Student-led project leads to digital success

March 8, 2023

Student-led project leads to digital success

Our world is becoming more digital every day. By 2025, it’s estimated that the world will have to store 200 zettabytes of data (that’s more than 200 billion terabytes). The days in which filing cabinets alone can manage an organization’s records have come to an end. What happens when an institution like NorQuest needs to convert years of paper files into a digital archive? Some NorQuest students were instrumental in doing just that and were a crucial part of an important college project.

Over the past year, NorQuest has been converting hard copy files into a digital archive, complete with metadata, security, and checks for accuracy. Avoiding loss of data was also a crucial component of the project, explains Michael McNichol, Compliance Consultant.

“We always work to specific digital specifications to ensure quality and, more importantly, to ensure that we know exactly what each file contains,” says McNichol. “That way, when technology changes in the future, we can adapt rather than losing data.”

Two NorQuest students were hired by NorQuest to take a leading role on the project. Nyko Martin Martin (Business Administration with Management Operational Focus), and Sharan Kaur (Business Analysis), showed dedication, patience, and attention to detail as hundreds of thousands of pieces of paper were scanned and filed. Ashley Bobinski, a University of Alberta student, also assisted with the work, alongside Lesley Nademi from the college’s Strategic Project Management Office.

“We struggled a bit to get off the ground, especially in technological terms,” says McNichol. “However, we received a new scanner in the summer, which allowed us to move significantly faster and with less need for multiple quality control checks along the way. This really sped the process up and allowed us to complete the employee files to a very high-quality standard.”

Safety and confidentiality were also top of mind throughout the project. All the individuals who worked on this project signed non-disclosure agreements and everyone ensured that no files were ever left open or unattended during the process.

“Working on this project was a wonderful experience,” says Kaur. “I got to meet new people and understand their work culture and work collaboratively as a team. We sure had our ups and downs but with each step the project grew stronger and more efficient.” 

Thanks to the success of this project, if any NorQuest employee needs to access files while working remotely, they can now do so safely and easily without compromising any confidentiality or digital security standards.

Scanning project by the numbers:

  • Approximately 185,000 pages digitized and processed
  • Approximately 2,600 hours
  • 967 active employee files