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  • 10Jan

    Healthcare remains a paper intensive and minimally digitized industry. Maintaining paper-based records is labor intensive, prone to errors, difficult to audit and extremely costly. This is about to dramatically change as President Obama’s vision to move the U.S. to electronic health has been jump-started by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). ARRA, signed on February 17, 2009, includes $19.2 billion in provisions for healthcare information technology.

    We can perform professional document scanning services for

    • Tampa Medical and Chiropractic offices
    • Clearwater Medical and Chiropractic offices
    • Clearwater Hospitals
    • Tampa Hospitals
    • Dentists in Clearwater and Tampa
    • Health Insurance record keeping office applications
    • and just about any healthcare application in Tampa and surrounding areas.

    We  convert the healthcare records of your Tampa Office or Clearwater Office into electronic for, right there on site, fully under your control.

    Digitizing all health related documents can expedite patient care, improve the quality of care, enhances records management to facilitate regulatory compliance and can yield significant cost savings.

    Healthcare Applications:

    • Patient records management
    • Admission & registration
    • Clinical data repositories
    • Medical orders
    • Consent forms
    • Back office

      • Claims processing
      • Explanation of benefits (EOBs)
      • Accounts payable
      • Accounts receivable

    Benefits of Scanning:

    • Scanned documents enable simultaneous access and collaboration
    • Eliminates the costs and risks of lost documents
    • Reduce labor and material costs associated with paper-based records
    • Reduce potential errors and improve patient care through accurate document storage and retrieval
    • Scan to PDF for easier file sharing
    • Substantially reduce physical storage requirements
    • Secure access mitigates risks
    • Expedite and enhance patient service
    • Achieve regulatory compliance by enabling better recordkeeping through scanning
    • Estalibhs a foundation for on-going process improvement

    Our document scanning services: Your prescription for healthcare paperwork

    With an intelligent application of document imaging technologies, healthcare organizations can reap enormous returns in cost savings, and efficiency improvement. Vital information that previously took hours to retrieve can now be accessed within seconds, eliminating potential errors and improving overall patient care. In addition, healthcare organizations also eliminate significant paper storage costs, including off-site facility rental and couriers, folders and labels, multi-part forms, microfilm and microfiche, and transport carts and bins. Hospitals, physician practices, pharmacies, dentists, insurance payers, and small clinics can all benefit from smart document imaging solutions.

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  • 10Jan

    We specialize in providing high quality scanning document scanning services and we can come to your offices in the Tampa area and also in Clearwater and surrounding cities.  On-site scanning in Tampa? On-site scanning in Clearwater? Our specialty.

    One thing that makes our job easier is to use the best equipment for large volume scanning jobs.

    Who has been voted the market leader in document imaging scanners and services? Fujitsu, the very brand we use and recommend.

    Sunnyvale, CA, January 5, 2010 — Fujitsu Computer Products of America, Inc., the market leader in document imaging scanners and services, today announced that it has been recognized by Business Solutions Magazine as a Best Channel Vendor for 2010, the second straight year the company has received this honor. Through an exhaustive survey completed by over 1,354 verified BSM reseller subscribers and totaling over 12,000 votes, Fujitsu ranked at the top of the ECM Hardware category among a long list of companies for its strong product innovation, comprehensive channel program, advanced service and support offering, and the company’s overall working relationship with its Value Added Resellers (VARs).

    What makes the Fujitsu scanners so good? It is a combination of features that result in an optimal dot matrix of the black-and-white scanned image so that legibility and optical character recognition are of top quality.

    Are your offices in Tampa or Clearwater and surroundings? Call us for your document scanning and imaging job.

    Which criteria are the most important for you in selecting a document scanning service provider?

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  • 30Jul

    Managing Records:

    Historical Records

    What are historical records?

    Identifying your historical records

    Acquiring historical records

    Making historical records accessible

    Reference services

    Promoting access

    Preservation and conservation

    Funding a program

    What are historical records?

    Historical records, also called archival records, are records you keep permanently because of their long-term research use. The State Archives provides services for both government and non-government historical records programs. Historical records, regardless of who creates them, can exist on paper, parchment, magnetic tape, film, or a variety of other media.

    Identifying historical records

    Historical records are those you need or choose to keep forever. The process of determining which of your records are historical is called appraisal. For a general understanding of how to appraise records effectively, see Publication #50, Appraisal of Local Government Records for Historical Value.

    In New York State, historical records in local governments and state agencies are those that are designated as permanent in a State Archives’ records retention and disposition schedule. They are also materials you decide to keep beyond the legal retention period because they have continuing administrative or legal value, or because they document a significant event, person, or decision.

    If you work for historical societies and other organizations that collect non-government records, develop a collecting policy that outlines in detail the geographical, chronological, and topical scope of your collection. Use the criteria in your collecting policy to appraise records before accepting or refusing them. For more information on developing a collecting policy, see our publication, Strengthening New York’s Historical Records Programs: A Self-Study Guide.

    The State Archives appraises records of state agencies; records are not accepted in the State Archives without prior consultation and approval. For information about the appraisal of state agency records, contact us at (518) 474-6026 or via e-mail. To learn more about records appraisal in a non-government repository, attend the Documentary Heritage Program (DHP) workshop, An Introduction to Appraisal and Selection of Historical Records, or contact your DHP Regional Archivist.

    Acquiring historical records

    Documentation is the process of locating, identifying, and acquiring unique, historical records that are not yet in a historical records repository. For a detailed guide, see Publication #79, Documentation Basics: A Guide to Planning and Managing Documentation Projects. Also attend the Documentary Heritage Program workshop, Documentation Basics: How to Plan and Manage Documentation Projects.

    Making historical records accessible

    To make historical records accessible, you must organize and create information about them. Archivists call this process arrangement and description. For basic guidance, see:

    • Organizing Your Historical Records, a workshop primarily for local governments
    • Arrangement and Description of Historical Records, a workshop for nonprofit historical records repositories

    Descriptive tools such as finding aids and catalog records help researchers know whether your records will answer their questions. The DHP program at the Central New York Library Resource Council has developed a pamphlet on finding aids titled How to Create Finding Aids.

    Reference services

    Providing access to your historical records collection while protecting records from damage or loss can be a challenge. All historical records repositories should have clearly stated rules on the use of records. The publication, Strengthening New York’s Historical Records Programs: A Self- Study Guide, and our new workshop, Providing Access to Your Records, has information about providing reference services.

    If you don’t have enough staff to provide access to your historical records, consider

    • distributing microfilm copies of your records to public libraries or other repositories
    • providing digitized copies of your records on your or a host website

    The State Archives offers several publications and workshops on micrographics and digital imaging.

    Promoting access

    To increase use of your historical records, provide information on them to the widest possible audience. One way is to submit series descriptions to the State Archives for inclusion in the Historical Documents Inventory (HDI). The HDI is accessible through the State Archives’ catalog.

    Preservation and conservation

    Preservation means working to prevent the deterioration of your historical records as a whole by using appropriate archival quality supplies and having optimum environmental conditions for storage. For a thorough overview, attend our Preservation of Historical Records workshop and refer to our storage and preservation page.

    Conservation is the repair of damage that has already occurred using minimal, non-invasive techniques. Conservation work should always be done by a professional.  To help you decide what records require conservation measures, see Publication #60, Criteria for Selecting Records for Conservation Treatment, and our list of conservation consultants.

    Funding a program

    Grant funding for many of the historical records activities described above is available through two programs of the New York State Archives: the Documentary Heritage Program (DHP), serving non-government nonprofit organizations, and the Local Government Records Management Improvement Fund (LGRMIF), available for local government historical records programs.

  • 25Jul
    Buying land to protect rainforests
    Rainforest is being destroyed at an unprecedented rate, causing mass extinctions and climate change. WLT-US has dedicated 20 years to buying and protecting rainforests and endangered species. We buy real acres in real places and protect them forever. We focus on rainforests under imminent threat and that represent the last refuge for many species. Save rainforests with WLT-US and make a real difference.
    Over 1 million acres saved
    World Land Trust-US and our partner World Land Trust in the UK have protected over 1 million acres of threatened rainforests and other critical habitats to protect the most endangered species forever. Click here to see acres saved by WLT-US in 2008.
    Urgent appeals
    Rain forest Call to action: unique rainforest at risk

    The wettest and most diverse tropical rainforest on earth is being destroyed at an unprecedented rate as new highways spread across the Chocó region of western Colombia. Please act now to buy key properties along the highways, at just $50 per acre, so we can save one of the planet’s most unique rain forests. Read more…

    Support direct action to save rainforests, forever.

    Brazilian rainforest Woolly Spider Monkey Last stand for Brazilian Rainforest

    We are seeking funds to save one of the last stands of tropical rainforest left in the severely depleted Atlantic rainforest at REGUA in Brazil. Land purchases protect the Woolly Spider Monkey and dozens of other endangered species. Read more…

    Save an acre now…

    Jocotoco Antpitta Ecuador Saving the Jocotoco Antpitta in Ecuador

    On the Amazon slope of the Ecuadorian Andes we are working to save an amazing Andean cloud forest to protect the endangered Jocotoco Antpitta. We are seeking support to acquire additional properties to save the Antpitta and many other species with our partner Fundación Jocotoco. Read more…

    Please help save an acre…

    Saving rainforests - Magdalena Jaguar Help save a rainforest in Colombia

    We are raising funds to buy 2,512 acres of critically endangered rainforest at $100 an acre that protects some of the planet’s most threatened species. Unprotected and presently earmarked for logging, we urgently need to acquire these forests before they are lost forever.
    Read more…

    Please help buy and save an acre of rainforest…

  • 25Jul

    Store your records safely and securely from the moment you create them. Develop a recordkeeping system that will keep records secure, protect them from alteration or damage, and allow easy access with less wear-and-tear. If you are designing an electronic system, use non-proprietary products, implement virus and password protection, and plan for software and hardware obsolescence.

    Less is better

    Reduce as much as possible the number of duplicate copies of a single record. You need to maintain only one copy: the official or record copy. By doing so, you will not waste space. If you are from a state agency or local government, regularly dispose of obsolete records according to a State Archives records schedule.

    Consider microfilming or scanning your records. Microfilming is a still good way to reduce storage requirements and preserve historical records. Imaging is better for improving access to records. For more information about micrographics and imaging, especially when each is an appropriate solution, refer to our Publication #77, Managing Imaging and Micrographics Projects.

    Onsite storage or offsite storage

    Once you no longer actively use records, it’s best to transfer them from busy, crowded office areas to alternative storage. You can use commercial or remote records storage facilities if onsite space is at a premium. For more guidance on storing records offsite, see our Publication #42, Offsite Storage of Inactive Local Government Records. The Archives maintains a list of vendors who store micrographic records. If you are from a state agency, you can store records at the New York State Archives Records Center on the State Office Campus in Albany.

    Proper storage environment

    Choose a clean, secure, and stable environment. Ideal conditions for most types of record formats include:

    • Temperature between 65-70º F, with fluctuations of no more than 2 degrees
    • Relative humidity at 35-45%, with fluctuations of no more than 5%
    • Protection from ultraviolet (UV) light, air pollutants, and vermin
    • Protection from damage, disaster (i.e., water, fire), and theft

    Limit access to storage areas, have secure locks, and install fire suppression and security systems. To assess how vulnerable the areas where you store records are to disasters, conduct a site assessment (see guidelines and form in our Publication #82, Managing Records Disasters).

    Electronic records

    Keep in mind that electronic media, including optical discs and computer tape, are not permanent storage media. You will periodically need to test media to ensure that no data has been lost, refresh or copy records onto new media, and ensure that you have the required equipment to access the records. Refer to our electronic records page.

    Transferring archival state agency records to the State Archives

    State agency records that State Archives staff have appraised as permanent may be transferred to the Archives. For more information about transferring state agency records, call (518) 474-6926. The State Archives will not accept state agency records without prior consultation and approval.

    Preservation vs. conservation

    Preservation means working to prevent the deterioration of your historical records as a whole: use appropriate archival quality supplies and optimum environmental conditions for storage. For a thorough overview, attend our Preservation of Historical Records and Preservation of Electronic Records workshops.

    Conservation involves hiring professional conservator to repair damage that has already occurred using minimal, non-invasive techniques. To help you decide what records are appropriate for conservation measures, see our Publication #60, Criteria for Selecting Records for Conservation Treatment and our list of conservation consultants.

    Funding

    The State Archives offers a grant program for local governments to implement many of the storage and preservation activities described above. To learn more about our Local Government Records Management Improvement Fund grant program, contact the State Archives at (518)474-6926 or via e-mail, or contact your Regional Advisory Officer.

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  • 25Jul

    Managing Records:

    Electronic Records

    FAQs

    Inventory

    Organizing

    Security

    Preservation

    Funding

    Computers and other electronic devices create many of the new records we use today.  These records, although electronic in format, are the same as records in other formats.  Electronic records show how you conduct business, make decisions, and carry out your work. They are evidence of decisions and actions.  Fundamental records management principles apply to electronic records and all other record formats.

    The technical nature of electronic records makes managing them a challenge. There are a variety of electronic records: e-mail, voicemail, geographic information systems (GIS), webpages, word-processed documents, spreadsheets, databases, digital images, and video and audio files. They can be stored on optical discs, magnetic tape, diskettes, and an increasing number of other media. Electronic records are under constant threat from technological obsolescence – the rapid advancement of computer technology that can render records inaccessible due to lack of planning.

    Learn the basics about the care of electronic records at our Managing Electronic Records workshop.

    Inventory

    Conducting a records inventory is the first step towards starting an electronic records management program. An inventory requires collecting pertinent data on all records, including electronic records systems, to analyze and use for planning. See Publication #76, Inventory and Planning: The First Steps in Records Management for instructions on inventorying electronic records.

    Electronic records inventories should include only major records systems; avoid inventorying files on individual hard drives. Use the inventory data to develop an electronic records needs assessment and program plan. If you don’t have the necessary expertise, staff, or time, see our Electronic Records Management Consultant list to find someone who can assist you.

    Organizing

    The most effective approach to organizing your electronic records is to have a filing system that mirrors your paper files. Create a series of electronic folders and subfolders on a server, arranged hierarchically from the general to the specific in a series of directories.

    For easy retrieval, develop naming conventions that are logical, consistent, and allow sensible sorting. For example, if you create town board minutes electronically, use the name of the records series followed by the year and month, indicated numerically so that the files sort in chronological sequence: “Minutes 2005_07.”

    Security

    In addition to fire, flood, and vandalism, computer users must contend with viruses, hackers and hard drive crashes. You can increase the physical security of computers by locking doors and installing intruder, fire, and water detection systems. In addition, implement and update virus protection software and firewalls, make frequent backups and store them offsite, and use a system of passwords to protect your information.

    To help you assess whether your electronic systems are secure and develop preventive measures in case of disasters, see Publication #82, Managing Records Disasters.

    For more advice on securing your electronic records, refer to the Office of Cyber Security and Critical Infrastructure Coordination’s (CSCIC) Information Security Policy.

    Preservation

    The most challenging task in managing electronic records is long-term preservation. Magnetic tape can develop read-errors and optical storage media can fail completely after only a few years, especially if they are not stored in the proper environment. To avoid data loss, refresh media by copying data to a fresh tape or disk every three to five years.

    There are a few strategies to anticipate technical obsolescence. One is to copy electronic records to an eye-readable media such as microfilm or paper. This works best when the functionality of the electronic record is no longer needed.

    Another strategy is to maintain data in a standard or non-proprietary format. These are not likely to change over time so the information should remain readable.

    An effective but labor-intensive and costly solution is to migrate data periodically to a new software version or system, usually every three to five years. Migration should include the records and their associated metadata (system-generated information about the records). To learn more about preserving electronic records, attend our Preservation of Electronic Records workshop.

    Funding

    The State Archives administers the Local Government Records Management Improvement Fund (LGRMIF) to help local governments manage their records, including their electronic recordkeeping systems. To learn more, contact the State Archives at (518) 474-6926 or via e-mail, or contact your Regional Advisory Officer.

  • 25Jul

    Digital optical archiving of medical records in hospital information systems–a practical approach towards the computer-based patient record?

    University of Heidelberg, Department of Medical Informatics, Germany.

    The large number of inpatients and outpatients in university hospitals leads to high costs of medical documentation and to an increasing number of medical documents. Due to legal regulations, these medical records have to be stored for 30 years. This implies spatial, organizational, and economical problems. At present, conventional archiving in hospitals often does not satisfy the need to make medical records available for health-care professionals in a systematic and timely manner. From 1989 to 1993 a pilot study on “digital optical archiving of medical records” was carried out at Heidelberg University Hospital. The study has shown the feasibility of digital optical archiving in hospital s if done under certain conditions. In 1995, Heidelberg University Hospital adopted a procedure for “digital optical archiving of medical records”. The digital optical archive will first be filled with the medical records of the department of neurosurgery and the endoscopic and echographic images and reports of the department of internal medicine. It is to be expected that this procedure will gradually lead to an integrated functionality on health-care professional workstations, to a hospital-wide use of an electronic patient record, and to media-independent document management systems. The paper focuses on the potentials of digital optical archiving as an integral part of hospital information systems, and on the requirements for the systematic managements of hospital information systems with respect to digital optical archives.

  • 25Jul

    Eliminating the paper medical archive by bulk document scanning of historic folders and implementing revised workflows for scanning new documents.

    Department of Information Technology, University Hospitals Leuven, Belgium. erwin.bellon@uzleuven.be

    We made the decision in our hospital to radically eliminate the paper archive by bulk scanning over a million medical records. This reorganization goes together with installation of new workflows for injecting information that is still captured on paper as automatically as feasible into the electronic medical record. In this article we describe our organizational and technical approach and we highlight principles which our experience suggests to be useful.

  • 21Jul

    This story began years ago but is of interest. Here you will see the importance and value document scanning and digital archiving has in todays world.

    Courting Disaster:

    Building a Collection to Chronicle

    9/11 and its Aftermath

    Within hours of the September 11 attacks on New York and the Pentagon, and the crash of the hijacked airplane in Pennsylvania, several offices within the Library of Congress mobilized to begin doing what libraries do best: document and record for posterity. On Sept.12, the Library initiated several acquisitions projects aimed at documenting the events of the previous day. Many of them are described in more detail in the pages that follow.

    The exhibition, “Witness and Response: September 11 Acquisitions at the Library of Congress,” which opens in the Jefferson Building’s Great Hall on Sept. 7, draws from all of these collections to give visitors an overview of the broad range and diversity of materials related to the September attacks that have been acquired by the Library of Congress in the past year.

    The curators in the Library’s Prints and Photographs Division immediately began a campaign to acquire a range of pictorial images, which has resulted in a stunning array of material commemorating September 11. They include, for example, photographs made within minutes of the devastation at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon; original illustrations by leading comic book artists; highly personal creative contributions from individuals around the world; and imaginative architectural designs that were submitted as proposals for rebuilding at the World Trade Center site.

    a double-page spread of the Times of London of Sept. 12 shows Manhattan as if under nuclear attack, just after the collapse of the second tower The Pentagon burns after being hit by a hijacked airliner

    Left, a double-page spread of the Times of London of Sept. 12 shows Manhattan as if under nuclear attack, just after the collapse of the second tower; right, the Pentagon burns after being hit by a hijacked airliner. – Daryl Donley

    The Library’s American Folklife Center called upon folklorists across the nation to document on audio tape the thoughts and feelings expressed by citizens following the events of 9/11. The center subsequently received hundreds of hours of taped interviews conducted by professional ethnographers, teachers and students, as well as accompanying written documentation and photographs of memorials to the victims of the attacks from around the United States. A selection of these interviews is part of the Library’s “Witness and Response” exhibition. Called “Soundscape,” the half-hour presentation will run continuously in the Orientation Theater in the Visitors’ Center of the Jefferson Building from Sept. 7 to Nov. 2.

    A similar call went out from curators of the Library’s newspaper collection. By Oct. 1, the Library had assembled some 2,500 newspapers printed since September 11, including 40 extra and special editions published on the day of the attacks. Ironically, one of the hardest editions to find was the Washington Post’s special edition of September 11, which had a press run of only 50,000 copies. A Post reporter eventually supplied two copies. Newspapers came in from throughout the United States and from around the world. Special editions or sections published on September 11 and 12 bear banner headlines screaming “Terror, “Horror,” “Infamy,” “Bastards!” “Apocalypse”; and dramatic photos, such as the London Times’ two-page photographic spread of lower Manhattan in smoke and flames.

    a Bengali poster calendar, issued shortly after the attacks, reads, "If each Muslim resists America, then victory is certain for them. Osama Bin Laden" A woman in anguish, among the crowd fleeing lower Manhattan in the wake of the collapse of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center firefighter John Morabito of Ladder Company 10 at the WTC site after the attack

    Left, a Bengali poster calendar, issued shortly after the attacks, reads, “If each Muslim resists America, then victory is certain for them. Osama Bin Laden”; center, a woman in anguish, among the crowd fleeing lower Manhattan in the wake of the collapse of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center; right, firefighter John Morabito of Ladder Company 10 at the WTC site after the attack. – Photos by Todd Maisel and Mary Altaffer

    Curators and specialists in other parts of the Library also made special efforts to gather materials from their usual sources and beyond to add to the documentation of the ever-widening ramifications of the events of September 11. Staff members in the African and Middle Eastern Division surveyed their existing collections for materials that might be helpful in trying to understand the tragedy; in the Geography and Map Division they searched for maps and geographic information that they knew would be helpful in responding to requests from members of Congress. Library employees in the overseas offices snapped up materials in their localities wherever they could find them–with an emphasis on ephemera such as flyers, posters and booklets that appeared almost overnight in areas of the Middle East and Latin America.

    "In Memory 9/11/01"

    “In Memory 9/11/01″ - Brian Niemann

    Capturing the Web
    One of the Library’s initiatives was to collect and preserve what was going out to the world over the Web after September 11. To understand the context in which the Library of Congress has embarked on a series of Web archiving pilots, one must consider the Library’s 200-year history of preserving the national record of artistic and intellectual achievement. In the 21st century, the Web is one of the prime sources of information and data that may reside nowhere else. The rationale for Web collecting is, therefore, strongly linked to the Library of Congress’ mission and purpose.

    In 2000, Congress requested that the Library lead a collaborative effort to explore how to collect and preserve digital materials, especially materials that may exist in no other format, through the creation of the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP). One of the first projects initiated by the Library in response to this mandate was a Web Preservation Project–Mapping the Internet Electronic Resources Virtual Archive (MINERVA)–to collect, catalog and preserve collections from select Web sites for research use. The contents of this prototype Web site are now available only on the Library of Congress campus, at www.loc.gov/minerva. A second pilot, conducted in collaboration with the Internet Archive, a public nonprofit organization, developed a thematic archive, which targeted Web sites devoted to the 2000 national election. The collection comprises more than 2 million terabytes, or about 200 million pages, of election-related information gathered between Aug. 1, 2000, and Jan. 21, 2001. The link for this archive, which is currently hosted by the Internet Archive, may also be viewed at www.loc.gov/minerva.

    Building the September 11 Web Archive
    Following the events of September 11, the Library of Congress, in collaboration with the Internet Archive, Archive.org, a group of scholars and students dedicated to developing tools and strategies for studying the Web, and the Pew Internet & American Life Project, began work on a new Web Archive to preserve the Web expressions of individuals, groups, the press and institutions in the United States and from around the world in the aftermath of the attacks. With the September 11 Archive, educators and researchers can learn what the official organizations of the day were thinking and reporting about the attacks on America; and they can read the unofficial, “online diaries” of those who lived through the experience.

    The ability to collect such raw first impression material, in addition to information from the more standard sources, means that the Library can provide scholars with the chance to “live through” what so many experienced. Web sites provide dynamic, firsthand accounts and reflect a range of sentiments and points of view, functioning much as the morning and evening newspapers of the past.

    The inherent power of the Web as an immediate, often impressionistic, communications medium, is also its chief liability–which makes collecting it a challenge. With the average Web site lasting between 45 and 75 days, the Library had to act quickly before some of the national and international responses were erased from the historical record.

    To create the September 11 Web Archive, the Library’s subject, area and language specialists recommended Web sites for inclusion in the archive, just as they recommend items for the permanent collections of the Library. The Library also worked with outside partners. The Internet Archive (www.archive.org) captured and stored the Web pages; WebArchivist.org (www.webarchivist.org) is creating archival metadata to make the collection searchable and the information retrievable; and the Pew Internet & American Life Project (www.pewinternet.org), explores the impact of the Internet on children, families and communities.

    Minerva

    As a first step, on behalf of the Library of Congress, the Internet Archive sent an e-mail to the owner of each Web site selected for the archive. The e-mail stated that the collection was being created for the Library of Congress, and that the collection was part of a pilot project mandated by Congress to collect and preserve ephemeral digital materials for current and future generations. Creators of Web sites were provided instructions on how to opt out of the collecting process. If their site was collected, but the site owner did not wish to permit offsite access to the materials, use of the site could be blocked.

    The Library’s specialists worked closely with the project to ensure comprehensiveness and diversity in the collection. Essentially, the Library wanted everything–American and international reactions to the events of September 11, responses from the U.S. government and the military, as well as the responses of religious, ethnic, mental health and educational communities. The Library also sought personal accounts and public discussion from listservs and online newsgroups.

    The period of Web site collection began within hours of the tragedy on September 11 and continued through the first week of December 2001. During that time period, the Internet Archive collected and indexed 40,000 sites, 500 million Web pages, or five terabytes of data. Of these, the Library of Congress alone nominated between 1,500 and 2,000 Web sites for inclusion, and Library staff provided the first level of subject terms around which the Web sites were organized for access. Subject descriptors included such terms as the press, government, portals, charity/civic, advocacy/interest, religious, school/educational, individual/volunteer, and non-English. Currently, the September 11 Archive can be searched by date, key word (e.g., charity), URL or title. With the help of WebArchivist.org, the Library is planning to catalog 2,500 primary sites, according to selection criteria that will be developed jointly by the two organizations. Deciding which Web sites to include in this category will be a challenging task requiring the review of thousands of sites to select the most relevant.

    This modified American flag flew over the site near Shanksville, Pa., where United Airlines Flight 93 crashed after being hijacked. Passengers on the flight attempted to seize control of the jet from the terrorists.

    This modified American flag flew over the site near Shanksville, Pa., where United Airlines Flight 93 crashed after being hijacked. Passengers on the flight attempted to seize control of the jet from the terrorists.

    The Web site was made available to the public on Oct. 11 at http://September11.archive.org. A recommendation form was placed on the WebArchivist.org home page, and requests ran on listservs inviting researchers and members of the public to nominate sites for inclusion. Although the site went “live” on Oct. 11, it continues to be modified. WebArchivist.org will continue to improve subject access, eliminate capture duplications, and develop descriptive metadata for each site using MODS XML-schema (www.loc.gov/standards/mods). The records eventually will be added to the Library of Congress online catalog.

    The research potential of the September 11 Web Archive has been noted both in print media and, not surprisingly, on the Web itself. The Internet portal Yahoo! selected the archive as its top site of the year for 2001. The site was also included in the Librarians’ Index to the Internet (www.lii.org), featured in The Scout Report (http://scout.cs.wisc.edu), and selected as both a Yahoo Pick of the Week (http://docs.yahoo.com/picks) and a USA Today Hot Site.

    The September 11 Web Archive project raised many of the same issues librarians have been confronting since the profession’s beginning. What are the dangers in collecting unevaluated sources? How do librarians, as keepers of the culture, ensure accuracy, balance and objectivity when disseminating information that has not been vetted through the avenues of peer review common to print media? When there are issues of national security at stake, how do we protect intellectual freedom and guard against censorship? Is it appropriate for the Library to collect Web sites that primarily seek to inflame, offend and promote hate? Librarians, as keepers of the public record, have a responsibility to sublimate personal values for the public good and to consider what scholars and researchers of the future may wish to know about what happened today. The Library’s September 11 Web Archive will give them the opportunity to obtain that information.

  • 11Jul

    NSSDC Finishes First Phase of Document Scanning

    While this may not be brand new news, it still worthy of note that NASA has scanned their files to a large part. NASA has always been on the forefront of streamlining production with the latest advances, going paperless was definitely among their many projects.

    Volume 13, Number 2, June 1997


    By H. Kent Hills and Ralph Post


    Over its 30-year history NSSDC has accumulated a great deal of paper. Some of this paper contains the documentation needed to understand and correctly use many of the data sets in NSSDC’s archive. Other paper holdings are more relevant to internal NSSDC operations. The accumulation of paper has led to two significant problems. On the one hand, it is clearly impractical to have data set documentation off line as paper that has to be Xeroxed and mailed to support NSSDC’s customers’ use of older data made newly network-accessible. On the other hand, storage space constraints were squeezing NSSDC. So NSSDC has undertaken a program to scan much of its off-line paper material to save space and to make the content of that paper network-accessible to customers and to internal staff. Output of this effort has been CD-ROM with TIFF-formatted page images.

    In late 1996 NSSDC was able to bring some of its contractor personnel back on site so that all staff members are now on site in Buildings 26 or 28. However, there was not enough room on site for all of their older but still useful information files. This fact provided the impetus for an action that had been under consideration in various modes for some time: digital scanning of the paper files to reduce the storage volume and also make the material machine-readable. Vendor selection was made after viewing demonstration images of the actual paper material, some of which was faint and difficult to read visually. The vendor has completed the scanning, and delivery of the digital images on CD-ROMs was expected near the end of May 1997. In addition to the off-site materials, on-site data catalogs were added to this scanning task, resulting in three categories of hard copy materials to convert to digital images. Data Set Catalogs (DSCs) consisted of documentation to be sent to a requester along with data. Documentation for most older data sets is on paper, although the older data may be on digital tapes. Currently-arriving data are put into a near-line network-accessible system. Staff will soon be moving the off-line digital tape archive to near line. The digitization of the paper documentation converts it to a machine-readable form that can accompany the actual data in the near-line network-accessible system. Some of these documents pertain to multiple data sets and are identified as part of the Technical Reference File (TRF). Thus, a document of significant size is digitized only once but may have reference pointers to it from several DSCs.

    The NSSDC has supported a series of ten Coordinated Data Analysis Workshops (CDAWs) since 1978. By putting all of the subject data into a common data base with retrieval, analysis, and display software, these CDAW workshops allowed easier intercomparisons of data from multiple experiments on multiple spacecraft and ground stations for studies of selected events in magnetospheric physics. The data and pertinent descriptive summaries (spacecraft, experimenter, units, etc.) of the data were inserted into common digital data files (Common Data Format [CDF] for recent CDAWs). Detailed documentation and calibration information plus verification plots were all on paper. Maintaining organized files of these materials became a storage problem.

    NSSDC acquisition personnel kept a large volume of so-called “Acquisition” files – information about spacecraft and experiments but information that is not usually needed as documentation to accompany data sets. Some of these materials were in file cabinets, but others were stored in boxes and were not readily accessible.

    NSSDC needed to

    • Convert the data set documentation to a network-accessible form.
    • Do the conversion efficiently.
    • Provide a backup copy.
    • Reduce the storage volume of all these materials.
    • Preserve the hard copy from further deterioration.

    All five goals were met by having a vendor make digital scans of the material and put the results on CD-ROMs. The page images are in TIFF format, and the CDs are formatted for fast user access from a terminal using the Alchemy (Trademark) software package. A separate copy is formatted differently, tailored specifically to facilitate automated transfer into the existing near-line system. Although this digitization process is a first step in that direction, the actual transfer to near-line status for this older documentation is still a future project.

    The volume of material scanned corresponded to approximately eight five-drawer file cabinets, or in terms of paper delivered to the vendor 12 boxes of Data Set Catalogs and TRF documents, 12 boxes of CDAW, and 16 of Acquisition materials. All of this will be condensed into a handful of CD-ROMs (about seven) that can be used on an existing PC. Additional CDs will provide work copies and safe backup copies. The returned original hard copy will be maintained on file, be put into deep storage, or be discarded, depending on the specific material.

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