Document conversion companies are now receiving a large number of digitization projects from libraries and educational institutions. One obvious reason for this is that these institutions are facing a serious lack of physical storage space thanks to the increasing number of chronicled printed documents. The need to preserve these valuable documents and enhance public access is also encouraging them to take the digital route.
Digitizing Back Issues of Newspapers
Queen Anne’s County Library is digitizing back issues of the Record Observer and The Bay Times newspapers. The Centreville library believes this would make these precious copies more accessible to the public. The increased cost-effectiveness, thanks to technological advances in document conversion, is the motivating factor behind the decision. The digitization would involve editions published from 1980 to 2014.
According to a recent report, the cost of the project is estimated to be in the region of $35,000. The Chambers Fund of the library, established back in 1982, will be used for this since it has been conceived to preserve history. Once digitized, users can enter the library’s website and enter a phrase or word to find the particular edition. The pages can also be printed. This easy availability is essential since it helps speed up historical or genealogical research.
Digital and Microfilm Versions
Digitization is important for this library since these newspaper editions are not even preserved on microfilm. The print versions are the only ones around, but they are slowly falling prey to age, getting discolored and fragile. The digitization drive would involve conversion to digital as well as microfilm versions to ensure there is an extra source available. In fact, earlier editions have already been converted to microfilm, but they are housed at another library in Baltimore.
Libraries in the US and the world over are on a digitization drive for the sake of preservation and ease of access. In India, the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta (CSSSC) is embarking on digitizing old newspapers and journals dating back to the 19th century.
How Large Scale Digitization is Performed
Large scale document digitization for institutions involves a great deal of automation. Technology ensures cost-effectiveness, which is particularly relevant for educational institutions and libraries.
Document conversion companies sometimes employ a blend of onshore and offshore processes. Conventionally, the conversion of raw data to digital format is handled onshore while the data extraction and processing are carried out offshore. Data extraction involves the use of OCR and other character and text recognition technologies. A tracking mechanism is also in place for ensuring prompt delivery of the completed work. In short, digitization involves:
- Scanning of original printed documents
- Data extraction
- Transformation of the data into the required digital format, and
- Delivery of data
The availability of professional data conversion services is helping libraries and other institutions enjoy a quick, seamless and cost-effective digital experience.