How the City of Lakewood Created a Digital Archive Group

Contributed by:Greg Buchanan, Records Analyst, Lakewood, CO

The city of Lake­wood, CO, com­prises a mul­ti­tude of de­part­ments and di­vi­sions, each with its own daily con­cerns, in­ter­ests and ways of using Laser­fiche. In order to main­tain con­sis­tency within the Laser­fiche repos­i­to­ries and provide a place to express con­cerns and ideas, the city im­ple­mented a digital archive group (DAG).

What is the DAG?

The DAG at the city of Lake­wood serves to:

  • Discuss and gather feed­back on any new Laser­fiche pro­jects as well as ex­ist­ing pro­jects.
  • Obtain buy-in from upper man­age­ment for new Laser­fiche pro­jects.
  • Agree on city-wide Laser­fiche stan­dards such as a uniform naming con­ven­tion and repos­i­tory file struc­ture.
  • Answer any Laser­fiche-re­lated ques­tions posed by new city per­son­nel or ex­ist­ing city em­ploy­ees who use Laser­fiche daily.
  • Advise any other or­ga­ni­za­tions or cities that would like to im­ple­ment or expand their im­ple­men­ta­tion of Laser­fiche.

The DAG is com­prised of all the Laser­fiche ad­min­is­tra­tors within the city. Anyone who has ad­min­is­tra­tive rights to even one folder within the repos­i­tory is au­to­mat­i­cally a member of the group. Some de­part­men­tal heads and man­agers are also members of the DAG, even if they are not Laser­fiche ad­min­is­tra­tors.

The DAG aims to meet once a month. If there are not enough topics to discuss that month, the meeting may be can­celled. The chair of the DAG decides whether the meeting will go on as planned, and if so, creates an agenda that is emailed to all DAG members before the meeting. Members can choose to attend, based on how per­ti­nent they find the topics of dis­cus­sion.

Why should an or­ga­ni­za­tion im­ple­ment a DAG?

Im­ple­ment­ing a DAG at the city of Lake­wood has re­sulted in the fol­low­ing ben­e­fits:

  • The DAG helped expand Laser­fiche to other de­part­ments within the city because lis­ten­ing to current Laser­fiche users gave others ideas on how they too could benefit from Laser­fiche.
  • The city of Lake­wood main­tains or­ga­nized repos­i­to­ries with a uniform folder struc­ture and naming con­ven­tion, which enables every­one to easily find doc­u­ments.
  • Since a variety of people from dif­fer­ent di­vi­sions take part in DAG meet­ings, it is easy to gen­er­ate new ideas to put into prac­tice. For example, the idea of using Laser­fiche to manage the city plan­ning de­part­ment’s active case files in ad­di­tion to archiv­ing closed cases was first brought up at a DAG meeting.


Advice for im­ple­ment­ing a DAG

Here are some key things to think about when im­ple­ment­ing a DAG within any or­ga­ni­za­tion:

  • Make sure to have regular meet­ings, but only if there are topics to be dis­cussed. If there is a meeting just for the sake of having a meeting, members may be dis­cour­aged from coming back.
  • Rep­re­sen­ta­tion is very im­por­tant. Make sure that all de­part­ments and di­vi­sions are rep­re­sented at the DAG. It is crucial that the people who attend have the power and knowl­edge to im­ple­ment changes within Laser­fiche. If they cannot make changes them­selves, they should be able to direct others to make them.
  • Make sure to let upper man­age­ment know about the DAG’s ex­is­tence. The city of Lake­wood did a pre­sen­ta­tion to both the man­age­ment team and the city council about the DAG and its purpose.
  • En­cour­age the VAR to attend DAG meet­ings. This helps the VAR stay on top of Laser­fiche pro­jects within the or­ga­ni­za­tion and allows the VAR to help the or­ga­ni­za­tion attain its Laser­fiche ini­tia­tives and goals.
  • If a group cannot come to a con­clu­sion or com­pro­mise during one meeting, post­pone the dis­cus­sion so that people have time to think about the op­po­site views.
  • Provide snacks and bev­er­ages during the meeting. The city pro­vides a unique array of snacks, fruit and bev­er­ages at each DAG meeting as an ad­di­tional way to drive at­ten­dance.