Volunteers Transcribing Hand-Written Paper Documents Into the Digital Realm

Volunteers Transcribing Hand-Written Paper Documents Into the Digital Realm

There are over 4 trillion paper documents in the U.S. alone, and that number is growing at a rate of 22% per year. Whether it’s financial documents, company personnel information, or any other type of essential data, it’s imperative to digitize these documents in 2018.

If these paper documents aren’t digitized, not only are they at risk for being lost forever or damaged beyond repair, they can take up a significant amount of space. Think about an average company that doesn’t take advantage of document digitization storages — there are most likely boxes and boxes of papers piled high in a storage office that could be utilized for so much more.

According to Enterprise-Record, volunteers in the Hall of Records in Oroville have been converting hand-written ledger pages into digital records that can be safely stored for decades.

For many documents, a simple scan would suffice, but for hand-written pages of flamboyant cursive writing, that’s not always the case.

“You can’t OCR that,” said Melinda Rist, a county archivist. Optical character recognition allows scanning of paper documents, but cursive and other difficult projects require more of a human touch, both in terms of eyesight and keyboard skills.

The majority of these documents are already on microfilm, which is accessible by computers in the Hall of Records, but someone needs to know what they are looking for in order to actually find them. The volunteers are transcribing the ledger books into a searchable online database and are working through the general index books, which identify where documents like mortgages, leases, and deeds can be located.

Document digitization can benefit both individuals and organizations alike. Some of the advantages of document digitization include improved organization, historical document preservation, storage, and better financial handling.


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