Over the past few years, the digitization process has encompassed all industries, from transportation to the food and pharmaceutical sectors. There is a legal obligation to store many types of documents. Companies use various tools to collect them. How to ensure that archived documents meet all requirements? We provide advice in the article below.

The essence of a digital document repository is to provide a space where files and content are stored, organized, and easily accessible. However, it’s not uncommon to come across unreadable content—this might mean corrupted files, documents in unknown formats, or even content that lacks proper indexing. Such issues can hinder the purpose of your repository, making it essential to address them promptly. Here’s how:

1. Audit Your Repository

Start by performing a comprehensive audit of your repository. Use specialized software tools that can scan and detect corrupted or unreadable files. Having an overview of the extent of the problem is the first step to finding a solution. Below are some tools that can help with this.

  • ResourceSpace: An open-source digital asset management software that provides auditing capabilities. It can help identify missing files, duplicated content, and other potential issues.
  • BitCurator: An open-source suite of digital forensics tools designed to help with the curation of digital collections. It can assist with file format identification, metadata extraction, and more.
  • Arkivum: Offers digital preservation solutions and can be used to audit large datasets, ensuring data integrity and compliance with long-term storage requirements.
  • Forensic Toolkit (FTK): Though primarily used for digital forensics, it can be employed to scan repositories for unreadable or corrupted files.
  • Islandora: A digital repository framework that offers auditing features, ensuring the content is appropriately stored and maintained.

2. Implement File Format Standards

Limit the types of file formats accepted in your repository. By focusing on popular, widely-recognized formats (e.g., .PDF, .DOCX, .JPEG), you reduce the chances of encountering unreadable files. If some documents are in obscure formats, consider converting them to a more common format.

3. Opt for Auto-Conversion Tools

Use tools that automatically convert uploaded documents into your chosen standard format. This ensures uniformity and increases the likelihood that content remains readable across various platforms and software.

4. Backup Religiously

Regularly back up your digital document repository. If you ever come across unreadable content, having a backup means you can restore the original version, ensuring minimal data loss.

5. Update Software Regularly

Software updates often include fixes for bugs that might cause file corruption. Keeping your software and repository tools up to date will minimize the risks of producing unreadable content.

6. Train Your Team and Co- workers

Ensure everyone who uploads to the repository understands the standards and procedures. Training sessions can help inculcate the importance of adhering to set guidelines.

7. Implement OCR (Optical Character Recognition)

For scanned documents that are not text-searchable or readable, using OCR can be a game-changer. OCR tools can convert image-based text into machine-encoded text, making them both readable and searchable.

8. Plan for Long-Term Digital Preservation

As technology evolves, the risk of older digital formats becoming unreadable increases. Consider adopting a long-term digital preservation strategy to ensure the longevity and readability of your content.

9. It’s best to prevent

The easiest way to avoid introducing a faulty file into the company’s document workflow is to use DocsQuality. The tool will indicate at the file import stage that it is unreadable and will point out its flaws. Preventive action will save time needed to fix the consequences of accepting a faulty file.

Unreadable content in a digital document repository can undermine its value and purpose. By adopting proactive measures and being vigilant about maintaining the health of your repository, you can ensure that your content remains accessible, organized, and usable for years to come.

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