Top Reasons For Choosing Digital Document Archiving over Physical Archiving
Businesses of all scales benefit greatly from document archiving. Document archives are also maintained by libraries, universities, federal agencies, NGOs, etc. Electronic documents have gained popularity among businesses because they help in reducing carbon footprint, allow enhanced access to documents, and help in better collaboration which is not possible with physical documents.
With advancing technology, electronic document archiving has also evolved allowing for consistent archiving and retrieving of relevant information in organized manner. The nature of archived documents depends on organization types. Government bodies archive classified papers, research documents are archived by universities, businesses archive financial, legal, medical or other relevant records.
Physical Archiving: The Concept
Physical archives carry paper documents. However, physical archiving of documents of critical nature is not advisable. With ageing, papers get yellowish and brittle. Resultantly, information safety is put at stake. Also, moisture, mildew, or rough handling can damage documents. It is not wise to archive medical records, statutory papers, customer documents, research papers and other critical docs in paper format.
Microfilms can be used for archiving documents. But, since they are of smaller size, they can get lost, damaged or misplaced easily. Also, large equipment is needed to view stored documents.
Digital Archiving: The Concept
Scanners facilitate digital archiving of documents. A document’s digital image is captured for storing in hard disk or server. Digital Document Archiving offers many benefits like:
- Data becomes taper proof
- Physical space is saved as virtual server space or hard drives would only be needed
- Large physical records need not be maintained
- Scanned docs can be saved in bmp, pdf, jpeg, tiff and other formats
- OCR (Optical Character Recognition) makes the document searchable and editable
- Retrieving, storing and transmitting information become faster
- Scanned documents can be compressed for saving space
- Information would never be lost, stolen, damaged, or misplaced
As document digitization benefits are many, digital archiving is becoming popular with organizations. Physical archiving consumes significant space and expenses are also involved.
Advantages of Digitizing Documents
There are numerous benefits of maintaining scanned documents in electronic archives. Top among them are discussed below.
Document Management Becomes Efficient
Indexable digitized documents can be integrated with Document Management System. This allows for automatic storage of files in corresponding digital libraries. You can also monitor and document the use of these digitized versions.
Editing of Printed Text Becomes Possible
Printed content from scanned documents, after being subjected to OCR, can be edited with MS Word, MS Excel, etc. Specific keywords or phrases can be searched. There is no further need to retype or recreate the paper document.
Relevant Information Can Be Found Quickly
OCR rendered scanned documents become searchable. Proper information is also present in metadata. With electronic search system, relevant keywords can be searched and highlighted in seconds. You need not manually skim through all pages.
Document Access Becomes Streamlined
Digitized documents can be stored in a central server from where they can be accessed, retrieved, transmitted or shared via e-mail any time from any connected device within seconds. Physical documents need not be copied manually in time consuming manner.
Correct Format for Digitized Document Archiving
Scanned documents can be saved in bmp, jpeg, tiff, pdf and other formats. Most scanners allow saving files in portable document format (PDF) for accuracy and clarity. OCR transforms PDF documents into text searchable ones. This helps you to retrieve particular info quickly from digital archives. As size of PDF file is less, it can be stored and transmitted quickly
Steps for Archiving in Electronic Format
For converting physical documents into digitized versions, you need to follow the steps mentioned below.
- Define structure of database for electronic archive
- Set the rules for document scanning and indexing
- Use high quality scanners for capturing images of physical documents
- Index the documents to help ease of retrieval in future
- Create workflow to ensure that scanned documents are readily available
Scanning and archiving documents in digital format offers competitive edge over physical archiving. Electronically stored documents can be indexed, edited, searched, shared and transmitted with relative ease. They also allow multiple teams to collaborate without causing any damage to data. It is advisable to go for digital archiving solutions for saving space, time, efforts and money.