BancTec, a global provider of advanced, high-volume, document and payment processing solutions and services, recently helped the Diocese of Austin, the Catholic Church of Central Texas, digitize its entire collection of sacramental records. The process, which lasted approximately one year and consisted of nearly 120,000 scanned images, was conducted in compliance with the sacramental records project, a preservation initiative first undertaken after the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina.
"Hardbound, handwritten church records, for everything from baptisms to final rites, are a living testimony of a church's history," said Brian Rathe, president of BancTec's DocuData division, which completed the project. "However, despite best efforts to protect and maintain these records, they are susceptible to the ravages of time and unforeseen disasters, thus it makes sense to preserve them through new digital scanning and archival technologies. We enjoyed working with the Diocese of Austin on such an important endeavor and look forward to applying what we learned in this project to build a new mobile scanning solution for other dioceses."
The Austin Diocese project was broken into 11 phases over one year. The hardbound books from each church were delivered to DocuData's Austin facility, where they were microfilmed and imaged. Microfilm was chosen as a trusted source for preservation due to the need to retain a "hard copy" in a secure offsite facility, as well as the ability to produce digital images from the film. The digital images were then transferred back to the church, allowing for more efficiency when searching through the records.
Because hardbound sacramental documents are so sensitive and cannot be reproduced if lost or damaged, many churches are hesitant to let them leave their premises. To provide preservation services for those churches and dioceses that want to maintain ultimate control over their records, DocuData has developed a mobile scanning solution. This service utilizes specialized RV's with all the hardware and software necessary to scan records onsite in a church's parking lot, eliminating the need to transfer the documents to a faraway location. As with the Diocese of Austin project, DocuData will produce a microfilm "hardcopy" as well as digital files.
"We developed a mobile scanning solution to help a large energy company preserve their sensitive records, and plan to do the same with diocesan sacramental records," said Rathe. "This mobile, turnkey solution will eliminate risk for the churches and preserve forever their sacramental history."
BancTec helps clients around the world simplify the process of managing their information. Founded in 1972, the company provides a wide range of solutions for automating complex, high-volume and data-intensive business processes for clients in the financial services, healthcare, manufacturing, government, services and utilities industries. BancTec's offerings include business solutions, business process outsourcing, and infrastructure services. With headquarters in Dallas, BancTec serves clients in 50 countries. For more information on how BancTec can help you optimize information management, visit: www.banctec.com.