Digitizing Records: Quality Management

Digitization project at Archives 1 (Room 18W2) 
National Archives Identifier: 184341402

This is our fourth blog post taking a deep dive into 36 CFR 1236 Subpart E–Digitizing Permanent Records, which takes effect next week. In this post, we address quality management (QM) which includes the quality assurance (QA) and quality control (QC) requirements provided in the regulation. All of the previous posts have been collected under the 36 CFR Section 1236 category.

QM is an essential aspect of any digitization project. This process ensures that the images produced are of the highest quality, and the resulting files meet the project specifications. In this blog post, we will look at the quality management requirements, including quality assurance, quality control, testing and analysis, quality control inspection, corrective measures, and inspection for other quality aspects.

Quality assurance (QA) requirements are critical in ensuring that the equipment meets the image quality performance parameters specified in § 1236.50. The agency must use QA processes to quantify scanner or camera performance before selecting the equipment, evaluate internal or external vendor imaging systems against image quality performance parameters, monitor equipment performance during digitization, and verify that resulting digital files meet project specifications.

The quality control (QC) requirements involve implementing QC inspection and monitoring processes to ensure that images meet the digitization image quality parameters in § 1236.50. The Federal Agencies Digital Guidelines Initiative (FADGI) Digital Image Conformance Evaluation program (DICE) is a QC inspection and monitoring process that uses image targets and analysis software to verify compliance. If the agency does not adopt the FADGI Conformance Evaluation program, it must document both the procedures used and how it verified conformance to the quality parameters.

During the digitization process, the agency must perform QC testing and analysis to identify quality control (QC) malfunctioning or improperly configured digitization equipment, improper software application settings, incorrect metadata capture, or human error and take corrective actions. The agency must implement an image quality analysis process and use reference targets to verify that digitization devices conform to imaging parameters, replace reference targets as they fade or accumulate dirt, scratches, and other surface marks that reduce their usability, regularly test equipment to ensure scanners and digital cameras are performing optimally, test equipment with the specific software/device driver combination(s), and re-test after any changes to the workflow.

The agency must perform QC inspections of the digital records for compliance with the technical parameters and criteria. The inspection must ensure 100% of the image files can open and be displayed, are encoded with a compression type and in a format specified in § 1236.48, and have the resolution, color mode, bit depth, and color profile specified in § 1236.50. The agency must perform a visual inspection using a statistically valid technique. Visual inspection must be conducted using a calibrated graphics workstation and using a monitor set to 100% magnification to check the image quality characteristics.

If the inspection reveals errors, corrective measures must be taken until there is a 100% success rate for the sample set. The agency must inspect the resulting files to verify that they meet the metadata and records completeness requirements.

Implementing quality management requirements is crucial to ensuring the quality of digitized images. The process involves quality assurance, quality control, testing and analysis, quality control inspection, corrective measures, and inspection for other quality aspects. By following these guidelines, agencies can ensure that their digitized images meet the required specifications, enabling them to serve their intended purposes effectively.

2 thoughts on “Digitizing Records: Quality Management

  1. Is there any guidance of how to keep electronic records within the Shared Drives? Records Officers need guidance on how to label electronic drives. (Currently, most Record Officer are labeling by titling the Record and putting the RCS 10-1 code in front or behind the title, seperating the records by FY or CY.) Please advise.

  2. Ashely I’m guessing your with Veterans Health Administration if your using RCS 10-1….. if not my apologies. Contract Tony Marrett the VHA Records Officer or David McDaniels they will direct you.

    Matt Staden retired VHA records Officer

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