New Imaging Technology Tackles Legal Questions

Article excerpt

By Ronda Fears

Journal Record Staff Reporter

After three years of research on "paperless" office machines, Summit Business Systems Inc. of Oklahoma City has just begun selling what it believes is cutting-edge imaging technology.

Many businesses have gone "paperless" by imaging the documents in their files onto a computer disc or tape, thereby eliminating the need for the actual piece of paper. Many government entities have discussed this option as well.

The motive behind imaging is to save space and lower the costs related to physically maintaining a filing system.

There are legal questions about imaging among the business community, though. But many states, including Oklahoma, have adopted laws that at least imply that imaged documents are acceptable in the courts and regulatory agencies. Most states do not prohibit or regulate the use of optical disc records in the private sector.

Summit believes the product it recently began marketing _ Archival Express, manufactured by Southeast Information Retrieval Systems _ is unquestionably accurate and the most reliable source where imaged documents are accepted.

"We spent 3 years researching this market, the vendors and the legality of it," said Summit Sales Director Tony Pezeshkian.

"Yes, it is legal, especially if documents are written on a WORM (write once, read many) disc drive, which is what Archival Express uses. A laser beam marks the disc. You can never alter it; you can never change it.

"When we looked at what's out there in the market, and there's probably 40 different vendors for this type of product, almost everyone of them are using a laser disc drive or magnetic tape of some sort. Those are fine, but they can be manipulated."

Other forms of imaging tend to be less reliable from a legal standpoint because they can be altered after they have been entered into the system, he said. But other duplication methods besides WORM drive imaging are allowed in some states for filings at courts and regulatory agencies.

So, what is so special about Archival Express?

Archival Express' real advantages, Pezeshkian said, are its speed in retrieving imaged documents and the simplicity in using the machine. It's also affordable, he added.

First, he said, the machine cross indexes every major word in a document, so if a user forgets the official index title under which it is stored, then a word search can be made to locate it. …