Kerala Chief Minister V. S. Achuthanandan formally inaugurated the digitisation of records at the Kerala Secretariat on Wednesday.

Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Minister said that the system would facilitate retrieval old records within a few seconds. More than one officer would be able to access a file at the same time.

Secretary (Information Technology) Ajaya Kumar said that 3.5 crore paper records from 1991 had already been digitised. Access was initially being provided to the Secretaries.

Chief Secretary Neela Gangadharan and Secretary to the Chief Minister Sheela Thomas and IT Mission Director Rathan U. Kelkar attended the function.

The digitisation project covers 28 departments of the Secretariat.

About 15000 to 35000 files pertaining to each year between 1991 and 2009 have already been scanned and included in a searchable database.

This came to about 1.25 terabytes of data, stored as images. Inbuilt optical character recognition software can generate text with limited accuracy for indexing and searching.

The job of scanning the records has been entrusted to the public sector company Keltron. The company uses IBM/Kofax software for digitising the records. Only files on which decisions have been taken

(records) are sent for scanning. The data are then made available to officers through the local area network of the Secretariat.

The work was started four years ago and half of the records from 1991 have been digitised. The work would continue in the coming days.