The term “archive” evokes characteristics such as “outmoded” or “obsolete” in many people. But archiving business-related documents is one of the most important topics of the IT world, which is why, in our case, the „outmoded“ and “obsolete” characteristics are clearly inappropriate. In our context, an archive is not a dumping ground for documents. And this for good reason: above all, archive documents must be specifically handled.
Choosing the right time to export your archive documents
In this context, the question arises on when you should export part of your archive or your entire archive? Well, in my experience the following occasions are relevant to this:
- You want to separate common data of your organization, e.g. because the business or department splits. What is left is a sub-archive, and another one has to physically move to another site where it may need to be re-created.
- A project is complete and has already become obsolete. The archive, however, is still used for current projects. You want to export the documents from your old project and then remove them from the archive.
- There is current project data that cannot be displayed online for your planned use. So the required documents are exported in order to be available as a copy at a later time.
- There are a large number of obsolete documents that make the archive very large or cumbersome. Exporting the desired data is then used as a source for a new archive and, consequently, the old archive is completely removed.
- Specific data is externally validated or verified. For this purpose, the affected documents are previously exported. Subsequently, the validated documents are then re-imported using a specific validation identifier.
- Some of these processes need to be performed at regular intervals to comply with specific deadline dates.
- Document export is used for a unitized sub-archive. Depending on the use case, the existing data can either remain unchanged or be removed.
The goals of the export of archive documents
No matter what the reasons foe exporting archive documents may be, their common denominator is that there are two different purposes for export
You have to create a copy of the affected documents:
The purpose here is that the documents can be easily opened and are easily retrievable. The files of the documents must be converted and stored in such a manner that they ensure good orientation through folder structures and file names. The purpose should be to convert the attachments of a document to a file – preferably in PDF format. The index terms should appear on a single page within the PDF file, if so desired. This enables you to easily view documents both in Windows Explorer and on your cell/mobile phone.
You want to split the archive in such a manner that part of it remains unchanged and you can export and then delete part of it:
The purpose in this case is to export the data in a format that can be easily imported into the target system. So, a technical target format is desirable in this case.
In this case, you would have to know in advance which formats are required. Because this is not easily possible, you should implement an export tool including scripting. The affected documents might initially be available in a reference list. When exporting or iterating the individual reference rows, CSV formats or formats similar to XML, could be configured by parameterizing them. If a different format is required, a pre-/post-script can enable a script that suitably performs formatting per document field.
As you can see, the reasons for exporting archive documents may be varied. So it’s high time you dissociated yourself from the notion of an archive as a dumping ground.