Digitization protects historical documents from natural disasters

December 31st, 2012 | Posted by Kevin Corley in Document and Information Capture
Digitization protects historical documents from natural disasters

More and more, historical societies and other agencies are exercising initiatives to utilize document conversion services for historical record preservation. Alaska Dispatch reported that The Office of the Federal Coordinator (OFC) for Alaska Natural Gas Transportation Projects recently uploaded a range of documents related to natural gas pipeline projects and exploration from the 1970s onward to a public digital library.

This database, called "The Pipe Files," currently consists of approximately 500 searchable documents and plans are already in place to add to the collection. Lars Persily, head of the OFC, stated that efforts are being focused toward advanced archiving of the files with improved search features. The digital database has assisted the small, struggling agency in building awareness regarding failed pipeline projects. Previously, public knowledge of these efforts was limited, but digitization processes have made important historical details accessible to the public.

Digital libraries improve document readability and searchability
The OFC is not the only agency participating in the digital conversion trend. According to the Scarsdale Daily Voice, The Scarsdale Public Library, with the assistance of a $25,000 historical society grant, recently uploaded digital copies of Scarsdale Inquirer issues to the online Hudson River Valley Heritage database. Over the course of 18 months, the database has added more than 10,000 pages of Inquirer articles published between 1901 and 1936 to its existing digital archives of other local county periodicals. Each individual publication has a unique page with newspaper articles archived and searchable by date or keyword.

Not only are the digital documents easier to access, but they're also easier to read as a result of imaging capabilities that improve their condition and overall quality. Because the condition of hard copies had already been worsening with time, Elizabeth Bermel, director of the library, told the Scarsdale Daily Voice that the digitization process will ensure their preservation.

"Our older copies are deteriorating, as are our older microfilm copies. With this grant, we can make these important original source materials more readily available to members of the community in searchable format. In the future, we hope to expand the project," she said, according to the news source.

Natural disasters and inevitable aging processes threaten the conservation of significant documents. Document conversion services that create digital formats of these records ensure that they continue to provide valuable knowledge for researchers and communities.

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