A trove of old records can be a wonderful archive for some — and a dusty nuisance for others. But there’s no doubt that you have to keep most of your company’s records around for many years if you want to comply with legal requirements. One way to avoid creating rooms full of creaking file cabinets is to digitize those paper records, but you need to do it in a way that reinforces the records’ survival, not one that puts them at greater risk of disappearing.
What Does It Mean to Digitize?
Technically, digitizing something means to convert it into digital form, or a form that is read by a computer. This is often extended to include modern non-computer technology; for example, you could digitize cassette tapes onto CDs and VHS tapes onto DVDs, even though you don’t need an actual desktop or laptop to play the CDs or DVDs.
Why Is Digitizing So Helpful?
Digitizing paper records preserves the information and offers more than a few advantages over keeping paper forms:
Digital records need little storage space. Whether you have PDFs stored on a hard drive or computer-created microfiche cards that condense books into a slice of film, you won’t be worrying about finding more storage space as your digital records grow.
Paper deteriorates over time even with great care. You could laminate the paper or keep making copies, but then you run into storage space issues. While electronic files and film can deteriorate, too, proper storage and care of those materials reduces the risk of problems.
Digital records are easier to send and copy when needed. Duplicating paper on a copy machine is simple, but if you have old paper on the verge of disintegrating, you don’t want to touch it too much. With a digital file, you can email a copy if needed (and if there are no confidentiality issues). With microfilm or microfiche, if you have the digital files created when the paper records were first converted, you might be able to send those — or you could make duplicate films.
Your records need proper preservation, and digital methods are among the most versatile. Imagexcan help you decide how best to convert your paper files into digital versions. Don’t let time fly by and take your paper records’ readability with it.