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.