Friday, November 10, 2006

Documentation Wants to be Free

Someone should create a secure and trustworthy online archive to which we can upload official documents (e.g. academic transcripts, GRE score reports, etc.). That way, instead of having to send out dozens of original certified documents to all the people/institutions that demand them, we could simply organize to have one original sent to the official database certifiers, who would scan it and put it on the net with their trusted seal of approval, so that I'd merely need to pass along the URL to everyone else. They could even offer password-protection for privacy purposes.

Why does this service not exist? It needn't be centralized, even. Each document-granting institution could simply be responsible for its own online certifications. Why don't universities make their official transcripts freely available online (again, password-protected if necessary)? It wouldn't be that hard, surely, and it'd be so much more convenient. If they're worried about losing money, I'd pay just as much (or more!) for this service. After all, who in their right mind would use snail mail now that instant access is possible?

(Is security the problem? But surely if internet banking is possible, then these sites could be made hack-proof too...?)



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