A buyer’s guide to FADGI-capable scanners

A buyer’s guide to FADGI-capable scanners

New federal guidelines are transforming the way government agencies and organizations digitize their permanent records. To stay compliant, your organization may need to purchase new technology, utilize special software, or work with a trusted vendor. Here’s how to find a trustworthy technology partner to help you meet FADGI guidelines.

Why does FADGI matter to your organization?

As we discussed in our previous post, working groups within FADGI, or Federal Agencies Digital Guidelines Initiative, have created standards for digitizing archival records on the federal government level.

These standards matter because the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) recently proposed that all permanent records in their collection must meet a minimum three-star FADGI image quality benchmark. That proposal would include records you may have already digitized.

This is part of a larger government effort to move away from paper records, exclusively towards digital copies. In fact, NARA recently announced that they would accept only digitized permanent records after June 30, 2024.

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Here’s how to make your organization FADGI-compliant

If your organization handles permanent federal government records, you will need to ensure your digitization process meets FADGI guidelines.

Meeting the FADGI three-star standard requires organizations to purchase a FADGI-capable scanner, scan a test record, and then run that scanned record through proprietary analysis software to determine whether it meets the three-star quality ranking.

To ensure success, we urge organizations to take the following three steps:

1. Ask the right technical questions

Finding the appropriate FADGI-capable technology for your organization can be complicated. That’s because some vendors will claim they meet FADGI standards without providing adequate verification. You can ensure that you’re purchasing technology that meets FADGI guidelines by asking potential vendors some key questions. These include:

“Can you provide test results that demonstrate your technology meets FADGI three-star standards?”

FADGI guidelines measure image quality through a series of technical specifications that go beyond the human eye. While this ensures high image quality standards, it also means that vendors can provide actual proof that their technology meets FADGI guidance.

Ask any potential vendor to provide a copy of their test results from the authorized GoldenThread Analysis software. This software package evaluates the quality of their scanned image on the FADGI four-star scale. If they can’t provide those test results or if the results show image quality below the three-star level, look elsewhere.

“Can I purchase your technology today?”

Manufacturers sometimes tout their FADGI expertise without disclosing that their technology isn’t yet commercially available. Even if the technology is a “few months” away from launch, it’s best to trust manufacturers that have FADGI-capable products available today.

Meeting FADGI standards requires attention to detail, digitization expertise, and engineering prowess. Working with a manufacturer that already meets FADGI guidelines means you are more likely to purchase reliable, tested technology.

2. Purchase authorized FADGI software and appropriate targets

Choosing the correct FADGI-capable technology is just the first step towards compliance. You’ll also need to purchase the proprietary GoldenThread software to determine whether your images meet the FADGI image quality standards. In addition to the software, your organization will need to purchase and use a set of printed targets to ensure that your scanner is properly calibrated.

Both products can only be purchased from Image Science Associates, the exclusive creator of the GoldenThread software. When verifying whether vendors meet FADGI standards, it’s important to make sure they are using these proprietary products for their testing and image verification.

While any organization can purchase the GoldenThread software and related products, configuring and using the software properly will require some initial expertise. That’s why we suggest you look for a technology vendor who can serve as a trusted partner in the FADGI digitization process.

3. Choose an implementation partner

Meeting FADGI guidelines can require complex technical expertise, as well as experience with digital imaging. While some organizations do have these capabilities in-house, it’s more likely that you will need an experienced technology provider to help your organization implement the right solutions.

A trusted partner should be able to:

  • Identify and recommend FADGI-capable scanning technology
  • Provide high-level guidance on setting up your technology
  • Give you comprehensive documentation on using the devices
  • Answer your questions about FADGI requirements

Make sure that whatever partner you choose has rigorous support for their products, as well as a team of product specialists who can guide you through particularly complex digitization projects. Your partner should also be able to help you set up your FADGI system by providing guidance on your initial installation.

When selecting a trusted partner, ask to speak with FADGI subject matter experts on their staff. If a potential partner doesn’t have that in-house expertise, you should consider another vendor who does.

Choosing the right partner is particularly critical because FADGI guidelines have the potential to become the benchmark for digital recordkeeping. In the coming years, many experts believe that the FADGI three-star standard may become mandatory at the state and local government levels. Over time, these standards may also apply to government-regulated industries like finance and healthcare, as well as universities, libraries, and other cultural heritage organizations.

When you’re ready to take the next step, we’re ready to help

We are an ideal implementation partner for FADGI-capable scanning technology. In fact, we are one of the first manufacturers to produce desktop scanners that are FADGI three-star capable, when calibrated accordingly1. We monitor new FADGI developments closely so our products can stay on the leading edge of digitization.

Our devices can make your permanent records digitization process more efficient, reliable, and compliant. For decades, we have been the leader in image scanning and digitization, and now we’re proud to be FADGI-capable, too.

Learn more about our suite of FADGI-capable products and start a conversation with an in-house expert by contacting us directly.

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1The fi-7600, the fi-7700, the fi-7800, and the fi-7900 scanners are capable of fulfilling the “FADGI 3-star” standards when calibrated accordingly. All previous testing for endorsement had been completed at the scanner’s rated speed, in addition to extensive image analysis reports to ensure our scanners are capable of outputting images that are within FADGI 3-star guidelines.