Date effective: 2011-07-11
Authorized by: Executive Committee of the Senate
STRATEGIC ENROLLMENT MANAGEMENT
Standards governing the digitization of documents in the student record and the destruction of paper documents that have been digitized
Effective: September 19, 2011
Authorized by: Registrar
OBJECTIVE AND APPLICATION
1. The standards set out in this document relate to student records and to Policy 14 (a).
2. The objective is to document and standardize the practices for digitizing paper documents in student records, as well as to determine a protocol for destroying the paper copies of documents after they have been digitized. Although this list is not exhaustive, the following documents may be digitized:
a) documents making up admission applications, including transcripts and supporting documents
b) certain documents related to applications for scholarships and financial aid
c) registration forms, correspondence, requests for deferrals d) certificates and other medical documents.
3. Several services and faculties are already digitizing documents. Although this list is not exhaustive, some of these include:
a) Strategic Enrolment Management
b) Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
c) academic secretariats of faculties at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. All academic and administrative units digitizing documents contained in the student record must follow this procedure.
AUTHORIZED SOFTWARE APPLICATIONS
4. All software used to digitize documents must be authorized both by the Office of the Registrar and by Computing and Communications Services, which evaluate the software in question in relation to needs and budget issues, keeping the following factors in mind:
a) technological reliability
c) adaptability to specific needs
d) formats offered for importing and exporting
e) batch processing and macro functions for repetitive operations
f) options and reliability of the optical character recognition module
g) integrated image or metadata management functions, indexing and user-access control
h) recording of work space for continuation of work in progress
i) adjustment of brightness, contrast, white space, grey scale and colours.
GENERAL PRINCIPLES GOVERNING DIGITIZATION
5. A digitized document whose integrity is protected and maintained has the same legal status as the original paper document. The integrity of digitized documents must thus be maintained throughout their life cycle.
6. The integrity of digitized documents depends on the physical condition of the documents selected for digitization, as well as the ultimate usefulness of the digitized images. In all cases, however, the objective is to have, as a final product, a high-quality image that is an exact reproduction of the paper document and to create and save a version in which all the information from the paper document is legible. To ensure the integrity of digitized documents, the digitization process must be done according to the following principles:
a) Physically preparing documents: The very first step is to carefully prepare the files and documents for digitization to reduce the risk of document deterioration and poor-quality digitization. This may, for example, involve unfolding a document, placing the pages in the right order, removing bindings, duplicates, staples, paper clips and post-it notes, and checking, for example, whether the document contains irregular formatting or highlighting.
b) Checking quantity and quality: At each stage of the digitization process and before destroying the paper documents, it is essential to evaluate the results. Two facets are involved: quantity control and quality control:
i) Quantity Operators must verify that each page has indeed been digitized, either by manually counting the pages before digitization or by relying on automatic functions in the digitization software that mark and count the pages and then compare the result obtained to the number of pages digitized.
ii) Quality Document content: Preserving the integrity of the document content and ensuring that the text is very legible, that no sentence or word has been cut off, that the resolution is sufficient, etc. are essential. This involves confirming that the digital version is an accurate reproduction of the paper document and that its resolution is good enough for the type of document and how it will be used. Reproduction: The quality of the reproduction (for example, brightness, contrast, colours) must be checked to avoid losing detail in shaded areas and to avoid recording images that are unclear or incorrectly oriented or cropped. Visual checks of each digitized document must be performed to ensure and record the integrity of the reproduction.
c) Recording the digitization process: The date of digitization/indexation must be recorded. This information must be retained throughout the digitized document’s life cycle, and a link between the digitized document and the digitization/indexation date must be created (for example, by recording this information in the digitized file’s properties or in another file or metadata record related to the document).
RETENTION OF, AND ACCESS TO, DOCUMENTS
7. Digitized documents must be retained in accordance with the University’s document retention and destruction policy and with Procedure 20-4.
8. Computing and Communication Services is responsible for maintaining a centralized backup process for digitized documents. 9. Access to digitized documents is subject to the provisions of Policy 14 (a). The mechanisms for managing and controlling access to the files and folders must therefore comply with Policy 14 (a). For example, a person not entitled to access a paper document is also not entitled to access the digitized version.
DESTRUCTION OF PAPER DOCUMENTS
10. Normally, a digitized document is used within 12 months of being digitized/indexed; a poor-quality digitized document that is not detected during the digitization and indexation process itself would therefore be detected during this period. Paper documents having undergone digitization can be destroyed 12 months after their digitization/indexation and when the following conditions are met:
a) The decision to destroy paper documents must be reconsidered if there are doubts about the integrity (quality and quantity) of the digitization.
b) The digitization process has been documented and validated.
11. Only the director (or the highest-level manager if there is no director) can authorize the destruction of paper documents in accordance with the principles set out in this procedure.
12.Secure destruction methods must be adopted to protect personal and confidential information and to ensure that it is impossible, or at least extremely difficult, to recreate destroyed documents (for example, shredding).
13. No exceptions to this procedure can be made without the written approval of the Registrar.