Hardcopy Inventory Management Case Study

A Park and Planning Agency (“PPA”) purchased FileHold to replace their existing archival software. The PPA has nearly one hundred years of physical records and documents to store and manage. While the PPA has a records center storage facility where hardcopy records are maintained, their older, proprietary system was obsolete and they needed a new system with a higher degree of customization and special features. The ability to manage, search, and provide access to these records was critical.

FileHold Professional Services team assisted the PPA in importing and managing the agency’s hardcopy records shelf locations. The first part of the project was to import all of the PPA’s hardcopy records. The majority of their hardcopy records are microfilm. Each microfilm has "data" about what was contained on a particular microfilm. As most records managers know, using microfilm as storage media is strongly disliked due to time-consuming retrieval time. Storing the “data” about each piece of microfilm in FileHold gives users the ability to electronically search on the contents of microfilm, which makes locating the correct physical record much easier.

To start, the PPA configured an “offline document” schema meaning that there is no electronic file (such as a txt, docx, or pdf) but only metadata. In this case, data about the microfilm was being imported into the offline document schema’s metadata fields. For example, a hardcopy record may contain the following metadata information:

  • Accession number
  • Office of Record
  • Destruction Date
  • Physical Format
  • Shelf location
  • Description(s)

The FileHold tool, Automatic Document Importation (ADI) was used to do the import of the metadata information about the microfilm. ADI allows importing a large number of documents into the document management system with minimal user intervention. The import was configured to bring in approximately 5500 offline documents into the system. The ADI job used the Indirect Metadata method with a csv pipe-delimited file for the metadata import and an auto-filing script to automatically file the offline document in the correct location in the FileHold library. Once in the library, the metadata values are now fully searchable by the PPA team. For example, a user is able to search on where to find a particular microfilm that contained information about land use data from over sixty years ago.

The second part of the project was to implement a way to control the shelf locations of the hardcopy records. The Records Manager at PPA did not want shelf locations that were already in use to be assigned to new hardcopy records. This was done by configuring a SQL query that created three views in the Microsoft SQL Server:

  • All shelf locations
  • Used shelf locations
  • Available shelf locations

When the PPA Records Manager adds a new offline document to FileHold, he/she selects a location from the Available shelf locations list. The Available shelf locations list is determined by removing the Used shelf locations from the All shelf locations list. A database lookup is then performed which adds the location to the Used shelf locations list. Once the synchronization on the server completed, the location is removed from the Available shelf locations list. This prevents the shelf location from being used again when assigning a shelf location to a new hardcopy record.

According to the PPA Records Manager: “FileHold is used to track the storage of our physical record inventory in a warehouse-like environment. FileHold has been configured to assign and automate functions related to retention and destruction, tracking and searching, chain of custody and more. Its ability to integrate with Microsoft Active Directory is also a huge benefit for system administrators and end users alike. FileHold has features that our older system simply didn’t have. The ability to store these hardcopy inventory files as well as electronic files was a huge advantage. In addition, the ability to customize metadata fields and automate functions like retention and destruction saves us time we can devote to other tasks. FileHold has been terrific to use. It was easy to learn and the training provided by the FileHold team forms an excellent foundation. The system is intuitive and has enough customization to meet a variety of document and records management needs.”

For more information about purchasing FileHold to manage your hardcopy records, contact [email protected].