Harrison County, Mississippi Embraces BMI’s Digital ReeL for Microfilm Scanning Requirements

Microfilm conversion and ongoing digital hosting of records from BMI’s California production and hosting facilities; 295 microfilm rolls converted, including land records, marriage licenses, court records, and military discharges; on-going FTP uploads of newspaper images, made viewable and text-searchable within Digital ReeL

BMI Imaging Systems, a leading provider of microfilm conversion and document management solutions, announced, that Harrison County, Mississippi has selected BMI Imaging’s Digital ReeL as its microfilm solution.

John McAdams, Chancery Clerk, manages a unique and diverse office in Mississippi government. As the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors, he records the official minutes. As Treasurer, he prepares the claims docket and payrolls for all departments of the County, and after Board approval, he writes and signs checks for payments. He also serves as the Countywide Records Manager, Public Recorder of Real Property, the County Auditor, Clerk of Land Redemption and Clerk of Chancery Court.

Chris Atherton, Projects Coordinator, states “Many of our records were microfilmed for long-term storage. There was a big push to make everything digital and accessible and we decided to look for digital alternatives to microfilm storage.” The County evaluated three solutions, say Atherton. “As a fully hosted solution, Digital ReeL met our requirements.”

Atherton states that “In 2001 we had to solve a problem with our historical records that were archived on large physical books. The County worked with another company to microfilm these historical books with records ranging from 1840 to 1950. That microfilm was moved to climate-controlled storage. Fast forward to 2018. As part of its digital initiative, the County wanted to convert this microfilm archive to make it readily accessible to staff and the public.

“One of our key requirements for any microfilm conversion solution was ease of deployment. Cloud-based, hosted solutions were attractive options to us because we don’t have a large IT staff to support us,” says Atherton. “When we found Digital ReeL it was exactly what we were looking for. We could ship our microfilm rolls to BMI and then get all these digital records back as a hosted solution,” states Atherton.

The historical records from 1840 to 1950 include a wide variety of information: land records, marriage licenses, court records, and military discharges. Handwritten text is common and, in some cases, it’s illegible on the original document in microfilm form.

Atherton states, “Not only is it easy to locate a record within the Digital ReeL app, but it’s also easy to adjust the quality of the image. Our users really benefit from the optimization features of Digital ReeL that enable them to crop sections and fine-tune the image until it’s optimized for their eye.”

Another use case for Digital ReeL has been centered on the County’s requirement to store and make available copies of the Sun Herald newspaper. Atherton states, “By statute, the County is required to keep a daily copy in bound form. We have papers dating back to 1800s in the vault now.” Working with BMI and leveraging Digital ReeL, Harrison County is now avoiding the expense of binding and storing daily physical copies The County uploads its newspaper images directly to BMI via FTP (file transfer protocol) electronic import and makes them available to the public on self-service public workstations.

Read the full case study here.

About BMI Imaging

BMI Imaging Systems, Inc. has been at the forefront of the document management industry since 1958, first with microfilm and now with scanned images. Headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, with an additional production and sales facility in Sacramento, BMI serves over 500 commercial companies and government agencies, converting an average of 3 million images per month. BMI consists of 60 production specialists and support staff, many having worked for the company for ten years or more.

BMI has developed a wealth of experience in several vertical markets (e.g. healthcare, government, education) and offers customized document management solutions in a competitive and changing marketplace. Scanning paper documents or physical microfilm is usually the most visible task in achieving a full document solution.

Identifying record types, determining indexing methods and leveraging content in existing legacy systems are all skills needed to modernize an agency’s document management systems and processes. BMI’s systems integration team has decades of experience to achieve this goal. Internally developed software tools, over 400 to date, are regularly employed to solve complex image and data challenges. Jobs that require analysis, data extraction, multiple service offerings and custom development are those that separate BMI from other providers.