Document Conversion

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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We take it for granted, but most of us accept document conversion technology without understanding how it works. There are two types. One is transferring hard copy documents to digital format (scanning). The other is translating information from one digital format to another (WordPerfect to Word, CAD to BMP, TIF to EPS, and so forth).

At home document conversion usually means uploading old photographs into your computer, downloading bank statements and canceled checks, or opening a WordPerfect file in MS Word. Maybe you work with a local organization--a golf group, cycling team, or bird watchers' group, for example--to produce the monthly newsletter. You're accustomed to the occasional struggle with trying to figure out how to get a bitmap graphic figure embedded into Word and have it survive an export to PDF.

Document Conversion in the Marketplace

At work the picture is the same, but on a far bigger and more complex scale. More than 90 percent of corporate and organizational data in the United States is still on paper, stashed away in countless file cabinets. Climate-controlled storage facilities are full of carefully labeled boxes of paper. The challenge in document conversion at the organization level is planning.

Schools, companies, libraries, nonprofits, and government organizations have all been making the move in recent years. Think about Amazon.com, about Internet credit checks, about online banking and bill paying. The U.S. Navy's largest system command--NAVSEA--has gone digital, as has New York City's Department of Finance, and--of course--the Internal Revenue System. An effective plan entails working with a professional services firm, one that specializes in migrations from hard-copy document systems to digital ones.


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