Government organizations for cities and towns across the U.S. likely face a similar problem, no matter how big their budgets: a space crunch due to growing operations butting up against decades of physical documents that have been stored on-site.

The good news is that modern technology allows municipal governments to undertake what would have previously been significant backfile scanning operations with relative ease, digitizing decades' or even centuries' worth of files and allowing them to free up significant floor space for all but their most important historical documents.

What's needed?
A big part of starting that process, though, is building a plan for how those document management systems will be structured, utilized and maintained on an ongoing basis, according to the Massachusetts state government. That can include having clear security protocols and a way to audit systems so that user access can be tracked whenever an issue arises, especially around login data.

What else must be considered?
When making decisions about what to scan and discard, versus what to digitize and keep, perhaps the most important step is legal requirements, according to the National Center for State Courts. The fact is that many organizations are required to maintain physical copies of certain types of documents – particularly those that would be used in legal proceedings – even if they digitize them for easier use by staff or the general public.

With that in mind, decision-makers have to build compliance with those regulations into their broader plans for rolling out document scanning efforts.

The more municipalities can do to investigate their options for bulk document scanning and ongoing management, the better off they are likely to be when it comes to finding an option that fits their needs – whether that be for scalability or other considerations.