I’m Looking for a Microfilm Digitization Quote

I’m looking for a microfilm digitization quote. If you or someone you know provides microfilm digitization, please have them send me a quote.

I’ve got 113 reels of microfilm I’d like to digitize and I’m looking for a ballpark estimate for the project.

Here’s the info I know, please let me know if you need anything else:

  • There are an average of 600 images per reel (about 67,800 images)
  • I’d like to scan at 300 dpi, 8bit grayscale lossless images (tiff? png?)
  • I have the copyright on the images on these reels
  • The reels are lightly used duplicates of the master reels. The master reels are unfortunately unavailable
  • The images are all scanned newspapers
  • I don’t need any OCR done
  • The only metadata I need is which reel each of the images came from eg. One directory per reel with incremental file names would be just fine.

Project Background: I would like to put 128 years of Iron County Miner newspaper archives online. They would be freely available (no subscription or account required) and there’s no plan to make money from them. Since there’s no revenue expected I’m looking for ways to reduce costs while still putting something out there to benefit genealogists and historians.

The master rolls are held by the Wisconsin Historical Society who wants nearly $10,000 ($0.145/image) for the project or $80 per reel to send us fresh copies of the reels. From their perspective, I think that’s probably fair; they aren’t in the digitization business and they probably aren’t set up to do this sort of project in a streamlined manner. They also can’t amortize their digitization equipment costs across so many clients as a commercial company can.

For me though, $10,000 means that I can’t pursue this project right now.

Most digitization companies I have contacted have been reluctant to provide even a ballpark quote without seeing test reels, and I understand that that is a factor. Right now though, I just need a gauge to determine if this project is viable. If $10,000 is the real cost for this sort of project it will have to wait till I’m rich, but if I can get a cheaper quote I hope to make it happen this summer.

Pre-Announcing NewspaperCMS

I have been working on a CMS (Content Management System) called NewspaperCMS, to host the scanned images with and to make them easily navigable. It is licensed under the GPLv2 so anybody needing to host newspaper archives can use it.

Here’s its page on Google Code: http://code.google.com/p/newspapercms/

I would classify it as in late Alpha or early Beta stages right now. I’ll do an official post on it as it matures and as I get a publicly accessible test site set up. As a teaser, features include:

  • Browse collection by microfilm, newspaper or date
    • Drill down within those categories by newspaper, issue, year or month
  • Access-driven generation of midsized images. No need to generate 60,000 midsized images ahead of time.
  • Valid HTML5/CSS3
  • HTML5/Canvas based client-side image viewer. The user can zoom, rotate, invert, sharpen and change the contrast of the image (uses the http://www.pixastic.com/JavaScript libraries)
    • Falls back to a static image if they don’t have Canvas or JavaScript support
  • Built in search engine
  • Support for the tesseract OCR engine

As I said, it’s still in development, but if you need something like it, you can play with it now. It’s at the point where more development doesn’t make sense until I know I can get the microfilms scanned.

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