Learning From the Past: Preserving Historical Accuracy Through Digitization

Digital preservation is a great way to maintain historical accuracy when saving documents, files, and historical artifacts. Utilizing a combination of tools and advanced preservation technology, archivists can ensure that digital objects are safely preserved for future generations.

What Is Digital Preservation?

Digital preservation is a concept that dates back further than one might expect. Although the technologies and methods used today may not have been fathomable prior to the 1990s, electronics have played some role in record keeping as far back as the late 1800s. Tools such as vacuum tubes, widely used in the 1940s, and punch clocks, which were used as far back as the 1880s, spearheaded digital preservation and led to the creation of other important document storage methods used in later decades. 

Today, massive organizations, including the United Nations, use a variety of tools and techniques to digitally preserve historical information. Tools include:

  • Microfilm scanners: These intuitive tools take images and documents stored on microfilm and convert them to digital files, such as pdfs, for a more permanent preservation solution.
  • Virus and spyware scanning: Archivists regularly scan historical artifacts for viruses and spyware to ensure they're secure.
  • Metadata: An artifact's metadata outlines crucial information about protecting it from deterioration, destruction, or loss. It includes information about digital protection measures, as well as details on where the physical item is stored and how it's protected, if applicable.
  • Location tagging and file tracking: Location tags and tracking tools help future historians and archivists track the history of an artifact's digital storage journey, how it's been accessed, and who may have accessed it.
  • File cloning: By creating clones of digital artifacts, archivists can ensure the integrity of documents and files. Clones are created and stored separately to ensure that, in the event one file is destroyed or compromised, an exact replica is available to maintain historical accuracy.

Without digitization, the accuracy and integrity of historical information are at risk. Thanks to technology, archivists can now ensure historical files, photographs, and other artifacts are protected against common threats like physical damage and loss by cloning and storing them across multiple secure systems.

How Digital Archives Preserve Historical Accuracy

Maintaining historical accuracy in archives is crucial, particularly for those in future generations. It helps students and the general public learn about the past, it helps businesses better understand internal processes that have shaped their companies, and it helps governments maintain better relationships with countries across the globe.

By utilizing digitization in archives, it's easier to ensure data is accurate because actual documentation and media files can be stored and categorized to better depict the past.

Preserving Artifacts Across Centuries

Storing physical artifacts from previous decades and centuries past has been a practice long used by archivists. While this method has worked to preserve some artifacts, it's not without risk.

Historical documents, photographs, and even video footage are vulnerable and fragile. Damage from fire, flood, or human error can quickly erase historical records, as can theft or accidental loss. When it comes to historical preservation, digitization is the safest way to ensure legacies are preserved for future generations.

Take Christopher Columbus, for example. Artifacts preserved from the late 1400s revealed the truth about his discovery of the Americas and taught the world that he, in fact, traveled further south than originally thought. With digital preservation, this knowledge and proof of his voyages can remain available for future generations.

Increased Accessibility

Digitization means that historical archives can become more accessible. Instead of storing and protecting artifacts in a secure physical location, they're stored digitally, making it easier for historians, archivists, educators, students, and the public to access them remotely from anywhere in the world.

A Permanent Point of Reference

While archival methods of the past provided often temporary solutions to preserving and accessing historical data, digitization offers a more permanent solution.

Artifacts don't need to be moved from place to place, avoiding physical hazards, and they don't face the risk of fading, alteration, or damage in physical storage. 

Instead, digitization offers archivists permanence — a way to maintain and promote historical accuracy without the risk of loss, damage, or theft.

Preserving Artifacts Using Microfilm Technology

e-ImageData makes it easy to digitize and preserve historical artifacts with reliable microfilm technology. Its ScanPro microfilm scanner series features intuitive technology that helps you convert microfilm into digital files that can be preserved indefinitely.

These microfilm scanners feature a high-performance camera and an image sensor that's seven times larger than other industry-leading tools. It can scan and archive any type of film, including oversized aperture cards, and quickly convert scans to pdf or tiff files that feature high-quality images. Utilize e-ImageData's advanced microfilm scanner to effectively digitize your historical data and ensure accurate, easy-to-read historical records that future generations can rely on.

The ScanPro microfilm scanner is available in three different models at three price points, each with user-friendly interfaces and high-performance features that make your archival work a breeze.

Invest in a ScanPro microfilm scanner or schedule a demo to discover how e-ImageData products can help you safely preserve your historical archives.

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