The annual observance of Hispanic Heritage Month is here, and this year's theme is Prosperity, Power, and Progress. From September 15 to October 15, Americans will come together to celebrate a culture with an extensive history of triumph through difficult times.
Hispanic Heritage Month also dedicates celebrations to recent and upcoming achievements made by the Hispanic community. Americans with Hispanic heritage have found success in challenging sectors, including politics and economics. Looking at the history that led up to this point helps paint a realistic depiction of what these various cultures have endured to achieve these feats.
Without properly documented historical events and accounts, the foundation of these cultures would be unknown to much of the world. Newer generations need the opportunity to immerse themselves in the culture in order to further preserve it. Traditional preservation efforts have aided in maintaining records that can now be digitally preserved indefinitely, a transition universities and state departments are rapidly adopting.
Protecting Historical Records Through Digitization
Current physical preservation methods such as recreation and restoration have served well in the past, but many historical records are found on organic mediums that will deteriorate over time. This process can be slowed, but transferring records to a digital format creates a viable failsafe should the physical object be destroyed.
Digital preservation, while not as simple as physical, can better protect the essential details of documents while making them accessible to students, researchers, organization members and employees alike. Digital record access is more secure as well, giving only specific users access to master files that often serve as the most 1:1 representation of the original document.
A prime example of how digital preservation delivers on its benefits is through the creation of interactive websites. These sites serve as landing pages for those interested in learning about a specific culture's history. The user can click through pages to view preserved documents, paintings, photographs, artifacts, or videos. Many museums have applied this idea to exhibits through the use of touchscreen monitors that visitors can use to get more details on what they're examining.
For researching specific genealogy and family heritage, groups such as Ancestry and FamilySearch have brought digital preservation access to the public through bespoke search tools. Physical immigration records, specifically, are hard to track down and would often require visiting a library system such as the Library of Congress. Now, these organizations can digitize each record and host access to them on a secure website accessible from anywhere.
Despite the adoption of these digital preservation technologies, there's still much work ahead. The systems are only viable if future generations are committed to preservation efforts. To help youth learn about heritage, both their own and the world's, outreach programs such as the World Heritage Youth Program are dedicating more time to teaching new preservation efforts.
In addition to outreach programs, support for future generations of historical preservation can be found through an increasing number of grant opportunities. Local and national organizations, both private and public sector, have recognized the need for additional funding for preservation projects due to the advancement of tools and technology used in modern preservation.
Choosing the Right Resources for Digitization Projects
Implementing digital preservation tools and processes takes careful consideration to make the end result feasible for future users to navigate or migrate. As with building anything from the ground up, having a proper foundation means better support as catalogs expand, access requirements change, and technologies become obsolete.
Digitization project teams will often begin with a roadmap that outlines key factors, including what resources are available, the records being preserved, potential roadblocks to anticipate, and how the information will be accessed going forward.
With a clear path outlined, the next considerations pertain to the actual digitization of documents. Microfilm scanning can be an efficient and simple process as long as you choose the right scanner for your needs. ScanPro® microfilm scanners leverage advancements in camera capturing technology, user interface systems, and precision machining to create a tool with a 5x image capture area, larger than any of the closest competitor's image sensor.
The difference ScanPro makes in how microfilm projects are approached goes beyond simply uploading a digital version of a document. Setting megapixel parameters for capturing different types or sizes of documents is easily accessible in the PowerScan software for rapid adjustments and minimal disruption in processing. Industry-leading PRECISION-Guide rollers, ensure microfilm images are positioned quickly and accurately for high quality digital documents while maintaining the integrity of the film.
Digitizing History for Future Generations
Without preservation efforts and tools, much of the world's history would be lost or misrepresented to those who will inherit these cultural ideals and practices. Digitization of records also serves as a barrier against damage, as many physical documents have only one copy of the original. Once digital, these original documents can be stored across separate databases to protect against even large-scale natural disasters.
Preservation groups interested in implementing digital tools and processes are encouraged to reach out to our team to discuss the details of your project. We'll help you assess your current processes and create a plan that accommodates your situation while also planning for the future.