More universities are switching to electronic document management (EDM) to ensure that all critical files are preserved and readily available at any time and any place.
The Crimson White reported that the Hoole Special Collections at The University of Alabama have been increasingly converting archives into digital format to ensure that the content withstands time. Tom Land, the institutional records analyst at Hoole, explained that digitization has been especially useful for those researching genealogies. After conversion services receives the files, they can be uploaded to the university's website. University faculty and staff are also able to add data to supplement anything that has been digitized. Donelly Walton, interim university archivist, explained to The Crimson White that accessibility was a major factor in the decision for digitization.
"By offering online access, we are making these unique materials available to a much wider audience," he told the source.
Other universities are using digitization projects to make life more convenient for students. According to InformationWeek, The University Of Oklahoma has been emphasizing better disaster preparedness with these initiatives, as well as ensuring that important academic documents are always readily available. Rhonda Kyncl, assistant dean for academic services, revealed that after there was a flood in 2009, she was driven toward thinking about alternatives to record-keeping that would protect against losing information. She also explained that when seniors come into her office to review their records, it is imperative that all files are organized and entirely accurate. Advisors need to know which courses students are still required to take and what grades they've received, to assist them in working toward graduation.
"We want to leave the student with a comprehensive record so the student doesn't have to do all that jumping around of tracking down documents from different teachers and academic departments," she told InformationWeek.
By using an EDM system, she has automated the process of storing and organizing student files. This has also made information available outside of the academic services office, allowing students and advisors to meet at any location.
Kyncl told the source that the university tried to produce as many of these documents in a digital format from the outset as possible. Certain add/drop forms and documents from remote agencies, such as the Veterans Administration, start on paper and get scanned in to the electronic system.
A transition to digital record-keeping can benefit administrators, professors and students alike. A digital system provides protection or important documents in case of a disaster, while also allowing information to be retrieved in a more convenient manner, improving the quality of education.
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