Imaging and document conversion are vital processes as regards businesses as well as government agencies. Reliable and cost-effective document conversion services are provided by reputable outsourcing agencies in the industry.
Keeping pace with the digitization drive, the North Carolina government is helping government agencies with the process. North Carolina State Archives has come up with a plan to preserve vital historical documents. It is offering the service of converting scanned digital images to archival microfilm that facilitates long-term as well as inexpensive access and storage. The service is fee-based and is extended to local and state government agencies. The initiative for the State Archives to offer this service is to promote projects supporting its mission of collecting, preserving and improving public use of historical information in relation to North Carolina.
The State Archives believes that microfilm that is processed according to archival standards is a low-risk medium for increasing the chances of digital files surviving over time. Digital files need to be loaded into hardware with the appropriate software for them to be read by people, but microfilm never requires such sophisticated technology. Moreover, quality microfilm can help recreate digital files when their original versions have been destroyed or corrupted.
Quality Control Guidelines for Scanned Records
The State Archives guidelines state that managing scanned records must be in line with quality control and quality assurance measures which have been established through audit trails, procedural documentation, and audits that have been employed by the submitting agency following recommendations in DCR publications that can be found in the North Carolina Department of State Archives website. These guidelines are required to be followed by government agencies considering implementing a digital imaging system, even if they would not need to convert the scanned digital images to microfilm.
Submission Requirements for Electronic Files
There are some minimum requirements set by the State Archives for submitting electronic files. Digital records that are eligible for conversion to microfilm are those that have long-term or permanent value, those that possess a greater likelihood for serving in litigation (since it would be vital for concerned agencies to bring forth records in the event of litigation), and those that are under statutory requirements and therefore require off-site storage.
Image Resolution and Formats
Images need to possess a resolution of at least 300 dpi. Documents having higher dpi values may not always convert to better microfilm quality. Images also need to be of uncompressed PDF, PDF/A or TIFF. Agencies having images in other formats need to employ document conversion services or software. Images converted to TIFF or PDF formats from another format must have embedded fonts. Conversion processes must be thoroughly tested. They should also be documented because of the required procedural documentation and audit trails.
The North Carolina State Archives also directs agencies that when using flatbed scanners for capturing images, they need to be cropped for reducing the surrounding space though retaining a border for showing the capture of the entire document. Scanners need to have resolution targets in their software.
Thanks to this initiative by the North Carolina State Archives, the race will be on with government agencies seeking to benefit from this cost-effective document scanning service.