How Libraries Can Preserve the Past Through Archival Services

William Murtagh, first Keeper of the National Register for Historic Places, wrote, “It has been said that, at its best, preservation engages the past in a conversation with the present over a mutual concern for the future.”

As any trained archivist believes, preserving the past is an activity done with the future in mind. As historical document scanning and preservation technologies become more widely available and cost-efficient, professional librarians and archivists around the world are having discussions about how to best utilize these new tools.

Our team at InStream has helped a number of public libraries, cemeteries, and local governments preserve their past, making record retrieval and document viewing easier, faster, and more organized than ever before.

See how we helped Buffalo & Erie County Public Library (BECPL) bring their microfilmed archives into the 21st century by creating a more modern, user-friendly experience for patrons. Download the case study.

#1 Reading Microfilm With ScanPro

Ask the average person about “microfilm” and an off-the-cuff response might be something like, “Does anyone still use that?” While mainstream America might think microfilm is an antiquated technology, researchers, record managers, and archivists would be quick to disagree.

Modern microfilm, which can last for 500 years, offers many benefits compared to digital records, from security and reliability to ease of use. Furthermore, there are currently countless documents only available on microfilm. This technology is not going away any time soon. Quality microfilm viewing technology is still a necessary part of any library’s services.

InStream specializes in helping libraries and archive centers view microfilm with the assistance of leading technologies like ScanPro scanners, which are intuitive, easy to use, and feature razor-sharp resolution and image accuracy. (Learn more about ScanPro.)

#2 Microfilm Conversion

If maintaining your current microfilm archive isn’t your goal, InStream also offers microfilm conversion services. Once digitized, microfilm becomes easier to search and access, with no special reader technology required. Additional benefits include freeing up vast amounts of physical space in your library facilities. Also, from a preservation perspective, a digital version results in less risk, with an incorruptible file that can be stored in the cloud that is safe from theft, natural disasters, and environmental factors like heat and humidity.

#3 Specialty Scanning Services

Many libraries are home to unique, irreplaceable historical documents: birth records, letters, photographs, charters, minutes, and other pieces of history that only exist in their original form, which may become fragile with age.

InStream specializes in bringing these historical documents into the 21st century.

    • Our wide format scanning services allow us to create full-scale reproductions of oversized documents, such as blueprints and maps.
    • Lease document scanning equipment from InStream with no pre-set time commitment. InStream will handle fulfillment, installation, training, and configuration.
    • If your documents or microfilm is too fragile to risk transportation, InStream can come to your location to provide duplication and restoration services.
    • InStream follows Library of Congress approved conversion methods, ensuring reproduction integrity, while also protecting the original throughout the conversion process.

Does Your Library Have an Archival Project?

Want to learn more about how InStream can help with your microfilm or historical document scanning needs? Contact us, and a representative will get back to you shortly.