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How Do I Start A Microfilm Scanning Project?

A simple question, with simple answers. Simple doesn’t necessarily mean easy, of course, but we’ll do the best we can to make it that way. First, we’re glad you’re reading this article, because it means you’re curious about how to make your microfilm scanning project a success. Second, you’re reading our article, which always makes us happy. Our goal here is to give you some ideas before heading down the path of microfilm scanning, and we know you’ll find at least one nugget of useful information here. Let’s proceed, shall we?

4 Steps To Prepare For A Microfilm Scanning Project

If we wanted to, we could list dozens of steps to help you prepare for a microfilm scanning project. Dozens of steps could be a long read, though, so instead we boiled this article down to four larger steps to get your planning juices boiling as you embark upon the great crusade of digital conversion! Read on and open your mind to the wonders of microfilm scanning…

Step 1. Figure Out What You Have

One of the first questions we like to ask prospective clients is “what type of microfilm do you have (microfilm, microfiche, aperture cards, etc.), and how many?” You don’t need to have the exact number down to the roll of microfilm or sheet of microfiche, but a good estimate is a solid first step. Something as simple as “about 500 rolls” or “30,000-40,000 microfiche” is a great first step.

Not sure what type of microfilm you have? Click over to our “What Kind of Microfilm” page to get a better idea of the various formats you may have. And if you still can’t figure it out, a phone call with an expert (hint: BMI) will do the trick!

Here’s a bonus trick to count microfiche.

Microfiche are those small sheets that are close in size to an index card. You know, those cards  you used in grade school to learn how to spell words? Anyway, if you have even a small archive of microfiche, you’re not going to want to count out all the sheets to figure out a volume for your project. Luckily for anyone that’s ever had to deal with fiche, there’s a quick way to get an approximate number of fiche: when the sheets of fiche are stacked together, such as in a drawer, get a measure of the linear inches that the fiche take up and multiply that by 90. (90 is a rough number and will depend on if the fiche are stacked tight together, if they’re in sleeves, if there are numerous separators, etc.). This will get you a ballpark count of fiche!

Example: you have a 4-drawer cabinet of microfiche, and each drawer has two rows of fiche, front to back. The drawers are 15” deep. So, four drawers multiplied by two rows per drawer equals eight total rows. Eight rows multiplied by 15” per row equals 120”. 120” multiplied by 90 fiche per inch equals a total estimate of 10,800 fiche. Easy!

Step 2. Figure Out What You Want To Do

It’s nice to know what you have, but it’s even better to know what you want to do with it. Why is this step important? Good question! Let’s use an analogy:

Scenario A: you’re laying around on the couch, watching cartoons, and your stomach rumbles. Ok, time to get some food. You hop in the car and start driving around. And driving around. And around.

Let’s try a different approach.

Scenario B: you’re laying around on the couch, watching cartoons, and your stomach rumbles. Ok, time to get some food. You sit up and think for a minute or two and decide on a sandwich, and you remember a great place downtown. So you hop in the car and in ten minutes you’re at the shop ordering your hoagie.

Could you make Scenario A work? Sure, but it’s tedious and time-consuming, and seeing all the options on the drive may put you into analysis paralysis, which could mean hunger cramps and being hungry. Make your life easy and have a (general) idea of what you want to do before jumping into action.

What does this mean for a scanning project? Well, here are a few things you could have in mind … *DEEP BREATH* scanning resolution, file output format (e.g. PDF, TIF, black + white or grayscale images), index information (how to name your files once they’re digital), start date of project, desired completion schedule, budget, and so forth. Whew! Quite a few things to ponder, but well worth the effort.

Step 3. Decide How You Want To Do It

You know what you have and you know what you want to do with it. But how?! If you’re a DIY kind of person, we applaud you and wish you the best of luck. We can even give you some helpful advice to guide you on your way.

If you lean towards the “I can do it myself, but I have more important things to do” kind of person, we applaud you even more and would like to meet you. Specifically to scan your microfilm.

Step 4. Do It!

Time to roll up our sleeves, get in the trenches, put some back into it, and get your microfilm scanned! Really, though, digital scanning projects are (almost) never emergencies or urgent, so even if you’re not planning on starting scanning today, it’s a good idea to get the ball rolling so that it doesn’t surprise you when your boss says “hey, I want that film scanned. How are we doing it?”

Think ahead to get ahead. Planning early is the smart move, and we know you’re smart because you took the time to read this entire article, give you a leg up in your conversion project preparation.

Further Reading

If you’re curious how your project will run once we get the green light, take a look at our “How Does a Microfilm Conversion Project Work?” page to get an overview of our unique process.

2018-08-17T10:26:14+00:00 August 7th, 2018|Blog|

Online Document Management

Benefits of Online Document Management

Online document management software has many benefits that can help your organization reach new levels of success. Here are some of the key reasons why your organization needs to consider utilizing online document management software.

Online Document Management Saves Money both Directly and Indirectly

The cost savings benefit of online document management software can be seen both directly and indirectly. Going paperless saves a lot of money in well-documented ways (e.g. paper, ink, toner, paper waste removal), but there are other savings as well.

With online document management software solutions, all of the company’s documents and data are digitally stored in one place, making it easily accessible from any computer with Internet access. Employees become more productive and efficient. Document sharing takes a fraction of the time with online document management software as it would shuffling through physical paper documents. Time spent searching for documents through a library of file cabinets is eliminated, and this frees up time for employees to get more work done, improving overall efficiency.

Data Security and Disaster Recovery

Online document management software adds several layers of security to your organization’s information. Plus, your data is protected from site disasters (e.g. flood, fire) because there are data backup measures in place to protect against these types of failures.

Easier Access to Data

There’s no comparison between the legacy way of storing documents in file cabinets and the modern way of storing them digitally. Using online document management searching capabilities, you can search and retrieve any file, new or old, within seconds. Once the file is found, it’s easy to share the file with other team members or email it to a client. The entire process is streamlined with online document management software.

Information Becomes Portable and is Accessible from Anywhere

Document management software allows you to have a library of information with you from any device – PCs, laptops, mobile. Online document management software allows you to virtually work from anywhere and still be able to share files with coworkers and access data while away from the office.

Summary

Online document management solutions offer well-known benefits associated with replacing bulky paper file cabinets. Increasing business productivity, lower costs, document retention for compliance and better disaster recovery protection are key reasons organizations implement document conversion and document management solutions.

Learn more about BMI Imaging’s online document management solutions.

2017-01-31T08:38:38+00:00 January 30th, 2017|Blog|

Microfilm Conversion for Napa County Library

Napa County Library Offers Custom, Napa Branded Online Access to the Napa Valley Register and the Weekly Calistogan

Napa County Library serves a population of 135,000 and offers four libraries that provide public computers, printing, wireless internet access, entertainment and informational programs, and a wide assortment of other materials tailored to community interests.

The Napa Valley County Library provides newspaper archives for the Napa Valley Register and the Weekly Calistogan. In the past, the County received print copies of the newspapers, microfilmedLibrary Microfilm Conversion the copies, and then offered a microfilm archive to patrons for newspaper research.

The library staff hand-indexed the papers and would leverage a card catalog for search and retrieval. Over time, this became burdensome and, combined with the hassles common with microfilm, led the County to search for a digital solution.

After issuing a Request for Proposal, the Library selected Digital ReeL because of the range of benefits it would provide and its competitive price. The Digital ReeL platform hosts the Library’s digital newspaper records at BMI’s data center and offers a custom, Napa-branded online portal for patrons searching the newspaper archives.

Read the complete library microfilm conversion solution case study here.

Learn more about the Digital ReeL microfilm conversion solution.

2017-01-04T17:26:36+00:00 January 4th, 2017|Blog|

Microfilm Conversion Solution for Libraries

Online, Searchable Newspaper PDFs at San Jose State University ScholarWorks

SJSU’s ScholarWorks collects, preserves and provides access to scholarly work created at the university. One archive ScholarWorks offers for free, public access is The Spartan Daily — a newspaper produced by journalism students since 1934.

More than 80 years of TMicrofilm Conversion for Librarieshe Spartan Daily was not digitally accessible and was only available as aging newsprint in physical bound books and on tattered and torn microfilm. Researching this history was a challenge.

SJSU’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications planned to digitize the physical books and contacted BMI to provide the scanning services. However, BMI presented the alternative of scanning the microfilm archive using their first-generation film positives since they photographed much of the original microfilm. This reduced the project price by 75% and eliminated the need to remove the physical archive from the university and cut apart the bound volumes and page scan the hardbound book archive.

Today, all of the legacy Spartan Daily newspapers are easily accessible on the Internet as searchable PDF files. Users can browse legacy issues and search using any keyword (e.g. last name, date). Anyone can now access these legacy newspapers online … click here to view the online archive.

Read the library microfilm conversion solution case study here.

Learn more about our solutions for libraries and archives.

2016-11-29T05:56:05+00:00 November 29th, 2016|Blog|

Microfilm Conversion for Law Enforcement

Join us at CLEARS 2016 in Reno, Nevada

BMI will be at the California Law Enforcement Association of Records Supervisors (CLEARS) 43rd Annual Training & Technology Seminar in Reno, Nevada. The conference will be held from November 14th – 18th at the Peppermill Resort. We’ll be demonstrating records management solutions, including BMI’s unique microfilm conversion solution, Digital ReeL.

CLEARS, Inc. is a not-for-profit professional organization dedicated to providing training in the technical and legal aspects of law enforcement records. CLEARS, Inc. provides networking capabilities to its members and associates who are comprised from more than 500 law enforcement and other criminal justice agencies within California.

Microfilm Conversion for Law Enforcement

Many legacy records required for long-term retention continue to sit on paper and microfilm. These records are not accessed that often and it is easy for an organization to forget about them. Microfilm, in particular, does not last forever and it is possible that the records could be deteriorating without anyone realizing it.

Ultimately, digitally converting the records ensures that the record archive becomes part of the larger data management and disaster recovery processes of the organization. BMI’s Digital ReeL is uniquely capable of helping law enforcement agencies digitize microfilm records in an affordable, practical way. Stop by for a live product demonstration to learn more about this microfilm conversion solution.

Learn more about our microfilm conversion solutions for law enforcement.

2016-09-29T06:35:42+00:00 September 29th, 2016|Blog|

Microfilm Conversion Solution at ARMA

Join us at ARMA 2016 in San Antonio | Booth 631

See the Digital ReeL microfilm conversion solution.

The industry’s top records management technologies are on display every year at ARMA. We’re proud to be demonstrating the Digital ReeL microfilm conversion solution. It’s the #1 microfilm conversion solution in California Government and has successful deployments nationwide – commercial and government applications.

Microfilm Conversion at ARMA

If you are at ARMA, don’t miss the opportunity to network with our expert staff and see a live Digital ReeL demonstration. Digital ReeL is the ideal solution for the permanent preservation and web based viewing of microfilm archives. We create digital replicas of your microfilm and include a viewer so that users can retrieve digital microfilm rolls (or microfiche) from a web browser, avoiding the need for physical microfilm and legacy reader printers. Full-text search and adjustable grayscale are included. Digital ReeL is available as an on premise solution and as a cloud-based offering.

Learn more about the Digital ReeL microfilm conversion solution.

2016-08-17T07:26:19+00:00 August 17th, 2016|Blog|