Sunday, May 27, 2012

80. To Scan Or Not To Scan

    In the world of archives, the United States National Archives is probably the leading repository for setting standards and establishing protocols.The National Archives is a customer-oriented and user-friendly custodian of our national records, a leader in the digitization process, and a trend-setter in 21st century record-keeping.
    The National Archives position on copying and scanning? They state it like this:

Self-Service Copying in a Research Room
     When you are using records in a NARA research room, you can almost always make your own copies of both paper records and special media, such as film footage or photographs. 
Allowable Use of Scanners
     Only flatbed scanners  are allowed. Automatic feeder devices on flatbed scanners are prohibited.
Equipment platens or copyboards must be the same size or larger than the record to be copied. No part of a record may overhang the platen or copyboard.
No part of the equipment may come in contact with records in a manner that causes friction, abrasion, or otherwise crushes or damages records.
Light sources must not raise the surface temperature of the record being copied.
All equipment surfaces must be clean and dry before being used with records.
   On the other side of the coin, we have the Indiana Commission on Public Records, somewhat further down the food-chain in  regards to customer-oriented user-friendly service.
    Their policies on copying and scanning? Note these:

Indiana State Library: Manuscripts Division
"All photocopies and scans will be made by the library staff.  Use of a personal scanner  is prohibited." (Indiana Division Librarians verbally say digital cameras are allowed.)
Indiana State Library: Genealogy Department
(No specific policy posted-Librarians verbally say no scanners)
Indiana State Archives:
"No personal scanning or camera equipment is permitted to be used to record documents at the State Archives."

     The Indiana Bicentennial is coming up fast--200 years from our statehood date--from the 19th century to the 21st century. It looks like the ICPR has a teensy way to go to reach the 21st century. Perhaps they should be sent a memo--this is the era of the internet, digital media, cellphones,  satellites, cable TV, empowered informed citizenry, webinars, Wikipedia, Facebook, Twitter...need I go on. Hint to ICPR: The Museum is on the other side of the Canal!

1 comment:

  1. I live outside of Indiana and had inquired if I would be able to photograph or scan BMD records stored in a particular county's archives. Although these policies may vary from county to county, the particular county I contacted had policies identical to those you cite for the Indiana State Archives: I could neither photograph nor scan any records myself; all reproductions must be made by staff. Further, this particular county will digitally scan the record that I request, and then print a copy of that scanned record for my payment! Since I prefer all of my records to be electronic, I was chagrined to learn that this particular archive will not provide digital copies, but only the printed copy, claiming that their system doesn't provide a way to output the electronic file. While I doubt that claim is technically true, it apparently is the policy. Whether the policy has a practical basis, or whether it is simply an ill-conceived restriction based on some outdated notions, it seems a statewide policy review would be in order.