Student groups to join online filing system

The University is expanding its online document bank to include student organization files.

The Marvin Center Governing Board will work with the Division of Information Technology to upload each group’s archived files to a secure online location accessible only by that group.

Chair of the Marvin Center Governing Board Dylan Pyne said the servers would function as online filing cabinets, with a password-protected cabinet for each group on the main student organization server.

“Space is always in demand,” Pyne said. About 60 groups have offices in the Marvin Center, and he said many have cabinets brimming with agendas, flyers and membership lists that can be scanned and stored on a server to reduce the need for storage. The data could be accessed at any computer with an Internet connection.

Data can be uploaded to GWdocuments through a scanning tool called GWscan. During the uploading process, files are converted to PDFs and indexed, so each word is searchable on the server.

About 75 departments currently use electronic filing systems on the Foggy Bottom and Virginia campuses.

Only administrative groups and departments have access to GWdocuments now, but the University plans to open up the server to student organizations soon. Pyne wants to test the system by the end of the semester, but is still waiting for more details from the Division of Information Technology.

GW Chief Information Officer David Steinour said staff members in the departments already using the system were trained to scan files – a simple but time-consuming process.

Assistant Vice President for Events and Venues Michael Peller wants to allow student groups to upload without having to pay for scanning help. He said the University could possibly hire a temporary student work force to upload groups’ archives.

To prevent other individuals from accessing other departments’ data on the server, each user must have a pre-approved NetID to access a particular area of the server.

The scope of access can vary depending on the user. Each department or group can permit some users to view archives, while others are only authorized to scan and file new documents.

The University launched a sustainable information technology campaign in 2007, which included the GWdocuments system in a bid to become paperless.

“To this day, the Division of IT remains a leader in higher education and on the forefront of GW’s sustainability effort,” Steinour said. “We saw this commitment as both a challenge and an opportunity to establish initiatives that decrease costs, promote business efficiency and enhance customer services.”

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