May 28, 2020 by HCDE-Texas
During COVID-19, more school districts and municipalities are seeking digital solutions for record keeping. The steady flow of requests keeps six digital record keepers busy at Harris County Department of Education’s Records Management Division.
Fifty-four customers mean being responsible for storage of 625,000 hard copies and 4,000 microfilm records. HCDE’s spacious records warehouse at 6005 Westview at North Post Oak accommodates the information.
Records range from student transcripts to employee personnel files to other legal documents. It’s business as usual during the pandemic as HCDE Records Management staff work two days a week onsite and three days a week at home.
“COVID will change our business model tremendously,” HCDE Records Management Director Curtis Davis said. “With all current and new customers, we will insist on digitizing daily use records. We have the software to help customers through our secure, work-at-home technology.”
Services from the 20-year-old Records Management Division continue to evolve to meet the needs of clients. In addition to time spent with hard copy storage and digital scanning, meetings have gone virtual with Microsoft Teams and Zoom. Document shredding and strict record security measures ensure customer confidentiality and customer web training continues to thrive. Additionally, the Records Management staff members ensure that administrative matters are answered promptly.
A large digital project with the City of Houston HR Benefits recently required 1.7 million pages to be processed. The job took 10 months to complete as staff meticulously scanned 701 document boxes.
Several scanners help Records Management complete high-volume jobs: a Canon DR-G1130 image formula scanner for regular copies and a Contex HD Ultra for large construction maps. Microfiche and microfilm are converted with the E-Image microfilm scanner.
The process of scanning or digitizing is not that tedious, but it is precise, says Davis. Document security is paramount.
When being digitized, all documents are checked for cleanliness, and then they are scanned. For quality control, pages are reviewed for clarity. Each capture of information is identified. To complete the process, a CD is sent to the customer.
Although most customers are moving to digital record-keeping, some customers retain hard copies and microfilm storage. Davis urges clients to think about pandemics, natural disasters and other emergencies that make digital copies more convenient and safer.
“Think about how many times you looked for that one paper you needed right away and could not find,” Davis said. “I know I would like to see all my records without going to storage and find a box.
“As we face the new normal, I think we will rely on digital records more than ever.”
For more information about Records Management Division services, go to https://hcde-texas.org/records-management or email firstname.lastname@example.org.