Thursday, May 30, 2013

Evolution of records preservation

In the past, records were filmed in 16 mm or 35 mm formats. The film was processed and stored for use in microfilm readers. There are obvious problems with film. It can be damaged and degrades over time. It also is bulky and requires a lot of storage space. Any copies made are of less quality than the original.

How is it being done now? Using industrial cameras that can each take images ranging from 16 to 50 megapixels. This means that the info can be shared in digital format and can more easily be enhanced to improve image quality. FamilySearch reports that there are more than 1.5 million images captured each week.  Each image is a page from a book or loose pages of documents such as Church records, cemetery or other vital records. Many paper records have been lost to fire, flood and age degradation, and this process preserves the record for future use.

There are about 222 cameras located all over the world; 92 cameras in the Western Hemisphere, and 130 in the Eastern Hemisphere. Computer software calibrates the camera, captures the image, manages the project, and captures information about the records. The documents are kept level to keep the image in focus. The images are saved on an external hard drive. At the end of each week the drives are sent to Salt Lake City, Utah, where the data is sent through an auditing process where rejected images are sent back for rework and approved images are processed and published.

Where are they published you ask? Go to and find the answer!

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