Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Other than the physical space issue, what are the benefits of document imaging?
A: Certainly there are many, but three near the top of the list are multi-user access, rapid retrieval and security. Once documents are imaged, even remote users with the appropriate security clearance can view, print or forward these digital records.

Q: Why has document imaging become so popular recently?
A: Price is way down and performance is way up. Powerful software and scanning equipment along with inexpensive mass storage and public/private access to high speed Internet bandwidth make document imaging quite a bargain. Additionally, document imaging usually compliments rather than conflicts with existing IT systems, so there is minimal disruption in a business and very quick productivity.

Q: What is involved with turning paper documents into digital computer documents?
A: Prep-scan-index. As a part of document preparation, you must decide what you need to keep and for how long; then you need to remove staples and paper clips as a part of getting ready for the scanning process. During scanning, documents must be tied to “indexes” or “keys” that allow for retrieval in the future. These indexes can be entered manually or automated using pre-existing files or forms.

Q: How do we go about moving from paper files to digital files?
A: Since businesses must have access to historical paper files, you need to choose the conversion procedure that works best for you. In a traditional “back file” conversion, these paper documents are prepped, scanned and indexed on the front end by you or with the help of a service bureau such as ours. In a “modified day forward” approach, you would prep/scan/ index new documents as they are received and image historical files only as they are needed.

Q: Technology changes fast; what happens to my images if my CD drive goes the way of the 8-track audio tape?
A: A valid concern; we recommend to our users that they keep digitized images on at least three forms of digital media. For instance you might keep your data on a data file server, on CD-Rom, and off site tape/disk media. Every 3-4 years review these devices in case you may need to shift to more current technology. Keep in mind that once you are “digital”, data transfers can be completely automated.

Q: Moving (or removing) outdated paper files is quite a chore; how is this handled with digital files?
A: Archival retention dates can be automatically placed into digital records; then they can be moved to “off-line” storage or even deleted as required.

Q: When is the best time to digitally image a paper document?
A: Although there may be some exceptions, usually it is the first time your organization “touches” the document. Powerful “rules and routing” document management software can usually do a better job getting the right things to the right people than people can do manually shuffling paper.

Q: What about microfilm and microfiche?
A: Prior to the recent price/performance advances mentioned above, just about any organization with a huge document storage problem used film or fiche. They do a nice job with historical archiving as well as saving space. Rapid retrieval, multiple user access, media portability, integration with IT systems and security are usually quite problematic however. Keep in mind that these are just “little pictures” of paper on a roll of film, sheet or card. If you need to see them again, it gets to be a hassle.

Q: Is it cheaper to image documents “in house” or outsource this kind of work to a service bureau such as ODDS – DM?
A: That is a tough question with a lot of variables. We can help with your analysis by providing you with many of the questions and, hopefully, with many of the answers. Oftentimes a mix of both provides numerous benefits.

Q: How much does it cost to have ODDS – DM scan our documents?
A: This gets back to the prep/scan/index issues discussed above, and quite honestly the prep and index parts are more critical to the overall cost than the actual scanning. How much prep is involved (and who does it), how many indexes (and can they be automated), and how many images (sheets) are there per document. Charges are usually broken down between prep (hourly) and scan/index (cents per image). Usually we can do it cheaper than you can… it is our business.

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Did you know...

One 600MB CD can hold the equivalent of over 15,000 - 8.5 X 11" scanned pages?

What's more...

One 4.3GB DVD can hold as many as 90,000 - 8.5 X 11" scanned pages.*