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Archives ‘from the basement’ help achieve performance targets

2024 / 01 / 24

The documents and archives accumulated by organisations over the years are like clutter tucked away in a basement – they are of no real use. To achieve organisational goals and make them useful in the digital realm, one must find new ways to use the information they contain. In this day and age, simply scanning these documents is not enough.

According to Chief Innovation Officer at Novian Technologies Artūras Milašauskas, today’s businesses and organisations should look for ways to empower the various paper documents stored in their archives – from invoices and contracts to drawings, illustrations, artworks, photographs, books, or other publications – for their current needs and business purposes. 

“Paper or digital content – it’s just a format; the most important things are obviously content and accessibility. Anything that is printed, written or otherwise represented on paper can be digitised. We, therefore, want to encourage organisations to get their paper archives out of the basement and start managing them properly: not just scanning them but also looking for ways to use the information they contain so that it can be beneficial now and in the future”, A. Milašauskas notes.

Proper digitisation is key

For paper document digitisation to have tangible benefits, according to A. Milašauskas, one should give thought to the proper preparation of the information within these documents for further use in various other formats.

To achieve these goals, companies and organisations should not just move the information to new digital PDF repositories. The aim of digitisation should be to make the most of one’s archives: searching for information and integrating digitised information into other processes and systems.

“For this purpose, it is essential to ensure quality categorisation or cataloguing of the information – i.e. prepare it for further structuring – at an early stage in the digitisation process”, the Novian representative notes. This means, he says, that in the process of scanning a document, the information contained therein must be categorised as much as possible according to certain functions. “This will allow the information to be reused in the future, and enable it for working with content or converting it to other digital formats”, says A. Milašauskas.

Equally important is making sure that the information, which is properly prepared for digital use, can be catalogued and used for efficient search by combining existing archives and catalogues by keyword, subject or date. Novian’s software helps with categorisation and cataloguing, thereby ensuring smooth operations with digitised content and its preparation for future use.

Saving resources, a win for clients

Novian representative A. Milašauskas says that full digitisation is most likely to benefit service and publishing organisations, as well as organisations with a history spanning both the ‘paper’ and ‘digital’ ages. By bringing together all the archives in one modern information repository, they can better meet the needs of the clients, and save costs and other resources.

Examples include capturing a client’s history in one format. If a client has been using services for years, some of the contracts will still be in paper form. Digitising this data allows to see the client’s story – previous commitments, conditions, and history of use, conveniently all in one digital format.

Another example is that some companies have accumulated paper archives of the various projects they have carried out, which, once digitised, are protected against natural deterioration. Furthermore, the information can be much faster accessed without having to search for paper documents mouldering away somewhere out of sight. Once old files have been digitised and their data categorised, the information for new projects can be quickly retrieved from these archives by address or another parameter (e.g. number) and immediately analysed.

Libraries also benefit from digitisation with full categorisation, creating a flexible and fully searchable archive. “A database of static PDF documents alone is, unfortunately, no longer sufficient when we want to use the archive as a modern search engine. Besides, experience also shows that the PDF format is not easy to read and, therefore, not widely used”, A. Milašauskas says.

According to him, high-quality digitisation transforms archives into modern digital texts and images, ensuring that the content can be used for education and automated reading and listening, and can be published on portals.

“I must also emphasise that full digitisation by categorising and empowering data allows us to look at information in a creative way: we can collate information across different parameters and use it to make predictions, meaning it can benefit future activities”, A. Milašauskas notes.

Novian group’s extensive experience

Novian group companies have exceptional technological potential in the region to undertake complex, large-scale digitisation projects ranging from digitising documents in a variety of formats to transferring text and images or creating the necessary metadata for digital use. They also offer a broader range of solutions for data empowerment.

Novian companies in Lithuania, Estonia, Norway, and Moldova offer digitisation of archives, books, newspapers, magazines, journals and other publications and libraries, not only in the Baltic and Scandinavian countries but also in the rest of Europe and on other continents. Novian is currently working on a digitisation project for the archives of the National Library of Luxembourg, scanning all the library’s monographs (over 2 million pages).

The group has extensive technical capacity for digitisation services thanks to the Novian digitisation centre in Tallinn, Estonia. It is equipped with five types of scanners, for media ranging from A4 documents to complex large documents, old newspapers, and maps. Automated solutions also allow for processing multi-page or large publications.

The software for digitization solutions has been developed by the Novian group company Zissor, which is operating in Norway. Its Archive Digitization software allows to digitize publications by segmenting them and applying optical character recognition (OCR), quality control and editing tools. The company also offers PDF format conversion and segmentation that allow to segment and “extract” articles, including text, illustrations, and meta data.

Novian provides digitisation solutions by enabling existing software and hardware to meet customer needs. “Through segmentation, we prepare digital content to be repurposed in all possible sections, separating the functional parts of the text and image: headline, text, illustrations,  descriptions of the illustrations, and so on. This way, the information in the desired sections can be fully reused in the future. This comprehensive categorisation makes it possible to present digital information in a way that makes sense”, says A. Milašauskas.

Novian’s digitisation services:

  • Scanning paper documents, and uploading and storing digital material in document systems
  • Processing documents (text recognition, metadata, segmentation, different formats)
  • Archiving solutions, specialised software for processing and hosting materials
  • Software for digitising and segmenting the content of printed and/or scanned documents and publications
  • Converting PDF files to XML for other communication channels
  • Indexing scanned documents (from paper, microfilm, or PDF images in various formats)
  • Optical character recognition, including gothic or so-called ‘fraktur’ text
  • Automatic article segmentation and metadata extraction
  • Exporting to multiple formats such as JPG or PDF with text search and multiple XML standards
  • Media monitoring software

He says data that is well prepared for digital use helps develop analysis and optimisation processes to make an organisation more efficient. In addition, such data can be accessed, used, analysed, and integrated into other systems much more quickly, speeding up organisational processes and reducing the cost of using paper archives.

About Novian group

Novian Technologies is part of Novian group, whose companies provide technological, software and digitisation solutions, as well as integrated IT solutions and services in these fields.

Novian Technologies is an expert in areas that include creating, maintaining and adapting IT infrastructure to new needs, as well as providing critical IT infrastructure maintenance services. The company’s service portfolio includes solutions related to high-performance computing devices and clusters, as well as open-source cloud technologies, high-reliability data, archiving, and more.

Novian companies’ projects range from ensuring the smooth day-to-day operation of IT infrastructure to software development on a city-wide or national scale, as well as the development of information systems for particular sectors, and artificial intelligence solutions.

The group’s companies are based in the Baltics, Norway and Moldova, from where they serve clients and implement projects across the globe. Between 2016 and 2022, the projects implemented by the Novian companies spanned more than 50 countries in Europe, Africa, Asia and America.

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