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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Bringing paper to the digital world, other scanning options

As we noted in our previous article, scanning is necessary to bring paper documents into the digital world.  If you don't have your own scanner, don't despair.   There are many places in your community where you can rent or borrow access to a scanner.  Basically, think of where you could access a computer or a copying machine.  It is likely that you could also access a scanner at that location.

Business support stores

Stores like FedEx/Kinkos, Staples, and Office Depot that support business operations also provide scanning services.  They may just take your pile of papers and return a pdf to you, or you might be able to rent access to a scanner and do the job yourself.

Here are links to specific store offerings. 

Libraries and schools

Public facilities like libraries and schools are also likely to provide scanning facilities.  In my local library, the archive department provides scanners (Urbana Free Library).   The library at my local university also provides access to scanners to the public (University of Illinois Library).  Ask your local librarian.  If they don't have scanners, the librarian probably knows where they are available in your community. 

Service professionals

It is quite likely that your attorney, insurance agent, or accountant has a scanner in their office.  Particularly if the items you need to scan are related to their work (e.g. a will and your attorney), they would probably be happy to scan them for you.  Many larger offices now have an scanning option on their copier, so running a few scans is not a big deal.  It doesn't use up physical ink or paper like printing does.

Professional organizers are a growing set of service professional.  In addition to organizing your physical home or office, many professional organizers will organize documents for you in the digital world.  SafelyFiled has been working with members of the National Organization of Professional Organizers (NAPO), and we will soon be providing a list of professional organizers who work with SafelyFiled.

Work and other organizations

Depending on where you work, your office may well have scanners.  If it is ok with your boss, you might be able to scan documents over your lunch hour.  Similarly, many churches have scanners.  They might be willing to help members by letting them scan a few documents.  It wouldn't hurt to ask.
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