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Blog | The Windward Group

The Windward Wire

The Windward Wire

Document Management, Data Migration and Document Scanning Blog

Did your documents get wet? LA Flood Clean-up

Mindy Rathe | Monday, August 15, 2016

Another terrible storm has crossed our paths in Southern Louisiana for 2016. We have some experience and expertise in dealing with these types of disasters.

Document and Media Disaster Recovery

Our home office is located north of the New Orleans metro area, so we know a thing or two about hurricane and flood disaster recovery for documents and film. We have assisted many courthouses in rescuing their records. We partner with one of the largest disaster recovery centers in the world and they restore everything from fire and flood damaged buildings to computer systems to paper files. This means we can rescue your records and stop the destruction of mold in its tracks. 

Document Disaster Recovery Experience

In August of 2005, we were called upon to assist in rescuing the documents and records at the courthouse in St. Bernard Parish.  St. Bernard Parish is a close suburb to New Orleans.  It is located in the coastal marshes just northeast of the city.  Hurricane Katrina brought havoc and disaster to this parish of hardworking individuals.  Floods inundated the parish with over 20 feet of water. (You can read more about the unbelievable story about the parish at:

Books and files dating back to the 1700’s were packed out of the courthouse and brought to our warehouse on the Northshore.  We were able to stop the molding process by putting the water soaked records in special reclamation chambers where, over time, they were preserved using a combination of freeze-drying and heat sublimation.  

Are you in need of document or media disaster recovery? Contact us at 985-893-4606. 

Saving your Documents - ACT FAST
(brought to you by the experts at the National Archives

How to deal with wet documents 
If your documents, books or photographs are wet following an accident or flood, immediate action needs to be taken to prevent mold growth and physical distortion of the paper. Although flood damage to some items may be irreversible, following the steps below can give your collections a good chance of survival. Most small or medium-sized private home collections can be easily and cheaply treated by airdrying. In the event of water damage to larger or valuable collections, or if in doubt about the best course of action, consider contacting a trained library and archives conservator for advice. 

Mold growth 
Immediately remove wet items from flooded or damp places, as mold will begin to grow within 2 to 3 days. Mold spores flourish in warm, damp, stagnant conditions, and in the dark, so make sure the items are moved to a suitable environment before starting the drying process. First place blotting material, such as unprinted newsprint paper, paper towels, rags, etc., underneath the drying documents to absorb excess moisture. Circulating air will dry most materials and fans can safely be used as long as the airflow is directed away from the documents. See the table below for guidance on air-drying. 

Paper distortion 
Paper-based collections will immediately begin to show signs of physical distortion, which makes the paper extremely fragile and easily torn or damaged. As no drying method can completely restore a collection, some cockling should be expected. 

The following handling precautions should always be observed: 
Wet Books: 
  • Do not open wet volumes or close those that have fallen open
  • Do not separate covers from text blocks Handle one item at a time 
  • Do not press water out of wet books 
Unbound Documents: 
  • Keep all documents in order 
  • Do not blot surfaces of documents that have water-soluble inks 
Photographic Material: 
  • Do not allow wet photographic materials to dry in contact with one another 
  • Do not touch the emulsion (print) side of photographic materials 
  • Seek assistance from photographic conservators for further salvage and recovery advice 
How to air-dry 
  • Saturated Books- Stand on head on absorbent paper with covers open slightly; place absorbent paper between text block and covers; change absorbent paper as soon as it becomes wet and turn books alternately to rest on head and tail each time the paper is changed. 
  • Partially Wet Books- Interleave absorbent paper every 20 pages with interleaving extending beyond the head (or tail) and text block; lay book flat; change interleaving when wet. 
  • Damp Books -Stand on tail fanned open in a current of air; when almost dry lay book flat and place absorbent paper between covers and text block; reshape if possible; place light weight (covered in clean paper to prevent marking) on top until completely dry. 
  • Bound Coated Papers/ Glossy Magazines- Interleave between each page with waxed paper; damp books should be stood on their heads and fanned open; fan through pages frequently to prevent sticking. 
  • Unbound Coated Papers- Every sheet of coated paper should be separated from each other before drying; spread documents on table or floor and change absorbent paper beneath as it becomes wet. 
  • Saturated Documents- Spread documents on table or floor and change absorbent paper beneath as it becomes wet. 
  • Damp Documents- Flatten by placing between two sheets of absorbent paper and applying even pressure with weights until dry. 
  • Photographic Prints- Remove from frame or mat; place on absorbent paper with face up and change paper when wet; if print appears to be stuck to glass do not remove and dry intact with the glass side down. 
  • Photographic Negatives (roll or strip)- Dry emulsion side up on absorbent paper (change when wet) or hang carefully on a line with plastic clips.
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What do we do? Our Commercial Document Scanning Process

Mindy Rathe | Monday, August 08, 2016
The Windward Group has over 250 years of experience scanning documents for organizations in New Orleans, Metairie, Baton Rouge, and courts throughout Mississippi and Louisiana. We will convert your paper documents and records into PDF, TIFF and any other electronic image formats. Our internal quality assurance processes ensure that your electronic images are in the right format to meet your legal and business requirements. Our document scanning service bureau passes the latest security audits, assuring you that your documents are safe. If we need to come to your facility to do the scanning, we have the equipment and personnel that you can trust to get the job done quickly and efficiently, minimizing the impact to your office environment. Watch this video to see how we do it. 
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Louisiana Parish Document Scanning & Management

Mindy Rathe | Friday, December 25, 2015

Though facing flat or declining revenues, parishes in Louisiana are responsible for an increasing volume of documents across several agencies, including:

  • Clerks of the court
  • Assessors
  • Fire protection districts
  • School districts
  • Sheriffs and law enforcement

Parishes need to offer a high level of constituent service, so having to do "more with less" is the rule. So then, what's the best way to manage all of these documents and records coming in as well as legacy documents stored in vaults, basements, sheds, and chicken coops?

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GRIDS, Inc. Has Been Acquired

Mindy Rathe | Thursday, June 25, 2015

Benny Garrard, President of GRIDS, Inc., announced today that GRIDS, Inc. has been acquired by Grids Information Technologies, LLC.  GRIDS Inc., founded in the early 90s, is a Lafayette based company that over the years has helped Louisiana Clerks of Court and other Courthouse officials maintain state-of-the-art software used to manage courthouse information systems including land records, criminal & civil case dockets, and elections information.  Mr. Garrard will remain active in the new company and lead the ongoing software development effort which will be based in Lafayette, Louisiana. Read More >

Paper Document Estimator

Mindy Rathe | Sunday, March 22, 2015

If you're thinking about scanning your documents and/or sending them to off-site storage, it's useful to quickly estimate how many documents you actually have without having to leaf through them all – this is how you will be charged.

Here's a handy guide to determine how much paper you actually have. These estimates do not include anything that may be holding your documents together, such as paper clips, folders, bindings, etc.

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HR Use Case for School Districts: Document Scanning & Workflow

Mindy Rathe | Monday, January 26, 2015

Many school districts have reclaimed space, achieved instant document retrieval and ensure FERPA, FOIA and HIPAA compliance by scanning student records into document management software like EMC ApplicationXtender. Now, school districts can achieve the same benefits and more by applying these document best practices into their Human Resources Department.

HR Document Scanning & Document Management Software

In addition to stopping the paper from getting out of control, expanding this practice into HR allows school districts three advantages for management of employee information:

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Choice Partners and The Windward Group: Big Win for Government Entities

Mindy Rathe | Monday, November 17, 2014

Choice Partners Contract Holder

The Windward Group was recently awarded a legal contract from Choice Partners to offer digital imaging, archiving and document management technologies. Based in Houston, Texas, Choice Partners offers legal procurement and contract solutions to meet government requirements. This contract allows over 900 Choice Partner members to procure products and services without the classic bidding protocol that a government entity typically goes through during the procurement process. Choice Partners carefully selects vendors so that members are guaranteed the best prices and services available.

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Application Modernization

Mindy Rathe | Monday, October 20, 2014

One of the latest buzzwords relating to electronic content management (ECM) is "application modernization." What is it and why should you care? Read on...

What Is Application Modernization?

Application modernization is the practice of migrating both structured and unstructured data and content from legacy software and databases to more modern applications. Some call it ETL: extract, transform and load.

To minimize risk of migrating this content, the legacy software is often kept running until the migration has been completed and is operating smoothly for awhile.

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How to Enable Big Data Analytics for Medical Research with Structured & Unstructured Archival for EMR

Mindy Rathe | Monday, September 22, 2014

Archiving for Revenue, Cost Containment, Not Just Compliance

EMR systems like Epic have revolutionized the way medical information is captured and accessed by healthcare professionals, but there's a big problem: data is often purged from production EMR systems to maintain optimal efficiency of expensive Tier-1 storage. With today's big data analytical tools, data has tremendous value and now there is a solution for retaining structured records along with all associated unstructured data, such as radiographs, registration forms, ABNs, and even dictation audio encapsulated/embedded with the EMR records, while keeping systems functioning at their peak efficiency.

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Order Processing Case Study: Furniture Manufacturer

Mindy Rathe | Monday, June 30, 2014

With eight manufacturing facilities and 1,250 people employed worldwide including five overseas offices, the country's largest family-owned furniture company reached a tipping point with order processing and turned to The Windward Group for a solution.

Order Processing Challenges

As a global manufacturer, order processing is of the utmost importance. Even though most of their incoming orders arrive digitally via email, their process dictated that the order be printed and manually keyed each time an order is received. After keying, the form is transferred to a manager for cross verification. From there, the paper document is turned over to a scanner operator for entry into their Oracle Stellent document management system. Direct results of the paper intensive workflow process were missing and customer orders were being shipped late. Since their Oracle system lacked auditability, orders could be neglected for months without anyone noticing them.

 Read More >