Magazine article Information Management

Is It Economical to Digitize Records? Illinois Seeks the Answer

Magazine article Information Management

Is It Economical to Digitize Records? Illinois Seeks the Answer

Article excerpt

Illinois lawmakers are critical of the state's costs for warehousing documents, according to a report on the State Journal-Register's site. But some experts say digitizing those documents may not be more economical.

Illinois law requires state agencies to maintain an essential records preservation program, but the statute doesn't dictate where the records should be stored. llinois is moving to digitize documents where it can. Gov. Bruce Rauner's new Illinois Department of Innovation & Technology (DoIT) is helping other departments do so.

Gary Dunn, records management officer at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, says digitizing records is not as simple as putting them into a scanner. The process can take years and requires periodic reviews to make sure the storage system is not degrading. Further, according to Dunn, the digitizing process can be expensive because more staff is needed to manage those digital documents.

"If you have a record that has to be maintained for 65 years, how many times are you going to have to (manage) that particular record?" he asks. "[Yjou'll have to have an IT force in order to manage those records. I can't imagine the cost of everything that would go into that. …

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