Digital archiving of documents

What is digital archiving?

Digital archiving is the database-supported, long-term and secure storage of digital data that can be reproduced at any time.

If information is stored for more than 10 years, this is referred to as digital long-term archiving.

If data is stored by companies in accordance with the German Commercial Code (HGB), the German Fiscal Code (AO) and proper IT-supported accounting systems (GoBS), this is referred to as audit-proof digital archiving.


Archiving systems are used for document management and to store large amounts of data over a long period of time. They are used for various purposes, such as backup and disaster recovery.

The user can easily access the data from the archive because it is stored in an organized manner. Compared to other storage systems, archiving systems are more expensive, but offer better security and availability.

The retention of all business documents, such as commercial invoices, is required by law in Germany. – Whether the document management system is organized in digital form in a database, on data media or in paper form is of secondary importance.

Classic archiving systems consist of three components:

  1. 1. A suitable hardware setup consisting of an archive server and a corresponding storage unit is necessary. Alternatively, you can opt for a cloud-based system that can be quickly configured and expanded.
  2. 2. Archiving software, preferably in the form of a comprehensive document management system (DMS) or enterprise content management (ECM) suite.
  3. A file format suitable for archiving, with an emphasis on long-term accessibility. Authorities such as BSI recommend restricting to more traditional formats so that records can be retained for long periods of time.

The system or software that archives files can be operated either in-house or in the cloud, depending on the size and requirements of the hardware. It creates file formats that are easier to archive and also includes other useful features.


A clear document management system is the key to relaxed data management. Digital data carriers allow a clear, time-saving handling of your personal archive. That’s because good archiving software creates opportunities to cleverly pack volumes of documents and make them easily accessible. Information such as date, title, department or products can lead to immediate search success and save time-consuming browsing through folders.

Depending on the need, individual archiving requirements can be met with suitable archiving software. Classically, a document management system is not developed for specific industries, but it is worth finding vendors with experience in appropriate industries to make integrations of their specific document types go smoothly.


Following the modern document management of digital archiving, the huge volumes of documents are no longer a problem. To prevent further data management in paper form, a suitable document management software is worthwhile. With such a digital archiving program, intelligent information management saves a lot of work. Some beneficial processes of the software products are listed below:

  • Automatic context assignments through intelligent processes of new documents enable fast filing in the software.
  • The integrations of digital notes for commenting on the documents are taken into account by the archiving software in the search function without changing the documents in the original.
  • Electronic files for bundling your documents make the archive clear and are excellent for e-mail archiving, electronic archiving of invoices and other files.

With these features, the requirements of certain industries can be perfectly guaranteed and electronic archiving is no longer a problem.


Creating long-term, controlled databases by archiving data is invaluable to organizations, as is reducing the physical volume of materials and overall volume of data in the system.

With the right approach, documents can be stored in a legal and audit-proof manner that meets the legal requirements for data storage. Another advantage of electronic archiving is that “media breaks” are avoided. This means that existing data does not first have to survive transport to another medium in order to be stored. This results in fewer transmission errors.

The use of archiving software is on the rise. Maintaining digital data and files in a structured way saves space, costs, nerves and a lot of working time. If you save your data with digital archiving, this has the following advantages:

  • You create a clear and orderly data system
  • Each new document has its place and can be filed systematically
  • You collect all the knowledge of your company in one place
  • You fulfill your obligations of documentation and storage of all company documents
  • You can save office space

When recording digitally via a document management system, interaction with other programs is almost seamless. In this way, created documents can be easily shared or used – company information is available wherever it is needed.

Further advantages of document management are simplified accounting, as all important data is now easily retrievable, and your employees do not have to find file folders now. Digital document management significantly increases productivity and simplifies internal processes, shaping the corporate culture of tomorrow.


E-mails in particular are often available in large quantities and are relevant over a long period of time, so it is worthwhile to have a clear archive. Instead of searching for e-mails for a long time in the conventional program, where the search for keywords is often not optimally designed, the e-mails of interest can be found quickly and efficiently with the help of archiving software. In addition to the technical and economic benefits, an email archive is often required by law, making it a simple necessity for small and medium-sized businesses. Document management software helps to meet the legal archive requirements that apply in different industries.


Archiving and storing files can be a long and arduous process. Many companies even collect their data for several decades. Schedule enough time for archiving work so that no information is lost.

Step 1: In the first step, organize your data according to type and relevance. This is best done in analogue form, using a felt-tip pen and a sticky note.

Step 2: Sort out the kind of files that have not become irrelevant. Feel free to use a shredder for this.

Step 3: Now that you have sorted out outdated information, you can start labeling. The clearest way to do this step is to sort the files not only by subject, but also by quarter and calendar year. Be sure to keep a red thread when labeling to maintain an overview.

Step 4: In this step, it’s the turn of the existing files to be digitized. Thus, you secure all the information from environmental impact or damage, such as from a fire.

Step 5: Once all data has been backed up, you can now store the files. In doing so, you should observe special storage conditions:

  • Protection from daylight
  • Room temperature between 18 and 20 degrees
  • Humidity between 25% and 50%

Now that you have completed all 5 steps and found a suitable space for your sensitive information and data, it is important to inquire about retention periods to build a solid archive system.

Accounting documents, as well as receipts and invoices, must be kept for 7 years, and documents relating to real estate in accordance with the VAT Act, must be archived for as long as 22 years. Documents relating to electronic services provided to non-entrepreneurs in EU member states must also be archived for 10 years. This refers to documents that were provided electronically, either via telecommunications, radio, or television.


In the following, the question should be clarified, what is digital data? Digital data uses binary numbers (coded information) for representation. They are therefore a sequence of bits that have a specific meaning. The ISO/IEC 2382 (2015) standard defines digital data as so-called data suitable for communication, interpretation or processing.

Is digital archiving regulated by law?

Nowadays, digital documents, such as e-mails represent an important information base in many companies. This change in technology poses new challenges for modern companies. Retention is legally defined by a deadline. New framework of legal requirements can be summarized in 10 rules:

  • Each document must be retained in accordance with its legal and operational requirements.
  • On the way to the archives or in the archives themselves, no records may be lost.
  • Each document must be archived and unchangeable.
  • All changes in the electronic filing system must be recorded in a traceable manner.
  • Each document must be unique and must be copied.
  • Each document must be retrieved quickly.
  • Each document can be viewed only by authorized users.
  • Each document can be destroyed only after its retention period has expired.
  • The requirements of these principles must be ensured during technology changes and migrations.
  • Compliance with these guidelines must be demonstrable to third parties.

These points can be summarized under the term audit security. This means that data is stored securely in times of digitalization. Because this is more important than ever before. Nowadays, more and more cloud solutions are being used, but this also means that data and information can be manipulated or viewed under certain circumstances. Therefore, new framework conditions in the form of audit security had to be created to protect data and tax-relevant documents. Revision security is a synonym for immutability. Thus, according to the law, archived data may no longer be changed once it has been stored for safekeeping.


Experts estimate that in about 30% of companies there are no professional solutions for archiving data, files, documents.

Digital archiving has many advantages: thanks to digital document archiving, companies can save a lot of time and money and prevent potential legal problems.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering once examined how much time and money can be saved by digital archiving: According to this calculation, filing 250 paper pages takes an hour, whereas digitally it takes less than a quarter of an hour.

It takes three minutes to find a file or document, and only ten seconds to find the respective digital data when archiving digitally. Professional digital document archiving also ensures audit-proof storage of incoming and outgoing invoices, receipts, vouchers and provides useful search functionalities.

The archived digital data can be searched, read, duplicated or sent – often with the help of specific access rights.

Digital archiving – modern efficient office management

It is a well-known fact that paper is patient. Unfortunately, this statement is not always true. In everyday office life, paper can tend to hold things up. Digital archiving of documents without the appropriate technical tools is usually very time-consuming. Modern office concepts have therefore been relying on digital archiving for years. Archiving documents can be done quickly by professionals and digitizing documents is a popular service.

Quick access and a transparent system ultimately save money and time. Every authorized employee can access the data and the annoying manual search in a dusty archive is definitely a thing of the past. Digital archiving should be an integral part of modern office management these days because digital archiving of documents is the solution for effective office work.


In summary, electronic archiving of documents saves a lot of time and creates a good overview of private as well as professional documents.
It also makes the personal work environment calmer, as space is no longer taken up by file folders and other volumes of documents.

In general, electronic archiving helps to save time, money and space and to work more flexibly.

Following electronic archiving of your documents, a document management system in the form of software is necessary. This helps with the fast search and personal optimization of your archive. In this way, the trouble-free, secure handling of professional, personal and legal documents is guaranteed.


Nowadays, almost all documents can be converted to digital form and archived. There are various electronic archiving systems for digital document archiving, which can be used not only for archiving files, but also for digitizing any other type of data and documents.

For example, digital document archiving is performed in companies for the following documents:

  • Files
  • Order confirmations
  • Delivery notes
  • Purchase orders
  • Correspondence
  • Letters
  • Emails
  • Incoming mail
  • Outgoing mail
  • Invoices
  • Reminders
  • Accounting records
  • Personnel files
  • Balance sheets
  • Manuals
  • Instruction manuals
  • Operating instructions
  • Other documents

In cities, municipalities, local authorities such as building offices, registration offices and city archives, state archives, universities, vehicle registration offices, church archives, digital document archiving is carried out for the following records:

  • Files, documents
  • Paper-based archives
  • Libraries
  • Maps
  • Plans
  • Delivery notes
  • Emails
  • Incoming mail
  • Outgoing mail
  • Invoices
  • Reminders
  • Personnel files
  • Correspondence
  • Letters
  • Manuscripts
  • Ancient writings
  • Other documents

What is digital data processing / data retrieval?

  • Indexations
  • OCR readout with PDF Compressor Enterprise from LuraTech
  • OCR readout and output as XML file incl. further processing
  • Reading of microfilm aperture card
  • Database creation
  • Conversion of data to TIFF, JPG, PDF, PDF/A-1a and -1b, PDF/A-2u and -2b, PDF/A-3u and -3b
  • Storage of your data on hard disk, CD-ROM or DVD
  • We are also happy to destroy your old files, exactly in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Data Protection Act

What archiving systems are available?

There are basically two different types of archiving. One is document archiving, and the other is data archiving. Document archiving involves archiving documents that are not required on a regular basis but must be retained. These include, for example, tax or legal documents and insurance records. Data archiving involves collecting older data and moving it to an archive. To carry out this archiving process, so-called archiving systems are used Data archiving involves collecting older data and moving it to an archive. To carry out this archiving process, so-called archiving systems are used

Digital archiving systems

Digital archiving systems save time and costs. In every company, files and documents have to be archived. Regardless of whether you are an independent sole proprietor or a listed company, invoices, letters and many other documents must be stored in every case. Digital file archiving can save a lot of time and costs here.

Anyone who has ever organized their private documents knows how time-consuming, complicated, and frustrating file archiving can be. Software-supported archiving systems for files, on the other hand, simplify this process because, for example, sorting can be carried out automatically by a computer. This saves time and automatically reduces costs. Especially for large companies, or those with a lot of correspondence, there is a huge savings potential through digital archiving systems.

There are many advantages to electronic filing and digitally archived records. Archiving systems that are digital can be replicated and backed up more quickly. Digital document archiving can save a lot of time and costs. There are also some legal requirements for long-term archiving (more than 10 years). Professional digital document archiving ensures audit-proof storage of invoices, receipts and vouchers and provides secure, fast search functionality.

The advantages of digital data & digital archiving

Digitizing important documents is the top priority of digital archiving. Especially when it has to go fast, and the important documents are needed. With conventional archiving, an employee has to be seconded, the folder found and still fetched. In the end, these are all unnecessary time wasters that only add to the company’s costs.

Careful digital archiving of documents is indispensable and saves precisely this loss of time. Digital archiving systems are the solution for quick action.

Digitally archiving your documents is more economical and provides a variety of benefits for you and your employees:

  • • Enormous space savings due to elimination of “paper trays”
  • The research of the data is facilitated and accelerated many times over
  • Easy and fast access to the data
  • Easy access from any workstation – even simultaneously
  • Durable and tamper proof
  • Future-proof – independent of technology developments
  • Compatible with all document management systems (DMS)

As you can see, the electronic archiving of your data brings a lot of advantages. For us, future-proof archiving means working out an individual solution for you that gives you the greatest possible benefit.

With our modern machinery, we have been realizing even tricky and extensive tasks for years. And all this in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Data Protection Act.

Digital archiving and its costs

The biggest cost that can arise in archiving is not the archiving system. As with any service, the personnel costs are the decisive cost factor here.

The implementation of an archiving system is very complex, because often a lot of data has not yet been digitized. This means that the first step must be complete digitization. Then the data is entered into the system and maintained by the users in the future. Digital archiving and its costs are therefore a worthwhile investment for the future.

Digital file archiving

Digital archiving systems can store and manage large data of documents more and more efficiently. File archiving is becoming increasingly important in daily operations and a lot of physical space can be saved by digitizing documents. Digitization can automate frequently recurring tasks and requirements and quickly process copies for further processing. Digital archiving has many advantages and professional digital file archiving enables fast and uncomplicated processing of all documents in the company. Such archiving can also satisfy legal requirements. The actual documents are no longer needed and instead digital copies that can be easily and quickly replicated are retained.

These other advantages are offered by digital file archiving

The individual documents are easier to manage in a digital file archiving system. The files can be keyworded, sorted by date, size or alphabetically and you can use a search function in these archiving systems for files. This eliminates the need to search through a filing system or search through a file basement. Estimates have shown that filing paper files takes about four times as long as digitally archiving the same documents. Companies can therefore reduce the cost of working time by 75% in this respect.

Furthermore, digital file archiving makes it easier to work with the documents concerned, because they are directly available when they need to be viewed and can easily be forwarded to colleagues or superiors by e-mail. In this way, unnecessary waiting times can be avoided, and workflows can be optimized.

Another advantage of digital archiving systems is that they save an enormous amount of space. Companies are no longer forced to keep a lot of space free for storing paper documents. This space can be used more profitably in another way, or there are no rental costs for this space. This is another factor in how digital file archiving can save costs.

Archiving systems for files will become digital archiving systems in the future

When it comes to archiving files, there has been a trend towards digital archiving systems for many years. For many years and centuries, people have developed new methods to manage large amounts of data and documents. It is only logical that new digital techniques are used to manage digital records archiving more efficiently.

Automating work steps with digital file archiving

Most of the time, new documents have to be filed in file archiving systems every day. File archiving is therefore a recurring task. However, such tasks are often suitable for automating repetitive work processes and thus saving additional time. For example, if you need to forward a copy of a letter to a colleague after filing, many computerized file archiving systems can automate this perfectly. For example, if you need to forward a copy of a letter to a colleague after filing, many computerized file archiving systems can automate this perfectly.

Archive files digitally

It is advantageous to have files archived digitally. Digital archiving systems allow files and records to be archived and save time and money. Archiving systems allow secure, reliable, and lossless storage of data in digital form. The following advantages for electronic filing exist:

  • Secure storage
  • Easy replication of data
  • Fast access to information
  • Time and cost savings


There are several ways to digitally archive records, depending on whether you have large or small amounts of data. Smaller amounts of data can be scanned manually. For this, a folder structure must be created. After the documents have been scanned, they must be renamed and moved to the appropriate folder. For larger amounts of data, it is a good idea to use software that automates not only the scanning, but also the filing. So, it pays to archive documents digitally. With a large number of documents, there is an enormous saving in space due to the elimination of paper filing. Data can be retrieved much faster. The result is easier and faster access to data that is available digitally. Documents can be accessed from any workstation via a network implementation – this is even possible simultaneously. Documents are stored in a reliable, long-lasting and future-proof manner. The right digital archiving is compatible with all available document management systems (DMS).

Future-proof archiving

Digital archiving has advantages, that has been clear for many years now. The use of digital archiving systems is already standard in the vast majority of companies and organizations. However, it is estimated that up to 30% of companies still do not operate either professional digital file archiving or digital data archiving. Many other companies that do use digital archiving systems do not take advantage of the benefits that digital data can bring once archiving is complete.

Digital data archiving and digital archiving systems not only create masses of space in the often-cramped office, but if the digital data is handled professionally, it is also stored more securely and cannot be lost so easily or fall into the wrong hands.

More efficient work thanks to digital archiving

Digital file archiving also offers another significant advantage: all documents and information contained in digital data archiving can be retrieved quickly at any time and from any workstation, whereby scanned texts are of course indexed for searching via OCR text recognition. Hours of browsing through meters-long folder systems to find an old contract from a former customer should long since be a thing of the past. Furthermore, in many areas there are also corresponding legal obligations to store documents such as invoices, delivery bills or contracts for longer minimum periods. Many self-employed people and entrepreneurs are not aware that digital archiving not only brings advantages here, too, but that digital file archiving also completely satisfies the legal requirements. Physical archiving is usually not required, archiving as digital data on one’s own hard drive or in the cloud is completely sufficient.

Advantages of digital archiving in many areas

However, digital archiving and the benefits that can be derived from it are not just a big issue for the self-employed and companies. Most public authorities have been using such systems for a long time. But private organizations or NGOs should also look into this topic. Confidential data is usually safer from theft or unauthorized viewing when it is archived digitally in a professional manner than in the often-unlocked filing cabinet in the anteroom, where it is usually not noticed so quickly if one or the other folder suddenly gets legs.


To be able to archive digital data, you need a data archive. This is an information system in which digital data is stored and made accessible to specific user groups. Archiving digital data should not be done without a reliable and professional business partner. One should access the know-how of experienced companies to avoid data loss. Long-term archiving is a special requirement.


One click and the digital archiving system does its job. Instant access to the scanned documents and the work process can begin immediately. Rapid access and order are guarantees for efficient use. Digital archiving systems are an important part of the modern office structure. No office management will be even remotely competitive without this digital advancement. Receipts, invoices, correspondence, mail traffic, everything once digitally archived, and immediately quick access is possible.

These are the benefits expected by customers who use digital archiving and archive documents digitally:

  • Fast data access even with large amounts of data
  • Employees can access the data from different locations
  • Archiving digitally means cost savings in storage space and materials
  • Digital archiving means savings in personnel costs
  • Digital archiving of documents opens up transparent use for selected employees
  • Security and data protection are guaranteed when customers archive digitally

What exactly is meant by file archiving?

File archiving is usually carried out by a special institution or organizational unit. In this process, files that are no longer considered for the continuous fulfillment of tasks are recorded, stored, evaluated and made available. An archiving of files can take place with all file types, for example are to be mentioned here:

  • Personnel files
  • Customer files
  • Supplier files
  • Contract files
  • Attorney files
  • Court files
  • Master files
  • Insurance files
  • Credit files (at banks)
  • Patient files

File archiving today

Today, files are usually transferred to a digital (or also electronic) archive or subjected to digital (or also electronic) archiving.

File archiving is also characterized by criteria such as inalterability, long-term retrievability and reproducibility. The mere digitization of files or saving them on a medium cannot be described as archiving, since in this case the long-term storage character is not present.

The lifespan of files during digitization and archiving cannot be described as constant or permanent.

The retention period is to be determined at the start of archiving; if necessary, the required destruction of files at a certain point in time should be specified. In the case of historical files that have no retention periods, the service life of the storage media in question must be considered, so that back-up copies must be made at certain time intervals. Files from offices and authorities must usually be handed over to the responsible archiving institution after the retention period has expired.

Better quality through file and document digitization

The analog information of files or other documents suffers a loss of quality with every copying process.

This is different in the case of file or document digitization: digital contents are so-called discrete values, which are readable and thus equivalent to the digital original, or are no longer readable, which is to be avoided by redundant storage of the contents or correction algorithms.

This means that when a copy is made from digital data carriers, not only is a copy created that is equivalent to the original, but the correction data is regenerated, and the digital copy is therefore of even higher quality than the original digital document. It is therefore worthwhile in any case to archive files digitally.


An important advantage of file digitization and archiving is the enormous space savings. Did you know, for example, that the data on a CD-ROM is equivalent to about 35 folders on five shelf meters?

Another plus point is the saving of working time through faster retrieval of file data. At the click of a mouse, users can view all files and documents on the monitor in seconds, print them out, process them with other programs and, if necessary, send them by fax or e-mail.

Other advantages include savings in materials and labor costs. In offices and authorities, digital file archiving is the basis for functioning administrative activities and is fundamental for the knowledge management required there. So you can see quite clearly that digital archiving & electronic archiving has many advantages.


Digital archiving means no more storage costs. Deep in the basement, mold and mildew can threaten. But when digital archiving systems do the job, all documents and employees are permanently protected. Digitally archiving documents and digitizing records solves many traditional problems. And retrieval is faster, too. The employee can fill the time with other important tasks. Digital archiving of documents can be implemented immediately for every customer, regardless of the industry.


Archiving documents digitally is legally permissible and complies with local law. It is therefore no longer necessary to store the paper form. Of course, the points of data protection and security of the stored data must also be properly implemented here, for example. A specially adapted user administration helps the executive floors to control access precisely. Unauthorized persons can never gain access without authorization. Document archiving and digital archiving systems are an indispensable step into a new age of office management.


By using modern technology for digitization, documents can be secured and archived for the long term. The data of the documents can be processed much faster and easier and the access is more secure and can also be done from several workstations at the same time. Therefore, take advantage of the benefits of modern archiving systems.


Book title: Digital archiving: basics, techniques, procedures in projects
Author: Roger Odenthal
Number of pages: 130 pages
Publisher: Datakontext; 2nd Edition; revised, ext. Edition
Language: German
ISBN-10: 3895776025
ISBN-13: 978-3895776021