Data Abstraction: It's Not Too Late to Automate

County officials that handle land and court records are, among many other things, responsible for three things:

  1. Accepting documents
  2. Protecting documents
  3. Reproducing documents

This requires a lot of experience, knowledge and hands on effort including abstracting or indexing these documents.

Abstraction is the process of reviewing data sets or documents for information that will be needed in the future for decision making. The crux of the problem is having domain knowledge that allows one to accurately and swiftly sift the important from the unimportant. When done well, the result of data abstraction is the compression of a large amount of information to its essence without loss of meaning or usefulness. Abstraction is used to manage complexity so important decisions can be made quickly and with confidence.

Indexing has nearly the same definition but the end result is that the documents can be stored and searched within a document management system (DMS). Indexing isn’t intended to capture all the pertinent information in the document, but is intended to capture specific information that will allow the document to be retrieved in the future when needed.

For managers of land or court record abstraction-indexing workflows, it is important to take proactive steps to increase data quality and minimize the chance of mishandled and misidentified documents and if possible, speed up the workflow and cut costs all at the same time.

It’s a tall order but those objectives can be obtained. The key is to rely less on humans and more on technology to control the workflow. Software is able to parse paragraphs and whole documents of text for the essence of the document. This means it can be done very quickly, reliably and tirelessly. Headaches caused by employee turnover, interviews, training and managing are reduced.

Key entry workflows that rely only on humans is error prone and many times error rates aren’t calculated. With software automation, management reports are available at the press of a button. These management tools include productivity reports by employee or hours spent on the workflow by employee and many others. Instead of lying awake at night worrying about what errors a new employee is making, the manager can review accuracy reports and determine if there really is something to worry about.

Automation makes workflow management much easier when volumes can be predicted, resources appropriately scheduled, and problems quickly discovered and addressed.

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About the Author: Troy Burke

With 30 years of experience providing clients with stellar service and strategic solutions for growth and development, Troy is committed to ensuring his customers receive the highest quality solution, training and support with every implementation. He frequently speaks on the topic of redaction and is actively involved with National Association of Court Management, Property Records Industry Association and several other government organizations.