Is Converting Your Microfiche Archive to Your Permitting System the Right Approach?

Building departments manage many different types of documents, including building plans, geologic survey information, permit copies and other residential or commercial title related records. A lot of building department staff time is spent searching through physical microfiche archives for specific records. Misfiled and lost fiche present further hassles. Although many building departments see the value of digitally converting their microfiche records, many have not.

Building Department Microfiche Conversion Solution

 Why haven’t building departments converted their microfiche archives to digital? Expense and staff time required are the two main reasons. Most building departments start with the position that they want all of their digital records migrated into an existing permitting system or document management system. This typically comes with a hefty price tag. To accomplish this, each individual image on the microfiche must be separately digitized and indexed. A content review needs to take place which requires your building department staff to dedicate a lot of time reviewing the documents after conversion. The review is to ensure that the microfiche indexes are properly mapped to the permitting or document management system index. This is time consuming and the amount of labor required quickly drives the price up.

There is a better way to affordably convert microfiche archives. A microfiche conversion solution is really a two-step process (1) scanning and (2) indexing. Many building departments want all of their digital records imported into their existing permitting or document management system. This requires (1) scanning and (2) indexing. Most of the expense of a microfiche conversion solution comes at the (2) indexing phase. What if there was a solution that could provide (1) scanning at an affordable price as an initial stepping stone? In that way, your building department could digitize your microfiche records quickly and affordably and then tackle the (2) indexing step later.

BMI’s Digital ReeL building department microfiche conversion solution delivers an affordable solution to accomplish the (1) scanning step and also offers you a stepping stone to (2) indexing and permitting system integration. In addition, any record converted into Digital ReeL is stored in a non-proprietary format (PDF, TIFF) and can easily be imported into any existing system.

How does the Digital ReeL building department microfiche scanning solution work?

Digital ReeL is designed to be affordable (as low as $.90 per microfiche). Your microfiche records are securely transported to our Northern California microfiche conversion facility. We are able to convert the entire microfiche and digitally preserve it as it looked in its original physical state. Very little building department staff oversight required. Because we create digital replicas of each microfiche, there is no requirement to examine individual images for indexing purposes.

If the building records do not go into my permitting or document management system, how do I access them using Digital ReeL?

Digital ReeL offers an easy to use web based retrieval application that resembles a reader printer. With Digital ReeL your physical microfiche are converted to digital replicas. Instead of using legacy, physical readers, you can turn as many computer workstations as you’d like into what looks like a reader printer. Staff and citizens use the same index method for your physical microfiche archive to find information (e.g. APN, address). We also include full text search options to quickly and accurately pull up a record that is needed (e.g. search using a name, date or other keyword).

All records are stored in nonproprietary formats, including PDF, TIFF, JPG and GIF. It is easy to email, print or save documents right from Digital ReeL. Any document can be imported into an existing permitting or document management system.

BMI has the expertise and resources to successfully handle governmental building department microfiche conversion projects. We have worked with city, state and federal government agencies all of the Country. Please call (800) FLY-FILM to discuss how we can achieve your building department microfiche conversion requirements today.