Office Document Strategies Blog

Using Bar Codes to Improve Document Filing Efficiency

Posted by Lee Kirkby on Wed, May 23, 2012 @ 08:05 AM

Getting files into an electronic document filing system is usually the most challenging part of any system.  Automating the input process for scanned files is one way to reduce the tedium and increase the efficiency for input.  Bar codes can be a great tool in that automation.  Using Bar Codes to Improve Document Filing Efficiency

How do you use bar codes?

The process you use to work with bar codes will vary somewhat depending upon the capture software you utilize but the basic steps are the same.

  1. Identify the key metadata you wish to use for the index (keywords) you will use for retrieving documents.

  2. If you can access a data base with the necessary information matched to your records this will make the process easier as well.

  3. Print bar code cover sheets including the bar codes for each of the index terms you are going to need.

  4. In the document preparation stage you insert the bar code sheet at the beginning of each document.

  5. You can then stack the documents and scan as a batch process.

  6. During the capture process the documents are separated at the bar codes, the information in the bar codes is read and stored to be associated with the image created for that document.

  7. Image format could be pdf (now the most common) or multipage tiff.

  8. The index fields are entered into the document management software along with the referenced document image.

  9. The records are now ready for retrieval from the document management system.

There are variantions on this type of process where the bar code might be on the first page of a printed document and then the data read from the bar code is used to pull additional fields of data from a data base in an active lookup mode.

A step must be provided for documents where the bar code is not effectively read due to poor scanning, location problems on the image or whatever.  In these instances the error conditions are routed to a location where a human can intervene and correctly index the material.  With a well designed and tested system this should not be a problem, however it does depend upon the image quality and the bar code setup to make it work successfully.

In processes where large batches of documents are to be entered into a document management system through scanning, finding tools to automate the indexing steps is a key way to improve the speed and efficiency of the process.

Once document filing is turned electronic the need to refile accessed files is removed.  Multiple users can access files at a time and the security and control for files is improved.

Have you put electronic filing processes in place? If you are filing large groups of records how do you get the index information into the system?

Share your thoughts about electronic document filing below....

Lee K


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Photo credit:  Wikipedia Public Domain





Topics: Scanning, document filing, document management, bar code