Answering Your Questions About Our Scanning And Imaging Services

  • What types of services does Crowley Imaging provide?

    Crowley Imaging is a full-service conversion bureau that embraces both analog and digital conversions, setting it apart from most other service bureaus. Specific services include:

  • Is Crowley bonded and insured?

    The Crowley Company, with a three-decade record of financial stability, is adequately insured for most projects and able to secure additional insurance and bonding as required by contract.

  • We don't want our collection or files to leave our facility. Can you scan on site?

    There are many instances when Crowley Imaging representatives operate in a customer facility. A number of variables affect pricing, but this practice has proven to be very successful, particularly with collections that are fragile or which require high security. For an interesting on-site digitization project, click here.

  • How many images are considered high-volume or production-level?

    As a rule of thumb for Crowley, 50,000 images or more is considered production-level and, due to volume, allows for best pricing. That said, Crowley Imaging will consider any size project and affords each customer the same high level of service, regardless of volume.

  • Will Crowley scan a single item or a small collection?

    As a production service bureau, Crowley Imaging is staffed and equipped to handle high-volume projects and currently has a minimum requirement fee. There are occasions when Crowley will consider small collections or single items. We are happy to make recommendations to other qualified vendors when able.

  • Does Crowley imaging subcontract services?

    Somewhat unique, the vast majority of digitizing and processing work at The Crowley Company is performed in-house and, in fact, Crowley Imaging is sometimes a subcontractor to other service bureaus. If a volume level or difficult deadline dictates it, we may incorporate the services of a reputable partner firm, but only with client permission. Intensive indexing/OCR/output requirements may also lend itself to subcontracting in order to provide the client with best price; options are presented and the client makes the decision with which they are most comfortable.

  • How long does it take to complete a digitization project?

    Each project is individual. Time to completion encompasses many factors including initial delivery, condition of the collection/materials, services to be provided, volume and more. Clients are provided with an estimated time of completion prior to the start of the project and Crowley Imaging will work with each client to ensure that projects are delivered when promised and needed.

  • How do I estimate the number of images in my collection?

    As a general, loose rule:

    • Unbound paper = 150-175 pages per inch (1,800-2,200 per foot)
    • One standard record/file box (letter/legal, 12” deep) = 2,000-2,500 pages
    • One banker-style box (letter or legal; 24" deep) = 4,500-5,000 pages
    • One vertical file drawer (24” deep) = 3,500-4,000 pages
    • One medical chart = 50 pages
    • One 16mm microfilm reel = 1,800-2,200 images
    • One 35mm microfilm reel = 900-1,000 images
    • One full step and repeat 16mm microfiche = 98 images
    • One full jacketed 16mm microfiche = 50 images
    • One COM microfiche = 256 images
    • One full AB Dick microfiche = 60
    • One aperture card = 1 image
  • What sets Crowley apart from the competition?

    We believe there are several Crowley Advantages, but the three most important differentiators may be: 1) the talent of our staff – over 100 years of collective experience among senior management; 2) our extensive experience with high-volume and rare archival preservation collections and projects; and 3) our unique position as a manufacturer and re-seller of high-end capture equipment and software, all of which is used in our imaging bureau. This allows us to create hardware and software solutions on the spot, without having to work with a vendor.

  • Do you need to destroy books to get a clean scan?

    No; Crowley Imaging clients may choose between destructive and non-destructive services. Our service bureau has the largest number of Zeutschel book scanners in operation in the U.S. These German-engineered scanners not only deliver highest image quality, they have a flexible book cradle that protects bound materials, promotes gentle handling and uses non-UV, cool LED lighting systems. Coupled with Zeutschel’s Perfect Book curvature correction software, page images are without distortion and books bindings are protected. Crowley Imaging may also a Qidenus book scanner, which features cradles of 60, 90 or 120 degrees. In terms of personnel, Crowley Imaging floor technicians are well-trained in the handling of all media types, including material that is extremely fragile

  • Why should we consider creating microfilm from our digitized images?

    In short, microfilm guarantees a back-up to your original images that requires minimal storage and lasts for hundreds of years, unlike today’s technology, which is constantly changing and often rendering certain file formats inaccessible after just a few years. If you’ve got a minute, read this blogpost on why microfilm is still the best archival preservation medium.

  • Our microfilm is beginning to smell like vinegar. Is it too late to save the images?

    "Vinegar Syndrome" – the smell of vinegar emanating from microfilm – signifies film decay. Depending on the degree of damage, it may not be too late to save the images. Mekel Technology, one of Crowley’s manufactured brands, produces the world’s highest-end microfilm scanner. Powered by Quantum Technology, a custom scanning and processing software suite, this hardware/software combination has shown an impressive ability to restore decaying images to original or near-original status. These newly digitized files can then be duplicated back onto microfilm, allowing the client to have both a digital and a micrographic collection. One of the advantages of having a manufacturing division is that as Crowley Imaging requires more from the scanning equipment in use, the research and development engineers are on-hand and able to respond with technologies and techniques that ultimately benefit the entire industry.

  • What is archive writing?

    Archive writing is when a set of digital images – either born digital or scanned from microfilm – are written/re-written to microfilm for long-term storage and protection of the original images. The Crowley Company’s vendor relationship with Zeutschel ensures that Crowley Imaging can write files to both 16 and 35mm film in bi-tonal, grayscale or color output at resolutions that exceed preservation and archival standards, a rarity for most service bureaus.

  • Why isn't there a standard price list for scanning projects?

    Some service bureaus do provide standard pricing, but they are primarily organizations that provide a single workflow. The capabilities of Crowley Imaging extend from hand-scanning the very rare book or loose letter to feeding thousands of medical or insurance records into a high-speed paper scanner and everything in-between. Although Crowley prices are competitive, they are also customized to each project, helping to ensure customer satisfaction and project understanding while avoiding undue surprises at the end of the contract.

  • Why aren't Crowley's prices all-inclusive?

    At Crowley Imaging, we’ve learned from experience that there are options within each project and that digitizing a collection or files is not an all-or-nothing proposition. A client’s budget may allow for one portion of the work to be outsourced to Crowley – ie: microfilm to multi-page PDF files – while another – indexing – may be provided in-house and another – microfilm duplication – is an option to be considered at a later date. By breaking up the pricing structure, clients are more easily able to work with Crowley professionals to determine if the project is affordable or if it can be modified or phased as funding allows. This mindset to pricing has helped to foster long-term relationships with many Crowley Imaging clients.

  • What is the advantage to outsourcing rather than scanning in-house?

    Sometimes there isn’t an advantage – but there has to be a lot of variables in place (equipment, personnel, infrastructure, etc.) for that to be the case. For most projects, experience and overhead are key factors in determining when outsourcing scanning is profitable. Additionally, as a capture hardware manufacturer/re-seller, Crowley representatives are aware of all industry options for clients and can make recommendations based on full-service, versus service-bureau only, knowledge. For more information, read here.

  • What types of output files does Crowley Imaging provide?

    Crowley Imaging can provide any output file required by a client. The most common files requested are uncompressed TIFF (single/multi-page), JPEG (all variations) and PDF (single/multi-page). The exact output is matched to the image end-use and may be delivered in one or several formats.

  • How does Crowley Imaging index scanning projects?

    Each scanning project is individual, as are the indexing requirements. Our representatives work closely with each client to determine how the final images will be utilized within the organization and its workflow or viewing system. The indexing is then tailored to the end-use.

  • How does Crowley Imaging deliver my images?

    There are several methods of delivery, including ftp and external hard drive among many others. Most deliveries are tailored to the client’s network; there is not a “one size fits all” answer.

  • Is every scanning project OCR'd?

    No. Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is performed as required and is an add-on service to a digitization project. At this time, OCR can only be effectively performed on non-handwritten images. Manual transcription is also an option, but one typically provided by the client who may use volunteers or in-house staff.

  • Does Crowley Imaging have a quality control program?

    Crowley Imaging has several quality control practices in place that begin when a project’s media enters our facility and ends at final delivery. This includes proper transportation (as required), checking material in against manifest lists or barcodes, assessing the condition of a collection prior to scanning, evaluating post-processing image quality (averaging much higher than the current industry standard of 3%), re-packaging and final delivery.

  • When capturing information on microfilm (archive writing), should I use 16mm or 35mm microfilm?

    This choice is based on user preference. Archivists typically utilize 35mm microfilm for material preservation, whereas records managers tend to use 16mm microfilm for archiving vital documents. Both provide an exact visual representation of the original; the only difference is the size of the image. The main reason archivists prefer 35mm film is because of the belief that the less an image is minimized/reduced, the more exactly it can be reproduced through digital scanning or viewing.

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