Preparing Records for Imaging
Document preparation is the process of preparing documents for image capture. Documents that are not properly prepared can damage expensive imaging equipment and can negatively affect the overall quality of images. Records that are scheduled to be imaged, whether scanned or microfilmed, should be transferred to the State Records Center (SRC) through the same process as records that are sent in for storage. However, special attention must be given to records that will be imaged. Document preparation may seem labor intensive but it will facilitate retrieval, and help ensure the accuracy and quality of the final product.
Records that are to be imaged need to be prepared by the agency of origin for the imaging process prior to transfer:
- Records sent to the SRC for imaging should not be boxed with records that will not be imaged.
- Select a complete records series, which is a group of related records that are normally used and filed as a unit. Choose a beginning date and an ending date for the series. Any records from the series that are received after the original imaging job is completed are referred to as “additions” and will be imaged separately;
- Remove duplicate files and unrelated materials that do not contain any vital, historical, fiscal, administrative or evidential information, or are not considered a public record.
- Organize the documents in the order that the files originally existed to maintain their integrity, – alphabetical, numeric, or chronological – and correct any misfiles. Document any files that are missing. Records are imaged in the same order they are received from the agency;
- Include a complete index of the record series to help with creating the metadata needed for tracking and future retrieval of the records. Key field descriptions such as ID number or action number may need to be included for retrieval purposes;
- Avoid using highlighters. They can black out information on an image. Instead, circle information, being careful not to cross out other information;
- Remove the documents from binders and folders, or separate them from their bindings. If it is not possible or desirable to remove the binding, a book scanner or planetary camera can be used;
- Check paper types: Inserts that fold out may need to be cut and filmed separately to maintain page order. Onion skin may need to be photo copied. Carbon copies may need to be photocopied for scanning to prevent damage to rollers, and red paper will need to be photocopied to capture a readable image. If the record copy is printed on previously used paper, please X out the side with information that does not need to be captured;
- Remove all paper clips, staples, and rubber bands;
- Do not include items that cannot pass through imaging equipment, such as CDs, DVDs, cassette tapes, license plates, etc. If it is necessary to reference these items with the file, then make paper copies;
- Flatten any folds or turned corners if possible (tape may be used on the REVERSE side of a document to flatten a crease if there is no information to be imaged on that side);
- Repair tears with transparent mending tape (not cellophane tape);
- Tape very small documents to a letter-sized sheet of white paper so they will not be caught in the equipment. Be careful not to cover other information;
- Do not use any type of “sticky notes”. If you have additional information write it on the back of the original document or on a separate sheet of white paper;
- Ensure proper page orientation with headers at the top (portrait) or to the right (landscape) with documents face up.
- Return documents to original file folders and load into boxes provided by the SRC. Leave one-inch of space in the box to facilitate file retrieval;
- Label the box as you normally would for the SRC transfer;
Please contact us
at 777-7826 if you have any questions about preparing records for transfer to the State Records Center or State Archives.