November 26, 2013 by Mitch Taube Categories: Document Scanning

Document scanning is the first step for cutting costs and improving process efficiency but isĀ useless if you cannot find the scanned files afterwards. How can you ensure that your employees can reliably locate critical documents and information quickly and easily after scanning? In a word: indexing.

What Is Indexing?

Indexing scanned documents involves capturing unique information from the document. Common indexing values for accounts payable documents might include invoice number, invoice date, vendor name, or PO number. For HR documents it may be employee number, name, social security number or title. How is indexing performed in a way that ensures the highest level of confidence so your team will be able to find what they need quickly? From our experience, double key indexing is the answer for ensuring near 100% accuracy, and there are three methods to consider.

Double Key Indexing Methods

The most traditional way of indexing is double key indexing, sometimes referred to as double blind verification. Two separate operators both key the same indexing values while data entry software compares the information on the fly. If there is a mismatch, the second operator, known as a verifying operator, requires them to key the values again until there is a match. Both entries must be keyed exactly the same for a possible total of four required matching entries for verification.

Another indexing strategy also involves two operators keying the same indexing values. After both operators complete their keying, the 2 values are compared and if there is a mismatch it is sent to a third and final operator, known as the arbiter. The arbiter looks at the image and keyed values and accepts the properly keyed values or rekeys the value correctly if both are incorrect.

A third strategy is semi-automated. The first pass of data capture is done with zonal optical character recognition (OCR) software, which automatically extracts typewritten/machine printed text from the scanned image of a document instead of having an operator keying all text manually. A second pass is done by an operator who then manually compares the indexes to ensure data accuracy.

Locate Critical Information Quickly

Indexing is the answer for finding critical information quickly and, if you want near 100% accuracy, double key indexing is likely your best bet. Otherwise, you could spend a lot of money scanning documents but not be able to locate them afterwards, defeating the purpose. Make sure your documents are scanned and indexed properly the first time with an experienced document scanning company.