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Home > Useful Software Products > Business Software > Quick and Easy MicroFiche Scanning Solutions > Aperture Card Scanning

Aperture Card Scanning

Aperture cards were a popular method of archiving valuable corporate data during the 1970's and early 1980's. The advent of digital technology and storage has made aperture cards largely obsolete. There is, however, a vast amount of valuable data stored on them. Converting this data to digital format has many benefits, including:

  • Vastly increasing the speed at which archived data can be retrieved.
  • Data is less likely to be lost.
  • Digital data is easier to back up.
  • Digital data can be sent between office locations instantaneously, whereas aperture cards have to be transported.

Various solutions are available for extracting the data from aperture cards and converting it to digital format.

Aperture Card Scanning OCR

A popular choice for when scanning old aperture card data is to convert the resulting documents to Adobe Acrobat PDF format. These files can then be digitally archived or stored in other ways such as posting them on a company Intranet, or storing on DVD or CD-ROM in a fireproof safe or using them in a document management solution.

A basic scanning process will just scan the data stored on the aperture card and convert it to a bitmap-based PDF document. A more sophisticated option is to subject the data to an OCR conversion process. This will convert text in the aperture card's film into actual text to store digitally in the PDF file. The advantage of this is that the text then becomes machine searchable. It also leads to smaller file sizes. Unfortunately OCR isn't completely accurate, especially if aperture cards are stored in poor conditions and have deteriorated, or the original documents weren't copied at a high resolution or were of poor quality to begin with. Handwritten documents do not generally convert as well as typed text, which is another consideration.

Specialist scanning solutions such as that offered by DocuScan can even convert architectural and other technical drawings into vector computer based data.

Costs of Aperture Card Scanning

There are two ways of getting aperture cards scanned. The first is to buy the necessary hardware scanner and OCR software. This is a good option for occasional use or if there are only a small number of records that need conversion to digital format. There are a wide range of aperture card scanners available to suit all budgets and tasks. The larger models will generally allow many aperture cards to be loaded simultaneously. Some models are standalone scanners, whereas others link to a computer for further data processing capabilities.

The alternative is to use a scanning bureau with particular expertise in aperture card scanning. This option is also attractive if there is a large amount of scanning to be done, as outsourcing the data conversion to a specialist bureau could potentially save a lot of time and money compared to doing it in-house. A scanning bureau is also a good option if special services are required, such as retrieving data from old or damaged aperture cards, or digitising other archival formats including scanning microfiche and microfilm. A good bureau will also help project manage the whole conversion process.

Related content: aperture cards, scanning, ocr


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