Government agencies need to access and process a large volume of documents, the management of which requires a great deal of meticulous work. OCR technology is being incorporated into many government offices in an effort to speed the processing of paper documents and make them compatible with increasingly digitized office procedures. Government agencies share several important characteristics that shape their document management strategies: they offer services to a large number of people, they share information with other agencies and organizations, and their records have a significant lifespan. These factors complicate the management process, and complex technologies are often needed to process documents quickly and efficiently.
OCR is used to bridge the gap between paper documents, which are still widely used, and electronic documents, which are becoming increasingly widespread. OCR allows hard copies to be scanned and stored in digital format, while becoming fully text-searchable and easy to work with. Text-searchable capabilities are especially important in agencies processing a large volume of information, where manually processed documents are easily lost or misplaced. In addition, OCR can improve communication between different related agencies, since information is processed automatically and made into a format that is easy to transmit via the internet. Access to archives traditionally required the retrieval and delivery of paper documents, but can now be performed remotely with the help of electronic searches.
Forms processing is a major component of government document management, since government forms include census forms, tax declarations, voting ballots, contracts, and an array of different applications. Because many of these forms are handwritten, ICR can be particularly useful for government purposes. OCR and ICR technology can significantly simplify the process of entering information into large databases and storing it in a manner that allows for easy retrieval.
Because the information contained in some government documents can be highly sensitive and private, it is important to provide services that keep such information secure. Many electronic document management solutions provide technology that is more secure than manual processing, in addition to leading to fewer errors.
The specific uses of OCR vary across different types of government agencies, but the technology is used to reduce processing time and increase efficiency.
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