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Archiving Your Originals

Scanning-to-File

by Melissa Tetreault

Part 2 of a 4-part exclusive online series

Archiving is historically one of the most common uses for wide format scanners. Saving blueprints, engineering, and construction drawings to file not only eliminates storage space but allows for the preservation of the piece through limited handling.

IDEAL.com, a major U.S. distributor for Contex scanners, provides scanning software for storing antique documents to file. The product, ArchiveCenter, is a quick way to store, manage, and print scanned images. Diane Mitol, director of marketing for the company, sees software and hardware working together to create a more efficient preservation system. She shares, "Scanning systems that improve efficiency, communications, accountability, and that reduce the time required for repetitive tasks, are more effective in addressing the needs of this time-driven environment than hardware solutions alone."

Hewlett-Packard (HP) designed the HP Designjet 4500 scanner, part of the HP Designjet 4500 series, primarily for digitization and archiving. Graphic arts PR manager, Michael Swack believes the scanner’s ease-of-use is crucial to its performance. He states, "seamless, simple integration into the workflow is a key feature. Exclusively designed and optimized for HP Designjet printers, users can count on a scan performance that offers increased efficiency and productivity." The scanner can be integrated into HP Designjet 5000/5500, 4000/4500, 1000, and 500/800 products.

John Gallo, product manager for Océ, states that 36-inch scanners are the most popular size for archiving. Océ’s TDS600 monochrome scanner is a popular fit for anyone scanning blueprints or architectural drawings. Fred Grevin, director of records and archives management for New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), digitally scans architectural engineering and construction drawings of the water supply system in NYC for day to day access and distribution.

"These drawings have intrinsic value. Older pieces date back to the 1800s and we don’t like to loan out originals so we scan them into paper prints or put the images on CDs. In an archive environment your goal is to only scan the document one time. If you have a really good image you can file it away and someone can come back in two years and ask for it," Grevin states. DEP uses EMC Centra as its digital archive.

The drawings that Grevin and his team handle are very fragile. Some are 500-year-old hand-drawn images on linen. One feature that Grevin was looking for while searching for a scanner was how it could handle the fragility of documents and if it could create quality reproductions. DEP also needed a scanner that could allow documents to be fed through in a clear, protective folder called a Mylar. Another important feature was that the scanner have a straight paper path so it wouldn’t roll the original. According to Grevin, the TDS600 does all of this.

Grevin’s six employees scan on a weekly, not daily, basis. What they scan is based on the projects that are assigned to them. For example, there was an aqua duct being rehabilitated in NYC and engineers were asking for drawings of the infrastructure of that particular duct. Grevin’s team scanned the drawings for them and now they are conveniently kept on file digitally, waiting for the next time they will be needed.

In Part 3 of the Wide Format Scanning series, we profile end users who are profiting from scan-to-print technology.

Click here to read Part 1 of this exclusive online series, Scanning Large


Aug2006, Digital Output

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