Quick tips - Documents vs records

Part of a series designed to help utilize the many features of FileHold more effectively.

A common need in information management is to ensure that electronic documents cannot be altered. This used to be done by converting files to a non-editable format – such as sending Word to a PDF. This created a new challenge – what if you need to make changes to that PDF in the future, and how to ensure a PDF editor has not been used? Document management software provides a simple solution for this: instead of changing the file type, have the DMS do the protecting for you.

What is a Document?

Documents are files stored in the FileHold Library. Any electronic file that can be saved to your desktop can be a document: Microsoft Word files, emails, PDFs, CAD drawings, videos, etc. Documents will be defined by their use type, or schema, to help organize the Library; schema is part of what controls access, and what level of access each user has according to their role. Documents are under version control – that is, a user with permission can check the document out, make edits, and check the document back in as a new version.

What is a Record, and how are they different from a Document?

A Record is a format designation in FileHold, where the intention is to preserve the information and ensure it cannot be changed. Unlike a Document, a Record cannot be checked out, edited, or revised by anyone, regardless of their user role. By selecting the default format of a Record in the schema, FileHold can ensure these documents are locked down.

How do you convert Documents to Records?

There are three ways this can happen:

1. Manual conversion. If a user is an Administrator (System, Library, or Cabinet), they can go into the Metadata and Properties Panel and change the format as needed. This is logged as part of the audit trail, so it will be noted as to who did the manual conversion and when.

2. Conversion on Approval. An optional function of Workflow, a Document can be converted to a Record on completion. This is a great way to preserve approved documents in the system: after being drafted in Word, the document is routed in FileHold for approval; after approval is granted, the Word Document is converted to a Record so no further changes are made.

3. Date-Based conversion. The Event Scheduler in FileHold offers the option of converting Documents to Records based on dates. These could be system dates – ie, when the document was added to FileHold – or from metadata dates based on the schema. The Event Scheduler can be set to trigger an action on the date, or a length of user-defined time afterwards. By preserving inactive documents, or giving a “grace” period for revisions, FileHold can offer the assurance that information is being locked down as part of the document lifecycle management.

Can a Record be formatted back to a Document?

Yes, as long as the user is a Cabinet, Library, or System Administrator.

Information Preservation – the FileHold Advantage

Let’s consider a use case: a company has an SOP that is being drafted. The initial author creates their draft in Word, and adds it into FileHold. It is then put into workflow: it is sent to different users for their review, and final sign-off as an approval. Upon completion of the workflow, the Document is converted to a Record and made accessible to the rest of the team for reference. An Event is also scheduled for annual review, and one year after the workflow is complete, the Record owner gets a message that it needs review. The owner, or if they do not have the permissions, an administrator, changes the format to a Document again, and puts the document through a second workflow for annual review. It can now be reviewed, edited into new versions as necessary, and approved where it is re-converted into a Record. This process is fully documented in FileHold as part of the audit trail showing each step for regulatory compliance.

Simple, easy to use, and adaptable – that’s the FileHold advantage. Watch a short video on electronic documents and records in FileHold below.

To learn more about how FileHold can ensure your information is secure and preserved, contact us at [email protected].

Chris Oliver

Chris Oliver brings his twenty years of experience in management in the entertainment industry to FileHold Systems as the Client Training and Retention Advocate. To learn more about how FileHold DMS can work for you, contact him at [email protected].