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Reformatting and Imaging


Should Records Be Reformatted?

Before implementing a reformatting plan, explore alternatives, such as applying retention schedule requirements regularly, using a records center for storage, and purging files.

When To Reformat or Convert

An analysis of the records should be completed before any final decision is made on whether or not to reformat records. Consider the following when evaluating the necessity and practicality of reformatting:

  • Historical or otherwise valuable records that are in bad physical condition.
  • Records that have a long retention period, are permanent, vital or historical.
  • Records that have a high retrieval rate.
  • Records that are needed by multiple users simultaneously.
  • Records needed at multiple locations.
  • Records that have important research value.
  • Records that are oversized and bulky and meet one or more other criteria for reformatting.
  • Records that need to be stored separately for security reasons.
  • Records that incorporate workflow (i.e., purchase orders, claims).


Reformatting Options

There are two major methods used for imaging records: scanning and microfilming. Both have their advantages and disadvantages depending on their application and the anticipated use of the reproduced documents.

Scanning (also known as digitizing or imaging)

  • Conversion of paper or film to a digitized image.
  • Many imaging and/or electronic document management systems (EDMS) use specialized capture software to capture specific data or information from the paper/film.
  • Is of particular value to users with high-volume storage, complex routing and workflow requirements, high retrieval frequency, multiple locations, instant access requirements and the need to share information.
  • Is valuable for management control and reporting.
  • Guidelines on scanning and EDMS can be found in applicable Information Technology Policies (ITPs); specifically ITP INFRM006 (PDF).


  • Microfilm has standard formats with generally low-tech and low-cost retrieval equipment.
  • One can assume that once information is recorded on microfilm, it will be permanently available.
  • Can be indexed easily during production.
  • Paper to film. Source document microfilm is a method of converting paper to film.
  • Electronic data to film. Computer Output to Microfilm (COM) is a conversion of electronic information to microfilm.
  • See Management Directive 210.8 (PDF) for standards for microfilming
  • The Value of Microfilm

Department of Revenue Services for State Agencies


Destroying Records After Reformatting

  • When incoming paper records are scanned and the digitized version has been inspected and meets the quality standards, the originals may be destroyed under the General Administrative Records and Retention Schedule Series number G007.001 Data Source Records.
  • To ensure continued access to the information, information must be migrated for the records throughout their retention period as hardware and software is upgraded and/or changed.
  • Original records that have a disposition code of 2 or 4 (archival review) should be reviewed by the State Archives prior to being destroyed.