With the advent of computers and other advanced equipment, storing and retrieval of data has become easier compared to earlier times. Computers are excellent devices which work fast and efficiently to provide information. Nowadays many libraries, museums and other academic and non-academic institutions are in the process of scanning and preserving documents and other data to avoid deterioration of the original documents. Similarly, many individuals have started digitizing their personal documents too.
Document scanning and digitization of vital records helps you to rebuild your life in the face of the worst occurrence. Digitized documents can be stored electronically, which prevents damage and loss of the documents due to some kind of disaster or even in the case of theft.
What Should Be Digitized
Digitization helps you to reduce the paper overload in your house and the digital copies can essentially be a backup. Before scanning, identify which documents would be useful to maintain in digital form. Here is the list of personal documents that need to be scanned.
- Pay slips
- Driving license
- Tax-deductible receipts
- Family archives such as birth certificates, death certificates, marriage certificates and so on
- Insurance forms
- Medical records
- Deeds and leases
- Bank documents
Scanned copies serve as a replacement for documents if you lose them. They also provide proof of what was on the original as a hedge against the time taken to get new documents created.
What Not to Digitize
- Receipts: Some receipts are not important, for example purchase bills etc. Scan only those receipts that you find reasonably faulty. Digitizing all other receipts would be a waste of time.
- UPCs: When you purchase home appliances and other consumer goods, you might need to summon your UPC code in the warranty card. Once it is used you need not keep a digital copy of it as it has no value.
- Manuals: Another set of paper documents that you often find in your closet are manuals. Manuals for many appliances and gadgets are available online in PDF format. If you are planning to resell the product after sometime then you can spend time scanning the manuals which will give you more negotiating power.
Storing Digital Copies
Once you get your scanned copies,there are effective ways to store them.
- Flash drive: You can store your sensitive documents in a flash drive so that you can carry them wherever you go. If you don’t feel confident in your ability to encrypt your files for storage, you can consider investing in a flash drive with hardware encryption. Keeping track of your flash drive is an absolute necessity if the documents are critical.
- Cloud service: There are a number of consumer-friendly file storage systems so that you can access your file from computers or other electronic devices. Some popular services are DropBox, Google Drive and so on.
- Encrypted Cloud service: Choosing an encrypted cloud storage system by default is a good option. Services like Wuala, SpiderOaketc encrypt your files before storing them. Here the files are locked up tight before they are even transferred over.
Keep the Originals
Once when digitization of documents is complete, the original documents should be kept in a clean and tight storage system.
- Family archives: Delicate and important documents that you intend to pass down to generations should be treated with great care. Protect them from light and moisture or invest in an inexpensive fireproof lock box. It is also important to keep an eye on the documents occasionally.
- Short term storage: Bits of papers such as receipts or monthly invoices need not be kept for a very long period of time. They can be kept in any ordinary box or in plastic folders and avoid loss of documents.
- Long term storage: Certain documents like tax-applicable papers need to stored for a longer period of time. The documents can be filed in a filing cabinet. These documents can be shred or recycled once you find the documents are of no use.
Digitization of personal documents can be a tedious job but with the help of document scanning and conversion services these documents can be scanned quickly without incurring any damage. Dedicated service providers have professional staffs to efficiently handle huge number of files. They use advanced technology and software for digitizing the documents. They are also cost-effective and you can rest assured that your project will be completed within the required turnaround time.