How do you find the documents you need? Traditional filing and indexing techniques work well in most situations, but for abstract searches and research using your existing documents it can be a long and labor intensive project. Maybe you have already gone "Green" and have imaged your documents. This is a huge step and will eliminate problems like lost paper, separated files and risk due to fire or water damage. Unfortunately, for abstract searches an organization still has to rely on brute force or if you are lucky enough, the staff person who seems to remember where everything is.
ESTI's Green File application now provides a huge step forward for these types of searches and the Saskatchewan Teachers' Retirement Plan is embracing this new technology. By integrating an established and reliable third-party Optical Character Recognition (OCR) engine, searchable text is now available for all the images stored within Green File. Here is how it works:
Paper files are scanned into Green File, with no change in this front end process. When activity on the Green File server is low, generally at night time, a process begins to look at each individual object that has been scanned during the day. The OCR engine then processes each of these objects and determines the words on the paper with surprisingly accurate results. These words are stored as text along with the image and become available for searching. Of course, this doesn't just apply to images but to all of the word processing, e-mail and spreadsheet based documents stored in Green File as well.
Jean using the new search function in Green File
Using a search screen similar to your favorite Internet based search engine, Green File allows you to look through all of this text for a specific word or phrase. Within seconds, you can find specific pages within documents that match your search with text excerpts and hot links to each one.
For the STRP, a special process was run to OCR all of the documents that have been stored since Green File was first implemented many years ago; more than 200,000 objects. Then, an overnight process was started to take on the new documents as they entered the system.
Now, with OCR enabled Green File at their fingertips, STRP staff can search their entire database of documents and in seconds find all the documents matching any search criteria. For example, the task of finding a specific item on the exact page and paragraph within the STRP Plan Text can now be measured in seconds. Powerful, effective and extremely valuable.