costs of digitisation

What does it cost to digitize archives?

Digitizing archives is relatively expensive because a lot of human work is involved. What costs should you take into account if you are considering making the important paper archives digitally accessible?  Scanning costs are only part of the total cost.

Digitising archives costs vary on average between €400 and €600 per linear metre (m1) of documents. This key figure can be used to determine a budget for digitizing archives. But how do you calculate your quantity and what is included in such a key figure for the costs?

A linear metre of archive can be defined as a shelf (e.g. in a cupboard or shelving) filled with papers. For example, a 1 meter wide cabinet and 4 shelves with folders or boxes contains 4 m1 of archive. The costs for digitizing the contents of this cabinet roughly amount to € 2,000 - € 2,500. For the digitisation of a number of racks with, for example, 20 m1 of archive, a guiding budget of € 10,000 can be used.

The price for digitisation per m1 of archive often decreases as the number of linear metres increases. This is because the fixed project costs are spread over a larger number of meters.

What kind of costs determine the total costs of digitising archives?

The costs of digitizing archives consist of various components, which are explained below. An explanation of the components will be given in advance.

The costs of moving the archive

In principle, the digitisation of archives does not take place at the customer's location, but in the scanning centre. The main reasons for this is safety. Only if the archives are at the scanning location can we take responsibility for the safe management of these archives. So, this means that the first component of the cost of digitizing archives is the cost of moving. The costs of moving the archives from the existing storage location to the scanning centre depend on the location (attic, basement, ground floor), the accessibility for the car (walking distance, charging facilities), the distance to the scanning location and the number of archives.

Tip  Make sure you have well-packaged archives. This makes moving easier, better and cheaper. In this way, protection and efficiency go hand in hand..

Pre-processing archives

Before the documents can be scanned, extensive pre-processing takes place. This is a labour-intensive phase in which the adhesives and binders are removed from the archive. Think of staples, paper clips, inserts, zipples, etc. The creases and so-called dog-ears are also smoothed out by the employees. This is followed by the application of barcode sheets between the documents to generate file naming and folder structure.

Digitizing archives

The digitisation process starts with the configuration of the equipment and software. The equipment is cleaned and calibrated to ensure that the scans are of high quality. This is followed by scanning of basic documents using high-volume scanners. Drawings and special documents go into separate specialized scanners.

Post-processing

All scans are checked for quality and completeness. After that, the data enrichment takes place. Think of the addition of OCR (Optical Character Recognition), so that more than 95% of the texts are recognized by the software. This ensures quick findability of data based on keywords. After that, the naming of the files takes place. The basic clean-up also takes place. These include:

  1. Straightening skewed scanned pages, or deskewing.
  2. Pages rotate properly. Sometimes pages are rotated a quarter turn or half turn when scanned. The software corrects the page rotation based on the text direction.
  3. Cleaning pages with lines, like a notebook, fully automatic. Or with perforator holes.
  4. Remove white or blank pages.

Delivery

The digital files are ready for transfer. The analog (paper) archive is still available as a backup. We make agreements about this in consultation with the customer. Think of destruction or temporary storage in the archive depot.

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