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  R&D Main > Archives: Technology & Product Highlights > KODAK Reference Archive System: Digital Convenience, Analog Integrity(Aug 2003)

Archive System 2003 Title
KODAK Reference Archive System:

Digital Convenience, Analog Integrity

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 brought record-keeping to newspapers’ front pages last July, and on the first anniversary of its passage, companies are working diligently to institute policies and practices to ensure that deliberate (or accidental) destruction, alteration, and falsification of records are impossible. Nevertheless, for anyone who works in government, healthcare, law enforcement, real estate, financial services and insurance, human resources, or any industry that is regulated, careful record-keeping is a fact of life. For everyone else, chances are that a librarian somewhere provided a square or spool of microfilm with information needed for a term paper or school report, and introduced us to the world of micrographics.(Shown to the left, the KODAK i9600 Series Writer )

From carbon copies and microfiche to compact disks, the fundamental issues for record-keeping remain minimization of the sheer bulk and volume of data, preservation of its integrity, and easy retrieval. Digital and film-based technologies each present advantages and disadvantages in addressing these challenges, and rather than relying on one technology versus the other, it’s really a complimentary and “both/and” scenario, and it’s a simple formula: What drives retrieval drives media choice. For instantaneous retrieval to support business transactions and customer service, digital storage technologies are best. For retrievals in response to regulatory requirements, audits, Sarbanes-Oxley, protection of intellectual property, microfilm is the best.

Kodak has developed scanning, writing and records management technology for a comprehensive reference archive system that combines the convenience of digital technology, and the proven longevity and durability of film. The reference archive is the latest innovation in Kodak’s 75-year legacy of research, development, and commercialization of micrographics technology.

I800 WriterCentral to the reference archive concept is the KODAK i9600 Series Writer, which accepts digital files, organized by records management attributes, and creates copies of those records on ISO-standard archival media. Information is digitized from analog sources (documents, photos, and the like) by any one of Kodak’s portfolio of high-speed production document scanners, such as the i800 Series(See picture to the right). Content also can be sent directly as digital files from desktop applications. Then, using special integration software, the data is written as highly compressed and indexed records that can be checked for quality control, and printed as highly compressed images on microfilm. These analog records cannot be tampered with or compromised; moreover, they are stored on a medium with a life expectancy of 500 years – much greater than digital media’s estimated lifetime of just seven to 10 years.*

The analog record can be re-digitized using integration software, to create an electronic version convenient for distribution. A film scanner such as the KODAK i7300 Scanner searches the microfilm for the requested content, and creates a digital image. This resulting digital record can be stored and shared in multiple formats by multiple users throughout the enterprise.

Kodak’s products for a reference archive system also allow records to be organized by specific attributes such as class, date, or destruction schedule, for easy management and retrieval. Today’s electronic microimaging system builds on computer-assisted retrieval (CAR) technology that Kodak developed decades ago for searching and locating film-based content. CAR relies on indices of film roll and frame identification based on Kodak’s proprietary Image Management Code and three-size image marking on the edge of the film. CAR makes it possible to locate and present images that are stored on film much the same way that content is retrieved from digital storage media, from CDs to magnetic tape. Now, with the click of a mouse, intelligent hardware such as readers and scanners search this metadata to find and produce a desired image of a document.

As a result, significant preproduction such as document presorting is a thing of the past, and it is simpler than ever to sort images and organize them according to company-specific protocols, and to build indices from other reference data such as bar code recognition. Kodak has partnered with third-party workflow software vendors to marry the film index information with digital workflow indices for the reference archive.

Just as significant as archive accuracy and integrity is the preservation of records in a medium that is not subject to the need for frequent maintenance, upgrade or migration. Because the KODAK i9600 Series Writer creates a film-based record and the KODAK i7300 Scanner can output a corresponding digital record in the data format required, the original record is always retrievable and never lost or damaged due to the volatility, aging, or incompatibility of storage media. Information can be stored in the digital format that is most appropriate for the content, for example, on servers or in CD-ROM libraries for fast access, or on magnetic tapes or other media for less frequent use.

Since the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, experts advise sound document-retention policies that use a mix of digital storage and archival media to meet the short-, medium- and long-term needs of companies. The United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and several other countries have also used Kodak technology to capture and archive vital census data. (Shown below the i7300 KODAK Series Writer)