What the FADGI %*#&!? (Part One: Understanding Basics)

March Madness may be the talk of the water cooler this week, but we’ve bigger fish to fry in the imaging world (subliminal Lenten reference). One of today’s hottest topics is the evolution of digital imaging standards, which is being prodded into daily conversation by the increasing push to meet FADGI – Federal Agencies Digital Guidelines Initiative – compliance. It’s simple. It’s complex. It’s confusing. It’s a work in progress.

The good news is that there is increasing recognition – specifically among federal agencies but reaching much further – that proper and standardized digitization practices of still and audio-visual archives are critical to uniform and long-term preservation. The still-good-but-more-difficult-to-grasp news is that this is not a one and done solution, but rather a process that has been evolving with careful thought and consideration over the past decade…and which may take another decade to come to a conclusion if, in fact, it ever does.

What is FADGI?

As stated on the FADGI website, “FADGI is a collaborative effort started in 2007 by federal agencies to articulate common sustainable practices and guidelines for digitized and born digital historical, archival and cultural content.”* (Who says the government can’t get along? This is proof of a valiant effort!).

With a ranking of one (low) to four (high) stars, the FADGI committees have created performance parameters based on comprehensive numerical analysis of the accuracy and quality of digitized output for varying media.

Who Should Care about FADGI?

Very specific color targets (not pictured) are just one tool used to measure FADGI compliance.

Anyone with an archive collection may at some point question whether FADGI compliance is a true requirement. If the collection will stay locally, you may never have to worry about FADGI stars. If the collection may eventually be bound for the National Archives or the Library of Congress, it would be forward-thinking to meet the respective requirements.

At Crowley, we care about FADGI for two reasons – both of which boil down to best serving our clients.

  1. Crowley manufactures and sells scanners. As FADGI and other requirements (Metamorfoze, ISO, etc.) become the norm in digitization, we need to ensure that our R&D divisions and our partners are keeping pace with the specific demands for image quality.
  2. Crowley Imaging is one of the largest service bureaus in the country. Our imaging specialists need to know the ins and outs of every star so that we can help our clients to achieve the FADGI standards required in their projects. Conversely, we need to help our clients understand when they don’t need to meet these standards.

It’s important to note that currently only 5-10% of Crowley clients (hardware and imaging services combined) require FADGI compliance. This has been a gradual climb over the past five years and the growth rate, while steady, will continue to be slow.

Meeting FADGI

In Part Two of “What the FADGI %*#&!?”, Crowley Company experts will roundtable to discuss when clients may or may not need to meet FADGI requirements for their still image archives. In Part Three, we’ll review the availability of FADGI-compliant scanners and other capture options to the market. We promise both will be in layman’s terms (mostly because that’s the only way I can understand it all).

Have a question about FADGI? Let us know and we’ll do our best to address it.

*For clarification, “digitized” refers to non-digital media (ie: microform, document originals, etc.) that have been digitized with cameras, scanners or both; “born digital” refers to records which have digital origins (ie: emails, digital photos, etc.). 

Learn more about Crowley’s digitization solutions

For more information on the digital and analog conversion services and hardware offered by The Crowley Company, please visit our website or call (240) 215-0224. General inquiries can be emailed to blog@thecrowleycompany.com. You can also follow The Crowley Company on FacebookTwitterGoogle+LinkedInPinterest and YouTube.

Cheri BakerCheri Baker, Crowley’s Director of Communications, has a career that spans newspaper, agency and corporate communications. A self-described “generalist specialist,” she believes common sense, good grammar, nice manners and a dash of fun go a long way toward successful public relations. Find Cheri Baker on LinkedIn+


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