Monday, July 14, 2008

Automated Indexing - New and Exciting

An add-on to halFILE 3.0 is the powerful Automated Indexing module. I just installed this at a client site and so decided a brief discussion of this exciting new feature is warranted here.

With Automated Indexing, the system stores the actual text of the documents in the database and lets you do a full text search for words in the document. If the documents being indexed are TIFF Images then the process includes Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to convert the image into text. Word and Excel documents as well as e-mail messages and Acrobat PDF documents can also be full-text indexed.

At a county government site, we just installed Automated Indexing to manage Commissioner's Court Minutes. This is a perfect application because a meeting can cover a variety of topics and it is difficult to predict what keywords may be used as search criteria in the future. So we set up a Workflow process with the following steps:

1. The administrator responsible for the minutes views the Minutes in Microsoft Word, then uses the "Print To halFILE" feature to convert the Word document into a TIFF image, store it into halFILE and index it on the meeting date. The workflow status at this point is "awaiting recognition." If signatures must be captured, then the administrator scans the signed copies of the minutes.
2. Periodically the Automated Indexing module is run to perform the full-text recognition and indexing of the documents. When complete, the workflow status is "index complete."
3. The normal archive process archives the document and the workflow process is finished.

At this site, the new process is saving hours as the old process included a manual, paper index. We also scanned and indexed the historical Commissioner's Court Minutes as part of this project. So, a complete database is now available on-line. Now the county auditor, the primary user of this database, can perform computer-based searches of the minutes database at any time. The database is also available at public viewstations in the courthouse.

There are many applications for full-text indexing and searching. If you feel you have an application for this feature, please contact your halFILE Sales Rep and discuss the possibilities.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Validating your halFILE Database

halFILE 3.0 includes two tools for validating database and image information. This post explores these tools to help you understand how they can be useful to you.

The first tool, HFValidate.exe, has been around since halFILE 2.2. You can find it behind the Tools - Database Validator menu of the halFILE Administrator. For the records selected by a SQL statement you provide, HFValidate logs any document that has no images to a missing image logfile. It also validates the coded fields to be sure that the code still exists in the referenced table. Records having invalid codes are logged to the missing code logfile. Documentation can be found at

The second tool, HFValidateBKPG.exe, is new to halFILE 3.0 and is primarily used by Title Companies and County Recorders. For the records selected by a SQL Statement you provide, this program uses the instrument Number, Book and Page fields to determine if the document has the correct number of images.

So, for example, if Instrument Number 20080012 is posted as Book 234 and Page 123 and the next Instrument Number in sequence (20080013) is posted as Book 234 and Page 127, then this utility determines that Instrument Number 20080012 should have 4 image pages. It reports any document that appears to have the incorrect number of pages. It also reports any document where it cannot determine the number of pages because the sequence is out of order or the next document in sequence is missing. So, because of the way it performs the validation, it will also reveal miskeyed Instrument Numbers. Documentation can be found at

These utilities will help you keep your halFILE database is ship-shape.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Iowa halFILE Regional Training Event Announced!

A halFILE Regional Training event will be held at the Des Moines Area Community College in Alkeny, Iowa on May 21-22, 2008.

For more information, contact Karen Duncan at 800-442-9273.

Monday, March 10, 2008

New halFILE 3.0 Duplication Hot Keys!

With halFILE 3.0, the index duplication feature has been greatly expanded. First of all there are two new hot keys to duplicate a single field from the new "halFILE Document Clipboard." The Document Clipboard contains the posted information from the most recently indexed document during the current index session. There is also a procedure to load ANY document from the database into the Document Clipboard. More on that below.

CTRL-D duplicates the current field from the Document Clipboard
CTRL-A duplicates the entire posting from the Document Clipboard

Even greater flexibility is offered with "user-defined hot keys." Behind the Tools-Options menu of the Index module you will find a Duplication Hot Keys tab. Here, you can assign a hot key to a particular field. Then, when you press that hot key, that field's value will be duplicated into the current field. Now the Document Clipboard can be loaded with any document as follows:
  1. Click on the halFILE Document Manager in the task bar.
  2. Click the Search icon.
  3. Perform a search for the document or documents.
  4. Right click on the row for the document that you wish to load into the Document Clipboard then select the Copy to Document Clipboard menu.
  5. Once again, click on the halFILE Manager in the task bar.
  6. Click the Index icon which will return you to the posting screen.
  7. Select the Edit-Paste Document Clipboard menu.

Learning these new hot keys and setting up some new ones can save a lot of time during the Index process.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Staple Preview feature comes in handy

I was installing a new halFILE 3.0 site last week and discovered the value of "staple preview" - a new halFILE 3.0 feature.

I was teaching the users to import and staple batches of images and they were handling about 1000 images each. At the end of the import, there were several stapling errors primarily due to the confusing way in which the county recorder stamped their documents. We had to use the Move Utility to correct the errors.

After we were done, I told the users I would turn on this new feature called staple preview and we would do another batch. As they stapled the batch and discovered a stapling error, all they needed to do was arrow up to the end of document marker, press F5 to toggle off the marker, then return to the true end of document and press F5. At the end of the batch, they could review all the staple marks for correctness before clicking DONE which performed the stapling routine.

Staple Preview - a great new feature of halFILE 3.0 Import and Scan modules.

Friday, January 11, 2008

halFILE 3.0 Upgrades are going well

So, far we have successfully performed 8 halFILE 3.0 upgrades with 6 more scheduled for the near future. Be sure to contact hal Tech Support to get on the upgrade list!

halFILE 3.0 includes many new and powerful features. Click here to review>>