The Archive Box Dilemma

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Many companies that use offsite storage providers to store their archive boxes have accounts that continually grow as the years pass.  More often than not companies tend to lose track of what is in the boxes, and therefore find it difficult to locate items when required or make decisions about box disposal or document scanning.  As time passes and the archive box collection grows, it continues to become more  unwieldy and uncontrollable.

Most companies find that the cost to physically retrieve the boxes in order to carry out a detailed audit and index of the contents is cost prohibitive and/or far too time consuming. 

In answer to this common hurdle, Tape Ark has designed the Rapid Box Indexer system to overcome this roadblock to achieving archive box/data enlightenment.This innovative, technology driven solution offers a rapid and cost-effective service which will have clients not only up to speed with a comprehensive index of the contents of their archive boxes, but also able to search and visually see the contents of said boxes remotely via a user interface.

Rapid Box Indexer

The standard method of indexing archive boxes is to have them physically retrieved from offsite storage and delivered to client premises.  Each individual box is then opened by a member of staff, the contents of each box manually examined and then each individually documented into a spreadsheet or database.  The archive box is then returned to offsite storage.  Each box, depending on its contents, can take more than an hour to manually index and document. When looking at the size of the average account in offsite storage, this indexing project can equate to many thousands of hours of work – hence why it is in most cases deemed cost prohibitive and far too time consuming.

Tape Ark’s Rapid Box Indexer has been designed not only to address and resolve these dominant issues of cost and time when doing box indexing, but to also add value to the process by adopting new, innovative technology which enhances the depth of information and metadata that you can capture at speed, giving new insights into the box contents and how the index and information is used post indexing.

The Tape Ark Box Audit Process and Solution

The process that is used with Tape Ark’s Rapid Box Indexer solution is as follows:

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  • Retrieve the box from offsite storage

  • Open the box with an overhead video camera mounted above the indexer to record the box contents on video

  • A Tape Ark personnel verbally catalogues the box contents into a microphone that is linked to Automatic Speech Recognition software, converting their speech to text which is captured into an index

  • Each item in the box is placed into a frame for a single high resolution photograph to be taken using Deep Learning Enabled Video software.

  • Once the image is captured, Intelligent Image and Video Analysis software will be used to further categorise and enhance the information and metadata about the contents

  • Once all items are verbally described and OCR’d, Tape Ark personnel replace the contents back into the box and it is then returned to offsite storage.

The final product is:

  • A video of all items being taken out of the box.  This gives the client context as to what is in the box, and what else in the box may relate to it.

  • All single images captured by the camera are linked to the text and OCR output so that a user can search for items, view the contents of the box, and the individual items in the box in a time coded viewer for easy searching.

  • All spoken text is turned into a free text database for searching by the client on line. 

The Box Audit Interface

On completion of an indexing project, the client is given access to the Tape Ark portal in order to  search, view and order content.  The portal allows for searching on keywords, viewing of the images of the indexed items, and linkages to the video to see what else may be in the same box.   

The Tape Ark portal/interface can be used as a standalone system for searching and then orders with their offsite storage provider to deliver the box or items can be initiated independently of the Tape Ark portal.

In Summary

The Rapid Indexer system allows users to see what is in each box not just in a text database, but also visually.  In our view, it is like having all of your offsite boxes with you onsite so you can flip through their contents if and when you need it.

The speech to text indexing is a rapid, accurate and customised way to capture data that can be many hundreds of times faster (and cheaper) than conventional hand data entry indexing and documentation.  In addition, it allows clients to describe items and content in more detail, without the rigidity of a flat index table to enter metadata.  Enhanced data entry or indexing can take place from the images and video at a later date, if more detail is needed – and this can be done without recalling the boxes for indexing.

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