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Archiving the deceased

09 July 2009

Council burial records finally going digital.

Councils all over the country have offices which contain burial and cemetery records for each person buried in public cemeteries. These records have been gathering up massively over time and some cemetery offices are now pushed for space because of the huge backlog of stored records.

When it comes to locating one burial record it is rarely found instantly even with the best filing systems. Most cemetery offices will still hold records in the dated microfilm, microfiche or paper document format which can prove time consuming to manage. As a result many Councils have already completed or are in the process of having all of these records scanned electronically archived on to computer to use as a records database.

Council archives in Manchester and Cheshire have recently put this process in place by having their backlogged burial records scanned and electronically archived and they now simply enter any burial information on to their computers as they come in, this keeps the paper files and old microfilm/fiche out of the loop as well as freeing up valuable office space.

Pearl Scan offer scanning of a range of media such as microfiche, microfilm, documents of any size, bound registers, newspapers, publications and any form of hard copy documentation. Having already worked with numerous councils and libraries to arrange this type of work. Pearl Scans' official ISO 9001:2000 accreditation means that document scanning services are audited externally.

Normally a procedure such as this would involve a collection of the records from the clients' location no matter what condition they are in. They are then take to the high-tech bureau and scanned in using the latest edition scanners. These scanned files are checked through quality control and indexed in whatever format is required e.g. by name, address, date of birth etc. Once they are all compiled into searchable electronic files the CDs are returned with the records on along with free file retrieval software for ease of searching.

Councils are being warned through data protection not to fall too far behind with record keeping, This is now becoming more a matter of ‘when’ will they be digitised rather than ‘if’.

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