For nearly 30 years, the U.S. government has been focused on reducing the amount of paper used across various agencies.
The introduction of initiatives such as the “Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995” and the “Transition to Electronic Records” directive of 2019 has led to increased emphasis on electronic recordkeeping and storage. The goal is to arrive at a “paperless government” that will help reduce costs, relieve administrative burdens, and create more efficient interaction between the government and its people.
This effort at the federal level has also trickled down to government agencies at the state, city, and local levels. For entities that are looking to modernize their recordkeeping efforts, it’s best to understand government document scanning best practices so that you can make the transition as quickly and efficiently as possible. We’ll unpack how this works!
What To Know About Government Document Scanning
Government document scanning is no small feat. Numerous important aspects need to be taken care of so that your team does not risk security issues or waste valuable time transitioning from paper to electronic records.
We recognize that many government entities lack the manpower and resources to scan hundreds, thousands, or even millions of documents efficiently. So, let’s review best practices in these areas:
- Create a Plan
- Ensure Understanding
- Have the Right Technology & Tools
- Index Intelligently
- Provide Easy Access
1. Have a Plan for Document Scanning
Before a single document is scanned, your entity needs to have a plan for how to execute this project. Ask some questions!
- How many paper documents/records do we need to scan?
- Where are the documents/records currently stored?
- How will we mark the documents/records that have been scanned?
- How long do we think this project will take?
- What are we doing about security?
- How should we break up the project? (e.g., alphabetically, by region, by volume, etc.)
- What will we do with the documents/records once they are scanned, checked, and indexed? (e.g., shredding or off-site storage)
Take some time to find the answers to these questions (and other questions that may pertain to your situation!) so that you can assess what resources and people you need to support the project. Then, once you have a firm grasp on your plan, you can ensure that everyone understands their role and responsibility.
2. Focus on Roles & Responsibilities
Before starting a major government document scanning project, it’s important to communicate with the people involved in the project. Communication should focus on essential areas such as:
- Who is responsible for retrieving current documents/records?
- Who is responsible for scanning documents/records?
- Who is responsible for marking documents/records as scanned?
- Who is responsible for checking the work?
- Who is responsible for managing the entire process?
Defining roles and responsibilities is critical to ensure that everyone understands exactly what to do, what to expect, and when to perform their actions in the process.
It’s also important to make these definitions so that you can quickly bring along any additional individuals. For example, you may need to bring in temporary workers or other staff members to support the project during certain stretches of time. You need to be able to clearly communicate the responsibilities to each new person that enters the project so that you don’t lose momentum or make mistakes.
3. Have the Right Tools
When it comes to the actual work to be done of scanning government documents, you need to ensure that you have the best technology for the job. You don’t need to spend your entire budget on the highest-end scanner if that’s not necessary; you just need to ensure that you have the appropriate hardware and software that meets your project needs.
For easy reference, you can refer to the Document Imaging guidelines followed by the Department of Energy (DOE). The Office of Management within the DOE recommends utilizing high-quality document scanners and Optical Character Recognition (OCR) systems that allow for accurate scanning.
That’s one big piece of the puzzle. The other big piece of the puzzle is having the appropriate software to create efficiencies scanning large volumes of paper documents. That’s where our Turbo Owl solution comes into play!
Turbo Owl by Go Find It makes it easy to scan and upload documents using our unique barcode system quickly. Using our secure tool, we save your team the hassle of manually entering information during the scanning process or having to re-scan documents! We also make it easy to index the scanned documents.
4. Understand How to Index
One of the big challenges that entities experience when scanning large volumes of paper records is not having the appropriate indexing system in place. What often happens is that when documents are scanned, individuals are not clear on how to label the documents or where to place the scanned documents in a filing system. Then, it isn’t easy to locate and access the scanned documents.
We easily solve that challenge for government entities. Through the use of our data warehouse, your team will understand exactly how to file scanned documents by a specific category, label, or other designation that you set up. The scanned documents can be stored directly in our data warehouse for easy access using our search functionality.
For entities dealing with large volumes of paper records and documents, you’ll benefit from being able to bulk upload multiple document files simultaneously and quickly preview scanned documents to ensure accuracy.
Additionally, you can provide access to the individuals responsible for QC’ing the project after the work is done. These individuals can efficiently go through the process of checking what was scanned, how it was organized, and whether any issues need to be addressed.
5. Provide Access to Users
Once your paper records have been turned into electronic records, you want to make sure that people can easily access them. You may not want to make every record available to the public, so you can use our tool to designate which records should be made publicly accessible.
Then, we can help optimize your system that allows citizens or other interested parties to access records electronically.
For example, we helped a government office organize their scanned records and set up a self-serve digital kiosk that allowed local citizens to access the records. This created a much better experience for the government entity, not repeatedly answering the same question or constantly pulling the same record. It also helped citizens quickly and easily locate the exact document or record they were looking for without having to wait for help.
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See What Go Find It Can Do For Your Entity
No matter your level of government, we can help you with government document scanning. We make it easy to scan, upload, index, share, and access records and documents.
Plus, our software tools are compliant with your government requirements. Our system is set up to protect every document and record that is scanned into our system. We can also implement additional security features for highly-sensitive records.
It’s time to find a solution for your document scanning needs. Let us help you mirror the efforts of the federal government advancing to a paperless system. Contact us today to discuss a solution or schedule a demo! We’re here to help your entity follow best practices.