The PDF/A Document Format: One of the Best Things Ever for Municipalities

By NE Docs | November 8, 2016

City Hall

Efficiency, Security, and Easy Public Records Access!

At last, the words, “I’d like access to the records of my historic old property” will not have you or your staff groaning inwardly. You may never hear again, “It’s not in the file folder where it belongs.”

Does that sound like a fantasy? Well, as of August 8, 2016, New Hampshire Municipal Records can be legally archived to an approved ISO Compliant digital format. You can enjoy this reality as soon as the shift to digital long-term preservation is made in your town or city!

Town municipalities are the keepers of Public Records. The challenge has always been organizing and storing them properly for easy retrieval. The files existed in one place, could easily have been misfiled with multiple handlers, and were always at risk of destruction and loss from any number of factors including fading inks, repeated handling, water damage or fire.

Organizational skills will still be important to having fully functional documents available for retrieval, especially considering the quantity of documents associated with the archival responsibilities of municipalities. The difference is that now the existing municipal archive can be transferred and then added to in perpetuity, in the form of a storage-space-friendly, keyboard searchable PDF/A digital files database.

The PDF/A is a device-independent digital document format that provides for the mix of text and graphic data with attention to constraints and ensures full future access and readability. The format has been approved for municipal use with the new law, HB1395. (See our earlier article referencing this file type, PDF/A, here.)

Creating a standard procedure for all incoming data to be archived will soon become a routine and manageable task. The PDF/A document will easily handle all of it, with the assurance that it will also be accessible and readable in the future. You can say goodbye to the challenges of handling and storing physical or incompatibly formatted documents.

Enjoy a little more elbow room!

Consider for a moment the space that will be available in your facility without rooms of file cabinets stuffed with folders and awkwardly rolled or over-sized schematics, not to mention the fragility of such documents as many hands have sorted through them in search of the particular files needed. Now, a computer search will bring up a digital file with every document associated with your specific query. So many hours saved – such convenience and efficiency as never before!

The benefits of moving from paper to digital are clear:
Easier Public Access – Digitizing of Public Record files allows the public to access them on the internet or through a digital directory at the Town Offices.
Removal of Stored Files from Overcrowded Spaces – Valuable real estate can be re-purposed for better uses within the Town Offices.
Purging of Documents (when permitted) is Simplified – Find it quickly electronically, and purge.
Security – Electronic files are generally more secure than paper documents, and further security can be achieved through allowing credentials assigned to each user.
Disaster Recovery – Physical damage to municipal property does not wipe out archives, which can be easily backed up to multiple drives, and a remote location. Electronic documents are also much safer than vulnerable paper.

You may be dreading the process of moving your municipal archives to digital and instituting a new policy and procedure for document archiving. You may even have staff that is resistant to the change. NEDocs is one solution provider that can make your document scanning process much faster, easier and more successful as your city or town makes the move to digital archiving. We have over 30 years of experience in digital scanning, including digitizing from microfilm as well as paper documents of all sizes. We also provide secure, climate controlled file storage back up.

It might encourage you to know that the town of Allenstown NH, the driving force behind the new archiving law, went as far as to suggest that New England Document Systems was “the more attractive consideration.”

If you’d like to discuss scanning documents to PDF/A digital files, feel free to call us at (603) 625-1171 or visit our Inquiries Page.

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