by May 1, 2005 0 comments



You need an efficient storage system for all your documents. One is to store them as hard copies on paper. Alternately, you can store them on microfilms, or you could simply use a central storage pool like a SAN or NAS to store them as files. How do you select which is the right option for which need?

Types of physical storage
Even in today’s digital age, there are many organizations that keep hard copies of the documents. This might be in the form of papers. The problems with physical storage of documents are that it requires a lot more physical storage space and it also becomes very difficult to retrieve a specific document from a stack. This is a time consuming activity. Nevertheless, there would be times when you have to store them on microfilm. This is a physical storage medium for documents that’s very widely used to store books, legal documents, etc. A standard microfilm is a 35 mm photographic film, on which the image of the document is stored. It’s available in the form of a roll or even single plates. Other forms of microfilms are also there but they have now become
obselete.

Microfilms also have digital indexing capabilities, and the indexing system is there on the edge of each microfilm image. This is only there to aid the retrieval system. An even more compact form of physical storage is the Microfiche, which is the shape of a card that’s 4″x6″ (inches). This is generally used in libraries to store huge amounts of data. Depending on the document size, one Microfiche card can hold about 100 to 130 pages. Even Microfiches have digital indexing capabilities built into them, wherein the index information is stored at the card’s edge. Microfiches are not very commonly used because you need special projectors to view data stored on them.

Digital storage
Any organization works on a variety of document formats. Email, Word, Excel, HTML, XML, various graphics formats are just a few commonly used ones. These normally reside in multiple pools of storage, be it a user’s hard drive, file server, network attached storage, mail, database, or web servers, etc. How do you keep track of what’s where, so that you can easily retrieve anything whenever you want to? So you need some sort of a system in place, which can keep track of what’s where. Perhaps you need a centralized storage for all critical documents and some form of indexing service on various servers.

Advantages of a
microfilm:
– Expected life of about 500
years.
– More authentic as it stores the actual image of the original document.
– More compact than paper

Depending upon the need, digital documents can be stored on tape, optical media, or live storage such as NAS or SAN. It all depends upon how quickly you want to retrieve them.

For this, you could either use plain old backup software, or special document management software that would also index all documents. Several good solutions are available in this area, such as OminDocs from NewGen or EMC’s Documentum. Adobe has something called EasyArchive, which directly creates PDFs of all documents that get scanned and indexes them as well.

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