you can search for your documents in the GNOME Documents program or enable full-text search in Nautilus by pressing on the magnifying glass icon.

Signing #

I would like to add cryptographic signatures to my PDFs but there appear to be no Linux programs capable of adding such signatures from an X.509 certificate. Regardless, my default viewer evince would not display such signatures. If I have important documents I should thereforre resort to using detached GPG signatures or regularly signing a sha256sum file.