Since its early use in the 1990s, the reasons and ways collections are digitized have changed significantly. Digitization allows for greater access to records by industry professionals and the public. The duty of an archivist is to preserve texts and images so they can be used in the future. The ability to evolve with the latest tech advances tends to lag in archival and permanent collections as there isn't always room in the budget for new equipment and developing ways to get by with old and outdated models is standard in the profession.
Frequent software updates can make it more difficult to preserve materials correctly. As a result, most archivists have had plenty of experience with practically ancient, slow, glitchy machines. These relics require older software to run and simply working in Windows 95 can be a hurdle. Creating exceptional digital records can make a collection more sustainable and accessible, but the same cannot be said about the scanners and microfilms.
If your project has more than one type of microfilm in its collection, then having additional scanners becomes a necessity. Unfortunately, most scanners are not made to last and as newer models are released, the number of repair shops certified in older scanners dwindles. When a scanner cannot be repaired and poses a risk to the microfilms, archivists are faced with finding a way to properly dispose of the obsolete scanner. There are some recycling opportunities and there is a small chance that they can be sold for parts, but usually the obsolete scanners end up in landfills.
Archivists face the same problem when it comes to microfilms. Keeping microfilms stored in the ideal environment is not always easy. Throwing away originals is a cardinal sin, but there are times when it is necessary. As microfilms deteriorate, they may need to be disposed of or deaccessioned. But when faced with the disposal conundrum, archivists have to resort to less-sustainable methods.
The term "sustainable" has become the latest buzzword in many professions. In archival work, being sustainable is vital to the longevity of the records and the preservation of knowledge for future generations. For archivists, this also includes ensuring the methods used when disposing of microfilm scanners and microfilm itself are environmentally sound so that there are future generations who can look back on the digitized collections.
So how do archivists sustainably dispose of obsolete equipment? Currently, there is no standardized method for the disposal or recycling of microfilms. It is up to each state and county's waste facilities and EPA regulations to determine what can or can't be recycled. There is the option of working with a microfilm disposal company, but that may not be an option for every project.
Recycling the microfilms can be possible for some forms, but others will have to be thrown away. While the archival field is not the largest source of e-waste, the electronic products that are not or cannot be used anymore and end up in landfills, the field still produces waste. Such materials can't all be recycled and only contribute to the planet's environmental issues.
Since there are not many options for recycling waste created by the digitization process, an archivist's best option is to use digitization equipment that has been designed with sustainability in mind. e-ImageData is dedicated to producing scanning equipment that promotes high levels of sustainability. One of their three main pillars is prioritizing sustainability and reliability without sacrificing the quality of images.
With their award-winning All-In-One™ scanners, e-ImageData has eliminated the need for purchasing multiple scanners for different types of microfilm. A single e-ImageData scanner can be used with 16mm/35mm roll film and cartridge film. It can also digitize fiche, jacketed fiche, aperture cards, and micro-opaques. All an archivist needs for a variety of products to digitize the records that matter is in one single, dekstop scanner. This not only allows archival departments more room in their schedules and budgets, but also reduces the amount of e-waste a department produces over many years.
The constant development of new and more efficient scanning technology is a struggle for archivists. Fortunately, this doesn't have to be the case when using a single multifunctional scanner from a company that works with its customers to ensure their equipment is in excellent condition. Additionally, the ScanPro® Advantage membership allows customers to update hardware and software to keep their scanners on the cutting edge of digitization technology.
Sustainability for e-ImageData products doesn't stop with those two features. e-ImageData is incredibly proud to be a member of the Energy Star program, which boasts of strict energy efficiency requirements. EPA-certified products are 30% more efficient than the typical standard models.
The ScanPro's "Cool Green" illumination feature has been found to be more efficient than the white lamps in other equipment. The green light prevents scanners from heating up, which can damage the film. Additionally, when using other standard models, the entire machine has to be running. e-ImageData has designed the scanner to automatically shut off the functions that aren't in use—helping to conserve energy further while simultaneously consuming less energy overall.
e-ImageData is well known in the microfilm and digitization industries for its dedication to reliability. A product should function like it is brand new even after scanning millions of images, and the ScanPro line's reliability shows e-ImageData's commitment to sustainability and their clients' success.