Fax Capturing on Windows

Burli captures faxes sent to an attached fax-modem and places them in the In-Queue with other news data. They can be read on the screen at any workstation, viewed by multiple users at once, printed and archived.

Setting up Burli’s fax capture on a Windows machine involves two steps:Windows configuration, and Burli configuration.

HOW A FAX gets ingested into Burli. Note that part of the work is done by Windows, the rest by Burli.

In a nutshell, Windows answers the phone, receives the fax and hands a copy to Burli’s fax capture module (BurliFax.dll). The module then moves the fax image (and associated metadata) to a drop location from where Burli’s main data ingest system pulls the fax into the In-Queue.

Configuring Windows XP for fax capture

Full and detailed instructions for installing the Windows Fax Service are included in your Windows documentation. The steps required to install fax services sufficient for Burli’s use are these:

  1. Make sure your fax-modem is installed and working on your Windows XP machine.
  2. Open the Printers and Faxes Control Panel. Select Fax from the list. If Fax does not appear as an option on the screen, you may have to install Fax services. To install it, click ‘Set up Faxing’.
  3. Right-click on Fax and select the Properties menu option.
  4. If this is the first time Fax Services has been run on the machine, you may be presented with a set-up wizard. In that case follow the wizard, leaving the defaults in place if you like (if you understand the TSDI, CSID and other settings, feel free to adjust them, they do not affect Burli). Make sure you enable fax receiving. You do not need to have Windows print or save a copy of the fax.
  5. If there is no wizard, the Fax Properties dialog box will appear. Select the Devices tab. On the tab a list of modems appears.
  6. Right-click the fax-modem that you will be using for fax capture, then choose the Properties menu option.
  7. Click on the Receive tab and enable fax receiving.
  8. Test the set-up by sending a fax to the fax-modem. At this stage the fax will not appear in Burli, but Windows Fax Services should receive it without errors.

Windows 7 & 8

Windows Fax Services is also available on Windows 7 and 8 and set-up is similar in principle, although the individual screen layouts are a different.

Configuring Burli for fax capture

Installing BurliFax.dll

      1. If Burli is running on the fax capture computer, close it completely.
      2. Download the file BurliFax.dll from the Utilities and Tools section of this website. Choose the  32bit or 64bit drivers according to the version of Windows you are using.
      3. Save the file in the \Drivers\Fax subdirectory of the local Burli folder (usually C:\Burli, though sometimes renamed or found on another drive) on the computer on which you are installing fax capture.
      4. Again on the local computer, create the directory: C:\Burli\Drop\Fax

Editing Fax Capture Set-up

    1. Launch Burli. Make sure you are running Build 184 or higher. (This feature does exist in some earlier builds, but requires additional configuration – contact Burli support for details).
    2. In Burli setup (Config | Program setup or Shift-F8 from the main screen) go to the Fax tab.
    3. Check the “Monitor faxes” box and set the monitor directory to C:\Burli\Drop\Fax. If the box says “Answer Fax” and you are not asked for a monitor directory then double-check that you are running a recent version of Burli.
    4. Click Apply.
    5. Next, use the mouse to right-click somewhere on a blank grey area at the top of the Fax dialog box.
    6. When you are asked, “Configure Burli fax service?”, answer Yes.
    7. A confirmation message will say ‘Registry updated. Please restart Windows to initiate Burli Fax Service’. Clicking OK will not automatically restart Windows – you’ll have to do that manually.

Completing the Installation

  1. Completely Restart Windows.
  2. Send a test fax to the fax capture workstation to confirm that faxes received by the modem now appear automatically in the In-Queue.
  3. If the test fax does not appear in the In-Queue at all, some stage of the above installation did not happen correctly. Double-check the settings and steps.

Fax ID / TSID / Unknown Sender

By far the most common problem people run into with fax capture set-up is this: the faxes arrive in Burli just fine, but the sender ID information always says ‘Unknown Sender’. This is caused by problems with the way the faxes are being transferred between Windows and Burli. Here are some things to check:

  • You must install the file called BurliFax.dll. DO NOT have Windows drop a copy of the fax directly into the Burli\Drop\Fax directory, no matter how logical this may seem to you. While faxes (sometimes multiple copies of each one) will appear in Burli, we can guarantee they will not have any attached metadata.
  • The directory where Windows Fax Services optionally puts an extra copy of the fax file MUST BE DIFFERENT from the Drop directory used by Burli to collect the fax. If this extra copy ends up in the drop folder, the TSID data is not transferred properly and you may see two copies of the fax in the In-Queue.
  • BurliFax.dll needs to be activated. The step to do that is a little odd, involving a right-click with the mouse, and some people miss it. If you did not see a screen during setup that said ‘Configure Burli fax service?’ then it is not active and the system will not work.
  • If you used an old copy of BurliFax.dll it’s worth deleting it and downloading the latest one from the Drivers section of this website. BurliFax.dll gets updated from time to time and old versions may not work properly with recent builds of Burli.

Remote ID lookup table

Most incoming faxes identify themselves with the phone number of the fax machine they are being sent from. Burli keeps track of these fax numbers and links them with the names of the people or organisations sending the fax. Burli then uses the name (rather than the often-meaningless number) as the title of the fax in the In-Queue. The fax configuration screen (pictured above) displays the remote ID lookup table. To enter new names into the table, use the remote ID lookup function (the ‘123abc’ icon) on the fax toolbar on the main Burli screen.

Purging faxes

Many faxes are of limited interest to your newsroom. Few need to be kept for more than a few hours, so Burli automatically purges faxes after a length of time you specify (in hours) in the box at the top right of the configuration screen. Users (with security permission) can delete faxes manually by right-clicking on the fax’s slug in the In-Queue and choosing ‘Remove..’

Faxes can be saved for future reference or later assignment by placing them in a local or network folder or the assignment manager. These faxes are not affected by the automatic purge.

Creating fax filters

You can view the faxes that arrive in Burli using Burli’s powerful filters. By default Burli has a simple fax filter that will display all the faxes Burli has in the In-Queue. More specific fax filters can be created by also entering fax titles in the filter’s Text setting. For example, you might want to create a filter which just shows faxes from a given government ministry. In the filter configuration area, create a new sub-filter of the existing fax filter. Check what name Burli gives those faxes when they arrive (check the Remote ID lookup table) and enter that name as the Text setting for your new sub-filter.

Burli filters can not search for specific words in the body of a fax.

Does my fax-modem work with Burli?

If the fax-modem has drivers for Windows, then it will work with Burli on Windows.

OCR (Optical Character Recognition)

Burli does not include OCR software to convert the images in a fax into text, and so it is not possible to copy text from a fax directly into Burli’s editor or do text searches within the body of a fax.

This is in part because of the unreliability of OCR with faxes. The image quality of faxes is so low that letters are often mistaken. In a newsroom a single letter error in a news story can be critical. (The difference between “Now guilty” and “Not guilty” is the stuff of expensive lawsuits.)

However, since under Windows, faxes are stored in a directory on the local hard drive, it is possible to process them with a third-party OCR package. The text file that results from an OCR conversion can be imported into Burli, either manually, using the Open|External File… menu option or automatically, using the Text Import Utility.