FINAL NARRATIVE PROJECT PERFORMANCE REPORT FOR CD-ROM
TECHNOLOGY PROJECT 96/97
Ontario County Department of Records, Archives and
Information Management Services
- The grant specified the development of a demonstration model
in technology through the installation of a stand-alone hybrid
microfilm to CD-ROM scanning and retrieval system.
- Permanent records, such as deeds to properties were to be
scanned from film and burned into a CD-ROM for efficient and cost-effective
- The project was to provide access to permanent, filmed records
while avoiding the rather substantial cost of placing microfilm
reader-printers into user departments.
- After the required bidding process, the Dept. of RAIMS chose
a MicroDAX 3000 hybrid imaging system by Minolta with software
from ALOS and a Gateway 2000 computer, 200Mhz, 3.5 gigab. hard
drive, 16X CD ROM drive. The system has network and direct FAX
- MicroDAX is generally configured to run 16mm blipped microfilm
automatically. However, the vendor added a modification for the
system to sense 35mm non-blipped microfilm. A Blip-Chip controller
was also added.
- The modification for 35mm microfilm scanning was made because
all early deed libers because of their size are microfilmed in
- The entire system was chosen because it met all possible use
requirements and because of overall cost and labor effectiveness.
While less expensive hardware systems are available, e.g. Canon,
the yearly licensing fees for such systems run into several thousand
dollars, while the ALOS software was a one-time purchase with
a reasonable software licensing fee for each CD-ROM. Most of the
licensing fee can be avoided totally if one places the necessary
software only on the first and last CD-ROM of a records series.
For convenience sake, we are placing the software on each CD-ROM.
- The purchase of the system was delayed because of the lateness
of the NY State budget and the required bidding process. However,
it is in use full-time every day and is working extremely well.
I have to commend Advanced Image Management Services for its training
and support. Although only one week was scheduled for training,
AIM has spent far more time here than expected - without additional
- Because of the experimental nature of the project - imaging
35mm rather than 16mm microfilm, we ran into difficulties at the
early stages of the project. Either through an operator error
or a software glitch, the system refused to burn CD-ROMs. The
problem has been solved and the system is working efficiently.
We are now working on two projects to test the total capability
of the system. One is the continuing of imaging of deeds - a project
that has been rated as "high priority" because the County
Clerk's office will move into new and less roomy quarters. The
second one is the imaging of inactive personnel information cards
for effective and fast access. A summer intern is microfilming
about 30,000 cards and then is imaging , and indexing them to
burn CD-ROMs. These cards are permanent and on 16mm blipped microfilm.
With these two projects, we have tested all capabilities of the
- Please note that a sample CD-ROM is enclosed. As will be noted,
the images when first displayed in reduced form are often very
dark. This is not an error by the MicroDAX system, but was done
on purpose. The early deed originals have faded significantly
and as a result, the 35mm film images are not much better. By
darkening the images in scanning, the Dept. of RAIMS has achieved
scanned images that are superior to the original (See enclosed
sample printouts). When the small image is expended on the computer
screen, it will be obvious that even at 50% of original size,
the images are quite readable.
- Printouts of pages are best on a laser printer - although
I have printed out readable copies with a dot matrix printer.
The enclosed sample printouts are approximately 30% of the original
size. However, even in letter-size, the pages are superior in
readability to the original. It is possible to right-click and
"rubber-band" any section of an image for printing.
This is particularly important with deeds that have been filmed
two pages at a time.
- We had to make a decision whether or not to index every deed
by grantor and grantee. Since a good hardcopy index exists for
deeds, we decided that re-indexing the deeds would be a monumental
and costly task. The deeds are thus indexed by page numbers only.
Since there are two pages on each image, both page numbers have
to be entered for retrieval. This is only a minor inconvenience.
The personnel records, on the other hand, are being indexed by
full name and the last four digits of the Social Security number.
The 4 digits of the SS number are added to avoid confusion of
employees with the same name.
- The entire system has been demonstrated to county and town
officials of Ontario County and other counties. The resulting
CD-ROM has been demonstrated at the County leaders' meeting (decision
makers on future imaging projects within their departments). Without
exception, individuals who have seen the demonstrations have been
impressed. More important, it was possible to notice the brains
working as these individuals thought of appropriate applications
within their own areas or departments.
- As so often, the Department of RAIMS takes chances with relatively
new technology, copes with the frustration of inevitable bugs
in new systems, and then passes the experiences on to other potential
users. Although sometimes frustrated, we find new projects exciting
and are willing to make life easier for our colleagues through
- The RAO has visited the Department of RAIMS several times
during the grant period, and has been shown the system and the
- The County Records Advisory Committee has met to help develop
a new five-year strategic plan that addresses, among other things,
the utilization of existing and emerging technology for records
management. The Records Advisory Committee, individually and as
a group, are very helpful and cooperative. (Whether that is the
result of my threat that I need a new building if records aren't
compressed, I am unable to say).
- Throughout my tenure at the Ontario County Department of Records,
Archives and Information Management Services, the Board of Supervisors
as well as the County Administrator, have been extremely supportive
in all aspects of records management. They have not denied any
needed funds or balked at the idea of renovating the existing
building and associated equipment. During the past five years,
the Board of Supervisors has approved a doubling of storage shelving,
a $50,000 renovation of the moveable shelving system in the archives
room, the addition of a permanent Assistant Records Management
Officer and a third microfilmer. The building now has a brand-new
central air conditioning system that allows greater flexibility
in storage of permanent records. With the support of the Board
of Supervisors and with the help of LGRMIF grants, the Department
of RAIMS has become a model for other local governments that are
becoming more concerned about records management issues. The Department
of RAIMS is funded for seven employees with an annual budget of
- Grants received through LGRMIF have been a logical progression
of demonstration models, and all projects have been continued
with county funding. Two archival grants permitted the arranging
of valuable historical records. The county picked up the position
of Assistant RMO permanently - one of the most important improvements
in records and archival management. A microfilm grant to start
filming the Surrogate Court records has improved access to important
research materials through rearrangement and a state-of-the-art
reader/printer. The present technology grant is a logical continuation
of a system of improved access and compression. An additional
multi-county grant to improve the communication and sharing among
county attorneys is not exactly a part of the strategic plan of
the Department of RAIMS, but this technology grant does have
the potential of improving statewide legal issues sharing and
greater efficiency in all county attorneys' offices. The project
is being picked up and continued by the County Attorneys Association.
- Ontario County and the Department of RAIMS are continuing
the scanning of records series as started with the technology
grant. Imaging has become an integral part of records management.
- Because the grant was essentially for equipment to complete
digitizing projects, the projects will continue as part of our
plan to make permanent, microfilmed archival records more accessible
and easier to use. During the next two years, we will 1) continue
to digitize real property deeds, 2) continue to microfilm and
digitize records from Human Resources and 3) begin digitization
of those microfilmed historical records that are used most frequently
by researchers and staff.