The following is a guest post by Tammy Hudson, DHS Records Officer on behalf of the Federal Records Management Council.
The Federal Records Management Council (FRMC) is a NARA-sponsored group of agency records officers that meet regularly to discuss records management challenges common to all agencies. A subcommittee of the FRMC worked independently to examine the challenges around digitization of paper records. This work led to the creation of several products which are being released today. The products are a white paper, pricing chart and calculation tool that should enable users to determine cost estimates and develop a business case for digitization projects. These products are located at: https://www.archives.gov/records-mgmt/policy/frmc.
The white paper details benefits, risks, and challenges and also provides considerations to determine if digitizing records is right for your Agency.
The pricing chart summarizes price ranges observed on various vendors’ GSA Schedule 36 for Special Item Number 51 506 – Document Conversion. It is not a complete analysis of every current contract holder’s rates, but is a starting point to understand what price ranges you may expect to see.
A cost-benefit analysis can provide practical support for the business decision of when or when not to digitize. The calculation tool will enable you to determine costs for digitizing paper, microfilm, or microfiche.
Agencies must take into account various factors to determine an optimal digitization strategy that balances records accessibility and budget. It cannot be assumed that simply scanning all agency records will automatically produce a more efficient, digital environment. Depending on factors such as activity levels, frequency of access and retention schedules, it may not be practical from either a financial or operational standpoint to digitize some records.