Published 16th of June 2020

Document scanning and indexing are separate processes, however no digital conversion is complete without indexing and indexing isn’t possible unless documents are electronically converted. A poorly designed indexing system can make things much more difficult to locate files, it’s important to keep your documents organised.

Whether you currently have no indexing system in place or are struggling with a poorly implemented one, here’s some advice on implementing a system for quick identification of your documents.

What is indexing?

Indexing is the process of tagging search terms or phrases to each document to facilitate a faster search and retrieval. Depending on the content of the document, it might be tagged with an invoice or order number, keyword or date.

Indexing Plan

Firstly, you will need to determine what documents need to be indexed, each organisation has different goals and objectives so ensure your plan aligns with these. There are two methods you can use when indexing a document:

-Full-text indexing is a method that allows for documents to be searched using any text contained within, including full phrases/passages. Obviously, this type works better for text documents than images or other formats.

-Field-based indexing involves tagging with metadata, or information about the data itself. This aids in the retrieval of documents based on searching characteristics such as document type, creation data and more.

We would recommend using a combination of full-text and field-based when indexing files for your document management system.

Categorise your documents

Split your documents based on what broad category they are a part of. Most businesses use four main categories initially to create loose groupings: employee records, legal records, customer records, medical records, human resources, etc. This initial sorting makes the scanning and indexing processes much simpler.

Department Management

Document indexing requires interdepartmental coordination because users in multiple departments will likely need access to the same information, meaning there should be a standardised process in place for all employees. When creating an indexing plan, be sure to include representatives from each department to establish the most effective indexing process for all users.

Don’t under-index or over-index

When you under-index, users aren’t able to conveniently locate and retrieve information. In most cases, this is because the indexing process wasn’t properly planned out based on the needs of the end-user, which is why planning is crucial.

Over-indexing has a similar effect, if you have too many indexes, location and retrieval of documents is significantly hindered. It will take longer for your employees to find the correct document as over-indexing can make be confusing.

Properly prepare your documents before scanning

Before scanning your documents into your indexing system, make sure all files are free of any staples, paper clips or pins. If the documents are not properly prepared, they can damage your scanner and lead to delays.

Leave it to the professionals

As you can tell from the above, document indexing is no easy task and it can sometimes be overwhelming knowing where to start, especially for large organisation with large amount of file's. We can index and scan your documents for you. Ready to retrieve using our online document management software. We can also store any files that you need to keep long-term in our secure warehouse facility.