by Brian Zylstra | May 3rd, 2012
For years, our Archives Division has been a leader in transforming government records and documents from paper to a digital format.
If you’ve ever wondered if digitizing government docs is worthwhile, consider the latest project involving the Archives’ Imaging and Preservation Services staff (pictured above with Secretary Reed). The Department of Social and Health Services has more than 21,000 boxes dealing with child welfare documents. Those boxes have been stored in a warehouse belonging to the Archives’ Record Center, and DSHS has been renting that warehouse from Imaging for a long time.
DSHS last year approached Archives and requested that these docs be digitized. The records are children’s case files that are being put into digital format for the DSHS Children’s Services staff to use. These files are used sometimes in legal cases and in case management. Digitizing these records will make it easier for caseworkers to do their job, as well as save money for DSHS. It also might help save a child’s life by allowing DSHS employees working on a crucial case to immediately retrieve that child’s documents instead of waiting for the paper files to be found.
Once the paper files are scanned and indexed correctly, they are destroyed, thus saving that agency money in storage costs.
The digitizing project began last December. So far, the Imaging staff has digitized 4 million documents. Imaging plans to complete the project by the end of November.