OSD delves into HR archiving

The office of Personnel and Readiness Information Management at the Defense Department has learned to save time and money by digitizing frequently consulted documents

The office of Personnel and Readiness Information Management at the Defense Department has learned to save time and money by digitizing frequently consulted documents, according to a presentation made by representatives of the Office of the Secretary of Defense at the AIIM conference earlier this year in Boston.

The office maintains the documentation related to DOD's human resources issues. Such documentation can be used by DOD personnel systems, such as the Defense Integrated Military Human Resources System, said Denise Lewis, a management analyst at the office.

The material can also be used for analysis, data-standardization efforts and change-management initiatives.

Even as late as last year, the office still used paper for its primary records. Many documents were the sole copy of that information.

DOD hired integrator PTFS to digitize the documents and install a content management system to keep track of the electronic copies. The project, which was expected to take nine months, was completed in six.

The company used its Archival- Ware running on a Windows 2000 server. Documents, some of which dated back to the mid- 1970s, were scanned in at 300 dots per inch and sent through an optical character-recognition process to make the text searchable. They were then published and archived as Adobe PDFs.

Now individuals who need access to the material are given an account and can do their own full-text searches and retrieve documents through DOD's internal unclassified networks or even via a virtual private network from remote locations. The interface is accessible with a standard Web browser. To acquaint users with the new system, the office sent periodic e-mails offering step-by-step instructions on the best way to structure searches.

'We found that this was very successful,' Lewis said. 'A lot of our co-workers found the information very helpful.'

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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