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Scanning and document imaging

Can a scanned copy of a university record be used for retention purposes?

This question comes up often. The short answer is yes: the Records Management Policy supports all formats, including paper, electronic records and images (scanned copies). But the conversion process from paper to electronic format must be done according to documented processes. The processes must include keeping a record of how and when a document was scanned. In addition, scanned documents must be kept in secure electronic storage, with enough index information to retrieve them.

The university has a Document Imaging Policy in place to ensure that scanned records can be used for legal purposes.

This policy:

  • Authorizes the university to rely on images in the place of source documents.
  • States that all imaging happens in the ordinary course of business.
  • Outlines the written procedures that must be in place.
  • Mandates that originals are destroyed after scanning and quality assurance.

It also states that we will follow the Canada General Standards Board 72.11 Microfilm and Document Imaging as Documentary Evidence. Following that standard will ensure that courts will accept our scanned records as evidence.

Any unit that wants to implement scanning must develop a set of written local procedures. These procedures must meet the procedural requirements of the CGSB standard, including:

  • Written processes for:
    • Capture.
    • Indexing.
    • Quality assurance.
    • Certification and registration.
    • Disposal of source documents.
    • Protection of images
    • Applying record retention and disposition rules to images.
    • A list of the types of documents authorized for imaging and storage.
    • A list of the types of source documents authorized for routine destruction and those which are not authorized for destruction due to compliance obligations.
    • Criteria for quality assurance.
    • Standards for timelines of operations.
    • Description of systems and equipment.

A set of local procedures for the Banner Document Management System is in development by the Registrar’s Office, Finance and the Office of the General Counsel and University Secretary. The responsible unit can tailor these procedures to their own records and work processes.

Units may also choose another image management system. They will need to develop local procedures specific to their system of choice that meet all the requirements of CGSB 72.11.

Need more information on scanning? Please contact