If you must print

By Chris Riley, ECMp, IOAp posted 05-13-2011 14:22


I print approximately 6 pages a year now, I don’t own a fax machine, and I scan like crazy.  This is not the norm, but hopefully the trend.  What I’ve noticed recently in projects is that I now not only have to think about improving OCR accuracy or image quality during scan, I need to start changing the way customers print to make document imaging and ECM even better.

At this point it’s fairly prescribed how to scan documents accurately.  Heck all you have to do is look at my posts on document preparation, accuracy, even IT setup.  So what is next?  Next is to think about how the process of printing can improve scanning.

We are not yet in a world where printing is not an option. In some cases scanning actually increases printing.  This usually has to do with some bad habits.  Other times you have to print as this is the only successful way to share documents within your organization.  So if you must print, here are some things to consider:

1.)    Dignifying content:  Does each page of your document have some dignifying text on it which in a search would assist the user to understand the context and what a document is?  Consider before you print your document.

a.       How will this document be searched for?

b.      What documents will this link to?

c.       If scanned, where will this document live?

2.)    Creating context:   This subject changes weather the printed document originates from a repository or if they are brand new.

a.       Existing documents:  If you have existing documents in the repository, consider how you will link that electronic document with a printed version of it.  Ideally you will embed meta-data, unique identifiers, or even a barcode to link the document.

b.      New Documents:  If these documents are just being created, think about how their content is going to facilitate better search.  It may be helpful to include things such as headers, table of contents, etc. to make sure that when someone does search for the document it’s clear what it is.

3.)    Think about documents not just pages.  In an ECM system if you search for a document, and only find a single page of the document, it’s useless.  Consider specifying on every page of a printed document, the name of the source document. Make sure that the document is printed in such a way that the documents context ( ie search terms ) are fairly obvious.

First thing to do if you have an urge to print a document is ask yourself “do I really”.  Inevitably there will be times when printing is unavoidable.  But before you print, think about this documents digital counterpart and how they might link.  This small step of thoughtfulness leads to better ECM systems, less lost documents, and greater user satisfaction.

#Scanning #printing #documentconversion #ScanningandCapture