October 2020 Newsletter – Metadata
Having accurate metadata is a critical component to making your data findable.
So often, we find ourselves swimming in paper, not by choice. It’s not for any other reason than that’s the way we have always done it. Over and over, as budgets and time pass, there are many attempts to “go paperless”, but somehow, either it is shelved to the next budget cycle or there isn’t enough support and so the paper stays a part of the process. Now, more than ever, we are motivated to go digital, thanks to COVID19.
In the past, there were moments we identified the need to capture the historical information but never had the support or budget to make it happen. In 2020, we suddenly don’t have access to the documents and drawings and need our information digital. We, now, have an immediate need to convert our information. The first step is securing historical records. They are the most susceptible to destruction due to age and other factors. It may appear daunting, but with the right tools, expertise, and a defined goal, you will have usable and findable information and a successful project. Setting standards and requirements and knowing how you will consume this information is key.
Metadata – Data about data
The “new way of doing business” presents many new challenges with records. Having accurate metadata is a critical component to making your data findable. I like to ask, “how do you find it now and what would you change”? Adding to the challenge is we have a changing of the guard where the last person in that position reorganized the documents to a method they preferred but now we can’t find it. And the person before them did it differently, or, now, we have a new type of document that doesn’t fit the current way we file it and the structure is changed yet again. Maybe you don’t need it all, but how do you know what you have if you don’t know what you actually have? Metadata can help you with that.
Figuring out what type of records you have will help identify what you need to retain. Retention policies are something few really talk about until there’s an issue. We’ve all heard you need to keep 7 years of tax records. That is a retention policy. How long do you need to keep your engineering drawings, Medical Records, Accounting Documents, or Contracts? It will depend on the type of document as well as the location that governs those decisions and requirements. You can find these requirements/guidelines for each state in the revised statute.
To better understand your retention requirements, you will also want to begin with the classification of the documents. If there is pending litigation, that is another reason to retain documents. Perhaps it’s just for historical reference, either way, it’s time for the digital transformation.
The need to digitize, scan, image, is a need that has us pivoting during COVID19 and the year 2020. Not only does having your records digital and indexed allow you to do your job, but it can also assist in social distancing, reduce your costs for physically storing paper, you are able to meet compliance requirements to your records with DM Software, you can collaborate with others and, yes, improve Customer Service. So why haven’t you digitized your paper records yet?
As Certified Information Professionals, our team at Graphic Imaging Services can help get your home office, work office, archives, and personal information digitally secured the first time. We offer on-site services and technology solutions to manage your data. To learn more, call our office at 702 222-3590 or visit www.graphicimaging.net