The adoption of an Electronic Document Imaging System by a
government agency is a major administrative and operational decision carrying
responsibilities and commitments. The use of Electronic Document Imaging Systems requires
workflow reassessment and the documentation of information management procedures.
Electronic Document Imaging Systems increase accessibility and distribution of information
in a timely manner. Application software will allow accurate tracking of information for
Electronic Document Imaging Systems cannot solve access
problems stemming from inefficient or poorly-planned existing information management
systems and practices. In fact, Electronic Document Imaging Systems may exacerbate
existing deficiencies. Maximum benefits are realized when existing workflow procedures are
analyzed and adapted to take advantage of the new technology, rather than just automating
existing processes. Managers, in consultation with qualified records managers, should
analyze the existing records systems, practices, workflow, and indexes, and correct any
deficiencies before implementing an imaging system.
Public agencies should perform a feasibility study to
ensure that an Electronic Document Imaging System is appropriate for its information
management needs before committing to a particular application. Public agencies must
realize that the information being created or converted to an electronic format is a State
asset which needs to be managed for a larger, strategic advantage. Electronic Document
Imaging Systems will transform the way agencies do business while dramatically improving
productivity, effectiveness and accountability. The following areas need to be analyzed
and evaluated before implementing any system:
- Business Process Analysis
- Work Flow Evaluation
- A complete inventory of existing records
- Data needs assessment
- Alternative technologies assessment
- Network support
- Costs/benefits analysis
- Projected growth
- Retention and legal requirements
Adopting a digital imaging system requires careful and
consistent documentation of all records and the technical process which converts
traditional paper-based documents to a digitized format. The agency should designate a
system administrator with the responsibility for system operations. This person would be
able to give knowledgeable testimony about the technical aspect of the system and the
procedures utilized for the recording and maintenance of public information. The
compatibility of the proposed system with existing systems and communication with other
information systems outside the agency need to be studied. Consideration needs to be given
as to how this system will interact with other systems.
A retention period is the time that records are needed for
administrative, fiscal, legal and historical purposes. All government records, including
those stored in imaging systems, should be maintained and disposed of as part of a
legally-accepted records management program in order to ensure their acceptance as legal
documents. All public records to be put on an imaging system must have retention schedules
approved by the State Records Committee.
Maintaining access to records stored on Electronic Document
Imaging Systems requires a comprehensive migration strategy. The strategy plan should
factor in vendor stability, system obsolescence and media longevity. Electronic Document
Imaging Systems should consist of hardware and software that conform to non-proprietary
standards and are constructed in an open system architecture.
Obsolescence is a way of life in the information technology
world. Government agencies need to keep pace with constant change and improvement. This
requires a proactive approach to system maintenance and upgrade. New applications should
be backward-compatible with existing applications. Administrators should also plan to
budget between five and ten percent of the original system, annually for the cost of
upgrading and data migration.
Georgia Law recognizes electronic media as capable of
producing "records," if those records are produced and used in the regular
course of business. (See Best Evidence Rule: O.C.G.A. 24-5-1, et. seq.; Business
Records: O.C.G.A. 10-11-1, et. seq.; Computer Systems Protection Act: O.C.G.A.
16-9-90, et. seq.; Miscellaneous Offenses concerning Public Officers and
Employees, 45-11-1, et. seq.; Inspection of Public Records,
O.C.G.A. 50-18-70, et. seq.; Georgia Records Act,
O.C.G.A. 50-18-90, et. seq. and others).
Adopting Electronic Document Imaging Systems requires
careful and consistent documentation of all record actions and the technical process which
convert traditional paper-based documents to a digitized, electronic format. An agency
utilizing Electronic Document Imaging should prepare a formal statement describing the
mission and function of the office and the procedures and digital standards employed. An
agency's reliance in the new electronic format, and its documentation of strict
established conversion procedures will ensure that the information and the system
generating it satisfy the rules of evidence.
2.4.1 Expungement. The system capability to expunge (erase
all traces of) images and their related index entries will be required in some instances.
The potential for expungement orders must be must be considered in planning and
feasibility studies. AIIM TR28-1991, The Expungement of Information Recorded on
Optical Write-Many (WORM) Systems, will offer guidance for meeting these
requirements. This technical report is now (1995) being updated to include rewritable
2.4.2 Redaction of Confidential Information. To comply with
Georgia's Inspection of Public Records Law (O.C.G.A. 50-18-70, et.
seq.) an image systems must have the capability to redact (mask or hide) confidential
portions of documents or indexes from public inspection. In Georgia, all public records,
except those specifically exempted by law or court order, shall be open to public
inspection. << BACK