Part 2: Backfile Scanning Strategies for Alberta's School Boards
In Part One of our series on Digital Transformation for Alberta's School Boards, we spoke about asking the right questions to prepare for digitization. In Part Two, we will cover the basics of the first step in the process: scanning existing paper records.
The first step on the Digital Transformation On-Ramp is digitization and document imaging. This involves capturing historical and day-forward records in a secure and accessible digital format. Before developing a day-forward scanning strategy, most organizations will scan their existing records (backfiles) and develop a strategy for managing them digitally.
Using a backfile scanning strategy, organizations convert existing paper documents into compliant electronic records, allowing records administrators and students to easily access files digitally. There are several benefits of digitizing backfiles before developing a day-forward strategy:
- As you organize past records into an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system, you develop a solid organizational framework that becomes foundational to your day-forward strategy
- Being part of the conversion process, staff become internal champions so when it’s time to develop a day-forward strategy and transition records processes, there is existing internal support
During this phase of Digital Transformation, you may choose to hire a strategic partner to securely transport and scan your records. It’s likely that your school board has a high volume of documents to scan, which is why hiring experts in security and compliance that use high-speed industrial scanners will help to ensure the job gets done right.
As you are preparing your backfile scanning strategy, here are some questions to consider:
- How many records do we need scanned?
- Are they stored in several locations? Do they need to be transported or can they be scanned on site?
- Are there compliance standards or regulations we have to adhere to?
- Do the paper records need to be re-stored after they are scanned for compliance purposes, or will they need to be destroyed?
- Do we have the hardware and software required to scan these documents in house?
- What is our budget and timeline?
A backfile strategy will dive deep into your specific requirements, addressing all of the above questions and outlining the people, processes and technology required to get the job done.
Once your documents are scanned and data is extracted, they will need to be uploaded into an enterprise content management (ECM) system. An ECM system will organize your content based on a unique architectural structure that works best for you. For many Alberta school boards, student records are uploaded into PASI. But for others with more unique requirements, there may be more than one content management system that is suitable for hosting your organization's information.
In Part 3 of our series on Digital Transformation in Education, we will dive into what you should look for when selecting a content repository or ECM system for your student records.