Document Archiving Guide: 8 Steps from Paper to Digital

What is Document Archiving?

Document archiving involves the organised storage and preservation of documents. It ensures the protection of information and facilitates legal adherence. Scanning is a crucial component of document archiving, particularly for converting physical documents into digital formats. This process involves using specialised equipment to create digital images of paper documents. Scanned documents can then be stored, organised, and accessed electronically.

How Does Document Archiving Work?

Document archiving is a meticulous process designed to organise, preserve and manage documents for future access and reference. The archiving process follows a set of essential steps to ensure the integrity and longevity of the stored information, safeguard valuable information and facilitate efficient retrieval when needed.

Step 1: Collection of Documents

Our logistics team will consult with you to arrange the most convenient time to collect the paper archive from your office location or third-party storage provider. In many cases Storetec will provide boxes and an on-site packing service during collection, reducing the work you need to do to sort your records for scanning. Storetec is located in a secure compound with a coded building entry system and 24-hour CCTV inside and out. With access to our records management system i-Trac, you can track your boxes on their journey from your site to our scanning bureau in real time.

Step 2: Booking In Documents

On arrival, the warehouse team will unload your archive boxes and perform weight checks to our 12kg limit. Any boxes over the limit will be split. Each box is uniquely barcoded and added onto i-Trac, Storetec’s records management system, where they will be tracked at all stages of its digitisation journey. Any boxes that are needed urgently during the scanning process can be scanned back to you upon request using our Scan-On-Demand service.

Step 3: Preparation of Documents

In the next step of the process, the documents arrive in the Production department. All documents are prepared by hand, which includes the removal of paperclips, staples, and bindings. Each member of the preparation team only ever works on one box at a time to eliminate any chance of cross-contamination. Small documents such as post-it notes will be photocopied with the resulting copy added to the file for scanning. Each member of the preparation team has access to a tablet that is linked to the bureau management system which carries the individual job specification, which holds detailed instructions on each individual client’s requirements.

Step 4: Document Scanning

Following preparation, the documents move forward to the scanning team. Here, boxes are assigned to an individual team member, tracked by a job pack which is signed off at each stage of the digitisation process. Our experienced scanning operatives will digitise the paper documents in accordance with BS10008 for the ‘Evidential Weight and Legal Admissibility of Information’ while ensuring quality checks are performed. Storetec has a diverse range of scanning equipment from the World’s leading manufacturers including IBML, Kodak Alaris and Opex.

Step 5: Digital Indexing

Once the documents have been scanned and passed by quality assurance, they are processed to the required output file format (PDF, TIFF, etc.). The naming convention to be used can be at document, file, or binder level. In addition, we can create bookmarked PDFs, section separations or we can replicate your current filing methodology.

Step 6: Return of Data

Once scanned, your physical documents will be quarantined for 30 days or until you advise you are happy with the scans. Following this period you can decide whether to have the originals shredded, placed in storage, or returned. Storetec will provide you with a number of options for the return of your scanned images. This includes access to FreeDocs, Storetec’s own cloud-based document management system, alternatively the electronic images can be returned to you via a secure encrypted data transfer or via an encrypted USB hard drive. If you require your own systems to be populated with the data, Storetec can upload documents and data into your business’ internal system with access.

Step 7: Digital Access via FreeDocs Cloud

FreeDocs Cloud is Storetec’s own cloud-based document management system designed to give businesses a secure space to store and access their digital documents. Created by Storetec’s internal software development team, FreeDocs is easy to use, can retrieve your document to screen in seconds, and fully supports remote working. It’s the perfect tool for sharing information throughout your organisation and is packed with features such as single sign-on and retention management tools.

Step 8: Document Destruction or Storage

Once the paper documents have been in quarantine for 30 days, they can be securely shredded in line with document destruction standards. A signed notice is required to authorise destruction. Failure to confirm a destruction request will see the documents placed into secure storage as Storetec cannot destroy your records without your express permission. Once destruction has been completed, a shredding certificate will be issued as final confirmation.

If you require to retain the hard copies for longer than the initial 30-day period, Storetec will place your records into secure storage in one of our state-of-the-art storage facilities. Each box is logged and tracked on Storetec’s i-Trac records management system. Once placed in storage, your documents can be returned or destroyed at any time.

 

Are you looking to get your documents scanned? Contact our team today.