Pearl Document Scanning Blog

News and updates related to the document scanning industry.

Preservation Through Scanning

Preservation Through Scanning

The world is around 4.5 billion years old. And the human race about 200,000 million, so in that time, we have created some amazing memories, key pieces of history and contributed to the world as we know it today. Yet none of this would be possible for us to know without the reading about it. Yes, we can hear stories from our elders, but to really understand how the world once was, we need to read about people’s experiences first-hand.

The problem with this is the fact that some of these items are hundreds – if not thousands – of years old. So as time progresses, these deteriorate until they become unfathomable. But this is where scanning comes in. A somewhat new concept, the idea of digitalising endangered documents has been hailed as a way to preserve historical items for future use. Turning ‘analogue’ materials into digital forms, it means that they can essentially last forever.

Manuscripts, books and historical documents have all been digitised and locked forever into digital forms. The 11th-century Doomesday Book is one of the most prominent. The 1000 year old book is now online for all to sift through at their leisure. And in the 10 years since it has been online, it has attracted a whole new audience ready to discover more about the key document.

There are currently around 80 million pieces of information digitised and published and preserved online. And highlighting just how important this is, there were 17 million visits to the UK Government Web Archive last year.

Featuring texts from around the world, the digital library is awash with important information that is key to building our history. Highlighting what brought us here today, the documents and manuscripts enable us to build a picture about what life was like for our forefathers – both in this country, and right around the world.

Medieval manuscripts are some of the oldest to adorn the archives, detailing life between the 5th to the 15th century. Key for understanding the incredible history of life hundreds of years ago, the documents make for fascinating reading for historians and those keen to learn more about life before most of the items we know and love today were even invented.

Photographs and negatives paint a glorious picture of life before modern cars, buildings and technology. Yet photographs are extremely fragile and can be destroyed in an instant. Digitalising these can help to preserve them for many years to come, allowing future generations to look back in awe at the world as it once was.

Before technology and the internet, newspapers were essentially the only way to find out what was happening in the local area and beyond. Chronicling history day by day, scanning newspapers offers an incredible insight into life 50, 100 and even 150 years ago.

As the world develops, more and more documents will be created. Treaties, contracts and scripts are all important parts of our history that, more often than not, are physical items. By making sure these are preserved sooner rather than later, we can ensure that our history will be remembered for years to come.

Document Archiving

document-archivingDocument Archiving

Document archiving has become much more common practice within businesses looking at saving money whilst at the same time improving efficiency.

Document Archiving Types

Archiving documents can be done in any number of ways. There is the traditional storage method where documents are stored within cabinets, drawers and store rooms. However; this method can be messy, hard to get around and easy to get out of order.

There are other companies, the likes of law firms and financial institutions for example, that prefer to use document storage facilities. This is a good way to get the documents out of your hair but still have them there when you need them but there are quite a few downsides to this form of document archiving;

  • The month on month cost is exceptionally high.
  • Retrieval costs, that many facilities will charge, are also high.
  • There will be a waiting time for the documents, that you may need to see as soon as possible, which can be days.

The final option is digital archiving. You're probably thinking that it's easy for us to say that digitally archiving your documents is the best method but there's a very good reason we work in this particular field; because it's the best option all around.

Digital Document Archivingdocument-archiving-blog

We have previously explored document scanning vs document storage in past articles. Digital document archiving is not just the best way of archiving your documents for the time being, it's also very much future-proof. Having your documents accessible at any time through the digital archives on your computer system is vital to any modern business, as are the costs that you'll save through not having to store documents or pay the ridiculous retrieval fees for your own files. In researching the costs of document retrieval, we found prices ranging from between £12-20 per file, so let's say an average of £16 per file.

Digital document archiving is the most cost-effective solution to document archiving as documents can be scanned from as little as a penny per sheet. On top of this, office efficiency improves thanks to being able to access the files quicker with better flexibility and it is also space saving if you decide to dispose of the original paper-based files.

I you would like some more information about the document storage solutions we offer here at Pearl Scan, get in touch today or visit our website. For a free, no obligation quote for your scanning project, complete our online form by following the relevant links below.

Other Relevant Articles-
Document Archiving – The Top 3 Methods
How to Archive Financial Documents
Document Scanning Benefits

Document Archiving – The Top 3 Methods

Document Archiving – The Top 3 Methods

Document archiving is usually a last resort but the reasons for it tend to be that you're running out of space, you need more space or you're just looking to de-clutter. Usually documents are archived when they are not used on a regular basis but may be needed again in the future. The need for archiving arises when those documents are taking up valuable space that could be used more effectively. However sometimes you want documents archiving that are in regular use too.

Many will choose traditional methods when it comes to storing away documents often not realising that there are superior and more modern choices that are highly beneficial to your company's wallet as well as the company itself.

In this article we'll go through three of the top choices when it comes to document archiving both traditional and modern in their technique. So let's start with the traditional:

Traditional Document Storagedocument-storage-archiving

Document storage is exactly that, you store your documents away, usually in a secure storage facility. This is often the storage method of choice for those who want to keep paper copies of their documents but don't want, or have the room, to keep them stored on site. Although traditional document storage is on its way out in comparison to more modern methods, a lot of larger corporations still prefer to use it as their first choice, mainly as they have larger budgets to be able to afford it.

This is where document storage bares its Achilles heel; the costs. Traditional document is expensive because you are essentially renting a property purely to store your documents and with a lot of storage companies, you can incur a large fee to retrieve your documents too. Retrieval policies at these companies means that you cannot just head over to the facility to collect your documents when you need them, you will need to wait until the storage facility do it for you and mail or courier it over to you. This is both expensive and time consuming, especially when you need a document as soon as possible.

Document Scanning to Digital Document Managementdocument-scanning-archiving

Document scanning is quickly becoming the fastest growing form of document archiving. There are specialist document scanning companies that will take your documents and scan them to digital files such as PDF and will then supply them on a disc, via FTP or into a digital document management system for you. This means that all your documents are still available to you at your office but they no longer need to be there in physical form. It also makes for more flexible and productive work as the documents are easily accessible and can be shared, emailed and printed as and when staff require.

While a lot of people swear by this as their archiving tool of choice, others sometimes believe it is not as secure as it should be. This can be easily altered, however, with secure software which locks folders on your computer that contain the documents so they can't be deleted or removed, accidentally or otherwise.

Document scanning is also relatively cheap, depending on the amount of documents you have, with some projects completed for as little as a penny per sheet.

Scan on Demandscan-on-demand

Scan on Demand is a relatively recent scanning service. What scan on demand offers is a flexible way of document archiving which is the best of both worlds if you're not sure you're ready to make a complete transition to digital just yet.

So, what exactly is scan on demand? Well, your scanning company will store your documents, usually for very low rates to compete with document storage companies, and when you wish to have a document digitised and sent over to you for use, you simply call or email the company to request it.

A lot of companies are choosing this option as sustainable middle ground between the other two document storage choices. It does of course come with a storage cost, but the fact that you can request a file at any time and get a digital copy back to you, makes it a better choice than standard storage for many. After that you choose if you want to keep the paper copies or have them destroyed. When using this choice, make sure that the company can offer a quick turnaround of the scan on demand to ensure you are getting a better service than traditional document storage. A reasonable document request time for a digital file should be around 48 hours.

Each document storage option brings its own advantages which may suit your company best. If you would like some more information on the range of document storage services we offer here at Pearl Scan, get in touch today for a free, no obligation quote.

How to Archive Financial Documents

Guest Post: How to Archive Financial Documents while Saving Space and Time

Today's guest post comes from Craig Hollingum. Craig has been in the Document Imaging business for well over half of his life. He has been involved in Micro Com Systems Ltd. (based in Vancouver and Seattle) on an evolutionary path as an employee/partner/sole owner since 1982, so he knows the business!

If you're like most people, then you probably don't enjoy such bureaucratic processes as filing and archiving financial documents. The problem is that such dislike for paperwork often causes you to simply shelf documents in one of your drawers or file cabinets without organizing them. Needless to say, this isn't the most efficient way of going about your business. So, how do you archive your financial documents such that managing them becomes a lot easier? Read on to find out.

Perhaps the first thing you need to know is exactly which financial documents should you keep and for how long? Here is a quick run-down:

  • Tax-related Records: You may keep these documents for about seven years before discarding.
  • IRA Contributions: These documents need to be kept permanently.
  • Retirement Plan Statements: Quarterly statements need to be kept until your annual statement arrives. Check if the numbers match and if they do, you can discard the quarterly statements. The annual statements need to be kept permanently.
  • Bank Records: Bank documents that aren't that important can be kept for a year before discarding. Important bank documents should be kept permanently.
  • Brokerage Statements: These documents should be kept until your sell the securities, at which point your can discard the documents.
  • Bills : Most bills can be discarded once they're paid in full or when you receive a cancelled check. For big items such as a car, however, it's best to keep the bills permanently.
  • Credit Card Receipts: These receipts can be kept only until you can reconcile them with your statements, at which point you can discard the receipts and keep the statement for seven years before discarding.
  • Paycheck Stubs: You need to keep these until you get your annual tax statements.
  • House Records: These documents need to be kept permanently.

Bear in mind that the best way to discard financial documents when you no longer need them is to shred them first before throwing them out with the trash. Now that you know which financial documents to keep and for how long, here are some tips on how you can effectively archive these documents:

Bills image1. Choose Your Medium
You can discard most bills when they're paid in full or when you finally get a cancelled check. photo by wrestlingentrop
You need to take into consideration the fact that your financial documents will be stored for a long period of time. This makes it imperative for you to choose an archiving medium that can last for as long as you need your documents. If you choose to keep your files in tapes, remember that tapes of the best quality last for just about ten years. This means you may have to transfer the files to new tapes or to another medium before the ten years are up. Optical storage devices may be a better option for documents that need to be kept permanently, since these can last for an indefinite period.

You should also consider the accessibility of your chosen storage device a number of years from now. To illustrate, there are people who stored important documents in zip disks several years back. These disks are now practically extinct and you'll most probably have a hard time trying to retrieve data from a zip disk, if you can retrieve them at all. Of course, there's really no way you can predict which device will last. It may be a good idea to transfer your files to a newer device every ten years or so.

Diferent data formats2.Choose a Data Format
The application you use today to archive your financial documents may no longer be supported ten years from now. There have been many cases where archived files can no longer be recovered because the format used has become obsolete. To avoid such a problem, you could archive copies of your chosen installation media and the necessary license keys along with the data itself.

3. Set Up a Retrieval Method
Bear in mind that there's always a possibility that you'll need to refer to some of your archived files from time to time. This is why you need to devise an efficient retrieval system for your archives. For example, if you choose to store your files in tapes, you need to make sure the tapes are properly indexed. This makes it a lot easier to locate files that have been indexed years ago. The good news is that there is now plenty of archival software that simplifies the task of retrieving data from archives.

dog with ball

4. Revisit Your Archive
It's only logical for archiving and storage devices to change over time. This is why it's a good idea to revisit your archives annually to see if there's a need to transfer some files to a new storage medium. Let's say, for example, that you decide to store your files in CDs. You never know if CDs will someday become obsolete, so you need to be always aware of evolving trends in terms of storage innovations and be sure to transfer your files before your chosen medium completely becomes outdated.

5. Make Copies
Don't make the mistake of storing just a single copy of your data. What if something happens, causing that copy to get damaged? In the same way, you should avoid keeping the copies of your files in one place. What if your hiding place gets flooded? The essence of making several copies is to make sure you have a backup for your files, so it only makes sense to keep the copies separately.

Having an organized archiving system enables you to manage your finances a lot more easily. Now financial paperwork doesn't have to be such an ordeal anymore.