Microfilm Conversion Project a Tailwind for Airport Records Management

Friday, July 12, 2019

In a fast moving and information-saturated world, digital access to important documents and data is more than a convenience.

If you are coordinating the planning, engineering and construction records for one of the country’s busiest airports, a reliable, accurate and easy-to-access system of records management is a critical tool.

That’s why Image One stepped in recently to help the planning and construction department of a large airport with a project to convert decades worth of microfilm records into an accessible digital archive.

It’s the kind of undertaking that can be costly, time-consuming, and disruptive – especially for a public agency that has to have access to its records throughout the process. That’s why so many government agencies reach out to Image One for help with their document management challenges. Our expertise in working with government agencies, including airports, counties, schools, courts and law enforcement agencies, means our clients can trust us to provide a cost-effective and streamlined process that keeps records secure and accessible no matter how big the project.

Microfilm Grounded in Favor of Digital Archive 

With an ambitious schedule of expansion and construction, the airport’s records coordinator juggles a steady flow of document requests that cover a wide array of information in a variety of formats, including bids, contracts, letters of interest, statement of qualifications, maps, photographs, soil sample results, and engineering reports, among others. But with numerous volumes of microfiche files dating back to the 1970s, turning around requests in a timely manner can be cumbersome.

While most of the film is in pretty good condition,  some of the oldest parts of the collection, scanned with early-stage technology, has legibility issues, and legible or not, microfilm is not an efficient system for accessing information quickly. “We don’t want to be using microfilm” to fulfill records requests, the records coordinator says.

Records requests can range from a page or two to hundreds of pages, so converting requests from film to a digital format can be a tedious process, even with the advantages of scanning and optical character recognition (OCR) technology.

Digital Conversion Tackled Over Time

Earlier this year, Image One, which also maintains the authority’s scanning equipment, began the process of converting the archive of film into digital images that can be uploaded and accessed through SharePoint. Because of the volume of records, the agency opted to tackle it a little at a time, spreading out the cost and minimizing any disruption.

The airport ships batches of microfilm to Image One’s Tampa offices, where it is scanned, converted to PDFs and sent back in a searchable format that can be easily uploaded.

Within SharePoint, the digitized records are searchable by keywords, file names and other relevant information, making them easy to access. As the records are digitized, the department spends less and less time searching through microfilm. They also don’t have to worry about having access to records that are still in the process.

“So far it’s been a great experience,” says the coordinator.  “Whenever we’ve had a request for microfilm in their possession, we send them an email.” Any requested films are moved up to the front of the line, digitized and returned, usually within two days.

The digital archive has freed up both time and space within the department as microfilm copies are replaced. There are still physical records taking up space in banks of filing cabinets and on shelves. When it’s all completed, they’ll have space they can use  for something better.

Digital Transformation that Gives You Control

With deep experience and a range of cost-effective, customizable solutions, Image One can help you take advantage of digital efficiency without a disruptive process for getting there. Flexible Scan-on-Demand services allow you to scan your documents all at once, or a little at a time, leaving you in control of the budgeting and timing of your project.

Whether onsite or offsite, our scanning services are secure, reliable and accurate. We maintain a complete inventory of all documents in the project and if you need a record in our possession, it is scanned immediately and sent to you within days.

To learn more about how we can help you get your conversion project off the ground, give us a call or click on the link below.

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