Technophiles will argue that scanning hardware and software is so good, and improving, that the instances of errors are extremely rare events. This is simply not true and even low error rates are not an acceptable excuse for managers in Information Governance (IG) or the Records Department to have no quality control in place.
Truthfully, these attitudes rely on the fact that the original paper version still exists “somewhere.” What if we want to encourage getting rid of the paper altogether – either during the scan or at a later time in the process? Untold fortunes have been spent on offsite document storage because it serves as a guilt free trash can that is generally unseen. It is a costly example of “out of sight, out of mind” in a legal practice. Law firms and corporate legal departments are losing patience with the large and ever-increasing expense for offsite document storage services. Unfortunately, this problem won’t go away unless you fix it. The prerequisite for the Records Department to employ a consistent policy of shredding documents is to give everyone in the firm full confidence in the quality of the scanned image.
This is the moment when scanned image QC matters. Though laissez faire is the common attitude towards casual scanning, there are plenty of important documents scanned this way, so it does not enable a firm to proceed with confidence to shred that paper. The unsaid assumption with informal QC is that the original document is kept. However, once your law firm decides to adopt a less-paper initiative where only critical paper docs are kept, now QC is an essential part of the process. Read: actually shred and recycle paper instead of store it!
The decision in some projects is to immediately jump to the other end of the spectrum. “Let’s check every page of the original to the image.” While this is certainly thorough, have you actually tried it for more than a few documents? Tedious to say the least… and after hundreds of documents? Alternatively, is it really worth $20+ per hour, forever, to hire it out?