Equipment and resources

As of June 1st 2012, the National Archives have three microfilm scanners (purchased 2004-2006), three A2 book scanners (purchased 2008-2011), one A0 book scanner (purchased 2009) and one pile scanner (purchased 2009). The Section for Digitalisation and Conservation has six employees who manage the scanners, and one employee who facilitates the scanning work.

The regional state archives also have book scanners. The regional state archives contribute to the scanning activity to the extent that they have resources.

Microfilm scanning

Microfilm scanning is an efficient way of digitizing. Many of the National Archives’ most popular sources, like parish registers, probate material, and real estate documents, are found on microfilm. To publish popular sources quickly, it was therefore natural to start with microfilm scanning. The quality of the microfilms determine how quickly the work can be done, but normally 1,5 million pictures are scanned during the course of one man-labour year. Because the pictures on the microfilms are grey scale pictures, the scanned photos will be greyscale as well. The scanning is done with a 200 dpi resolution.

The National Archives’ microfilm collection consists of approx. 14 million pictures. “Gammel grunnbok”, which is a register to 20th century mortgage books and constitutes 5.5 million pictures, comes in addition. The National Archives plan to scan the whole microfilm collection, but excluding a small amount of films. This concerns mainly films with sources that have been microfilmed several times, and films with a random and disconnected selection of sources.

Book scanning

Book scanning is much more time-consuming than microfilm scanning, because the operator must turn each page and set off the scanner. Within one man-labour year, up to 200 000 pictures are produced, but worn-out and/or stiffly bound protocols slow down the speed considerably. The pictures from book scanners are in colour, unlike the pictures from microfilm scanners. Normally the scanning is done with a 300 dpi resolution.

On book scanners, all kinds of bound material is scanned, and also loose documents and maps that are too fragile to be scanned with the high volume scanner. Large formats are also scanned on book scanners. When microfilm scanning gives a poor result regarding readability, scanning directly from the original source with a book scanner can be considered. A major part of the material that the National Archives wish to prioritize for digitizing must be scanned on book scanners.

High volume scanning

The National Archives started using high volume scanning in the summer of 2009. High volume scanning is suitable for documents that are not bound, and that endure being pulled through the mills in the scanner. Newer mortgage books are examples of this kind of archive material. Daily production can reach 10-15 000 pictures, depending on the format and quality of the material. The scanning is done in colour and with a resolution of 300 dpi.