Frequently Asked Questions

Scanning Services

When I have my documents scanned, how will I be able to use them?

Every solution is unique, but you will most likely need image retrieval software. We have several solutions that are scaleable to meet your individual needs. Usually all images are indexed to your specifications, and that information is stored in a database. The document retrieval software uses that information to deliver your documents to your desktop nearly instantaneously.

Do I have to use your software?

No. We use an industry standard file format. The Group 4 Tagged Image Format(TIF) is a compressed file format that produces very small images that are of good quality. We also can capture images to J-PEGs or PDFs. Indexing is usually delivered in an ASCII text format, but can be in any format that will import easily into most systems that use a standard database with TIFF image viewing features.

How are the scanned images returned?

Typically files can be returned via CD, DVD, FTP, portable hard-drive, or other formats as required.

How is the quality of a scanned document?

Our state-of-the-art scanners produce very clear images regardless of color of paper or ink. It automatically straightens the image, crops the black edges around the image, and crops the image to the exact size of the page. We typically scan as bitonal (black & white) 200 dpi Group 4 Tiffs. This is usually a good balance between size and quality.

Can I afford scanning?

In many cases, the cost is less expensive than other document management choices. If you are considering document management, you most likely need a better solution. Scanning's benefits usually save your company tremendous amounts of time and money in the way of storage and retrieval. Our document specialists will talk through your processes and retention policies to help you understand the true costs and benefits.

Should we do the scanning ourselves?

We often work with organizations that are starting to scan in-house. Our role is to clear file rooms of paper so that both the past and current documents are housed as one for a seamless transition. It is nearly impossible for most departments to tackle the scanning of both past and current files. If they try to leave the past documents as paper, the data repository is basically empty for weeks or months and in the meantime paper files continue to create inefficiencies.

In other cases, we take over the process completely, and we take over all aspects of scanning and indexing, making regular deliveries.

Imaging System

We have already contracted with an optical imaging system. How can you help with the back-file?

We can convert your paper to CD, DVD or other transfer media with associated indexing. When you are ready, your IT department, or ours, can help you import them.

We have not selected an imaging system but want fast access to our documents. What should we do?

Imaging systems can cost a few thousand up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. A dedicated system provides enterprise wide nearly immediate retrieval of images. If this is not in your near future, we can provide a simple package that instructs you which CD or DVD to insert. Because the images are already in digital format, this system is very quick.

Film-Based Imaging/Microfilm

What do I need to do before Microfilming documents?

You can Microfilm or Scan all types of documents. Before any conversion of media occurs you need to "prepare" the documents. Preparation is the straightening of documents, fixing of dog-ears and removing staples or any patching up of documents before filming can commence.

Preparation is not always required and preparation times will vary with each run. Preparation also includes the separation of large documents or removing of documents that will not be processed or will be filmed in different ways, for example plans may be 35mm filmed and correspondence will be 16mm filmed. Documents are normally counted during preparation. This allows for final image counts to be double checked.

Documents then may need to be sorted into batches. Batches could just be a folder or a bundle on invoices for a day or week.

Isn't Microfilm old technology, why should I consider it?

Microfilm technology is stable and therefore considered "old hat". Microfilm has some distinct advantages over digital for that same reason.

  • Infinite flexibility from a common base
  • Longevity
  • Security
  • Legality (1958 Evidence Act Sec.53)
  • Cheapest form of storage media
  • Space savings

With the introduction of digital reader/printers/scanners, information can be transferred from microfilm to a PC, fax or laser printer without incurring large costs.

When is Microfilm a better alternative than Scanning?

Depending on the number of users that need to view an Image and the acceptable time in which that Image may be located will help decide whether Microfilm or Digital is a better choice. Other factors such as distance between sites or users will also influence any decision. In general Microfilm performs better in archival, single use and low retrieval situations.

Do I need to consider in-house or Bureau Services?

In-house scanning is can be a good value for customers. It enables timely scanning and importing into an onsite document imaging solution. It also gives you complete control over your documents. Unfortunately, employees must be trained to do the job properly, and then allowed to gain experience before true production can begin to take place. It can take one person a very long time to process the back file of even a small company.

Most often, in-house operations work from the point of conversion forward, allowing the service bureau to process the backlog of documents.

Serve Bureaus, like River City Data, however have top of the line hardware and software, and the experience to do the job properly. Document conversion is a great deal more than simply scanning a document, and it is imperative that everything be correct to be able to be able to find that document again. Service Bureaus also benefit from scale. We can process a great deal of documents very quickly.

Storage and Document Destruction

Can you store my documents?

We typically store a client's documents onsite while the conversion process in being done. We will then store your documents for a period of time while you review the document conversion process. When you are comfortable with the accuracy of the of the conversion, we can destroy or return your documents.

Can you destroy records after they are converted or no longer need to be stored?

Yes, we can have your documents either recycled or shredded by a professional shredding company.

Do you have long term storage?

We have limited onsite storage facilities, or we can help you find a storage solution that is right for you. Do not be fooled by many of the "storage" facilities, as they do not inspect and actively maintain your documents. Make sure that your storage solution meets your document retrieval needs, and that your documents are in a condition to be retrieved.

High Level Security

What procedures do you use to handle sensitive documents?

We use locked transportation, tracking systems, security staff, and employee confidentiality agreements. Members of our staff have security clearances to work on extremely secure documents from local utility companies and Confidential Department of Defense documents. We strictly monitor all access to our facility with video surveillance and visitor login.

Document Requests

How do I get my records waiting for processing?

You simply give us a call, and let us know what documents you need, and how fast. Our staff can then deliver them to you in a manner that is convenient to you. Typical methods include fax, email, or courier.

What steps do you take regarding the security and safety of our records?

We recognize the value and sensitivity of these records and takes every measure to protect them from transportation to disposal. We always use reliable transportation, often handled by our own personnel. Our facilities are equipped with security systems. Employees sign confidentiality agreements and are monitored with video surveillance. We use a Confidential Document Destruction facility to dispose of processed records. Storage records are kept in secured facilities.


What is Retrieval Software?

This is the software that allows you to rapidly retrieve your documents. It is usually a piece of software that your IT staff installs on a server, and then installs a client, or front end, piece on your desktop PC. It allows you to search through the data, looking for the document or group of documents that you need to see.

What special equipment is needed?

Under most circumstances, none at all.

What fields can I search my records on?

You set that up when we first start the document conversion. You can set them up in any way that you want to, allowing you to search for documents in the way that you are used to looking for them, and more.

What happens if I switch to an enterprise-wide document processing and management system?

We use a nonproprietary file structure and retrieval index format (ASCII) import easily into most systems that use a standard database with TIFF image viewing features.

Do Retrieval Systems use password access?

Yes. Document Retrieval Systems almost always allow you to set up users and groups, giving them permission to see only the documents that you want them to be able to see. You wouldn't want an office worker looking through your HR records.

Web Based Retrieval

Why would I use Web Based Retrieval?

Web Based Retrieval provides many benefits. It allows users across the world, on the road, or in short, away from your office to access the documents that they need to do their job. It also allows for centralized management of your documents. Another company, such as a service bureau, or a distant department can manage the documents in one centralized location, and allow access to just the people that need to see specific information.

How easy is Web Based Retrieval to use?

Web Based Retrieval is extremely simple for users and administrators alike to use. It allows for simple point and click interface to retrieval the documents, and intuitive administration modules that allow simple management of the content.

How safe is the internet?

Typically the Web Retrieval System sits on your network, making the documents as secure as anything else on your network. All communication with the server can be encrypted to the highest levels of encryption, making them all but impossible to intercept.