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Expert scanning services revolutionise the study of history at Scots PGC College

Avantix went ‘back to school’ to complete a project that saw the digitisation of 100 years of yearbooks at Scots PGC College.

Scots PGC College is a private, co-educational school with day- and boarding-students across the primary and secondary years. In the lead up to their centenary, it was recognised that, though their carefully compiled yearbooks held a wealth of history, the information was not
sufficiently accessible.

Before Avantix was engaged, school staff would spend hours manually searching the yearbooks to find information requested. Though a testament to their customer service that they undertook this laborious work, the inefficiency was increasingly apparent.

Digitisation was sought

In order to meet requests for information about past students, as well as easily research stories for the planned centenary celebrations, digitisation services were sought. As the magazine-style yearbooks had already been bound into books, this was essentially a book scanning project that required the right level of care to ensure preservation of the original collection (a speciality of Avantix).

The Scots PGC College team briefly considered doing the scanning work themselves but quickly realised how time consuming the task would be. They were also understandably concerned about the wear and tear that could result from the handling of the ageing, one-off yearbooks.

Scanning Services streamlined in to a successful outcome

Jim Cohen from Avantix, says “This is a perfect example of how an expert digital scanning service can transform a scanning project, perceived as difficult by the customer, into a streamlined and successful outcome”.

“For a customer to scan each page, one at a time on a flatbed scanner would take 3-4 minutes per page and put the spines of the books under significant stress and strain”, Cohen says. “Instead, thanks to the specialised equipment and technical knowledge of the Avantix team, the yearbooks were digitised efficiently and safely returned in perfect condition”.

Searchability was a key outcome of the project. The entire collection was made content searchable and catalogued within Adobe Acrobat for ease of use. The benefit to Scots PGC College is that search criteria can be applied across multiple magazines simultaneously (e.g.Name, Year, Sport, etc). The software returns the results of every time that search criteria appears across all publications. “You’ve got absolute clarity”, says Cohen “every time that student is mentioned in the yearbooks, they are instantly found”.

Digital Scanning cuts search time down from hours to seconds

The catalogue search function within Acrobat Reader is a little-known free tool that, though readily available, is not widely used. Scots PGC College benefited from Avantix’s set up of this tool for their yearbooks, as well as providing training for their end users.

Given that many queries come from relatives preparing eulogies for past students, the new efficiency and thoroughness of searching is a real blessing for all.

With searches for historical information now taking seconds rather than hours, plans for Scots PGC College’s centenary celebrations are looking bright.

Let’s discuss the benefits of digitising your records today.