Digitize University Records

When done carefully, digitizing (or "scanning") university records can benefit your office: Integrating legacy documents into an electronic system, quickening retrieval, and enabling remote access by multiple users are all good uses for this technology. On the other hand, scanning records just to save space in the office rarely pays off. 

The Decision Tree below is designed to help determine if scanning is the best option, or if records should instead be transferred to the Archives, destroyed, or stored off-site at Iron Mountain. 

For a consultation, please contact the Archives

Scanning Decision Tree

Digitization decision tree

Scanning Tips

The key to a successful digitization project is planning. While Tufts has no standardized scanning guidelines, there are a number of factors to consider before you begin:

Access
Ensure that scans will be searchable and retrievable. Select a directory structure and file naming convention. How will the files be indexed? What metadata is required? Will Optical Character Recognition be used to make the documents keyword-searchable? Select a resolution. Common minimum scanning resolution is 300 dpi; 200 dpi may be acceptable for clean, typed, black and white documents. For OCR purposes, 600 dpi may be preferable.

Storage
Plan to store scans in Tufts systems, which are secure and backed up regularly. Choose a file format that will be supported over time, such as PDF for documents and TIFF for images. Scanned records must be migrated forward with hardware and software changes; they are bound by the same retention requirements as the original documents, as outlined in the Records Retention Schedule. When the retention period expires, will the scans be transferred to the Archives or destroyed? Ensure there is a procedure in place to do this. 

Vendor Selection
You’ll need an estimated page count to get accurate bids. Tufts does not have a preferred vendor for digitization: For small projects (under $10,000), contact the Archives for a recommendation. For large projects (over $10,000), contact Purchasing for assistance with bidding, selection, and documentation.

Ensure that the confidentiality of any Restricted Institutional Data or Confidential Institutional Data is protected during and after scanning. Remember that devices may retain copies of documents that have been scanned on them, unless configured to automatically delete stored information.

Preparation
Arrange documents in the order they will be scanned, remove paper clips and staples, and number multi-page documents. 

Quality Control
Don't destroy original documents until you've confirmed scans are usable and complete. They should meet the following criteria:

  • Accessible: Can be retrieved for reference or access within a reasonable period of time.
  • Readable: Can be opened on an accessible program and easily read by any and all users.
  • Authentic: Correctly reflect the original records.
  • Secure: Saved in a location that is known, secure, and backed up on a regular basis by Tufts Technology Services.