Schoharie County rescues three tractor-trailers of documents through remediation and digitization with help from Kodak Alaris and eBizDocs.
Tropical storm leaves damaged documents in its wake
In late August 2011, Tropical Storm Irene flooded Schoharie County in upstate New York. The Schoharie Creek rose to record levels, causing massive destruction of roads, homes, and businesses. More than 1,700 boxes of Schoharie County court documents dating back to 1795 were among the casualties. Completely inundated under five feet of water, the records were retrieved and treated with a remediation process to dry, restore, and preserve them.
When the process was complete, many of the valuable historical records were extremely fragile. The array of documents included a wide range of types, sizes and conditions. What’s more, many of the items were bound into oversized books, increasing the difficulty of handling them. Schoharie County faced an enormous challenge of digitizing all the records to preserve them for their historical value and also to meet regulatory mandates.
Gentle transport for freeze-dried documents
With three tractor-trailer loads of remediated documents ready for scanning and digitization, Schoharie County Courts and Chief Clerk F. Christian Spies turned to eBizDocs, Inc. of Albany, NY. The company provides service bureau scanning and document management solutions to a variety of clients in financial, healthcare, government and other industries, as well as selling scanners from Kodak Alaris and content management systems.
“We are very happy with the quality of digitized records and the results. In many instances the scanned documents look much better in terms of contrast and legibility than the originals. And with records dating back to the late 1700’s, the quality of the originals varies greatly. When you factor in the water damage, receiving PDF’s of such consistent high quality is impressive.”
-F. Christian Spies
Chief Clerk, Schoharie County Courts
“Based on in-house research and experience with our existing Kodak i4200 Scanners, we knew they would be an ideal match for the unique demands of this project,” says Howard Gross, President of eBizDocs. “Their gentle transport attachment gave us confidence, and the flatbed attachment was another plus, as there were so many exception documents in this mix.”
In fact, the transport and paper feeding of the i4200 Scanner is so fragile-document-friendly that about 90% of the contents of each box of records were scanned via the feeder. With 10 workstations in place, eBizDocs’ operators spent about 20 hours per box sorting and scanning. “It was a very labor-intensive process in terms of carefully removing and determining how best to capture each document,” notes Gross.
“We really never knew exactly what was going to be in any one carton. Many were very fragile or multi-part, and sizes ranged from small cards up to 20” x 26”. Each box was an intriguing adventure: large leather binders, will books, court documents, adoption records… a tremendous variety.”
A space-saving, user-friendly solution
The compact size of the Kodak i4200 Scanners makes them desktop friendly, and Kodak Capture Pro Software provides a common, user-friendly interface for all operators.
Completed, digitized files were entered into Schoharie County and New York State proprietary database systems. Moving forward the county now has digital access and greater safeguards in place for their historic documents. eBizDocs has collaborated with Kodak Alaris for years, aiding in testing software and providing valuable input and guidance on product and service features. The company includes scanners from Kodak Alaris and Kodak Capture Pro Software in the solutions it creates and sells to end-users.
“Features of Capture Pro Software, such as reading barcodes on the fly and advanced indexing capabilities, are just two of the reasons we recommend it,” Gross says. “We’ve had excellent success with a wide range of scanners from Kodak Alaris, both in-house and those sold to customers. All their models, including desktop scanners, are very reliable with a feature set that’s outstanding and useful.”