FCTEC digitises historical donation records and automates student registrations at Stellenbosch University

April 18, 2024 || FCTEC

Stellenbosch University is a public research university situated in Stellenbosch in the Western Cape. With a history that dates back to the 17th century, the university collaborated with FCTEC to undertake an outsourced digitisation project on behalf of the Special Collections Library and Music Library. The engagement was so successful that the institution then asked FCTEC to provide support around its donor document digitisation process and its student application document processing.

Project Value

Digitising Special Donations Records

The goal was to make it easier for the university to find special donations over a certain period of time. The information was scattered and required digitising and organisation, ensuring each document was correctly categorised and put in chronological order. Stellenbosch University worked with FCTEC to digitise and assign transaction numbers to make every transaction searchable, simplifying search, donor engagement and donor tracking.

“This initial project was a high-volume document scanning endeavour for the funding department, digitising all records related to the university over the past 20 years,” says Thomas Schmidt, General Manager of Technical Services at FCTEC. “The relationship we built through this engagement led to us collaborating on creating a more efficient and streamlined registration process.”

After successfully completing the digitisation of the special donations records, FCTEC was tasked with solving an even bigger challenge: automating document classification for all HR records, including student registrations.

A challenging landscape

With thousands of students applying to join the university every year, the institution needed a solution that would allow for applications to be processed more efficiently. FCTEC integrated Tungsten Transact, a software solution designed to dynamically categorise documents that have been digitally scanned and uploaded to the management system. Documents are loaded by students through a dedicated workflow process where the different document types are classified and integrated into the management system.

Technology Used

“The solution can assess and ingest information from computer-printed documents and handwritten forms,” explains Schmidt. “Although this functionality is not used at Stellenbosch University, it can also extract handwriting with incredible detail – often one of the most problematic areas of the student process is identifying content from handwriting, and this tool achieves high rates of success.. The documents verified by the system pass through automatically, and those that require validation or verification go to the next step. Usually, there’s little to no editing required.”

The solution has reduced the time spent processing documents for student registrations by a significant margin. This has streamlined efficiencies for the university and students, simplifying submissions and document retrieval. It complements the other half of the solution provided by FCTEC with its comprehensive digitisation of donor documents, keeping the university on the edge of digitisation and providing students with superb automation services designed to make their registration less stressful and more efficient.