Scanning Documents

MSU has a hybrid records environment. While many records are still created and maintained in paper formats, some materials are born-digital while others will be imaged through scanning.

Document scanning has become an important part of MSU’s business procedures due to the EBS system implemented in 2011. With Enterprise Business Systems, MSU’s administrative and academic units will “scan, attach and store business documents electronically rather than retaining papers copies in a file cabinet” (Course EBS-N100, Lesson 1).

In addition to EBS related documentation, many offices may want to scan and maintain material in electronic format for easier access and use.

This page provides guidance for offices interested in scanning their records for both EBS and non-EBS related reasons. The scanning protocol, EBS scanning policy, and additional guidance is available below.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can I scan my records?

Yes, the university allows offices to scan records and maintain them in electronic format as long as they comply with the protocol outlined in the State of Michigan’s Records Reproduction Act.

Are scanned records legal in audit or a court of law?

Yes, if you have scanned your documents in accordance with the protocol outlined below, an electronic copy is just as good as a paper record.

After I scan my documents, do I have to maintain the paper copy?

For EBS Scanning, the paper copy of supporting documentation must be maintained until the transaction is posted to the general ledger. This is usually a 30-Day period. After that point, the scanned document in KFS/EBS becomes the official record and the paper document can be confidentially shredded. Additional information on EBS Scanning is available below.

For non-EBS Scanning, if an office is scanning materials in accordance with the State of Michigan protocols, then the electronic copy becomes the official record, and the paper copy may be destroyed. However, Archives recommends that offices retain paper copies for six months to a year for quality control purposes in case there are errors with the scanning process.

State of Michigan Scanning Protocol

MSU complies with the State of Michigan’s Records Reproduction Act (Act 116 of 1992) and related best practices. Digital images of supporting documentation minimum requirements are:

  • 300 DPI/PPI
  • PDF strongly preferred
  • TIFF acceptable
  • Images must be clear, readable, in good order
  • File size maximum is 5MB

For more information:

Scanning Documentation for EBS

As per MSU policy, all financial processing transactions must be supported by thorough documentation. Please see the following for further explanation of university policy and requirements on supporting documentation of financial processing transactions:

Supporting Documentation in EBS – FAQs
Manual of Business Procedures

All sensitive data must be redacted or obscured from imaged documents.

Once the e-doc receives all approvals and posts to the general ledger, the imaged supporting documentation becomes the official university record and will be maintained within KFS per university records retention schedules.

There is no expectation that units will maintain imaged versions of the supporting documents.

Planning a Scanning Project?

Do not scan everything.

  • Scanning is an expensive, time-consuming process. Departments and offices should consider the costs and benefits of undergoing a large scale scanning project. It is usually not possible for offices to scan everything. Instead, offices should focus on identifying the records that would benefit most from being scanned, such as records that are high use or need to be viewed by multiple people at once.

Think about the date range of the records you want to scan.

  • Many offices feel they need to go back and scan all of their records. This is not true. Archives recommends that offices and departments focus on scanning documents going forward from a specific date, such as the new calendar or fiscal year. You can always go back and scan additional records in the future if you like.

Make sure you have accounted for preservation of electronic records.

  • Just like with paper documents, you need to ensure that your electronic records will be accessible and preserved until they reach the end of the retention period. Thus, you need to make sure your servers have enough space to store electronic records and are secure. Consider arranging for your electronic records to be backed up to an off-site location in case of a disaster or environmental concern.
  • Additionally, make sure you have the right software to read and access your records. Always save your scanned records in a preservation format. Pdf is an acceptable preservation format and should be readable even long into the future. 
  • Factor in costs of storage space, upgrades and other storage needs into your scanning project plan.

Follow the State of Michigan Scanning Protocols.

  • This will ensure that your electronic records are acceptable for legal and audit purposes.

Any other questions? Please contact the archives at or 517-355-2330.

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