Checking the Collection

Two of the remaining things to be done with my lifetime document collection are to:

a) scan the remaining paper (documents not yet scanned because they were labelled as artefacts to be retained in both their paper and electronic form); and

b) go through all the index entries making sure they contain valid information and that there is an equivalent scan in the Document Management System.

For a) some of the paper documents have comb bindings and will require a binding machine if they are to be scanned using a sheet feeder and then reassembled in the comb binding. I acquired a very cheap comb binding machine on ebay some three weeks ago (though, it seems it was false economy – it stopped functioning properly and I had to send it back yesterday…) and have made a start on scanning the remaining paper. I’m addressing b) in parallel, and recording any issues or key points I find using the following notation in the ‘Movement Status’ field:

OK = The Index entry is as complete as possible and there is an equivalent scanned version

XX = There is a serious issue with this item.

Should the index entry and scans be present but there are some points to be recorded about them,  the ‘OK’ notation is qualified within brackets as follows (multiple qualifications can be recorded within the brackets as necessary separated by  a comma):

  • OK(multi): one or more of the equivalent scanned files in the FISH Document Management System are in the form of multiple TIF files – one for each page. FISH obscures the fact that there is a separate file for each page – but that is how the scan is actually stored.
  • OK(n docs): This identifies when there is more than one scanned document associated with this index entry – where n is the number of separate documents (this is a feature of this approach to electronic filing – multiple documents can be stored under a single Index entry).
  • OK(poor): the quality of some or all of the scanned electronic pages is poor.
  • OK(dbl): one or more of the associated scanned files came from documents with double sided pages which have been scanned all of one side first and then the pile turned over and the other side scanned. When this has been done the scanned pages are out of order. This was done with the first two scanners I had which were not able to handle double sided pages.
  • OK( ord): the pages of one or more of the scanned files are out of order for a reason other than the ‘dbl’ reason above.
  • OK(left): the original document was deliberately left at the location of the employer concerned when I moved jobs.
  • OK(A5): one of the scanners I had was not able to handle A5 pages reliably and sometimes recorded a line as an image dragged down the page for an inch or more.

Should an XX notation be applied to an Index entry, the reason it is being noted as such is recorded in brackets with one or more of the following notations:

  • XX(lost): the paper document was lost before a scan could be taken, so the Index entry is the only trace left of this document.
  • XX(ref): The Reference No is duplicated or incorrect in some other way.
  • XX(pap): The document is still only in paper form because its form is such that it has not yet been possible to digitise it effectively.

The fact that such points and issues are present in the collection in noticeable numbers, simply reflects the fact that, when dealing with such large volumes of material in the course of performing busy jobs across many years, it is inevitable that things will go wrong and mistakes will be made. Having been through the whole of the index, I’ll have statistics about the overall prevalence of such issues in this particular collection.

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