Missouri Lawmaker Creates Virtual Paperless Office

from the a-pioneer? dept

For years people talked about the potential of the “paperless office” – and then realized it wasn’t going to happen. If anything, digital technologies created even more paper for the office. Now, one state representative in Missouri, Rep. Rob Schaaf, is trying to reverse that trend and has set up his own office to be as paperless as possible. Any papers that come into the office immediately get scanned and filed electronically. Not only does this get rid of the paper, but it makes it so that anyone in the office can look at files from anywhere. People who come to his office when he’s not around can leave a video message for him, and he sometimes records video responses as well. It’s still a new system, so there’s no verdict on how well it works yet, but it’s good to see someone (especially a politician) experimenting with such a system.

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FatMan says:

Done that

I implemented such a system at home in early 2002. Anything that I used to keep (bills, etc.) get scanned and filed on a file server. They get stored as pictures.

Articles and other things are scanned in Adobe’s Image+Text PDF format, which allow searchable pictures (very cool). The PDFs are automatically indexed by Windows, so I can do full text searches without using any complicated software, I just choose Find on the Start menu and tell it to look in my “file cabinet”.

Finally, everything in the cabinet is available on my private web server, so I can pull up a document on-demand, even from a hotel room, if needed.

It works great for me at home. Appropriate hardware is key: no consumer-grade scanner will work. I plan to implement the concept in my company later this year.

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