The University of Washington has several enterprise systems which allow departments to scan and attach records. However, in the State of Washington, there are several requirements agencies must follow in order to scan records and dispose of the original paper documents. To enable departments to use these services while fulfilling all necessary requirements, our office has published the following scanning policies which must be followed by any department scanning paper records.

If you have questions or there is something preventing you from following any of these policies, please contact us at or contact Sean Whitney (via e-mail or phone call 206-543-6190).

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* If you are being audited or have received notice of an audit, if there is litigation regarding the records (or even pending litigation), or if there is a public records request, the original paper records should not be destroyed until the matter is resolved and the destruction hold is lifted, even if you have scanned them according to an approved scanning policy. For best practices and guidance on how to organize digital records on a destruction hold, please refer to our Destruction Holds Resource.

Technical Scanning Requirements

  • Records must be scanned at a minimum of 300 dpi (dots per inch).
  • It is recommended that scanned records be saved as PDF files. If records are scanned using a mobile device, JPEGs are an acceptable format.

Quality Control

  • Each scanned document must be visually inspected to ensure that the image is complete, clear, and easily read.
  • Scanned records should be compared to the original paper document to ensure accuracy.
  • The length of the resulting PDF must be compared to the number pages of scanned records to ensure that every document was scanned. In the same way, if using a mobile device to scan records, the resulting scans must be compared with the records to ensure every document was captured.

Image Enhancement

At times, there may be a problem with the final scanned image that makes it difficult to read and less than usable. If the scanned document is to replace the original paper record these common problems must be corrected. If the condition of the original paper record precludes a good quality scanned image from being produced, the paper copy of the record will have to be maintained.

OCR Text in Adobe Acrobat:
  • For details on how to recognize text in Adobe Acrobat to make scanned images searchable and more accessible, refer to our resource.
Speckles, spots, or lines on the scanned image:
  • Clean the glass on the scanner.
Scanned image is crooked or cut-off:
  • Place the document on the glass rather than using the document feeder.
General readability issues:
  • Increase the scanning resolution to a setting higher than 300 dpi (dots per inch).
  • Scan in color rather than black & white.
  • Adjust the scanner’s darkness/contrast settings.
Watermark or background interferes with readability:
  • In addition to the above recommendations, check if the scanner has a "background suppression" setting and that it is turned on.
Document is oversize (e.g., a European hotel folio):
  • Either make multiple scans, adjust the image size settings, or reposition the original so that all of the relevant text is captured.

Minimum Security Standards

  • When an employee leaves the department, it is the responsibility of the departmental Administrator/Manager to close all related accounts and remove all access for the employee.
  • System access accounts for users must be based on a unique identifier (login), and no shared account is allowed except as authorized by the system owner or operator and where appropriate accountability can be maintained.
  • A growing number of office machines, such as printers, copiers, and fax machines are now network-connectable. These devices may retain copies of documents that have been scanned or copied on them. In most cases it is possible to configure these devices to automatically delete stored information. We highly recommend implementing automatic deletion or, when that is not practicable, instituting a practice of manually clearing the device’s memory.

To begin drafting a departmental scanning policy that covers any other types of records your office intends to scan, please visit our Scanning Policy Builder webpage.