Department of Justice

What to do with all that paper? Use electronic media instead!

In this day and age of electronics, the federal government should be taking advantage of such an opportunity to utilize more electronic media to reduce costs and improve efficiency. Everyday I see documents that our office has requested from other federal agencies, as well as financial and non-financial institutions, and the requested documents are received in paper format. Why?

If documents were burned onto CDs, it would alleviate the need to waste valuable time to scan the documents, waste valuable server space to save them on a computer, and waste the use of valuable space to physically store them. It also would make document examination more efficient by allowing documents to be searchable by terms. For instance, if a case contained 20,000 documents that needed to be used in discovery and were received in paper format, think of the time it would take to physically scan those documents, store all the boxes, and organize them for examination. Now let’s imagine receiving a CD containing the same 20,000 documents. It would be easy to sit at your computer and with a few clicks of the mouse, all the documents could be easily uploaded to your computer or to a software program, which we already have and utilize, that would enable you to perform term searches, help you organize the documents, and allow you to have access to examine them right at your fingertips. Discovery production can be produced in electronic form as well. This will cut down on time and printing costs such as paper, ink, and wear and tear on the printers. I also see it as paying it forward to the next person (usually defense counsel, probation, etc.) who would be receiving a CD of discovery from us by helping save them time, costs, and be more efficient too.

Besides the dramatic cost savings, getting records in usable electronic form reduces the need for scanning, improves the efficiency of document examination and enhances our ability to maintain and control the evidence.

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Idea No. 10924