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
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
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Q: Moving (or removing) outdated paper files is quite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
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
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
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
Dominion Data Systems. All rights reserved.
Did you know...
One 600MB CD can hold the equivalent of
over 15,000 - 8.5 X 11" scanned pages?
One 4.3GB DVD can hold as many as 90,000 -
8.5 X 11" scanned pages.*