Scanning Records - Documenting Scanning Processes & Preparing to Scan

This guide outlines the expectations for documenting a scanning process and links to forms that need to be filed with the Records and Information Management Services team before a scanning project begins. It also includes brief guidance on scanning hardware, file naming, and digital storage options.


Documenting Scanning Processes & Preparing to Scan


Scanning processes must be documented by the office or unit responsible for the scanning. A copy of this documentation should be filed with the Records and Information Management Services team.

The scanning process documentation includes the following nine sections found on our documenting a scanning process form:

  1. A description of the type of scanning hardware and software used;
  2. Instructions for how to set up the scanning hardware and software, including scanning settings;
  3. Standards for indexing, naming and labeling files, including any necessary instructions for the system into which the scanned documents will be stored and accessed;
  4. A description of how Quality Control inspections are conducted;
  5. A description of any image enhancement or manipulation standards used to create a more readable image;
  6. A description of the detailed steps that will be taken to correct a scanned record that is not clear or is difficult to read, blurry, or otherwise illegible;
  7. The process used to identify images that have passed their retention period;
  8. The procedure used to delete the records if they do not have enduring or archival value; and
  9. The procedure used to transfer the records to the Campus Archives if they do have enduring or archival value.

Document classification

  • Determine classification of document types to be scanned (e.g. What business processes do they support?)
  • Decide what to do with the original files
    • (e.g. Will you need the originals after the scanning project is complete? If so, you may take greater care with how and where you re-file them)
  • Determine the retention requirements for the documents 
  • Identify sensitive data that must be redacted or obscured from imaged documents

Scanning Hardware

Before scanners and digital senders were ordinary, it was common to list the brand and hardware specifications of the equipment used.  Today, these electronic tools are standard office machines and as a result, most equipment used to digitize paper documents are acceptable for the electronic formatting of daily business records.  However, there are important things to consider when purchasing a scanner for your department or unit:

  • Types of material to be scanned
  • Available output file formats and standards
  • Work load – frequency of use
  • Automatic document feed
  • Duplex feed (both sides of document at once)
  • Speed of scanning – page per minute
  • Optical resolution – minimum 200 dpi/ppi
  • Dimensions of scanning bed
  • Equipment cost or lease
  • Warranty and service
  • Physical ‘footprint’ of unit
  • Connection to your shared network drive
  • Scanning software package compatible with hardware

Image Storage

The best practice for image storage is to store records on a server which is backed-up on a regular basis with the back-ups being stored off-site. Long term retention of electronic records requires continual maintenance to make sure the media is usable, backed-up and readable when needed.

Have a question that isn't answered here or need more specialized guidance? Please contact us!

Records and Information Management Services 


Urbana Office: Rm. 450 HAB M/C 359

Chicago Office: AOB B11, M/C 817

Keywordsscanning records, records management   Doc ID94805
OwnerMargaret N.GroupUniversity of Illinois System
Created2019-10-03 15:06:39Updated2023-09-25 11:00:54
SitesUniversity of Illinois System
Feedback  1   0