Paper-based files and record systems may seem easily accessible, however, they come with an extensive list of drawbacks. These include a negative environmental impact as well as the costs associated with paper supplies, printing and storage needs. Nonetheless, the time used to manually access such papers through searching and retrieving decades-old documents from large filing cabinets can get overwhelming. On top of this, the biggest challenge of all, is the vulnerability of paper records to physical damage or loss. Unforeseeable events such as fires, floods and snowstorms can severely damage or destroy important documents; and if based on a paper record system, information on the damaged document is simply irrecoverable. With climate change in effect across Canada and on the rise, the BC provincial government has released a statement that, on average, 2,000 wildfires affecting nearly 100,000 hectares occur annually in the areas of BC 1. The regions with the highest wildfire occurrences are those of British Columbia, the Boreal forest zones of Ontario, Quebec, the Prairie provinces and the Northwest Territories 2. With such an immense impact seen over the past 2 years it has prompted the BC government to issue a state of emergency as these are not forecasted to slow down in the coming years 1.

Digitising print records can ensure that an organisation or community maintains controlled and organised access to important data. By employing a cloud-based file and records system, organisations can safeguard their documents against these unpredictable damage or loss situations. This solution also enables easier access to information and streamlined digital workflows to improve efficiency, productivity and member satisfaction. In fact, it has been noted that 3.1 hours are saved each week for organisations when moving from paper to digital, allowing people to get more done during their day 3. Additionally, digital files and record systems eliminate the costs associated with physical storage and paper document supplies.

Aboriginal communities hold invaluable information dating back hundreds of years. From historical publications to native language records, these documents can contain centuries’ worth of valuable written historical materials. With the unexpected and continuing natural disasters around us, storing such significant information becomes an aspect of importance, especially on a preservation level. Legacy documents, member information and business records that Aboriginal communities hold, are items that are vulnerable to damage and loss under a paper-based system. A shift to a digitised system will allow for the safest protection and preservation whilst making searches more efficient in the long run.

Looking ahead towards the future, not only can Aboriginal communities ensure that their history is securely preserved, but also that the next generations carry on past traditions. Without easy access to heritage documents, younger generations may begin to experience a disconnect between their modern lives and the legacy of their Aboriginal ancestors. Digitising historical information allows new generations to feel more closely connected to their roots without sacrificing the use of current technology and can help communities maintain or even revitalise former traditions.

As a member of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB), Ricoh is committed to providing customised solutions to help Aboriginal communities digitise, but more importantly, preserve and securely access their historical records, legacy documents and any business information. To learn more about how working with Ricoh can help bridge the gap between your community’s traditions and the technological expectations of future generations, visit RicohChangeMakers.ca/Aboriginal.

1 BC Land Management Handbook: https://www.for.gov.bc.ca/hfd/pubs/docs/lmh/lmh69.pdf
2 Government of Canada – Get Prepared: Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness: https://www.getprepared.gc.ca/cnt/hzd/wldfrs-en.aspx
3 Ricoh Business Process Automation: https://services.ricoh.ca/Business-Process–Automation