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Six Steps To Consider Before Scanning Vertical Files

19 Feb 2021 8:34 PM | Anonymous

Are you contemplating a major effort to digitize old paper records, either at home or at a local archive? If so, read "Six Steps To Consider Before Scanning Vertical Files" in the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center Blog first. A bit of thought and planning might save you a lot of work later!

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  • 20 Feb 2021 10:12 AM | Anonymous
    I have a background in Loan Documentation both from the positions of creating and maintaining documentation files in a bank and doing Loan and Documentation as a consultant. What is the worst thing I have seen done when scanning documentation/documents? Scanning the entire file as one long .PFD. Why? Because unless you have software that can index the contents in a useable manner (think what is done to census date for names) you can't find anything unless you skim through the entire .pdf looking for what you need. THE ENTIRE image. I will grant that the clients who were doing this were NOT doing anything for indexing, they just fed everything through a double sided imager (they did include the spacer pages between sections of the files) but even when that included the various index pages from the paper documents, it doesn't tell you where to look for a particular document. So, if you are starting at the beginning and working through to make sure you have everything you SHOULD have (and making your notes as you go) when you get to the end and discover you haven't found everything you SHOULD have, going back to check where is either would or is likely to have been is "interesting" in that it takes a massive amount of time. Many of you may have had the experience of using Census microfilm copies when it was actual microfilm and there could be hundreds of reels for a city. Think about looking for Smith as a surname in the 20 reels of microfilm for a town in upstate NY and not knowing what Ward or other political subdivision of the town your target Smith probably lived in. Yeah, that kind of frustration.
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