Digital ReeL, Microfilm Scanning Solution, Enables Online Access to Historical Newspapers at Sunnyvale Public Library

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Online access to historical newspaper archive enables patrons to search and retrieve articles and photos anywhere at anytime; fast search and retrieval cuts staff time required to help patrons retrieve information

Digital ReeL Microfilm Scanning Solution
Using Digital ReeL, we were able to do a full text search across the historical newspaper archive. Within 5 minutes, we identified several great articles with valuable information. This would not have been possible before our microfilm was digitized.

BMI Imaging announced today that Sunnyvale Public Library has successfully implemented Digital ReeL as its online, historical newspaper microfilm scanning solution.

Christine Mendoza, Supervising Librarian, states “We had very little experience with digitizing newspapers. Initially, we thought doing the scanning ourselves might be an option but it soon became apparent that it would require too much staff involvement. We found BMI’s Digital ReeL to be a cost-effective solution; BMI helped us resolve the issues that normally come up with a newspaper scanning project.

The historical Sunnyvale newspaper archive, dating back to 1906, was mostly on microfilm (some on old print). It required a significant amount of staff time to help patrons research the archive. In addition, the print paper was starting to deteriorate. Because of this, a desire grew to digitally convert the archive with the purpose of making the records easily searchable and preserving them long into the future.

Mendoza states, “When we decided to move forward with the newspaper digitization project, we did not have publisher permission to scan the Sunnyvale historical newspapers. We worked with our City attorney and it was determined that anything prior to 1963 could be put on our web-site and made available. Anything after 1963 was to be digitized and accessible only within our library.”

Today, the Sunnyvale historical newspaper archive is available online with Digital ReeL. Newspapers include the Standard Register Leader, the Sunnyvale Daily Standard, the Valley Journal, West Valley Times, and more. Access the historical newspaper archive here.

Mendoza: “Newspapers published prior to 1963 are available anywhere from our website. The entire collection is available at the library. Staff and patrons now use full text searching to find articles, historical
documents, and photos. They can turn grainy black and white images into lifelike photos with image enhancement features.”

The ability to research the newspaper archive from the website has been well received by the public. Since posting the newspaper archive in May 2016, the Library is receiving an average of 1,400 image requests per month.

Mendoza states, “We‘re able to significantly cut staff time for certain requests.” For example, a new park and softball diamond was about to be christened and a patron was curious to learn the history behind how the other seven Sunnyvale parks were named.

“Using Digital ReeL, we were able to do a full text search across the historical newspaper archive using the name of each park. Within 5 minutes, we identified several great articles with valuable information. This would not have been possible before our microfilm was digitized.” Overall, it’s easy for patrons and staff to type key words into the interface. Google-like result sets appear and each key word is highlighted in yellow, making it easy to browse through the results.

Read the complete newspaper microfilm scanning solution case study here.

About BMI Imaging

BMI Imaging Systems, Inc. has been at the forefront of the document management industry since 1958, first with microfilm and now with scanned images. Headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, with an additional production and sales facility in Sacramento, BMI serves over 500 commercial companies and government agencies, converting an average of 3 million images per month. BMI consists of 60 production specialists and support staff, many having worked for the company for ten years or more.

BMI has developed a wealth of experience in several vertical markets (e.g. healthcare, government, education) and offers customized document management solutions in a competitive and changing marketplace. Scanning paper documents or physical microfilm is usually the most visible task in achieving a full document solution. Identifying record types, determining indexing methods and leveraging content in existing legacy systems are all skills needed to modernize an agency’s document management systems and processes. BMI’s systems integration team has decades of experience to achieve this goal. Internally developed software tools, over 400 to date, are regularly employed to solve complex image and data challenges. Jobs that require analysis, data extraction, multiple service offerings and custom development are those that separate BMI from other providers.

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Will Whitney
BMI Imaging
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