Digitization and Storage of Books & Bound Volumes
For businesses and industries spread across Eastern Iowa, dealing with books and bound volumes presents a unique challenge to efficient records management practices. A primary challenge for any records management plan is the physical storage of books and bound volumes. Stacks of books can consume significant space, and as a business grows, so does the number of records. The issue of storage can become increasingly problematic in urban areas like Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, where real estate costs are high. Offsite secure storage solutions or utilizing digitization services offered by ADS3 to scan and store records electronically can help reduce the need for physical storage and ease space constraints.
Books and bound volumes, particularly older ones, are susceptible to degradation over time. This can be due to environmental factors like temperature, humidity, light exposure, or simply frequent handling. Bound volumes, like any paper records, are at risk of loss or damage due to unforeseen events like fires, floods, or even theft. Secure storage and disaster recovery plans are necessary to safeguard these documents. Digitizing books and backing them up in secure, off-site locations or the cloud can provide an additional layer of protection.
While offsite storage and book scanning help reduce the burdens of in-house storage, retrieving information from books and bound volumes can be time-consuming and inefficient, especially when dealing with large volumes of documents. Digitizing these documents and using indexing and metadata can significantly enhance retrieval speed and efficiency, leading to improved productivity.
Book scanning comes in two main types: destructive, where the spine of the book is removed for flatbed scanning, and non-destructive, where the book is kept intact. ADS3 recommends non-destructive scanning for all historical, legal, or valuable volumes that must be preserved.
The non-destructive book scanners in ADS3’s imaging center employ a V-shaped cradle to hold the book open at an optimal angle, typically around 120 degrees. The high-resolution, dual-camera system then captures both the left and right pages simultaneously. The gentle handling ensures the book’s physical and eliminates any curvature or shadows, leading to high-quality, readable scans.
ADS3 has the expertise, experience, and infrastructure in place for physical storage and document retrieval and measures to ensure security and regulatory compliance. ADS3 has a proven track record in handling and digitizing bound volumes. ADS3 employs non-destructive book scanners in a professional document imaging center as part of the 80,000-square-foot, full-service records management facility in Cedar Rapids. Strict security protocols in the digital imaging center ensure the confidentiality of your records.
Different types of documents found in bound volumes have varying regulatory requirements for retention and destruction. For example, financial books may need to be retained for a minimum of seven years for tax purposes, while certain medical records must be preserved indefinitely. Keeping track of these regulations, such as those detailed in Iowa Code Chapter 554D, and ensuring compliance can be a daunting task. Other regulations to consider:
- Regulations Associated With Account Books: These record financial transactions and are essential for auditing. They should be kept for a minimum of seven years, although some businesses may opt for a longer retention period.
- Regulations Associated With Minute Books: These hold records of corporate meetings, and as per Iowa Code §490.1601, they should be maintained permanently.
- Regulations Associated With Logbooks: These document daily operations or events and are retained based on the operational requirements of the organization.
- Regulations Associated With Policy and Procedure Manuals: These provide guidance for company operations and should be retained as long as they are in effect and for a specified period beyond.
Books and bound volumes form a significant part of records management plans across Iowa’s businesses and industries, from the manufacturing hubs of Cedar Rapids to the corporate offices of Des Moines. In the digital age, scanning these documents offers numerous benefits, including space savings, improved accessibility, and enhanced disaster recovery. ADS3 can deliver high-quality, non-destructive book scanning, and by doing so, businesses ensure the preservation and longevity of their valuable records in the digital realm, making them readily available now and in the future.