Storing document digitally

Archiving Documents Electronically: How to Future-proof your Records

Archiving documents electronically is essential to navigating modern workloads. But the past must be addressed, a modern solution is needed to activate legacy data and preserve historical information. As more of our data is generated and converted to electronic, it's essential to put reliable systems in place for archiving and recalling these documents for future reference.

We can even take this step further using Optical Character Recognition and AI technology to bring physical information into a dynamic, digital space where modifications, updates, and annotations can be made, further enhancing their usability and longevity.

This blog explores the best practices and benefits of digitising documents and storing them electronically.

How to archive documents electronically

Identify documents

First step, identify which documents must be archived. Not all documents need to be archived. It's crucial to establish consistent criteria that align with the regulations in your industry, and to be able to justify your method, per data protection acts.

For example, you could archive documents that are legally required to be kept for a certain period or contain valuable historical or cultural information.


Now that documents have been identified, it's time to arrange digitisation. This stage dictates the standard and quality for the rest of the document's lifetime, so it is important that it is done right.

Working with a digitisation partner ensures rigorous standards of document control are applied, audit trails that cover the transformation process are documented, and the relevant industry standards are respected.

Archiving format

The next step is finding the right format. There are several formats to choose from, including PDF/A, specifically designed for the long-term archiving of electronic documents. Selecting a format that embeds index data like PDF/A insures your library against future technological changes and data sprawl.


In addition to protecting your records against time, you need to protect against disaster. Create backups to ensure records are not lost during a system failure. Storing backups in multiple locations, such as an external hard drive or in the cloud, diversifies against risk.


Establishing a naming convention is the first step to structure an accessible archive. However there is only so many functions you can perform with naming convention.

Metadata and OCR power advanced searching. Planning what metadata you record will allow you to dynamically group documents and OCR enables full-text searching. Selecting the correct software to make the most of modern document management techniques is paramount when creating an archive that evolves with your business.

Retention Schedules

The retention schedule sets how long to keep records before deleting them by considering the industry's legal requirements.   

Applying retention schedules to your archived documents is essential to keeping a streamlined archive without unnecessary or non-compliant storage.

What are the Benefits of Archiving Documents Electronically?

Enhanced Accessibility

You can easily access and retrieve information whenever and wherever needed. Electronic storage eliminates the need for physical searching and manual handling, saving time and effort, increasing productivity.

Space and Cost Savings

Storing documents electronically frees up valuable office space, reducing the associated costs. Additionally, the prices of printing, paper, ink, and other supplies are minimised when documents are stored and managed digitally.

Efficient Collaboration

By eliminating the need for physical distribution, multiple users can access and work on the same document simultaneously, facilitating real-time collaboration and version control anywhere. 

Increased Security and Compliance

Access controls, encryption, and authentication mechanisms track document activity, ensuring only authorised individuals can access and modify documents.

Archiving electronic documents is essential for managing the modern workload and preserving historical information. By storing documents electronically, you enhance accessibility, save space and costs, enable efficient collaboration, ensure security and compliance, improve document preservation, and leverage OCR for dynamic editing. With a reliable EDMS system, you can easily retrieve and modify archived documents, transforming them into versatile digital resources. Embracing electronic archiving empowers you to streamline workflows, protect valuable data, and adapt to the evolving digital landscape.


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