Digitizing Vital Records – Important in Terms of Government and Public Interest

by | Published on Dec 4, 2015 | Document Conversion / Scanning Services

Digitizing Vital RecordsToday’s society is largely dependent on computers and technology for personal, academic and business operations. Libraries, museums, hospitals, government agencies and many other organizations are now into document scanning and conversion of their valuable data.

Once the documents are digitized, they can be uploaded online. Digitized materials are much more accessible to people than physical documents that face storage issues and deterioration. These scanned documents can be accessed from any computer with an internet connection, which helps eliminate travel time and expense. Scanning and digitization helps preserve the original. Publicly available digital copies reduce handling and potential damage to valuable and often fragile original items, which increases their longevity and historic value.

Digitization of Vital Records

Vital records include birth, death, marriage and divorce records that are necessary for official as well as research purposes. The federal government is required to standardize birth records to better check and prevent fraud that is vital for many areas of policy including border control and immigration.

The task of issuing these documents can prove to be daunting if the process is manual and paper based. Retrieving a record of birth or death from mutilated and worn out registers is an uphill task. The digitization of records and automation is expected to speed up the process of issuing certificates to citizens as well as ensuring security against forgeries.

The State of Virginia Example

A momentous digitization project is ongoing in the state of Virginia that has already digitized more than 16 million birth, death, marriage and divorce records and has put them online with the support of a popular genealogy research website. Much of the information contained in these records (names, birth and death dates, marriage dates and locations, etc.) is available online for free via the state’s Vital Records Division and Library of Virginia websites. The document scanning operation at a Virginia Department of Health site is said to be the second-largest effort of its kind in the country, the first being that at a federal scanning facility at Maryland.

  • More than 16 million records have so far been digitized and indexed.
  • Birth and death records from the year 1912 to the present have been added.
  • Marriage records from the year 1936 and divorce records from the year 1918 are available.

The benefits of this mammoth document scanning project include:

  • Millions of public birth, death, marriage and divorce records are now more easily accessed for family history and genealogy research.
  • It offers a long-term conservation solution for preserving the rich and varied history of the people of Virginia.
  • People can now find more information about their heritage.
  • As the State Health Commissioner of Virginia pointed out, family history and individual health are closely related. With this project, people can research their ancestors’ lives and perhaps identify family health conditions and hereditary risk factors.

Why Hiring Document Scanning and Conversion Services Is Worthwhile

Projects such as that ongoing in Virginia demand advanced scanning equipment, staff to operate the equipment as well as the necessary infrastructure. Huge vital records digitization projects can be efficiently completed with the support of a document scanning company.

  • A good service provider will complete the assigned task on time and on budget while maintaining the integrity of the original material.
  • They have experience in handling fragile and rare documents.
  • They can provide digital files in the format best suited for the client.
  • They have advanced scanning equipment that safeguards the vital documents from damage, as well as trained technicians to operate the equipment.

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