Image Archiving

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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In the old days, image archiving meant putting photographs, negatives, microfiche, and the like into manila folders in a neatly labeled metal file cabinet, usually one in a long row back to back with another long row. If you've done any genealogical research at a state library, you can envision this readily enough. Today it means scanning images to digital format, identifying them by file name and document indexing, and maintaining them within the information system for access as needed.

The Value of Image Archiving

Image archiving is critically important to any organization. Unlike hard copy documents, the originals of images--at least when it comes to photographs, paintings, and medical imaging--are rarely destroyed, for good reason. That there is an original filed safely in a climate-controlled fire-retardant storage facility doesn't make electronic image archiving any less important.

In fact, it makes it even more so. Accessing an electronic copy of the original enhances the likelihood that the original will not be damaged or destroyed. If you've ever been responsible for the accidental loss of an entire box of archived photograph negatives, the importance of archiving image files becomes abundantly clear.

The singular advantage to electronic information systems is that data is readily available, whether archived or in active files. Computer technology, coupled with network infrastructures and broadband Internet connections, makes information not only at one's fingertips but available to many users at the same time. Archiving can be a monumental task, however, and the technical process itself--capturing the image to digital format and indexing it--calls for expertise.

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