Re: Record Storage Technologies

Lural D. Stingley (sting@comp.uark.edu)
Wed, 13 Mar 1996 09:22:58 -0600 (CST)


Sylvia,
By way of introduction, my name is Dale Stingley and I work for Computing
Services, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. I was reluctant to
respond to your request for information because we are merely embarked on
the quest for a 'near paperless' environment, and have by no means
arrived. However, since no one else came forward to at least encourage
you, I decided to respond with a report on our status, which I hope will
give you incentive to embrace some of the good technology that is
available and get smartly after trying to make things better.
Opportunity abounds.

On Tue, 12 Mar 1996, Sylvia Ayers wrote:

> I am interested in ways to eliminate paper records in all facets of the
> higher education environment without adversely affecting the audit trail. I
> am particularly interested in the use of various imaging technologies to
> store original records such as supporting documentation for accounts payable
> disbursements. Please reply to the short survey below.
>
>
> SURVEY:
>
> (1) (a) Do you use any electronic documents in lieu of paper documents?
>
We are currently working on a method for development of forms on a WAIS
intranet server. We hope to use a workflow package to route the various
forms.
> (b) Please list the electronic forms. >
Our first project involves the 'curriculum change form' which takes its
time getting around the process in its present paper form.

> (c) Briefly describe any pros and cons of using electronic forms.
>
Too early to say, but we believe we can take several days off the process.

> (2) (a) Do you transfer original paper documents to another form of
> storage medium to conserve office space?
In late 1992, we purchased an imaging system ('FYI' from Identitech) and
installed it on our campus network (FDDI backbone). The pilot project
was with the Development Office. They maintain records on everyone who
ever contributed a dime to the University, and they never throw anything
away. They were running out of filing space. After one year of use,
they made the ultimate commitment and began shredding their documents.

>
> (b) Do you use microfiche, microfilm, optical disks, etc? Please
> specify which storage media type you use and whether it is write
> once, read only.
>
Until July of 1995, we used an outsource service to produce microfiche of
our archival reports. As soon as we installed the imaging system, we
knew we had to have a COLD system as well. We wanted a COLD system which
would integrate with the imaging system. At that time, such a system was
extremely expensive and out of our reach. We elected to write our own.
The University copyrighted UAFCOLD (original name - huh?) in late 1994.
Presentations around campus - using Development Office reports - aroused
very little interest. We estimated that it would take three years to move
all the fiche to UAFCOLD. On April 26, 1995 we demonstrated UAFCOLD to our
Financial Affairs department, using their own archive reports. Seeing their
own data on UAFCOLD and how their data could be searched, manipulated,
and shared did the trick. In three weeks time all fiche had been
converted to UAFCOLD. The outsourcing contract was not renewed in July.
> (3) Briefly describe the process and specify the timeframe for converting
> paper originals to the imaging technology specified in question (2) above.
>
We use a Pentium 100 PC as the UAFCOLD Server. UAFCOLD employs a
'template editor' to process reports. The server looks like a printer to
the mainframe, so instead of going to print or to a fiche tape, the
output is routed to the server. UAFCOLD compresses the reports (10-1
avg.) and sends it to FYI for indexing and storage to Optical WORM disk.
The server then accesses FYI to obtain a copy of the report which it then
decompresses and compares to the original. If everything checks out, it
deletes the original from its disk and processes the next report. If the
check is not a perfect match, it processes the report again.
All this is done at night as the batch processing finishes. Printing and
handling paper reports or fiche takes time. Using departments had to
wait until late morning to receive their reports from the previous
night's processing. The UAFCOLD reports are now available when they
sign-on in the morning - even if they come in early.
> (4) Have any external auditors (e.g. IRS auditors or federal auditors) ever
> questioned your use of the above record storage technologies? If so,
> please specify their concerns.
>
There are two Legislative Auditors resident on our campus. In order for
them to view the reports they had been receiving on fiche, they had to
upgrade their old PC s. Their request for new equipment and
justification, aroused all sorts of interest from the Legislative
Auditor's office at the state capital. Needless to say, we had
visitors. Since FYI grew up with NASA and Rockwell Aerospace, security
is a strong point. We have been very happy with the decision to use FYI
as the means to index, store, and administer access to UAFCOLD. FYI is a
solid, stable, and secure, enterprise-wide system.

On re reading my reply, I seem to be acting as a marketeer for FYI. That
is not the case, but we are pleased with it.

If you have other questions, please feel free to contact me. (501) 575-6707.

Lural D. Stingley
Production Manager
Computing Service
University of Arkansas
Fayetteville, AR 72701

> Thanks in advance for your replies.
>
> ----------------------------------------------------------------
> Sylvia L. Ayers, CPA, CIA Office of Internal Audit
> Director of Internal Auditing 212 Madison Hall
> University of Alabama in Huntsville Huntsville, AL 35899
> Phone: (205) 895-6037
> Fax: (205) 895-6187
> ----------------------------------------------------------------
> EMAIL: ayerss@email.uah.edu
> ----------------------------------------------------------------
>
>