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Method for Cataloging Scan Archive

Method for Cataloging Scan Archive

Method for Cataloging Scan Archive

Good Afternoon,
My firm is going through a process to scan and toss paper files. I know there is plenty of debate surrounding this topic, however, I'd really like to focus on the question at hand versus the debate of whether or not this is a prudent practice.

We have a lot of drawings that could really be filed in multiple places, so I wondered if there is a program that allows "tagging" of the files and then searching for tags. For example, I use Evernote quite a bit and it will let me take a note that I create (whether it's a picture, a text note, a pdf, a webpage, etc.) and attach "tags" or ideas to it. So, I might have a note that contains design criteria for a pump station in Town of Sewerville. So, I might tag this note with the following: "sewer" "pump station" "design guides" & "Town of Sewerville." Then, when I search for the tag word "sewer" this note and all other notes that I've tagged with "sewer" will populate the list.

Likewise, we have a lot of documents and plans that we've scanned which aren't necessarily associated with any particular project, but might be useful in varying instances. So, I'm looking for a good way to organize this electronic data, while harnessing the power of a computer. What are your suggestions?

RE: Method for Cataloging Scan Archive


RE: Method for Cataloging Scan Archive

My then employer went through that twenty-ish years ago.

Our paper consumption went up by a factor of ten, at least. Our paper supplier was ecstatic. ... but that's another discussion.

The document control system that we were sold was based on some kind of database, possibly proprietary given the date. It at least didn't completely lose things.

I think it had the ability to search for tags, but there was no budget for staff to review and tag existing documents, so they didn't get tagged. Also, when you hire other than engineers to tag things like that, they get most of the tags wrong anyway.

It stored documents and drawings as bitmap scans, so reviewing a stored document at your desk was painfully slow. You would basically print out an entire set of drawings for something, do what you had to do. ... then discard the prints, because keeping paper copies was verboten, since paper was by definition obsolete. ... hence the paper consumption.

Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: Method for Cataloging Scan Archive

you don't have electronic copies of the drawings already?
for very old ones and seldom used i'd say that scanning them is not the best usage of resources.
if you scan them as bitmap images (perhaps other formats too), you can add the required keywords via dight click, properties and then just use windows search (although it's much better if the files are on a local hard drive).
you can also OCR them more or less successfully (at least the writing), save them to pdf and then you can search in the text of said pdfs. you will need adobe acrobat pro for that though and success is not assured.

but, if those are seldomly used and old drawings, i wouldn't digitize them at all. and large format scanning is expensive. maybe build an index of them in excel with the keywords for fast searching.

RE: Method for Cataloging Scan Archive

You should be able to print them to *.pdf files directly from your cad program and file them under the project number, drawing subdirectory and drawing number. You can save the drawing files in the same drawing sub, but under sub-sub DWG (or like that). and the *.pdf's in PDF sub-sub. If existing paper drawings scan them at 400 dpi, minimum... maybe 600 dpi. Print your text using a *.pdf writer then you can extract the text if you have to.

Keep a listing of your drawing files in an excel spreadsheet or access database (not half bad).

Good luck... and don't lose anything... keep a good backup... I store stuff on my HDD, my NAS and a 3TB portable drive...


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