Capturing information

An essential part of managing your agency’s business information and records is to capture it into systems that manage and support its use over time.

In some instances ‘capturing’ will be as simple as saving the information into your agencies records management system, such as an EDRMS. Sometimes the capture process will be more complex and involve digitising, migrating or encapsulating information to support its use, management and preservation.

Capture should be easy

Make the capture process easy for all staff. This should reduce the risk of information and records not being captured.

Where possible:

  • automate the process
  • integrate capture into normal business processes
  • provide clear, precise instructions and support

Staff should know where to capture their information. Business information and records should not be kept on personal drives or group work spaces.

Approved locations may include:

  • electronic document and records management systems (EDRMS)
  • business systems and databases specific to your agency’s business
  • administration systems for finance and human resources management
  • paper registry files

Digitising – capturing physical records into digital formats

Your agency needs to make well informed decisions about moving to digitisation or undertaking a digitisation project. Digital Continuity 2020 outlines specific principles to support this process.

There are a variety of reasons for digitising:

  • streamlining a business process - scan incoming correspondence so it can be managed more effectively through the work flow
  • improving access to information
  • protecting records by reducing the risk of physical records such as paper, photographic, digital or audiovisual, deteriorating over time
  • reducing costs of physical storage

Scanning incoming paper

Many agencies still receive business information as paper documents, such as handwritten correspondence, typewritten material, completed forms or signed documents. Most of these documents can be scanned and digitally captured in an approved records management system.

Things to consider for scanning incoming paper:

  • identify what paper is being received
  • what business process is linked to or reliant on the paper
  • decide if scanning the paper will improve the business process by making it faster, more efficient, less resource intensive
  • the costs and risks of maintaining the paper document
  • compare the costs and risks with the likely benefits

The case for digitising accumulated physical records

For some agencies, it will make good business sense to digitise certain business records.

Digitising accumulated physical records provides advice on a range of issues that should be considered when planning digitisation projects and explores information and records management and records handling issues.

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2017