2008-05-20 Digitizing Records
We had friends here in Salt Lake City who have been digitizing records.
On May 20th, 2008 (thanks to their generosity) I got
to see the operation first hand.
This small table, painted flat black to
prevent reflections, is where the documents are laid.
The camera is connected to a computer where software assists the
missionary to take a high-quality digital photographic image of the
document. As the document is photographed, it is also catalogued
to assist in later indexing operations.
The dark paper (cardboard) covers taped and stapled at the top of this picture are
to keep the table's bright lights from blinding the operator.
Here's a look inside the light shield at
the camera itself.
And here's a closeup of the camera.
Camera stats are included at the end of this web page for those who
like tech talk.
Here's the customized computer used to do the
This is a portable hard drive used to
store the images. When complete, the drives are packed in these
protective cases and shipped to the Church Office Building. The destination in the 26 floor
Church Office Building near temple square in downtown Salt Lake City is an air conditioned room young missionary volunteers mount the USB
hard drives in racks. From there, data is transferred to a local
server from which missionaries create 2 DVDs, one for return to the
government agency from which the image was photographed and the other
to be archived.
After images are archived and stored they are uploaded to storage in a
leased data center and made available to
thousands of volunteer indexers. Raw images can't be searched by
computer. A human indexer looks at the image,
reads what is there, and types the text that is read into a computer
file to be matched with original image. This makes the
For those not interested is technical
specifications, this is the end. For those of you out there who
are nerds like me, scroll down for the specs.
Disks are Seagate ST300003U2 250GB shock
resistant hard drives stored in foam-padded plastic cases
Software: dCam-II v184.108.40.206
Camera 16MP Illunis XMV-16M (SiSo me4
driver) with a Nikon 50mm 1:1.4 D standard
lens. It makes 4872 x 3248 .TIF images at up to
for a datasheet)
4 bright flood lamps (2 on each end)
illuminate the flat black coated adjustable aluminum document
table on which records are laid.
Images are saved in lossless JPEG (80% or better) format once they
reach their destination which I don't have photos of,
To volunteer to do indexing, go to this link:
For the world's largest genealogy database and to begin family
research, click on this link: