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.
If you are ready to outsource OCR services or want to learn more about image-to-text converting services, contact Anderson Archival by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 314.259.1900.
Welcome to Anderson Archival!
Here historical documents are turned into readable text using quality digitizing services, which preserves precious works for future generations to enjoy. Passion, dedication, and a certain perfectionist attitude fill each member of our trained staff, and they transfer those same qualities to all the digitizing services we offer. As a division of Anderson Technologies, Anderson Archival has the expertise to provide outstanding document scanning and digitizing services to ensure your collection is updated into a format that will best survive into the future.
Anderson Archival is as enthusiastic about preserving history as you are, and we want to help preserve your collection in a lasting and easily accessible way. We know it’s not merely about creating a digital copy; it’s about creating an electronic collection that supplements and enhances the experience of your audience. Anderson Archival offers a number of services to allow you the freedom to craft the perfect digital collection.
Document Scanning and Image Cleanup
Whether you need to digitize paper documents without the bells and whistles, or you need a collection scanned into specially formatted electronic files, Anderson Archival can handle any document scanning services.
Raw scans aren’t always viewer ready, or maybe another document scanning company provided poor quality image results. Either way, we can make those images clean and audience-presentable.
Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and Proofing Services
OCR is a process which takes a scan of typewritten words and turns it into a searchable text document, but poor OCR leaves you with less searchability than expected. When we digitize paper documents, we always include text-verification by one of our staff to make sure your documents are as accurate as the software can make it.
Unfortunately, text-verification through OCR software can only go so far, and incorrect words might not get flagged for review. To ensure top quality searchable PDFs, our trained proofreaders also perform word-for-word comparisons when a collection calls for utmost accuracy.
Metadata Tagging PDFs
Metadata allows your PDFs to go beyond mere text search and offers a wide range of organizational support for otherwise similar files. We can add a wide variety of metadata to the PDFs in your collection such as titles, authors, descriptions, keywords, and more.
Website / Database Creation and Document Storage
The best part of a digital collection is the ability to present it to a wider audience. We can build you a simple online database or completely revamp your website so your collection can reach as many people as possible. As an additional backup, we can provide consultation and organization for underground document storage to ensure that if the worst happens, your collection will still be preserved.
We want to provide you with a digital collection that is accurate, accessible, and only as complex as you need. For a better look at our quality digitizing services, view our sample collection of classic documents and historical memorabilia. It was your dedication that brought your historical collection to life—allow us to bring it into the future.
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