NARA rolls made digital

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TH
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Re: NARA rolls made digital

Post by TH » 24 Aug 2022 01:21

Very nice! I hope NARA digitizes the operational records bottom-up, i.e. starting with T315, to complement the Bundesarchivs top-down approach.

Mori
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Re: NARA rolls made digital

Post by Mori » 24 Aug 2022 13:22

nickterry wrote:
23 Aug 2022 13:58
The free reel sharers will have to adjust as much as the microfilm resellers. There is still a ridiculous amount of reels to go, so there will still be uses for resellers and reel sharers for a number of years to come, but the sharing of NARA reels for free was already undercutting the resellers. Meanwhile, the Bundesarchiv's digitisation has been steadily undercutting all NARA sharing, uploading and reselling, except there are still gaps.
If things keep going at such pace, it's more a matter of months than years until most of what resellers offer for a fee is online for free at official sites :)

When it comes to German documents, I suppose that resellers will just address newcomers and/or people who don't understand how to match NARA and Invenio catalogs. Reselling documents never was a big business anyway.

The huge online gap is still with US documents, I believe.

nickterry
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Re: NARA rolls made digital

Post by nickterry » 24 Aug 2022 15:26

Mori wrote:
24 Aug 2022 13:22
If things keep going at such pace, it's more a matter of months than years until most of what resellers offer for a fee is online for free at official sites :)

When it comes to German documents, I suppose that resellers will just address newcomers and/or people who don't understand how to match NARA and Invenio catalogs. Reselling documents never was a big business anyway.

The huge online gap is still with US documents, I believe.
Let's see how fast NARA go. Thinking about the entire contents of the microfilm reading room, it won't be months but years for them to finish all of it, e.g. the BDC reels are truly voluminous. Ticking off the classic RG 242 T-series will be much quicker, but there will be all kinds of competing demands for scanning other materials including from microfilm, so it could be like waiting for buses - ages with nothing then two or three come almost simultaneously (as we just saw in July/August).

Might be worth summing up the number of reels across the collections:
Foreign Office - 6,800 reels
Kriegsmarine - 4,317 reels
BDC - 40,667 reels
Alexandria, VA, civilian - 1,491 reels, of which 519 are uploaded (T84 and T178)
Alexandria, VA, SS/NSDAP - 4,207 reels, of which 799 are uploaded (T354)
Alexandria, VA, military - 10,507, of which two series are uploaded, circa 2000 reels (T77 and T501)

The other collections within RG 242 come to over 1000 reels, without counting the rest of them
https://www.archives.gov/research/captu ... tml#center

The related war crimes records (RG 238 etc) are likewise into four figures for number of reels
https://www.archives.gov/research/captu ... mes-trials

This is all without considering the US governmental records on microfilm. There are 4,000 microfilm publication series, and even though NARA seems committed to digitising all of them, it'll... take time.
https://text-message.blogs.archives.gov ... lications/


All this said, so far in 2022, NARA uploaded five series from RG 242 with approaching 3,300 microfilm reels between them, most of which was in the second half of the year, in July/August. Expecting them to maintain 2500 reels/month (based on August) or almost 3000 reels every two months (based on July/August) might be optimistic, but I think/hope/pray it will take a lot less than 8 months to add another 3,300 reels.

Mori
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Re: NARA rolls made digital

Post by Mori » 24 Aug 2022 17:08

Interesting and convincing count. Thanks.

I wonder whether they link priorities to demand. This may or may not be the case, but it could be - who knows - they start with those series many people ask for a digital copy of.

What seems clear is BAMA and NARA don't talk to each other. BAMA uploaded RS3 earlier this year, and it largely overlaps T354 :)

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Re: NARA rolls made digital

Post by nickterry » 24 Aug 2022 18:43

Mori wrote:
24 Aug 2022 17:08
Interesting and convincing count. Thanks.

I wonder whether they link priorities to demand. This may or may not be the case, but it could be - who knows - they start with those series many people ask for a digital copy of.

What seems clear is BAMA and NARA don't talk to each other. BAMA uploaded RS3 earlier this year, and it largely overlaps T354 :)
The partial overlap works in everyone's favour, since NARA has the better search engine due to OCR, zeroing in on keywords on specific frames on individual reels, and they also have the b&w scans of the largely missing maps and oversized documents that Freiburg don't digitise as a priority. Conversely, the Bundesarchiv has files which were added after the core records were microfilmed and restituted, including files from East European archives (although some of those also overlap with the German Documents in Russia scans from Podolsk).

The latest T77 uploads also illustrate how NARA can fill gaps that could exist for years at the Bundesarchiv. While OKW proper and Abwehr records are substantially digitised at Freiburg, the military economics records are almost entirely untouched, and the main collection of Wirtschafts- und Ruestungsamt records (RW 19) runs to 7,483 files, so it's a big job. There are further files in T84 which are now part of related military economic collections. While *I* am over the moon that all of these records are digitised, many others would prefer straight operational records, which Freiburg have been prioritising.

As digitising microfilms goes much faster than scanning paper files, even the T354 uploads relieve the pressure on Freiburg and make more records available to researchers. While division level files are duplicated (minus the post-restitution additions to RS 3 which are numerous), one of the largest chunks of Waffen-SS records are in RS 4, basically the Reiterverbaende. All done now - and just maybe, Freiburg will notice that some of these sub-collections are now on NARA, and be able to prioritise their scanning of the paper files a bit.

There will be very few NARA RG 242 T-series that won't add significant numbers of files to what will be online within the next year or so at the Bundesarchiv. This applies especially to the civilian and SS/NSDAP records, but it will also apply to nearly all military records.

NARA's priorities: one presumes they have had various requests once people realised they were digitising RG 242, but probably not too many. Most likely, previous purchases of microfilms as digital downloads give them a clue as to what might be worth prioritising, but that also might have led them to start with less frequently purchased series, to tick them off or test out procedures, also knowing that the more purchased series could be done more quickly once they got into the groove.

smetanin albert
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Re: NARA rolls made digital

Post by smetanin albert » 24 Aug 2022 19:28

Hello,
I want to believe in fairy tales,
but Americans are pragmatic people…
Germany promised (before the pandemic) to digitize its archives by 2028.
God created the Internet, but devil created Darknet.

smetanin albert
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Re: NARA rolls made digital

Post by smetanin albert » 24 Aug 2022 19:35

P.S. I ordered more than 30 rolls in the US. I'm waiting for 2.5 years.

During this time

I got from Berlin, Freiburg, Prague, Warsaw more than (small) 1000 documents(mostly for friends).

I forgot to say that the Personalakten of the SS officers are digitized when they were transferred to Freiburg.
God created the Internet, but devil created Darknet.

Tom Peters
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Re: NARA rolls made digital

Post by Tom Peters » 24 Aug 2022 20:28

Im just coming into this thread now, but from what I gather, most of the digitized material has to be downloaded 1 frame at a time ? I can always automate the process, but I would imagine most people prefer a download of the entire roll with a single click.

Mad Dog

nickterry
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Re: NARA rolls made digital

Post by nickterry » 24 Aug 2022 21:02

Tom Peters wrote:
24 Aug 2022 20:28
Im just coming into this thread now, but from what I gather, most of the digitized material has to be downloaded 1 frame at a time ? I can always automate the process, but I would imagine most people prefer a download of the entire roll with a single click.

Mad Dog
T77 and T178 - no PDFs
T84, T354, T501 - can be downloaded as 1-2 PDFs per reel

Mori
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Re: NARA rolls made digital

Post by Mori » 24 Aug 2022 21:41

And at least some of them are also replicated on http://wwiidigitalarchives.org/, where it's one zip per entry.
Last edited by Mori on 24 Aug 2022 22:58, edited 1 time in total.

Mori
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Re: NARA rolls made digital

Post by Mori » 24 Aug 2022 21:48

nickterry wrote:
24 Aug 2022 18:43
NARA's priorities: one presumes they have had various requests once people realised they were digitising RG 242, but probably not too many. Most likely, previous purchases of microfilms as digital downloads give them a clue as to what might be worth prioritising, but that also might have led them to start with less frequently purchased series, to tick them off or test out procedures, also knowing that the more purchased series could be done more quickly once they got into the groove.
On the technical side, I checked some of the T84s against the ones I got through private trade years ago. What's on the gvmt website are new scans. They are not recycling whatever they scanned before.

I always wondered whether NARA stored a digital copy of the files for re-sell or whether they re-scanned microfilms when a new order came by. We have the answer :)

So their scanning priorities may just be unconnected to any demand. After all, MACR (Missing Air Crew Reports) have been online for years and although each one is certainly of value for relatives of the missing airmen, i doubt they were in high demand vs. broader records.

Tom Peters
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Re: NARA rolls made digital

Post by Tom Peters » 24 Aug 2022 22:19

nickterry wrote:
24 Aug 2022 21:02
Tom Peters wrote:
24 Aug 2022 20:28
Im just coming into this thread now, but from what I gather, most of the digitized material has to be downloaded 1 frame at a time ? I can always automate the process, but I would imagine most people prefer a download of the entire roll with a single click.

Mad Dog
T77 and T178 - no PDFs
T84, T354, T501 - can be downloaded as 1-2 PDFs per reel
Im in T84, but I cant find a way to get a PDF....is this just part of T84 that has this?

thanks,

Mad Dog

nickterry
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Re: NARA rolls made digital

Post by nickterry » 24 Aug 2022 22:28

Thanks, that's good to know. I presume there's a degree of automation to the actual scanning process from microfilms, so it might just be easier to redo everything, especially if as is likely, there are some differences in scan quality as well as image size between whatever was scanned and sold as a digital copy up to 10 years ago, versus what can be scanned in 2021-2022. Plus, purchased reels would be relatively random across a publication series.

Earlier scanning choices were influenced by third parties, especially footnote.com aka fold3.com, as well as genealogically-inclined types, so name lists and individual records were more likely to be digitised than general files.

nickterry
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Re: NARA rolls made digital

Post by nickterry » 24 Aug 2022 22:31

Tom Peters wrote:
24 Aug 2022 22:19
nickterry wrote:
24 Aug 2022 21:02
Tom Peters wrote:
24 Aug 2022 20:28
Im just coming into this thread now, but from what I gather, most of the digitized material has to be downloaded 1 frame at a time ? I can always automate the process, but I would imagine most people prefer a download of the entire roll with a single click.

Mad Dog
T77 and T178 - no PDFs
T84, T354, T501 - can be downloaded as 1-2 PDFs per reel
Im in T84, but I cant find a way to get a PDF....is this just part of T84 that has this?

thanks,

Mad Dog
Look under the image display and strip display to see 'documents' and click on the PDF icon. This then creates a download icon just below the main image, while the main image starts loading like a PDF browser, either can be used to start the download. Sometimes clicking to download opens the file up in a new window, sometimes it just starts downloading.
https://catalog.archives.gov/id/254675062

Mori
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Re: NARA rolls made digital

Post by Mori » 24 Aug 2022 23:13

nickterry wrote:
24 Aug 2022 22:28
Thanks, that's good to know. I presume there's a degree of automation to the actual scanning process from microfilms, so it might just be easier to redo everything, especially if as is likely, there are some differences in scan quality as well as image size between whatever was scanned and sold as a digital copy up to 10 years ago, versus what can be scanned in 2021-2022. Plus, purchased reels would be relatively random across a publication series.
Some additional remarks, to feed the topic.

Some very old scans from NARA were of high-end quality. Of ridiculously high quality, I should say: think of 12Gb per roll. More than x10 what's necessary to read documents. They stopped doing that about 10 yrs ago. Even what is posted now on their website is not that heavy.

Most of large size maps scanned on microfilms are not legible. They had to be scanned by parts, meaning readers have to assemble several frames to get a full view and understand what's on them - only to realize there are gaps... Moreover, what matters on maps are the red/blue markings, which just don't show on black and white images. (A noticeable exception are transparent layers in the few odd cases when they were available instead of maps). For maps, only GDIR/BAMA stuff if of use, whatever the resolution NARA chooses for its digitization.

Scanning a 1000+ images microfilm is 10-20 minutes if you have the right machine. It may be longer to load/unload the film, check for errors, and store the electronic files properly.

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