Learn all about scanning, backups, and what makes Anderson Archival’s approach different in our new scanning explainer.
You have big dreams and your organization has a big impact on communities, but sometimes you run into big roadblocks when funding your projects. Some of your projects include protecting and preserving documented history, which is our mission as well, so we know how important it is to be able to fund those projects. Asking for money can be hard, and can be a daunting task, especially when you need to raise a substantial amount.
However, you aren’t alone in this process! When you partner with a trusted archival company, they will be with you every step of the way. Here’s the three-step path we recommend for funding your archival projects.
- Tell Your Story
This is the single-most important foundational factor when funding your project. Telling your story establishes who you are and why you exist. What problems are you solving in your community, and why can’t it thrive without you? What resources do you make available? What collections are you preserving for historical research and future generations?
Don’t just tell your story. Share it in such a compelling way that your readers will want to jump on your band wagon, hail their friends, and enthusiastically dive into the work you’re doing. For this, social media can be incredibly productive. Creating videos, online events, groups, and pages will help capture interest and followers. Many archival companies can also assist in creating a web presence that matches the upcoming project or archive!
Part of telling your story is listing your goals for the future. When you ask for funding, make sure you explain why you need money and how it will be used, which is something your archival company can help you with. Be specific. Why do you need it to impact the community? And don’t forget to tell why your partnership is important.
- Ask for Donations from Private Donors
Whether it’s time or money, people are more likely to give when asked directly. Review your donor list and identify a handful of friends or donors who align best with the goals of the project. These are the donors who are moved by your mission and purpose. Use the old-fashioned method of mailing personal letters. Call potential donors on the phone and set up a meeting. Tell your story, explain your need and tell them why you thought of them, how their values align with yours, how they can help, and that they will directly impact a need.
People want to be needed. If you can outline exactly how a prospective donor can help, they will be more likely to invest, and personally asking people and being prepared to answer their questions will establish a foundation of trust.
Historic works are always at risk of damage due to accidents or simply handling the documents, which makes digital library preservation imperative. Explaining that preserving these documents is of utmost importance, and laying out exactly what will be lost if these documents aren’t preserved digitally will paint an honest picture of why you need the help of donors.
Partner with a trusted archival company who will help you communicate with those outside of your organization. They will help educate and energize your key donors on the possibilities and benefits of your digital archiving project.
You are not alone in this process. Your archival partner can provide demonstrations, presentations, and education. They will explain the importance of archival quality and doing your project right the first time.
- Apply for Grants
Did you know that both the private sector and the government have grants available for library preservation?
Applying for grants might be a little intimidating. A grant proposal is involved, and there are so many, many grants to apply for. Where should you start? How does receiving funds from foundations work?
Applying for grants takes more specialized expertise than marketing. In fact, it might be helpful to hire a grant writer. Again, you may have to spend money to make money. Charitable requests, whether government or not, aren’t just for giving away free money. Your mission must be aligned with their mission, and a grant writer will help you apply in a way that appeals to this connection. If you still want to go through the process yourself, you can find many guides, including this simple step-by-step guide.
Grants can be worth incredibly large sums, and there are a surprising number of grants available for nonprofits and libraries.
Don’t stop there!
You can use any or all of these strategies. Some build on each other, and each compliments the rest. Now all you have to do is continue to build your relationships. Make sure you thank your donors and invest in working relationships with them. This will remain important for future projects. You want your donor to take ownership of projects and be just as dedicated as you are. Don’t just use their money. Show them how they’re directly helping, which can be as simple as sending out regular newsletters or taking time to have personal conversations.
At Anderson Archival, we know how important preserving historical collections is for future generations, and we want to help you create the best digital collection possible. On occasion, our customers ask us to meet with significant donors to explain the benefits of creating a digital library and we have found this to be effective. Call us today at 314.259.1900 or email us at email@example.com for more information on ways to fund your archival project and how to build a digital library!
Before Anderson Archival, there was Anderson Technologies. It might seem strange that an IT company would branch into digital archiving, but the story behind this expansion showcases what clients of both firms know about us: integrity, dedication, and client focus are core values at the heart of all we do. Our hallmarks include expertise and quality service because your satisfaction is how we define our success.
Anderson Archival came to fruition because we learned the hard way that sometimes to do a job right, you really must do it yourself.
The First Project
As Anderson Technologies, we provide far more than managed IT services support. When a client approached us years ago to digitize a large collection of documents for research purposes, we utilized our technical management capabilities to facilitate the project.
Identifying appropriate partners in the required disciplines to properly execute the project was harder than we anticipated. We eventually teamed with a local vendor to scan and restore the images and handle the optical character recognition (OCR) to convert pictures to text before we performed the document data tagging, software engineering, and quality assurance.
As the vendor delivered data to us, we identified numerous quality issues. They produced work that was not up to the high standards we needed for the collection. Missing pages, poor scan quality, and inaccurate conversion to digital text caused us to double check everything and send a great deal back to be redone. As the project continued, we realized we could have done things correctly the first time by bringing the tasks in-house.
The experience taught us a great deal about digitization services, and we learned it takes more than technology to create a quality digital library. Anyone can get the best scanners or software on the market, but without dedicated employees, efficient systematization, the proper work environment, and an unflagging commitment to quality, the end result suffers.
For example, we later discovered the vendor only required a high school education for its staff. The goal of these workers, who were crammed together elbow-to-elbow in a conference room, wasn’t to produce the best product they could, but to push pages out the door as quickly as possible.
We also learned they didn’t have the necessary tools to facilitate the detailed quality control needed for the images. Though their scanners and software were excellent, their monitors were too small to display the entire page without being zoomed out so far that the image became useless for a quality check.
By the time the project was complete, we learned many lessons on how not to digitize historical documents for quality search results. When another client approached us with a project to digitize historical documents, we knew using traditional scanning vendors would produce inaccurate results. This time, we were going to do it ourselves and do it right.
More Than Just Scans
There is far more to digitizing a precious collection than simply scanning the pages. Our clients want extremely accurate search results, which means the images must be converted to text via OCR and labels (or tags) need to be inserted to guide the search engine to produce relevant feedback. This requires not only the correct software, but a great deal of time and attention to detail by those transforming the data. It is important to select a firm who will treat your collection with the same focus and enthusiasm you do. Working with a third party who doesn’t cherish the opportunity to preserve your documents causes the end result to suffer dramatically.
Keep an eye on our blog to see how we applied these lessons and expanded into the business of historical document digitization. If you want to turn your collection into a quality digital library with the most accurate search results, contact Anderson Archival today at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 314.529.1900.
Those of us who’ve seen Antiques Roadshow a few times have probably reflected on the once-thought-worthless item that ends up being worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. How can someone not know what they have is priceless? And on the other hand, how can that dusty old artifact be worth anything? Sometimes those antiques (and national treasures) have been found in the most bizarre places such as Goodwill and attics of old homes.
Time seems to have a curious effect on historical items. It seems that, as times change, different value is placed on seemingly valueless antiques. For instance, a family had a 1820s copy of The Declaration of Independence, and originally had it framed and displayed in their home. However, as the years went by, it was eventually considered worthless and stored, in its broken frame, in a closet. In 2014, it was found by a relative who realized its significance.
This story could happen to anyone. Some of these items end up being national treasures, and others irreplaceable family history. So, here are a few ways to determine whether your old junk is worth preserving.
You can do some simple research on your own to determine whether your object is worth paying an appraisal fee. The Smithsonian says that university or area libraries, state and local historical societies or museums, and state extension services should be able to help you. If you are dealing with a document of questionable origin, see if you can find this document at any or all of these local historical libraries. Likely as not, there will be copies out there, unless it is a private letter. If it looks like the document came from the era it says it does, and you have reason to believe it’s authentic, take it in for an appraisal.
If you want to skip doing your own research or your document seems like it could be a true historical document, you should get it appraised as quickly as possible for insurance reasons. An appraisal should tell you not only what the document might be worth, but also information about its age, condition, and historical significance. Finding out the history of your document might be difficult to do on your own, but appraisers will be able to put you on the right track for further research.
Restoration, Preservation, or Marketing
What next? You need to decide what you want to do with your discovery. Are you going to keep it or sell it? Is the document in good shape or is it crumbling and quickly becoming illegible? Restoration services are available, but no matter what you do, we recommend getting it digitally preserved as well.
If you’re wanting to sell your document, your appraiser should be able to help you find a good outlet, whether a library, museum, or private buyer. They should also be able to recommend you to a reputable company that can restore your document if you desire.
If you want to keep your document, whether it needs restoration or not, digital preservation is essential. The government suggests specific guidelines for digitizing documents on their FADGI (Federal Agencies Digital Guidelines Initiative) website. If these seem daunting to you, consider outsourcing for quality digitization services.
Digital preservation is important for a number of reasons. For instance, if a disaster befalls the original, that’s not the end of its story. You might lose the original historical piece, but at least you’ll have a backup saved for posterity to read and study. Aside from preserving your document in case of a disaster, digital preservation can make your research much more accurate and less time consuming if metadata is infused into the digital copies.
Your archivists can optically recognize (OCR) your document, making it readable to the computer so you can search it for keywords using database software like Adobe Reader. If metadata is added, you’ll be able to organize your documents in a digital library. What’s more, you will be able to share your document with others electronically and use technology to zoom in on the document while you study it without risking its damage.
Anderson Archival takes document preservation seriously. Our team of dedicated archivists are trained in the latest technology to preserve your documents digitally. So next time you shop at Goodwill and realize you’re looking at a 244-year-old-newspaper, you’ll know just what to do with it!
Recorded history is a treasure that can never be replaced. That’s why our team is dedicated to preserving historical documents with accuracy and quality.
Time wears pages thin, and the valuable information recorded there becomes indistinguishable from the page itself. Light discolors the pages, and their edges crisp, fray, and eventually crumble. Dust can damage them, while flood and fire, theft, and other catastrophic events can destroy them forever.
Frequently, our own use of the pages eventually fragments them. Published pages, records, photographs, and hand-written letters were meant to be passed on to posterity, but the more they’re used, the more likely they are to sustain irreversible damage.
Here at Anderson Archival, we are committed to protect and save your precious collection with our historical document preservation services. We professionally preserve each page by digitizing it as an image and combining it with readable, searchable text, so you can continue to enjoy the contents well into the future while simultaneously adding functionality.
Save Your Historical Documents from Extinction: Digitize!
While books and documents eventually fall apart, at Anderson Archival we know how to make their contents live again. Digitization allows you to use, catalogue, share, print, and copy these preserved historical documents much more easily than using the materials themselves. And with easy search tools, you’ll be able to find topics instantly.
Don’t Lose Your Collection to Time or Disaster!
Think of the ancient scrolls of Alexandria lost forever to flames or the historical records incinerated during the book purge in Nazi Germany—volumes forever lost to future generations. Destroyed and damaged libraries such as these are incalculable cultural and intellectual losses. So many irreplaceable volumes have become lost. Don’t let this happen to your library!
Preserving historical documents has never been easier for experts, nor has it ever been so important. Let us help preserve your historical collection forever.
Historical treasures constantly come under threat. Over the last few years, catastrophic flooding in the Midwest and South has impacted areas thought to be safe from rising waters. The record flooding produced by Hurricane Harvey, the largest cyclone in US history, put previous safe havens at risk for the future.
University of Texas Library said, “With any storm of Harvey’s magnitude and destructive impact, staff are paying close attention and preparing for potential issues, but in the case of this hurricane and the position of its landfall, most proactive considerations gave way to planning how to react to whatever damage would inevitably be wrought upon the library and its collections.” The library was rescued as teams jumped in to save it almost immediately.
But what if it had been lost?
The Howard-Tilton Memorial Library of Tulane University was also greatly affected when Hurricane Katrina flooded it with over 8 feet of water, and “As a result, in the Howard-Tilton building alone more than 700,000 of the library’s individual print volumes and recordings were submerged underwater.” Eventually the library was able to salvage and restore 629,711 archival items, which is incredible. But that means over 70,000 items were lost.
When disaster strikes, people are the main concern. But what happens to the private collections stored at their homes another local place affected by the disaster? Unfortunately, many times the owners come back from safety to find the collections damaged beyond repair.
Catastrophes Can Happen Anywhere
Natural disasters aren’t the only cause of damage or loss to historical documents.
On September 11, 2001, the terror attacks not only took the lives of thousands of people; history was lost as well. The Library of Congress states,
The Pentagon sustained damage to its library, which contained more than 500,000 books and documents and a historical collection that dated to the early 1800s. The report said a private disaster recovery company was contracted to help stabilize the collections. The restoration efforts, which cost $500,000, were ultimately successful in saving about 99 percent of the book collection….
The extent of loss in private collections and some public collections may never be known.
Such unexpected horrors could happen anywhere, at any time. The moment of a tragic event is not the time to figure out how to save your historical collection. Let us help safeguard your treasures, so when disaster strikes, your collection is one thing you won’t have to worry about.
Do you have a collection you would like to keep preserved forever? Our digitization process will help you keep your documents safe and secure.
Anderson Archival Can Preserve Your Collection
Our historical document preservation services include (but are not limited to) the following documents:
- Hand-written letters
Preserving historical documents is a multi-step process. Your documents are scanned to create top-quality images. We use Optical Character Recognition processes to clean and analyze the documents, and then our team proofreads for word-for-word accuracy. This level of true preservation quality is unique to Anderson Archival. After the proofing comes watermarking and adding metadata, leaving you with a digital document that can be indexed and searched.
Let Anderson Archival help you preserve your historical collection for generations to come.
Would you like to learn more? Visit our historical preservation services page for more information, or contact us at 314.259.1900 to talk to a preservation expert today.
Many businesses find themselves subject to regular audits by government agencies or conduct detailed internal audits on a regular basis. Whatever the nature of the audits, monthly, quarterly, or yearly cycles of digitization can significantly expedite this process and preserve content for digital storage, saving them for the future.
Handwritten notes are often necessary in industries where detail and security matters. Our digitization experts provide clean scans of documents of all types while keeping them secure.
Anderson Archival’s team is dedicated to accuracy when preserving your records. Where large-scale scanning firms may bulk process papers for scanning without care for organization, preservation of originals, or readability, our specialization in true digital preservation makes us the ideal choice when businesses look for accurate and organized digital scans.
Consolidate Physical Storage
Audits often provide incentive to organize records that would otherwise stack up unmonitored. Performing monthly, quarterly, or yearly cycles of digitization in preparation for government audits takes this even further. Not only will your records receive careful organization, but with digital scans the need for physical storage becomes all but eliminated.
Certainly, there are cases where physical originals are necessary. Anderson Archival’s focus on preservation ensures that these originals will be treated carefully and returned to you in top condition–which isn’t always the case with bulk scanning firms. However, once scanned, many physical copies are no longer needed. In those cases, we are happy to facilitate confidential shredding that frees up physical space in your office or storage facility.
Advanced Search for More Efficient Work
Through simple folder storage or advanced search functions with metadata added to your digital collection by our team, these documents continue to provide use to employees beyond the audit cycle. Instead of searching through file folders for a particular document or turn of phrase, you will be empowered to search the digital scans for titles or quoted content and get results in seconds.
Then, the digital copy of each document is already at hand for reference or sharing with a co-worker or client. If a government or internal audit requires only specific documents, the search function enables the fast collection and sending of these documents.
For even more advanced searches, our team can provide handwriting transcription. This makes not only print documents, but your notes accessible by search.
Bulk scanning firms may offer optical character recognition (OCR) services, but these programs bring automatic results that are often riddled with errors, rendering search features useless. In the case of handwriting, highlighting, or other color interference, the automatic OCR process may leave whole swathes of data illegible or completely blank. Not the case with our detail-oriented team.
Save valuable time and energy, and perform more efficient work. Expedite that work with Anderson Archival. Contact us today to discuss scanning for audits: call 314.259.1900 or email email@example.com.
Historical digitization services have been a part of preservation plans for decades, but the technology has improved dramatically. With optical character recognition (OCR), which creates the ability to search through the text of any scanned image, your collection has the potential to become a functional research tool for anyone viewing your digital library.
Converting historical scans can be a complicated process. The Federal Agencies Digital Guidelines Initiative 2016 (FADGI) notes that “without staff with a good technical foundation, achieving the appropriate level of quality . . . is problematic. Cultural heritage digitization is a specialization within the imaging field that requires specific skills and experience.” Depending on the condition of your digital collection, it may be more cost effective to outsource OCR services than handle it in-house.
Bringing Out the Text from Scanned Images
Before starting any digitization plan, it is vital to know the quality of the images. Older image files, or those created without quality equipment, may no longer be suitable for preserving a collection into the future. The FADGI offers specific quality guidelines for digital scans to be considered suitable for OCR or other information processing techniques.
Many early scanning efforts may not offer the resolution or clear detail needed for OCR software to read text. In this case, any attempt to use image-to-text converting services requires new scans with updated equipment. That can get expensive if your organization doesn’t already have scanners or digital cameras capable of creating images of sufficient quality or the manpower to perform the scans. Your organization may find it more economical to hire a company that offers both scanning and image-to-text converting services to avoid buying expensive equipment.
Why Should You Outsource OCR Services?
If your scans are suitable quality to proceed without problems or need only minimal adjustments, then you can immediately begin converting your historical scans to readable text. OCR software is available for purchase, and a single employee can digitize your collection, but before you send them off for days of converting, consider this warning from the FADGI: “avoid the trap of assuming doing the work in-house will cost less. Insourcing may cost more than outsourcing.”
Even if you don’t need to purchase new scanners or digital cameras for your digitization project, it can still be beneficial to outsource OCR services. For all that OCR software is capable of, it still reads text like a computer, and that can mean countless errors in the conversion process. If your project requires a decently accurate rendering of the text, an employee must verify potential errors the software flags. If your project requires a high level of accuracy, another pass may be needed to review the text against the scanned image manually, word-for-word. All of this increases the amount of time you must devote employee resources to the project.
Anderson Archival’s historical digitization services provide you with staff already proficient with this process. Our employees can perform the same tasks with better resources and less downtime learning new software or what errors to watch for. This can ultimately save your organization money and resources in the long run.
As technology integrates into our daily lives, many small businesses are moving from file cabinets to searchable file databases. Does your small business’ data still exist on paper, or has it been digitized poorly? Document scanning services are the solution.
Anderson Archival’s team of document conversion services specialists are experts in making your business more efficient and in keeping your data safe from loss, natural disaster, and outdated technology. Your small business deserves the attention to detail and care that Anderson Archival brings to document preservation.
What are document scanning services?
At Anderson Archival, every preservation project is unique.
First, we audit your current data situation. Records come in many shapes and sizes, all of which Anderson Archival is prepared to preserve for you. Whatever state these pages are in, physical or digital, handwritten, damaged by time and nature, our digitizing services will bring your business into the future.
How can document conversion services help my business?
In cases of natural disaster, scanned copies may be the only records that survive. Boxes or file systems of important client data, historical records, and original publications can be easily lost in a hurricane, tornado, fire or flood. In the event of a disaster, proactive preservation of these documents can save your business.
Document conversion begin with the careful scanning of your papers, records, and publications. Then, our team removes any visual flaws from the scanned pages. Tears, stains, or excessive handwriting can obscure historical text. Additional processes like handwriting transcription and image enhancement are also available.
Our expert archival team will put your documents through optical character recognition (OCR) software, proofread the text, and create searchable PDFs – preserved and digitally accessible. These new digital databases are more efficient for you and your team and mean a quick keystroke can bring relevant documents to your screen instead of hours wasted looking through boxes for a key phrase or relevant document.
Another benefit of these databases is accessibility. Depending on your needs, Anderson Archival offers several options: a local database for a single computer, a database accessible from any computer on a network, a cloud-hosted database, or even a full index on a publicly searchable website.
Digital databases remove the worry that comes from operating with modern technology. Malware, ransomware, or data loss from natural disaster or human error, are circumvented by digital copies and guaranteed backups. Anderson Archival is a division of Anderson Technologies, so in addition to the highly personalized preservation process, our managed IT services team can help protect your technological systems and new digital collections from cyber vulnerabilities or attacks.
Anderson Archival, a division of Anderson Technologies, is a highly-skilled team of experts. For more information on our digitizing services, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 314.259.1900 today.