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TWAIN
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TWAIN

This article is about the software API. See also Mark Twain.

TWAIN is a standard for getting input from scannerss: an image capture API for Microsoft Windows and Apple Macintosh operating systems. The standard was first released in 1992, and is currently ratified at version 1.9 as of January 2000. TWAIN is typically used as an interface between image processing software and a scanner or digital camera.

The word TWAIN is from Rudyard Kipling's "The Ballad of East and West" - "...and never the twain shall meet...", reflecting the difficulty, at the time, of connecting scanners and personal computers. It was up-cased to TWAIN to make it more distinctive. This led people to believe it was an acronym, and then to a contest to come up with an expansion. None were selected, but the entry "Technology Without An Interesting Name" continues to haunt the standard.

This article was originally based on material from FOLDOC, used with permission. Update as needed.