GB2242162A - Improvements in and relating to retrieval and storage of information from documents - Google Patents

Improvements in and relating to retrieval and storage of information from documents Download PDF

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Publication number
GB2242162A
GB2242162A GB9105674A GB9105674A GB2242162A GB 2242162 A GB2242162 A GB 2242162A GB 9105674 A GB9105674 A GB 9105674A GB 9105674 A GB9105674 A GB 9105674A GB 2242162 A GB2242162 A GB 2242162A
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GB
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Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
lt
rti
information
business
card
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Granted
Application number
GB9105674A
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GB9105674D0 (en )
GB2242162B (en )
Inventor
Baden Edward Mcmaster Gilmore
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
Arland International Ltd
Original Assignee
* ARLAND INTERNATIONAL LIMITED
ARLAND INTERNATIONAL LIMITED
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Classifications

    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06KRECOGNITION OF DATA; PRESENTATION OF DATA; RECORD CARRIERS; HANDLING RECORD CARRIERS
    • G06K17/00Methods or arrangements for effecting co-operative working between equipments covered by two or more of the preceding main groups, e.g. automatic card files incorporating conveying and reading operations
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B42BOOKBINDING; ALBUMS; FILES; SPECIAL PRINTED MATTER
    • B42DBOOKS; BOOK COVERS; LOOSE LEAVES; PRINTED MATTER CHARACTERISED BY IDENTIFICATION OR SECURITY FEATURES; PRINTED MATTER OF SPECIAL FORMAT OR STYLE NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; DEVICES FOR USE THEREWITH AND NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; MOVABLE-STRIP WRITING OR READING APPARATUS
    • B42D15/00Printed matter of special format or style not otherwise provided for
    • B42D15/02Postcards; Greeting, menu, business or like cards; Letter cards or letter-sheets
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06KRECOGNITION OF DATA; PRESENTATION OF DATA; RECORD CARRIERS; HANDLING RECORD CARRIERS
    • G06K17/00Methods or arrangements for effecting co-operative working between equipments covered by two or more of the preceding main groups, e.g. automatic card files incorporating conveying and reading operations
    • G06K2017/0035Aspects not covered by other subgroups
    • G06K2017/0045Tracking objects or persons
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06KRECOGNITION OF DATA; PRESENTATION OF DATA; RECORD CARRIERS; HANDLING RECORD CARRIERS
    • G06K17/00Methods or arrangements for effecting co-operative working between equipments covered by two or more of the preceding main groups, e.g. automatic card files incorporating conveying and reading operations
    • G06K2017/0035Aspects not covered by other subgroups
    • G06K2017/0093Information-providing systems
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06KRECOGNITION OF DATA; PRESENTATION OF DATA; RECORD CARRIERS; HANDLING RECORD CARRIERS
    • G06K17/00Methods or arrangements for effecting co-operative working between equipments covered by two or more of the preceding main groups, e.g. automatic card files incorporating conveying and reading operations
    • G06K2017/0035Aspects not covered by other subgroups
    • G06K2017/0096Information-recording systems, e.g. data logging

Abstract

Business cards are provided with information in both non-coded and coded form so that information can be retrieved from the cards and stored in a computer-based memory for subsequent access. The coded information may be in barcode or magnetic form. The information may be manually indexed into the memory using a keyboard.

Description

IMPROVEMENTS IN AND RELATING TO RETRIEVAL AND STORAGE OF INFORMATION FROM DOCUMENTS This invention relates to documents such as business cards, and in particular to retrieval of information on business cards, and the subsequent use thereof.

At present, virtually all businessmen have business cards, which give their name, business address, and business telephone, fax and telex numbers.

This practice is so wide-spread that a businessman in the normal course of business will often hand out hundreds of his own business cards and amass hundreds of other people's business cards.

In the past, these amassed business cards suitably have been kept in a manual filing system contained in a box. Recently, one has had the possibility of manually keying in information from amassed business cards into a digital diary.

The problem with manual filing systems is that it is sometimes difficult to find a specific business card since such is filed either under the businessman's name or a company name, and if it is filed under his name and one can only remember his company, then one cannot find the specific business card. In other words, it is often difficult to find a specific business card quickly, and indeed in some instances one has to resort to checking all of the business cards in a filing system to find a specific business card, which needless to say is extremely time-consuming particularly for a businessman.

As for digital diaries, the problem with these diaries is that information has to be manually inputted by keying in the information into the digital diary by the user, and this is similarly a time-consuming business.

It is an object of this invention to overcome one or more of the above problems.

In accordance with one aspect of the invention, an electrical/electronic apparatus is integrally provided with firstly means to photo-optically scan information from a document such as a business card, secondly means to store that information, and thirdly display means to display that stored information.

In accordance with another aspect of the invention, an electrical/electronic apparatus is provided with means to photo-optically scan information from a document such as a business card, means to index that information under a plurality of indexes, means to store the information in a memory, and means to access the stored information from any one of the plurality of indexes.

Such arrangements are particularly advantageous in that information on a business card can be simply retrieved from the business card by photo-optically scanning into the electrical/electronic apparatus, whereafter the information is easily accessible from a memory.

Preferably, any information in the form of letters of the alphabet and/or numerals after scanning is encoded (e.g. digitized) by encoding means, whereafter coded information is stored under a plurality of indexes in the memory.

Alternatively, the electrical/electronic apparatus photo-optically reads coded information on the business card. In such an arrangement, the coded information on a business card is retrieved, and placed into the memory of the apparatus.

In the above-mentioned arrangements, any businessman's name or company name (or even all businessmen in a certain town or country) can be quickly and simply searched from any one of a plurality of indexes in the memory.

Preferably, the electricallelectronic apparatus is provided with integral display means in the form of a screen.

Suitably, the apparatus is provided with an integral keyboard in order to manage information in the scanner.

Preferably, the information once scanned into the apparatus is manually indexed by the user using the keyboard into a plurality of indexes into the memory.

As an example, a document would be indexed into a plurality of indexes corresponding to titles, subjects, general headings, general fields, or simply alphabetically indexed.

Preferably, the indexing is achieved by formatting the information on the integral screen, and in particular, the information once scanned and placed onto the screen is processed by the user by highlighting the relevant part of the information on the screen, indexing that relevant part into the appropriate index, and so on, until all the required information from the document is indexed into a plurality of indexes. Such formatting would also use cursor moving means for the highlighting feature (specially up, down or either side ways movement). The highlighting feature would also be capable of being increased and decreased in width and length, such that information from the card could be appropriately indexed into a plurality of different indexes.

<RTI>wor</RTI> example, a whole business card will be scanned and the business card will appear on the screen integral with the scanner, whereafter the information on the screen would be manually formatted by the user using the cursing and highlighting features of the scanner. In other <RTI>wolds,</RTI> firstly the name of the businessman appearing <RTI>on</RTI> <RTI>tbe</RTI> <RTI>sci.ee!i</RTI> <RTI>would</RTI> be <RTI>manually</RTI> cursed and highlighted, and then manually placed <RTI>in</RTI> the businessman index of the memory of the <RTI>scanner,</RTI> secondly the company name of the businessman on the screen would be cursed and highlighted, and <RTI>then</RTI> placed in the company index of the memory of the scanner, and then thirdly the company address appearing on the scroch would be cursed and highlighted, and then placed <RTI>ill</RTI> the <RTI>compatiy</RTI> address <RTI>index</RTI> of the memory of the scanner.

Further information, <RTI>such</RTI> as telephone, fax and telex numbers <RTI>could</RTI> <RTI>be</RTI> simply cursed, highlighted, and indexed into the memof y of the scannor As a result, the information on a business card could be <RTI>formatted</RTI> on a screen into a number of different indexes, and <RTI>then</RTI> all of the information on the business card could then be manually accessed by simply recalling just <RTI>oric</RTI> of <RTI>tIic'</RTI> indexes under <RTI>which</RTI> the business card information is storod in the momory in the scanner.

Instead of manual formatting, the documents (such as busincess cards) could be <RTI>prc-formatted,</RTI> in other words a standard could <RTI>be</RTI> adopted <RTI>where</RTI> the first piece of <RTI>information</RTI> <RTI>on</RTI> a document related to a set first piece of information (for instance the name of the businessman), and whcrcin the socond picco of information appearing on the document wanld be a sot socond picoe of information (for instanco the <RTI>@@@@any</RTI> name of the businessman), and so on, In such an arrangement, since the document is pre-formatted, the information can be read from the document and could be automatically indexed into a plurality of indexes into the memory without the need to manually index.

In accordance with a further aspect of the invention, a method of retrieving and indexing information from a plurality of documents such as business cards comprises photo-optically scanning information from the documents, indexing the information appearing on the documents into a plurality of indexes, storing that information into a memory, and accessing that information from the memory by using any one of the plurality of indexes.

Suitably, the electrical/electronic apparatus could be a desk top scanner unit purely for the retrieval and display of information obtained from business cards.

Suitably, the electrical/electronic apparatus can be used with an interface unit, in order to upload or download information on a computer. Furthermore, the same interface unit (or a further interface unit) can be provided so that information in the electrical/electronic apparatus can be transferred to a printer in order to provide a print-out of any required information. The advantage of such is that all business cards which a businessman is given during the course of business would be easily rotrioved onto the electrical/electroinc apparatus, whereaftei the name and addres appcaring on all these business cards could <RTI>be</RTI> <RTI>printed</RTI> (e.g. on sticking mailing labels) whoroby a full mailing shot could be made to <RTI>everyone</RTI> <RTI>who</RTI> lias givon <RTI>telex</RTI> a business card.

Proicrably, the interface unit will be compatible with cither all IBM or Apple <RTI>Mackintosh</RTI> computer, using the <RTI>sproadsh@@t</RTI> of Lotus 1.2.3 or a derivation thereof.

Suitably, the oloctrical/clectronic apparatus could also be provided with automatic telephone dialling means, such thit when the clectrical/electronic apparatus is placed <RTI>11(01</RTI> a tolephone, audible signals are produced by the dialling moans (coriesponding to a specific telephone momber in the momory, which the user has accessed and wishes to call) causing <RTI>t.lie</RTI> telephone to dial that roquested tolephone number.

The clectrical/clectronic apparatus could be <RTI>portable,</RTI> ol <RTI>@lternatively</RTI> a <RTI>desk</RTI> top apparatus which is not <RTI>movable.</RTI>

in <RTI>t</RTI> very simplified form, the information from the <RTI>business</RTI> <RTI>cards</RTI> civil be <RTI>indexed</RTI> into two <RTI>indexes</RTI> in the momory in the scanner, and then one index can be accessed <RTI> and the i information decessed simply scrolled by a user to</RTI> show the <RTI>business</RTI> <RTI>cards</RTI> <RTI>oldie</RTI> by one on the integral screen <RTI>ol tioc .'1li!l' t -</RTI> Suitably, the index means sorts the information scanned irom the business card into a plurality of indexes, and in <RTI>particular</RTI> places such information in say five or six <RTI>indexes</RTI> <RTI>iii</RTI> <RTI>the</RTI> memory ready for future use.In particular, <RTI>the</RTI> apparatus is adapted in order to index the businessman's name, company name, address, telcphone, fax and telex <RTI>numbers</RTI> etc. <RTI>from</RTI> the business card and store such information into the appropriate indexes.

<RTI> In one cmhb@diment, all the information scanned</RTI> from a particular business card is stored togcther as a group, <RTI>cilid</RTI> all of this information can be accessed, for instance by a <RTI>searchin@ @eaturc</RTI> on the scanuer. In order to effcct <RTI>tulle</RTI> searching <RTI>feature,</RTI> the information has to be manually indexed in the scanner, and for example et least the businessman's name and the businessman's company are <RTI>separately</RTI> <RTI>indexed,</RTI> such that the information can be accessed.

<RTI> @@@@nother @mb@iiment, the information from the</RTI> business card is automatically indexed by <RTI>the</RTI> scanner itself, <RTI>aiid iii</RTI> <RTI>particula@</RTI> <RTI>tite</RTI> businessman's <RTI>name,</RTI> the businessman's company name, the businessman's telephone number etc. are individually indexed and stored in the scanner fer subscquent searching.

<RTI>P@eferaably,</RTI> means are provided to edit out devices, lines <RTI>and</RTI> <RTI>sl!''il</RTI> matter from the business card, <RTI>whereby , only printed mutters and numerals are indexed in</RTI> the scann <RTI>Suitably,</RTI> tit <RTI>scanning</RTI> apparatus is provided with an integral LCD <RTI>colour</RTI> <RTI>screen,</RTI> and most preferably the <RTI>scanning</RTI> apparatus <RTI>call</RTI> scan images, particularly coloured images, <RTI>such</RTI> <RTI>as</RTI> a photograph of a person placed on a business card, whereby the image can be retrieved, indexed, and stored in the apparatus, and then accessed on the colour screen, whereby one can easily remember the businessman.

Suitably, information is provided in a coded form on the business card, such that the information on the card is <RTI>easily</RTI> scaned into <RTI>tile</RTI> apparatus for subsequent storage. <RTI>lìs</RTI> particular, such coded <RTI>informatioll</RTI> could be in a digitized form, iri <RTI>;i</RTI> bar code form, or in a magnetic code <RTI>form</RTI> corresponding to <RTI>tlio</RTI> <RTI>required</RTI> information to be placed into the index, such as the businessman's name, company name, address, telephone, fax and telex numbers etc.

in <RTI>@c@ordance</RTI> with the invention, an <RTI>electrical/electronic</RTI> <RTI>apparatus</RTI> having display means for information is provided with manually operable <RTI>means</RTI> to read and <RTI>retrieve</RTI> information in the form of at least letters of the alphabet optically from a plurality of <RTI>documents</RTI> such as <RTI>business</RTI> cards, means to store that <RTI>information</RTI> <RTI>iii</RTI> a <RTI>titemory,</RTI> <RTI>artd</RTI> means to access part of the stored information in that mcmory and place that <RTI>information ont@ the display mcans of the apparatus.</RTI>

The manual rcader means suitably comprises optical reader means (such as a laser scanner or photocopying device) to optically read information in the <RTI>form</RTI> of letters of the <RTI>alphabet</RTI> and numerals <RTI>from</RTI> a business <RTI>card.</RTI>

<RTI>Such</RTI> an <RTI>arratiqeineilt</RTI> is particularly advantageous in that information on a Lusiness card can be simply manually retrieved <RTI>fretit</RTI> <RTI>tEle</RTI> business card by the reader means into the clectrical/clectronic apparatus, whereafter the information is easily accessible and displayed.

Suitably, <RTI>the</RTI> optical reader means is in the form of a pen, <RTI>which</RTI> is <RTI>manually</RTI> (i.e. hand-held) by a user, and <RTI>which</RTI> is used manually to read information provided on the front face of a business card and store that information in the <RTI>clec@@ica@</RTI> eioctionie apparatus which is proferably a digital diary. in such ail arrangement, the information on a business <RTI>cii I</RTI> is thu;; <RTI>easily</RTI> retrieved <RTI>and</RTI> placed into the digital <RTI>di@y</RTI> memory, and thereafter any businessman's <RTI>name</RTI> or company name <RTI>(Ol-</RTI> even all businessmen in a certain town or country) can be <RTI>quickly</RTI> and simply searched from the digital diary memory and displayed. The information is permanently <RTI>s@ered</RTI> in the memory, unless it is delcted therefrom by <RTI>lie</RTI> <RTI>user,</RTI> <RTI>attd</RTI> the <RTI>mentor</RTI> preferably has the capacity <RTI>Lo</RTI> storc <RTI>inlolnlntiorl</RTI> from say at least fifty (preferably hundrcds) of <RTI>business</RTI> cards.

<RTI>Suit@bly,</RTI> <RTI>t)io</RTI> <RTI>electrical/electronic</RTI> apparatus could alternat <RTI>ivcly be@fo@</RTI> <RTI>instance</RTI> a computer, or a desk top cloctrical, olectronic apparatus purely for the manual rctricval and display of information obtained from business cards.

<RTI>Sutly,</RTI> the electrical/electronic apparatus can be usod with an interface unit, in order to upload or download information on a <RTI>computer.</RTI> Furthermore, the same interface unit (or a <RTI>further</RTI> interface unit) can be provided so that information in the electrical/electronic apparatus <RTI>Call</RTI> be transierred to a printer in order to provide a print-out of any required information.The advantage of <RTI>siicii</RTI> is that all business cards which a businessman is given <RTI>du@ing</RTI> the course of business would be easily <RTI>retrieved</RTI> onto the clectrical/electronic apparatus, whereafter <RTI>the</RTI> <RTI>tiatne</RTI> arid <RTI>add less</RTI> appearing on all these business cards <RTI>@ould</RTI> be <RTI>p@inted</RTI> (e.g. on sticking mailing labels) <RTI>whereby</RTI> a full nailing shot could be <RTI>made</RTI> to everyone <RTI>who</RTI> <RTI>has</RTI> given them a business card.

<RTI>Preferably</RTI> <RTI>tlie</RTI> <RTI>interface</RTI> until will be compatible with either an IBM or Apple MacIntosh computer, using the spreadsheet of lotus 1.2.3 or a derivation <RTI>thoreof.</RTI>

Suitahblv the <RTI>el@@rieal/@@@@trni@</RTI> annaratus could also be <RTI>provided</RTI> with automatic <RTI>telephone</RTI> dialling mcans, such that when the cloctrical/electronic apparatus is placed <RTI>near</RTI> a telephone, audible signals are produced by the dialling means (corresponding to a specific telephone number ill <RTI>tic</RTI> <RTI>m@mory,</RTI> which <RTI>tic</RTI> user has accessed and wishes to call) causing the telephone to dial that requested telophono number.

The clectrical/olectronic apparatus could be portable, or ai ternativcly a desk top apparatus which is not movable.

<RTI>In</RTI> a very <RTI>simEçlified</RTI> form, all of the information from a <RTI>single</RTI> business caid can be manually read and placed together as a group in the memory, and thereafter all of the business cards <RTI>call</RTI> be simply scrolled by a user one by one on the <RTI>display</RTI> means (suitably a screen) of the apparatus. <RTI>A@@ernatively,</RTI> all of the required information frolll a sinqie business <RTI>car cm</RTI> can be manually retrieved and stored togcther as a group in the memory in one operation, wheroaiter ail the information stored together as a group can be accessed <RTI>onto</RTI> <RTI>tiie</RTI> screen with search <RTI>keys</RTI> and the like.

Suitably, however, the electrical/electronic apparatus has mcans to <RTI>sort</RTI> the information read from the business card, <RTI>and</RTI> <RTI>in</RTI> particular to place <RTI>such</RTI> information in tile <RTI>proper</RTI> index <RTI>ill</RTI> <RTI>lit'.</RTI> memory ready for future use on the scroen. in particniat, the apparatus is adapted in order to sorL the businessman's name, company name, address, telephone, fax and telex numbers etc. from the business card and store such information into the appropriate indexes.

In one embodiment of sort mcans, the <RTI>clectrical/ol@ctronie</RTI> apparatus is preferably provided with a keyboard which is <RTI>a@@@@ed,</RTI> such that the apparatus can be switched by <RTI>switch</RTI> means to an input mode whereafter a first key <RTI>ol</RTI> t First set of keys can be pressed thereon, <RTI>whereafter</RTI> <RTI>tire</RTI> reader <RTI>means</RTI> is manually used to optically read a first <RTI>place</RTI> of information from the business card, say a businessman's <RTI>name,</RTI> whereafter a second key of the first set of <RTI>keys</RTI> on <RTI>tire</RTI> apparatus may be pressed to store that information in <RTI>tire</RTI> <RTI>memory.</RTI> A first key of a second set of keys <RTI>3</RTI> s then pressed, whereafter the reader means is <RTI>manually</RTI> used to read a second piece of information, say the address of this businessman, whereafter the second key of the <RTI>secotici</RTI> set of <RTI>keys</RTI> is pressed in order to store that information in the memory.A first key of a third set of keys is then pressed, fwhercafter the reader means manually reads a <RTI>third</RTI> <RTI>piece</RTI> of <RTI>itiformation,</RTI> say the company name of the businessman from <RTI>tite</RTI> <RTI>business</RTI> card, whereafter the second <RTI>Iey</RTI> of <RTI>tire</RTI> <RTI>third</RTI> set of keys is pressed in order to store that information <RTI>i 1l</RTI> <RTI>Lire</RTI> <RTI>memory.</RTI> Suitably, <RTI>tire</RTI> clectionic, appriatus may be provided with further sets of keys in order to stoie other pieces of information felt <RTI>important</RTI> from a <RTI>business</RTI> card.After keying, the apparatus Is switched off by the switch means out of its input mode.

In <RTI>@nother</RTI> embodiment of sort means, the optical rcading means is <RTI>adap@ed</RTI> such that information is manually and optically read <RTI>Ii ] </RTI> <RTI>iii</RTI> <RTI>'ites</RTI> as long as the reader means remains in <RTI>m@@al</RTI> con'act with the surface of the business name car.In <RTI>consequence,</RTI> the electrical/electronic apparatus may be placcd in its input mode and <RTI>tiien</RTI> fed in with <RTI>information</RTI> comprising a first manual contact of the reader means on a business card which for instance corrcsponds to the busincssman's name, a second manual contact of a <RTI>business</RTI> card <RTI>which</RTI> for instance corresponds to the businessman's company name, and a third manual contact which for instance corresponds to the businessman's address. Suitably, other information can be stored into the <RTI>memory</RTI> with further <RTI>independent</RTI> manual contacts of the <RTI>reader</RTI> <RTI>lirearis</RTI> with tile <RTI>business</RTI> card.After all information required frem the cand is <RTI>@cad,</RTI> the apparatus is switched out of its <RTI>input</RTI> modc.

Suitably, <RTI>tire</RTI> reader means is a manually operated optical <RTI>rcad@@,</RTI> <RTI>such</RTI> as a <RTI>hand-held</RTI> copy pen (c.g. Casio CP-9), a <RTI>hand-held</RTI> laser scanner (e.g. the datalogic datagun), of <RTI>ci</RTI> <RTI>a</RTI> data <RTI>reader</RTI> pen (e.g. the datalogic datapen).

Preierably, <RTI>tire</RTI> apparatus is provided with means (including keys on the keyboard) whereby the information read <RTI>and</RTI> retrieved <RTI>can</RTI> be checked and if need be manually corrected <RTI>ott</RTI> <RTI>Lite</RTI> screen prior to the information being stored in the memory. Furthermore, means (including keys <RTI>ott</RTI> the <RTI>keyboa@nd)</RTI> may be <RTI>provided</RTI> such that information in the memory can be corrected or updated on the screen when nocessary.

In <RTI>a@@ordance</RTI> with the invention, an electrical/eloctronic apparatus is provided with means to retrieve coded information from a plurality of documents, such as <RTI>business</RTI> cards, having both non-coded information at least <RTI>itt</RTI> <RTI>the</RTI> <RTI>forrir</RTI> of letters of the alphabet and coded information thereon, <RTI>tire</RTI> coded information corresponding to at least part of the <RTI>tiort-coded</RTI> information at least in the form of <RTI>letters</RTI> of the alphabet, and means to store that coded <RTI>ill</RTI> ormation <RTI>in</RTI> a memory for subsequent <RTI>usc.</RTI>

The apparatus suitably includes means to retrieve information trem a business card, and in particular information provided <RTI>itt</RTI> a coded form on the business card.

<RTI>Preferably,</RTI> <RTI>tllc</RTI> non-coded information on <RTI>tiie</RTI> card comprises letters of <RTI>tite</RTI> alphabet and numerals.

<RTI>Sucit</RTI> <RTI>all</RTI> arrangcment is particularly advantageous <RTI>in</RTI> <RTI>titat</RTI> information <RTI>on</RTI> a business card can be simply <RTI>retrieved</RTI> from the business card itself and into the <RTI>electrical/electronic</RTI> apparatus, whereafter the information is easily accessible.

Suitably, <RTI>tite</RTI> clectrical/electronic apparatus is a digital diary provided with code reader means, which can read coded <RTI>lolmatiorl</RTI> <RTI>provided</RTI> on either the front or reverse of a <RTI>business</RTI> card. In such an arrangement, the information oil <RTI>ci</RTI> <RTI>business</RTI> card is thus easily retrieved and placed <RTI>illtO</RTI> the digital diary memory, and thereafter any businessman's <RTI>@@nc</RTI> or company name (or even all businessmen in a certain town or country) can be quickly and simply searched from the digital diary memory.

Suitably, <RTI>the</RTI> <RTI>clcctricalfelectronic</RTI> apparatus could <RTI>alternatively</RTI> be for instance a computer, or a desk top <RTI>electrical/clectrollic</RTI> apparatus purely for the retrieval arid display of information obtained from business <RTI>cards.</RTI>

Suitably, <RTI>tite</RTI> <RTI>clectricalfelectronic</RTI> apparatus can be used <RTI>will</RTI> <RTI>all</RTI> interface unit, in order to upload or download information <RTI>ott</RTI> a computer. Furthermore, the same interface <RTI>unit</RTI> (or a <RTI>further</RTI> interface unit) can be provided so that information in the electrical/clectronic apparatus can <RTI>ic</RTI> <RTI>trarisl en-cd</RTI> to a printer in order to provide a print-out of any required information.The advantage of such is <RTI>that</RTI> all business cards <RTI>which</RTI> a busiknessman is given during the course of business would be easily retrieved onto the clectrical/electronic apparatus, whereafter the name and address appearing on all these business cards could be printed (e.g. on sticking mailing labels) <RTI>whereby</RTI> a full <RTI>nailing</RTI> shot could be made to everyone who has given <RTI>them</RTI> a business card.

Preforably, <RTI>he</RTI> <RTI>interface</RTI> unit will be compatible with <RTI>either</RTI> an <RTI>IBM</RTI> or Apple MacIntosh computer, using the <RTI>spreadsilect</RTI> of Lotus 1.2.3 or a derivation thereof.

Suitably, the clectrical/electronic apparatus could also <RTI>b</RTI> provided <RTI>witEl</RTI> automatic <RTI>telephollc</RTI> dialling means, such that when the clectrical/electronic apparatus is <RTI>placed</RTI> pear <RTI>ri</RTI> telephone, audible signals are produced by the <RTI>dialling</RTI> mcans (corresponding to a specific telephone member in the memory, <RTI>which</RTI> the user has accessed and wishes to call) <RTI>causing</RTI> the <RTI>tclephorlc</RTI> to dial that requested telophone number.

<RTI>Tite</RTI> <RTI>eiectrical/electronic</RTI> apparatus could be <RTI>portable,</RTI> or afternatively a desk top apparatus which is not movable.

ln accordance with a further aspect of the invention, a business card comprises non-coded information at least in tile form of letters of the alphabet regarding a businessman, and encoded information on the same business card corresponding to at <RTI>least</RTI> part of the <RTI>nort-coded</RTI> information <RTI>at</RTI> least <RTI>ill</RTI> <RTI>tire</RTI> form of letters of the alphabet Suitably, the encoded information is in bar code form or magnetic code form (or indeed any suitable coded format) on either the front or reverse face of the business card, and tire <RTI>non-ceded</RTI> information in the form of letters of the <RTI>alphabet</RTI> also includes information in the form of <RTI>nuruerals.</RTI>

Suitably, the bar or magnetic code contains upto <RTI>150 alophanum@@ical encoded characters, such that the</RTI> businessman's name, company name, address, telephone, fax and <RTI>talc:</RTI> numbers <RTI>can</RTI> be encoded thereon.

<RTI>ill</RTI> <RTI>@ccordance with</RTI> a yet further aspect of the <RTI>iriveittiori,</RTI> an encoding <RTI>apparatus</RTI> is provided for encoding <RTI>information</RTI> <RTI>ditto</RTI> a <RTI>business</RTI> card.

Such cquipment <RTI>riray</RTI> be a computer with bar <RTI>encoding</RTI> software, <RTI>and</RTI> a bar code applying apparatus (e.g.

a laser printer) <RTI>connected</RTI> thereto.

nvention will now be described by way of <RTI>example</RTI> <RTI>witit</RTI> reference to the accompanying drawings, in fwhich: Figure I shows an clectrical/cloctronic apparatus in accordance with the invention; Figure <RTI>t</RTI> <RTI>shows</RTI> <RTI>ait</RTI> embodiment of electrical/electronic apparatus in accordance with the invention; Figure 3 shows a further <RTI>embodiment</RTI> of electrical/electronic apparatus in accordance with the invention; Figure 4 shows the rear face of a first embodiment of business card in accordance with the invention; Figure 5 shows the rear face of a second embodiment of business card in accordance with the invention;; Figure 6 <RTI>shows</RTI> <RTI>at</RTI> <RTI>embodiment</RTI> of electrical/electronic apparatus in accordance with the invention Figure <RTI>e</RTI> <RTI>7</RTI> shows a further embodiment of electrical/electronic apparatus in accordance with the invention; and Figure 8 shows art <RTI>encoding</RTI> apparatus in accoidance with the invention.

lit figure 1 an optical scanner 10 is shown including <RTI>all the fe@@@ares of</RTI> a conventional optical scanner (such as Hewlerd Packard's Scan Jet). In addition, <RTI>tire</RTI> scanner 16 is internally provided with firstly means to format information into a plurality of indexes, and secondly a memory to store information optically read from a document. In particular, a business card 12 is shown placed on the optical scanner to be optically read, and the information thereon scanned, indexed, and stored within the integral memory.

The scanner 10 is also integrally provided with display means in the form of a screen 13, and an integral keyboard 15 which is used to manage information in the scanner 10.

The information once scanned into the apparatus is manually indexed by the user using the keyboard 15 into a plurality of indexes into the memory. For example, a document would be indexed into a plurality of indexes corresponding to subjects, general headings, general fields, or simply alphabetically indexed.

The indexing is achieved by formatting the information on the screen 13, and in particular, the information once scanned and placed onto the screen is processed by the user by highlighting the relevant part of the information on the screen, and indexing that relevant part, and so on, until all the required information from the document has been indexed into a plurality of indexes.

Such formatting would also use cursor moving means for the highlighting feature (specially up, down or either side ways movement). The highlighting feature would also be capable of <RTI>being</RTI> increased and decreased in width and length oil the <RTI>screert</RTI> 13, such <RTI>that</RTI> information from the card could be <RTI>appropriately</RTI> indexed into a plurality of different <RTI>indexes.</RTI>

For <RTI>example,</RTI> a whole business card will be scanned by <RTI>the</RTI> <RTI>scanner</RTI> 10 and the business card will appear on the integral <RTI>screen</RTI> 13, whereafter the information on the <RTI>screen</RTI> would be manually formatted by the user using the cursing arid <RTI>highlighting</RTI> features of the scanner.In other words, firstly <RTI>tite</RTI> <RTI>name</RTI> of the businessman appearing on the <RTI>screen</RTI> would be manually cursed and highlighted, and then placed in the businessman index of the memory, secondly the company name of the businessman on the screen would be <RTI>cursed</RTI> and highlighted, and then placed in the company index of the <RTI>memory,</RTI> and then thirdly the company address appearing on the screen would be cursed and highlighted, <RTI>tttd</RTI> then <RTI>placed</RTI> in the company address index of the memorv. Further information, such as telephone, fax and <RTI>teley</RTI> numbers could be simply cursed, highlighted, and indexed into <RTI>ire</RTI> <RTI>itteitroLy.</RTI>

As a result, the information on a business card could be formatted <RTI>ott</RTI> the screen 13 into a number of difforent indexes, and then all of the information on the business card could then be accessed from the memory by simply <RTI>recalling</RTI> just <RTI>erie</RTI> of the indexes under which the business <RTI>ca@d</RTI> information is stored in the memory.

Instead of <RTI>manual</RTI> formatting, the documents (such as business <RTI>cards)</RTI> could be pre-formatted, in other words a standard could be adopted where the first piece of information <RTI>ott</RTI> a <RTI>docuitietit</RTI> related to a set first piece of information (for instance'the name of the businessman), and wherein the second piece of information appearing on the document would be a set second piece of information (for instance the <RTI>company</RTI> name of the businessman), and so on.

In <RTI>sucit</RTI> an arrangement, since the document is <RTI>pre-form@@@ed,</RTI> the information <RTI>cari</RTI> be read <RTI>from</RTI> <RTI>the</RTI> <RTI>document</RTI> <RTI>and</RTI> could be <RTI>automatically</RTI> indexed into a <RTI>plurality</RTI> of indexes <RTI>irilo</RTI> the memory without <RTI>tire</RTI> need to manually index.

Alternatively, the business card is encoded (for instance digitized, bar coded, or magnetically coded), such that <RTI>tite</RTI> information <RTI>cart</RTI> be easily read by <RTI>tire</RTI> scanner 10, and information indexed <RTI>itrto</RTI> the proper place within the memory of the scanner.

In a very simplified form, the information from the business cards can be indexed into two indexes in the memory <RTI>ol</RTI> the <RTI>scanner,</RTI> <RTI>and</RTI> then one index accessed and the <RTI>informatiort</RTI> <RTI>thereby</RTI> accessed simply scrolled by a user to show the cards one by <RTI>one</RTI> on the integral screen of the scanner.

<RTI>Tltc</RTI> scannei <RTI>ha:</RTI> <RTI>index</RTI> means to index the <RTI>information</RTI> <RTI>scartited</RTI> <RTI>front</RTI> <RTI>tite</RTI> business card into a plurality of <RTI>indc:'es,</RTI> arid in <RTI>pat-ticular</RTI> to place such information in say five or six indexes in the memory.

in one embodiment, all the information scanned from a particular business card is stored together as a group, and all of this information can be accessed, for instance by a scarching feature provided on the scanner.

In order to effect the searching feature, the information <RTI>has</RTI> to be manually indexed in the scanner, and for example the businessman's name and tile businessman's company are <RTI>separately</RTI> <RTI>Indeed,</RTI> <RTI>such</RTI> <RTI>hat</RTI> the information can be <RTI>accessed.</RTI>

In another embodiment, the information from the business card is <RTI>autorriatically</RTI> sorted and indexed, and in <RTI>particula@</RTI> the businessman's name, the businessman's company <RTI>name,</RTI> <RTI>title</RTI> businessman's telephone number, etc. are individually sorted, indexed and stored in <RTI>tite</RTI> scanner for <RTI>subsequent sea@ching.</RTI>

<RTI>#cans</RTI> are also <RTI>provided</RTI> to edit out devices, lines and such matter <RTI>fi:oin</RTI> the business card, <RTI>whereby</RTI> only printed lotters and numerals are stored in the apparatus.

Suitably, <RTI>title</RTI> screen 13 is a LCD colour screen, and <RTI>irrost</RTI> <RTI>preferably</RTI> the <RTI>scanning</RTI> apparatus 10 can scan <RTI>images,</RTI> <RTI>pa@tieularly coloui ed</RTI> images, <RTI>such</RTI> as a photograph of a <RTI>person</RTI> <RTI>cit</RTI> a <RTI>business</RTI> card, whereby the image can be <RTI>retrieved,</RTI> <RTI>sto@@od</RTI> arid <RTI>@@@@ssed</RTI> <RTI>err</RTI> the colour <RTI>screert,</RTI> wheroby one can easily iemember the businessman Suitably, the scanner 10 is also provided with an automatie telephone dialling feature, such that an audible sound is produced (corresponding to the telephone number in the memory of the scanner that a user has accessed and wishes to call) when the dialling feature is activated and the <RTI>scantier</RTI> placed <RTI>ne:-t</RTI> to a telephone causing the telephone to dial that requested telephone number. In particular, the <RTI>dialing</RTI> facility used is the Casio Auto Dialer OD-700. <RTI>QD-15),</RTI> or QD-350 which can be combined with the scannet.

Suitably, art <RTI>interface</RTI> unit 14 is provided for the scaunei, such that the capability to upload and/or download information into a computer 16 can be obtained.

An additional or the same interface unit 14 can also be provided in <RTI>order</RTI> to connect the <RTI>scatirter</RTI> to a printer <RTI>18,</RTI> <RTI>wirereby</RTI> information on the scanner 10 can be transferred into a <RTI>printed</RTI> format. The computer 16 is <RTI>optionally</RTI> provided <RTI>with</RTI> its' own printer 19, or is connected to the <RTI>printer</RTI> 18.

<RTI>TIte</RTI> <RTI>scantier</RTI> 10 <RTI>shown</RTI> in the figure is portable, however, an electrical/electronic apparatus which scans, stores <RTI>artd</RTI> accesses business card information, can <RTI>obviously be</RTI> I oreseen, which would be used as a desk top apparatus.

The <RTI>scanne@</RTI> 10 is provided with means (such as keys on the <RTI>keyboaid@</RTI> iot the user to optionally manually input information into <RTI>tite</RTI> memory in addition to information rotrieved <RTI>by</RTI> reading the business card. The scanner <RTI>alterrratively</RTI> or in addition can be provided with disc drive means 20 <RTI>to</RTI> <RTI>access</RTI> information <RTI>from</RTI> software discs such that a whole series of businessmen's information can be directly inputted into the scanner.In consequence, a <RTI>company</RTI> wishing to give information <RTI>regarding</RTI> say 50 people in <RTI>thrill</RTI> organization, can prepare the necessary software discs <RTI>which</RTI> can then be sent in-house or to clionts so that they can input this information directly into a <RTI>plurality</RTI> of scanners. If say 50 discs are sent, then 2, 500 pi <RTI>oces of</RTI> information can be <RTI>transmitted</RTI> by this process.

The apparatus shown in the figure is simple in design, and yct information on a business card can be easily <RTI>retrieved</RTI> by <RTI>tiie</RTI> scanner, giving the advantage that a <RTI>businessman</RTI> <RTI>wire</RTI> has a plurality of business cards can have <RTI>tire</RTI> information <RTI>Cll</RTI> <RTI>these</RTI> cards easily retrieved onto the scanner, whereafter airy relevant information that was on these cards (for <RTI>example</RTI> a name, a company name or addresses, or <RTI>(ven</RTI> all companies in a particular town or <RTI>country)</RTI> <RTI>can</RTI> be <RTI>easily</RTI> accessed by pressing of a search key on the keyboard of the scanner for further use.

The scanner could also be used to retrieve, index <RTI>into</RTI> a <RTI>plutali@@,</RTI> of indexes, arid store <RTI>different</RTI> information/data other than information appearing on business cards. In particular, the scanner is useful where Information neods to be read and indexed in two or more indexes, <RTI>whereafter</RTI> all of the information can be accessed by simply <RTI>recalling</RTI> <RTI>one</RTI> of indexes.For example, other <RTI>applicatiotis</RTI> could be a record collection index with the artist, <RTI>record</RTI> title, <RTI>sorry</RTI> names etc. could be read from the record cover directly and thereafter indexed into a plurality oE <RTI>jitdexes</RTI> <RTI>itt</RTI> <RTI>tic</RTI> memory.Another use would be say files iii <RTI>art</RTI> office <RTI>wherein</RTI> the client name, subject title, <RTI>and</RTI> <RTI>other</RTI> information could be read directly from <RTI>title</RTI> file and i udexed into a plurality of indexes in the mcmory. <RTI>A</RTI> <RTI>tut;Llier</RTI> use could be in the <RTI>banking</RTI> field, <RTI>and</RTI> in particular the <RTI>processing</RTI> of cheques.The scanner could <RTI> be used lo o @@@@ tire number of the cheque, tire name of the</RTI> bank, the account name <RTI>etc.,</RTI> whereafter this cheque could be <RTI>indexed</RTI> <RTI>lit</RTI> a <RTI>number</RTI> of indexes in the memory for subsequent <RTI>a@@@s</RTI> if necossary.

In Figure <RTI>1 ,</RTI> a digital diary 10 is shown with a screen 11 <RTI>ad</RTI> <RTI>keyboard</RTI> <RTI>l?,</RTI> which includes all the features of a conventional digital diary (such as a Casio SF-8000 or Sharp IQ). <RTI>In</RTI> addition, <RTI>the</RTI> digital diary 10 is provided with a <RTI>series</RTI> of input <RTI>d</RTI> store keys, which are used to retrieve information <RTI>in</RTI> the form of letters of the alphabet and <RTI>numerals</RTI> manually read from a standard business card 14, store <RTI>titaL</RTI> information into the memory of the diary, and access parts of the stored information in that memory and place <RTI>tital</RTI> information onto the screen 11 of the diary 10.

Scparate reader means 16 are electrically <RTI>connected</RTI> by a wire 18 to the digital diary, in order <RTI>manually</RTI> to <RTI>@@@@ieve</RTI> information on the <RTI>business</RTI> card 14.

An <RTI>example</RTI> of <RTI>such</RTI> <RTI>reader</RTI> <RTI>lileans</RTI> 16 would be a hand-held copy <RTI>pert</RTI> (o.g. <RTI>I Ite</RTI> <RTI>casio</RTI> Cl-9), a hand-held laser scanner (o.g. the datalogic datagun), or a data reader pen (e.g.

the datalogic datapen). As an alternative, the reader means could be made integial with the digital diary.

Suitably, the digital diary 10 is provided with switch <RTI>means</RTI> so that it <RTI>can</RTI> be placed in an input mode, and a plurality of sets of buttons in order to input information received from the reader means 16 in a correct sequential manner into the memory.In particular, the digital diary nay be <RTI>arranged</RTI> to have a first set of two "name" <RTI>keys,</RTI> <RTI>wherein</RTI> the first input key is pressed, <RTI>whereafter</RTI> <RTI>the</RTI> pen is <RTI>used manually</RTI> to read a businessman's name, whereafter the <RTI>second</RTI> store key of the set of keys is pressed <RTI>in</RTI> <RTI>eider</RTI> to <RTI>store</RTI> that information <RTI>in</RTI> the diary memory. <RTI>Tite</RTI> <RTI>first.</RTI> input Icy of a second set of two company" keys can then be pressed, whercafter the reader means is manually <RTI>use</RTI> to optically read the company name of the businessman, whicreafter the second store key of the second set of <RTI>):eys</RTI> is <RTI>pressed</RTI> in order to store that information. <RTI>litre</RTI> first <RTI>input</RTI> key of a third set of two "address" <RTI>leys</RTI> may <RTI>then</RTI> be pressed, whereafter the pen is used manually to read <RTI>tIte</RTI> address of a businessman, whereafter the second store key of the third set of keys is pressed in order to store that information. This operation can be rcpeated for <RTI>further</RTI> <RTI>information</RTI> that is required from the <RTI>busincss</RTI> card in the digital diary 10.

Alternativeoy, the rcader means 16 is adapted such tidal: it munually <RTI>1 ead.'</RTI> batches of information in a correct sequential manner <RTI>iitto</RTI> the memory, and in <RTI>particular</RTI> a <RTI>series</RTI> of <RTI>batches</RTI> of information which correspond to that optically read, as long as the pen remains <RTI>in</RTI> <RTI>manual</RTI> contact with the business card. In other words, the reader means may be manually "swiped" a number of <RTI>separate</RTI> times, <RTI>sucit</RTI> that information is retrieved from the face of the business card.For instance, one firstly manually <RTI>presses</RTI> the <RTI>reader</RTI> means onto the business card to read the <RTI>business</RTI> name, <RTI>and</RTI> then manually removes it from the <RTI>business</RTI> card, <RTI>secondly</RTI> thereafter manually presses it back onto <RTI>tire</RTI> business card to read the company name of the business card, whereafier <RTI>Lire</RTI> reader <RTI>means</RTI> is <RTI>manually</RTI> <RTI>retrieved</RTI> <RTI>from</RTI> the face of the business card, arid thirdly the reader <RTI>means</RTI> is manually placed on the business card to read the <RTI>address</RTI> of <RTI>tire</RTI> businessman, and finally manually <RTI>retrieved</RTI> therefrom. Iri this way, a series of batch of <RTI>information</RTI> can be optically and manually read from the business card, and <RTI>properly</RTI> stored in the memory of the digital diary, sinco the information has been stored in the correct <RTI>sequential</RTI> <RTI>manner.</RTI>

A yet further alternative, the required information from a <RTI>sirwjle</RTI> business card can be manually retrieved and <RTI>stored</RTI> together as a group in <RTI>the</RTI> memory in <RTI>cite</RTI> <RTI>operation,</RTI> <RTI>hereafter</RTI> all the relevant business cards <RTI>ill</RTI> a <RTI>partieula@</RTI> <RTI>irde:</RTI> <RTI>can</RTI> be accessed onto the screen with scroll <RTI>keys,</RTI> <RTI>search</RTI> keys arid <RTI>tire</RTI> like. In such an arrangement, it is not <RTI>essential</RTI> that all the information be placed in the memory in a correct sequential manner.

Preferably, <RTI>the</RTI> apparatus is provided with means (including <RTI>keys</RTI> on <RTI>the</RTI> keyboard) whereby the information read and retrieved can be <RTI>checked</RTI> and if need be manually corrected <RTI>Ott</RTI> <RTI>tire</RTI> screen 11 prior to the information being stored <RTI>in</RTI> <RTI>the</RTI> <RTI>Inclllory.</RTI> Furthermore, means (including keys on the keyboard) may be provided such that information in the memory cart <RTI>ite</RTI> corrected or updated on the screen 11 when <RTI>necossa@y.</RTI> The latter fcature wouldbe useful to update say a <RTI>telephone</RTI> <RTI>number,</RTI> while the former feature would be useful to correct data incorrectly retrieved by tile <RTI>reader</RTI> means, <RTI>for</RTI> example <RTI>ill</RTI> <RTI>the</RTI> instance that some of the print on the <RTI>business</RTI> card is too small to read properly.

<RTI>Suitably,</RTI> <RTI>he</RTI> digital diary 10 is also provided with an automatic <RTI>telephone</RTI> dialling feature, such that an audible sound is produced (corresponding to the telephone nuber in the memory of the digital diary that a user has accessed and <RTI>wishes</RTI> to call) when the dialling feature is activated arid tulle diary <RTI>placed</RTI> next to a telephone causing the telephone to dial that <RTI>@equested</RTI> telophone number. In particular, <RTI>tire</RTI> dialing facility used is the Casio Auto Dialer <RTI>QD-7)O,</RTI> OD-150 or <RTI>QU-350</RTI> which can be combined with the digital diary.

Suitably, <RTI>art</RTI> interface unit 20 is provided for the digital <RTI>diary</RTI> (for <RTI>cxaiple</RTI> a Casio FA-100), such that the capability to upload and/or download information into a computer 22 can be obtained.

An additional or the same interface unit 20 can also be provided in order to connect the diary to a printer 24, whereby information on the digital diary 10 can be transferred <RTI>into</RTI> a printed format. The computer 22 is optionally provided with its' own printer 26, or is connected to the printer 24.

<RTI>Tite</RTI> digital diary shown in Figure 2 is portable, however, an electrical/eloctronic apparatus having no diary feature, but <RTI>@hich</RTI> manually retrieves, stores, accesses and displays business card information, can obviously be <RTI>foreseert,</RTI> <RTI>which</RTI> would be used as a portable or desk top apparatus.

lit Figure 3, a computer 28 with a screen is shown <RTI>having</RTI> a keyboan d 30 and <RTI>@cading</RTI> <RTI>means</RTI> 32 <RTI>( such</RTI> as a hand-hold copy pen, a hand-hcld laser scanner or a data reader pert) <RTI>connected</RTI> thereto in order to read and retrieve manually <RTI>info@mation</RTI> from a business card (suitably provided <RTI>with</RTI> a <RTI>code).</RTI> In such an arrangement, the information <RTI>from</RTI> the <RTI>business</RTI> card is easily retrieved and placod into the computer momory, whereafter this <RTI> information @ cin be accessed arid placed onto tic screen of</RTI> the computer.The computer 28 is optionally connected to a printer 34 <RTI>such</RTI> that information from a business card can be <RTI>prittted</RTI> cut <RTI>ii</RTI> necessary.

<RTI>ihe</RTI> digital diary of Figure z and the computer of Figure 3 are preferably provided with means (such as keys on the keyboard) for the user to optionally manually input information into the memory in addition to information retrieved by manually reading the business card. The diary of Figure 2 and computer of Figure 3 alternatively or in addition <RTI>can</RTI> be provided with disc drive means 50 to access <RTI>information</RTI> <RTI>froiti</RTI> software discs such that a large number of businessmon's s information can be directly inputted into the <RTI>apparatus.</RTI> In consequence, a company wishing to give information regarding say 50 people in their organization, can prepaie the necessary software discs which can then be sent in-hoouse <RTI>oir</RTI> to clients so that they can input this <RTI>informatiort</RTI> directly <RTI>into</RTI> a plurality of diaries/computers.

<RTI> If say 50 discs are sent, , tltert 2,500 pieces of information</RTI> can be <RTI>transmitted</RTI> by <RTI>this</RTI> process.

The eloctrical/electronic apparatus shown in Figures 2 and 3 <RTI>give</RTI> <RTI>first</RTI> <RTI>advantage</RTI> that a businessman who has a plurality of business cards can have the information on these cards <RTI>easily</RTI> <RTI>manually</RTI> retrieved onto an appropriate electrical apparatus, whereafter any rclevant information that was <RTI>ott</RTI> <RTI>these</RTI> cards <RTI>(for</RTI> instance, a name, a company <RTI>traine,</RTI> or <RTI>address,</RTI> or even all companies in a particular <RTI>Lo\:ri</RTI> <RTI>ir</RTI> <RTI>couirtt::y)</RTI> <RTI>can</RTI> be easily accessed and displayed on the <RTI>screen</RTI> by pressing of a search key on the apparatus for further use.

<RTI> In i':icjure ULC 4, a business card 10 made of paper is</RTI> shown <RTI>having</RTI> non-coded information in the form of letters and numerals regarding a businessman printed on the front face, and encoded information in the form of one or more bar codes 14 <RTI>err</RTI> the rear face 16. This bar code incorporates a plurality of alphanumerical characters, which correspond to at <RTI>least</RTI> part of the <RTI>information</RTI> in the form of <RTI>letters</RTI> and <RTI>truriierals</RTI> provided on the other face of the business card. In particular, the bar code will contain information such as a businessman's name, company address, telephone, fax <RTI>and</RTI> telex numbers found printed on the other face of the <RTI>business</RTI> card. Other information like company <RTI>logos</RTI> <RTI>fouled</RTI> printed on the business card need not be provided on the bar code provided <RTI>err</RTI> the business card.

Suitably, the bar coding on the reverse of the business card can store upto 150 alphanumerical characters, and a suitable bar coding <RTI>system</RTI> that could be used is Colt 128.

Other encoding methods could be used other than bar codes, alld in particular a magnetic coding type system could be used (see Figure 5), rather than the colour contrast bar coding method, the advantage of the magnetic coding system being that <RTI>the</RTI> reverse of the business card need not be unsightly, since a covering layer of paper could be placed <RTI>ever</RTI> <RTI>tire</RTI> <RTI>magnetic</RTI> strip. In other words, <RTI>title</RTI> business end could be formed of three layers, namely two outer layers of paper (one of which has printed <RTI>itrformatiott</RTI> <RTI>thereon)</RTI> arid air inner layer comprising or including coded magnetic strips.Another encoding method could be based on copper strips with electronic pulses thereon, placed <RTI>err</RTI> the business card.

<RTI>title</RTI> card of Figures <RTI>Ç</RTI> and 5 alternatively could be made of plastic in tire event paper became a scare <RTI>conrmodity.</RTI>

<RTI>Itt</RTI> Figure 6, a digital diary 20 is shown with a keyboard 21 <RTI>which</RTI> includes all the features of a conventional digital diary (such as a Casio <RTI>SF-8000,or</RTI> <RTI>Sharp</RTI> IQ). In addition tire digital diary is provided with the <RTI>features</RTI> that on pressing of a key, it can be put into an input mode to retrieve the bar code information on the business card shown <RTI>iTl</RTI> Figures 4 and 5. Suitably, one or more windows 22 are <RTI>provided</RTI> on the side of the digital diary behind each of which a scanner such as an optical reader is positioned, which reader can be used to scan over the business card in order to retrieve the information on the bar codes on the business card.Alternatively or in addition, a reader <RTI>coircave</RTI> slot 23 is provided in the diary along which <RTI>tite</RTI> business card with a bar or magnetic code is passed, arid the information on the bar or magnetic code retrieved arid amassed into the diary's memory. After information is retrieved, the input mode key on the diary is pressed again in order to register the information in the diary's memory and take the diary out of its input modc.

<RTI>Altcrnatively,</RTI> separate reader means (not shown) can be provided electrically connected by a wire to the digital diary in order to retrieve information on the business card. An example of such reader means would be a <RTI>itand-iteld</RTI> <RTI>coi)y</RTI> <RTI>pert</RTI> <RTI>(e.g.</RTI> Casio CP-9), a hand-held laser scanner (e.g. the <RTI>Dataloyic</RTI> Datagun), or a data reader pen (e.g. <RTI>the</RTI> Datalogic Datapen).

Suitably, tire digital diary is also provided with an <RTI>automatic</RTI> telophone dialling feature, such that an audible <RTI>sound</RTI> is produced (corresponding to the telephone <RTI>number</RTI> in <RTI>t-lle</RTI> <RTI>Ilielirory</RTI> of <RTI>title</RTI> digital diary that a user has accessed <RTI>artd</RTI> <RTI>wishes</RTI> to all) when the dialling feature is activated and the diary placed next to a telephone causing the telephone to dial that requested telephone number. In particular, the dialing facility used is the Casio Auto Dialer QD-700, QD-150, OR QD-350 can be combined with the digital diary.

Suitably, an interface unit 24 is provided for the digital diary (for example a Casio FA-100), such that <RTI>tite</RTI> capability to upload arid/or download information into a computer 26 <RTI>can</RTI> be obtained.

An additional or <RTI>the</RTI> same interface unit 24 can also be provided <RTI>ill</RTI> order to connect the diary to a printer 28, whereby <RTI>ittformation</RTI> on the digital diary 20 can be transferred into a printed format. The computer 26 is optionally provided <RTI>with</RTI> its' own printer 29, or is connected to <RTI>tite</RTI> printer 28.

The digital diary shown in Figure <RTI>6</RTI> is portable, <RTI>however,</RTI> <RTI>an</RTI> clectrical/clectronic apparatus having no diary feature, but <RTI>silnply</RTI> retrieves, stores and accesses business card information, can obviously be foreseen, which would be used as a portable or desk top apparatus.

In Figure 7, a computer 30 is shown having a keyboard 31 <RTI>aird</RTI> <RTI>readirtg</RTI> <RTI>means</RTI> 32 (such as a hand-held copy pen, <RTI>hattd-iteld</RTI> laser scanner or a data reader pen) connected <RTI>thereto</RTI> in order to read and retrieve coded <RTI> information @@om a business card. In such an arrangement,</RTI> <RTI>the</RTI> information froiii <RTI>tite</RTI> business card is easily retrieved and placed <RTI>irtto</RTI> the computer memory, whereafter this information <RTI>can</RTI> be accessed. The computer 30 is optionally connected to a printer 34 such that information from a business card can be printed out if necessary.

The digital diary of Figure 6 and the computer of Figure 7 are preferably provided with means (such as keys on the <RTI>keyboard)</RTI> for the user to optionally manually input information into the memory in addition to information retrieved by <RTI>readirtg</RTI> the business card.The diary of <RTI>Figure 6 atid ecfomputor of or Figure 7 alternatively or in</RTI> addition <RTI>can</RTI> be provided with disc drive means to access <RTI>infonnation</RTI> <RTI>fioitr -software</RTI> discs such that a whole series of <RTI>businessmcIl's</RTI> information can be directly inputted into the apparatus. <RTI>Irt</RTI> consequence, a company wishing to give information regarding say 50 people in their organization, can prepare <RTI>tire</RTI> necessary software discs which can then be sent <RTI>in-itouse</RTI> or to <RTI>clicks</RTI> so that they can input this <RTI>information</RTI> directly <RTI>into</RTI> a plurality of diaries/computers.

If say 50 discs are <RTI>sent,</RTI> then 2,500 pieces of information can be transmitted by this process.

In Figure 8, an arrangement for encoding business cards is <RTI>sltowtt</RTI> <RTI>comprising</RTI> a computer 40 and a code applying apparatus 42. Suitably, <RTI>the</RTI> information required to be on for example the bar code for a business card is typed into the <RTI>computer</RTI> <RTI>40,</RTI> <RTI>thereafter</RTI> appropriate software in the computer produces the corresponding bar code, and finally the bar code is applied to the business card by the code <RTI>applying</RTI> apparatus <RTI>42</RTI> in the form of a laser printer.

Suitably, the code applying apparatus 42 is adapted in order to encode a business card as shown in Figure 4.

<RTI>Tite</RTI> business cards shown in Figures 4 and 5 are simple in design, and yet information in coded form on this business card can be easily retrieved by a digital diary (see Figure <RTI>6)</RTI> or a <RTI>computer</RTI> (see Figure 7), giving the advantage that a businessman who has a plurality of business cards can have the information on these cards easily <RTI>retrieved</RTI> onto an appropriate electrical apparatus, whercafter <RTI>ally</RTI> <RTI>rolevatit</RTI> <RTI>information</RTI> that was on these cards (for example a name, a company name or addresses, or even all <RTI>corripanies</RTI> <RTI>in</RTI> a particular town or country) can be easily accessed by <RTI>pressing</RTI> of a search key on the apparatus for further use.

Claims (20)

1. An electrical/electronic apparatus is provided with means to retrieve coded information from a plurality of documents, having both non-coded information at least in the form of letters of the alphabet and coded information thereon, the coded information corresponding to at least part of the non-coded information, and means to store that coded information in a memory for subsequent access.
2. Apparatus as claimed in Claim 1 which includes means to retrieve information from a plurality of business cards.
3. A business card which comprises non-coded information at least in the form of letters of the alphabet regarding a businessman, and encoded information on the same business card corresponding to part of the non-coded information.
4. A card as claimed in Claim 3 wherein the encoded information is in bar code form or magnetic code form on either the front or reverse face of the business card, and the non-coded information also includes information in the form of numerals.
5. A card as claimed in Claim 4 wherein the bar or magnetic code contains upto 150 alphanumerical encoded characters.
6. An encoding apparatus for encoding information onto a business card as claimed in Claim 3.
<RTI>
7.</RTI> Apparatus as claimed in Claim 6 comprising a computer with bar encoding software, and a bar code applying apparatus connected thereto.
8. An electrical/electronic apparatus which is provided with means to photo-optically scan information from a document, means to index that information under a plurality of indexes, means to store that indexed information in a memory, and means to access that stored information from any one of the plurality of indexes.
9. Apparatus as claimed in Claim 8 wherein information after scanning is encoded by encoding means, whereafter the coded information is stored under the plurality of indexes in the memory.
10. Apparatus as claimed in Claim 8 which photo-optically reads information in coded format into the memory of the apparatus.
11. Apparatus as claimed in either Claim 1 or 8 which is provided with integral display means in the form of a screen.
12. Apparatus as claimed in either Claim 1 or 8 which is provided with an integral keyboard in order to manage the information.
13. Apparatus as claimed in Claim 12 wherein the information once in the apparatus is manually indexed by the user using the keyboard into a plurality of indexes into the memory.
14. Apparatus as claimed in Claim 13 wherein the indexing is achieved by formatting the information on an integral screen.
15. An electrical/electronic apparatus having manually operable means to read and retrieve information in the form of at least letters of the alphabet optically from a plurality of documents, means to store that information in a memory, means to display the information, and means to access part of the stored information in that memory and place that information onto the display means of the apparatus.
16. An apparatus as claimed in Claim 15 wherein the manual reader means comprises optical reader means to optically read information in the form of letters of the alphabet and numerals.
17. Apparatus as claimed in Claim 16 wherein the optical reader means is in the form of a pen, which is hand-held by a user.
18. An apparatus as claimed in either Claim 1 or 15 which is provided with automatic telephone dialling means.
19. An apparatus as claimed in Claim 16 which is provided with a keyboard which is adapted, such that the apparatus can be switched by switch means to an input mode whereafter a first key of a first set of keys can be pressed thereon, whereafter the reader means is manually used to optically read a first piece of information from the document, whereafter a second key of the first set of keys on the apparatus may be pressed to store that information in the memory, whereafter a first key of a second set of keys is then pressed, whereafter the reader means is manually used to read a second piece of information from the document, whereafter the second key of the second set of keys is pressed in order to store that information in the memory, whereafter a first key of a third set of keys is then pressed, whereafter the reader mans manually reads a third piece of information from the document, whereafter the second key of the third set of keys is pressed in order to store that information in the memory.
20. An apparatus as claimed in Claim 16 wherein the optical reading means is adapted such that information is manually and optically read in batches as long as the reader means remains in manual contact with the surface of the document.
GB9105674A 1990-03-19 1991-03-18 Improvements in and relating to retrieval and storage of information from documents Expired - Fee Related GB2242162B (en)

Priority Applications (3)

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GB9006115A GB9006115D0 (en) 1990-03-19 1990-03-19 Improvements in and relating to retrieval and storage of information from documents
GB9006117A GB9006117D0 (en) 1990-03-19 1990-03-19 Improvements in and relating to retrieval and storage of information from documents
GB9006116A GB9006116D0 (en) 1990-03-19 1990-03-19 Improvements in and relating to retrieval and storage of information from documents

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GB9320074A GB2270875B (en) 1990-03-19 1993-09-29 Improvements in and relating to retrieval and storage of information from documents

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GB2275668A (en) * 1993-01-25 1994-09-07 Gananth Wimalal Ediriwira Data carrying articles such as stamps
GB2275668B (en) * 1993-01-25 1997-10-01 Gananth Wimalal Ediriwira Postage stamps and articles of related (postal) functions
US5483052A (en) * 1993-12-07 1996-01-09 Smith, Iii; Herbert J. System for reading, storing and using bar-encoded data from a coded business card or other printed material
US5654534A (en) * 1994-03-02 1997-08-05 Psc, Inc. Hand held or hand mounted bar code scanning device having a display which pivots between an open and closed position
US5493105A (en) * 1994-04-19 1996-02-20 Desai; Nimesh R. Electronic business card system
GB2327063A (en) * 1997-07-07 1999-01-13 David Jack Guest Electronic business card
US8166011B2 (en) 2005-10-03 2012-04-24 Personalized Business Products, Inc. System and method for electronically managing individual and business information
US9070142B2 (en) 2005-12-16 2015-06-30 Taylor Corporation Order fulfillment system and method for printing products including individualized information

Also Published As

Publication number Publication date Type
GB9105674D0 (en) 1991-05-01 grant
GB2242162B (en) 1995-04-26 grant

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