I have previously used this blog to report on my own experiences while attempting to export an archive either in whole or in part. After writing that post, I thought I had already said everything important on the matter. However, a few points did occur to me which I’d like to report to you today.
What is the goal?
The first question you might encounter when completing an export is: why do you want to export? Extracting data from the archive is obviously useful. But if you need to re-import the documents themselves, this often means you’ll need to do some copying.
Why Copy Documents?
The main reason for copying is that you end up with a new set of documents. Need an example? Yearly archives can be physically assembled, and large archives can be divided into smaller ones. These might be thematic or divided based on company branches or mergers between work areas. I can recommend continuing to use the old archive after an update while physically copying select individual documents. Preferably, this would result in new field mapping as well.
The Rules of Copying
Some things to consider: Copying documents is typically subject to different rules than simply exporting them. While you’re copying, you might want to replace one field with another. Mapping could allow you to allocate source fields to target fields. You could also combine certain fields or re-format them. Perhaps you’d like to convert the attached files to the PDF/A format, for example? You want to leave out certain fields, or you need fields with constant values. Of course, you should also take over the old system fields – who created the copied document and when. It’s certainly possible that the document might face different requirements depending on the goal.
You should list the successfully copied documents and documents copied with errors in files. This lets you keep an overview of whether and how well the copying process was completed. Documents with errors require further analysis:
- Are there similar error messages?
- Then it might be a good idea to use scripting.
- Is there a very high number of error documents?
- Could the target archive be configured poorly?
- Is it impossible to read the source documents?
- Can the errors be corrected with tools?
- Sort out the error sources that can’t be fixed.
At least, it helps from a technical standpoint. In our experience, automating such copying processes as much as possible also helps customers tremendously. To provide optimal support, we need our customers’ help: before we can solve their problems, we first have to understand them.