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Clerk's Office Goes Digital

Posted by Cindy Bialy on Fri, Jan 17, 2014 @ 12:21 PM

Baxter County, Arkansas County Clerk's office is gearing up to go live on line in April.  A digital record of circuit and county court will be fully accessible to the public via computer. Baxter County is ahead of most other counties in Arkansas in the digital effort and happy to be doing digitizing recordsso.  The county clerk received a reminder of the efficiency factor of digitizing with a telephone call from a special circuit judge who will preside over a lawsuit against a global motor company.  The judge believes he needs a copy of the entire case file - several thousands of pages.  Such requests were huge amounts of retrieval and photocopying work for the office staff, but now entails a few clicks of the mouse.

In addition, microfilm records from 1981 to 1995 containing land and deed information will be digitized and made available to the public.  Here presents a huge savings of staff time by not having to dig through boxes of files and books and photocopying information for a public document request.  Those records will now be online and accessible to the public.

Why did baxter Clerks office make the move from paper to electronic records?  One reason was they were absolutely running out of room.  The office of the clerk and circuit clerk occupy most of the first floor and all of the basement of the Baxter County Courthouse.  Its paper records fill up much of the space plus 6 more rooms in the county annex.

What benefits has the clerk's office realized from digitizing their records?  They are saving money on storage and money on staff retrieval time.  Instead of searching through rooms full of files and books, now the staff and the public can search for information online.

Is it time you started exploring document scanning and digitization?  Let us walk you through what is needed to research the information necessary to make a decision.  Contact Paul Connolly via email at pconnolly@amsimaging.com and get started!

Tags: document scanning, Paperless Office, microfilm

Is Old Microfilm Dangerous to Your Health?

Posted by Cindy Bialy on Fri, Jan 18, 2013 @ 12:40 PM

This is one of the interesting questions that we received recently and I immediately thought it must be related to the Silver Halide that is on the microfilm.  My immediate thought is if it is touched or consumed it would be an obvious hazard to your health.  Silver Halide film is similar to traditional photographic film that uses a silver emulsion on a polyester base. It is the film type used in the camera to make the master film. Silver Halide is the most light sensitive of all the films used, hence it can record a greater variance of density and contrast microfilmpresent in the original material. As one of the only two films that are considered archival, it is the film of choice. Silver halide is the preferred film as it gives the highest resolution, where longevity and high quality are paramount.

Imagine when I asked the question to one of our Solutions Analyst, "Is old microfilm dangerous to your health" and I received a totally unexpected answer.  If microfilm is not stored properly it can collect mold and it is the mold that is dangerous to your health.  If it is stored in a damp area moisture will get trapped within the layers of the microfilm and that is where the mold will attack the Silver Halide. The Silver Halide is highly susceptible to mold.  The film is wrapped so tight that once it gets in the microfilm it is impossible to get it out. 

How do you know if the mold has made its way into your microfilm?  That is an easy one. Just open the box and if the smell makes you say "Woof!", you know you have mold.

Our advice from experience -  take the necessary steps to store your microfilm properly.  Film stored in a controlled environment will last over 500 years.  

If you find storage is costly or you don't want to take a chance, look to us to digitize those records and store your information on a CD or upload to your current business system.

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Tags: document scanning, microfilm, Document Imaging

Microfilm - The Most Trusted Tool for Preservation?

Posted by Cindy Bialy on Thu, Apr 19, 2012 @ 12:33 PM

Written by Paul Connolly

Microfilm is a trusted tool for long term preservation. Microfilm  has a life expectancy of 100 years for a diazo duplicates and 500 years for a silver original/master if stored properly in adescribe the image controlled environment.  The only issue is will we be able to read microfilm in a 100 years never mind 500! But with the technologies that are now available we can make documents available within seconds. Technology also  allows us to back up documents daily thus creating digital preservation.

And yes digital preservation has its negatives also.

Digital technology is developing quickly and retrieval and viewing technologies can become obsolete in a matter of years. When faster, more capable and less expensive storage and processing devices are developed, older versions may be quickly replaced. When a software or technology is abandoned, or a hardware device is no longer in production, records created with such technologies are at great risk of loss, simply because they are no longer accessible. This process is known as digital obsolescence. To avoid digital obsolescence clients need to migrate their data. Migration is the transferring of data to a newer system or media. This may include conversion of resources from one file format to another (e.g., conversion of Microsoft Word to PDF), from one operating system to another or from one programming language to another so the resource remains fully accessible and functional.  

Digital preservation is defined as:

Long-term, error-free storage of digital information, with means for retrieval and interpretation, for the entire time span the information is required for. Long-term is defined as "long enough to be concerned with the impacts of changing technologies, including support for new media and data formats, or with a changing user community.

We can also create microfilm from an electronic image if required.  Do they need to access the documents? If so do they have a microfilm/microfiche reader printers available. Equipment comes a high cost also,(maintenance cost, service contracts, toner or ink cartridges, down time, paper) Most companies/people have access to adobe’s free pdf viewer so documents can be sent via email, saved to thumb drives, etc.

In the end it all comes down to do you have a retention plan in place? And most importantly do you follow the guide lines of your retention plan? Remember though, we are not privy in a lot of cases when it comes to the legality of the document so we always recommend speaking to legal council before making any decisions. Each state has its own guidelines and requirements.

If you would like more information or to discuss this further please contact us.

 

Tags: scanners, microfilm