nextScan Helps Preserve and Disseminate Canadian History

The Library and Archives Canada (LAC) collects and preserves Canada’s documentary heritage, and makes it accessible to all Canadians either online or at the Archives headquarters. This heritage includes publications, archival records, sound and audiovisual materials, photographs, artworks, and electronic documents such as websites. As part of its mandate, LAC works closely with other archives and libraries to acquire and share these materials as widely as possible.

The Library and Archives Canada’s mission is to:

  • Preserve the documentary heritage of Canada for the benefit of present and future generations
  • To be a source of enduring knowledge accessible to all, contributing to the cultural, social and economic advancement of Canada
  • To facilitate in Canada cooperation among communities involved in the acquisition, preservation and diffusion of knowledge
  • To serve as the continuing memory of the government of Canada and its institutions

LAC provides services to members of the public who wish to consult documents of its collection or order photocopies and reproductions.

The Challenge

LAC is committed to making available online as much of its collection as possible to the public . Any individual can search LAC’s website database to find references to a large number of its documents. A good portion of the LAC documents are archived on  microfilm,  with  many  of  those  film images being census records. Unfortunately, although microfilm is the ideal medium for preservation and archival, it is not easy to disseminate this information contained  on  the microfilm upon request, furthering LAC’s mission of making as much Canadian historical information available  to  the  public  online.  To do  this,  the  documents  and  historical  images on  microfilm  must  be  scanned  with  special  equipment  that  will  convert  the  microfilmed image to a digital format such  as PDF, TIFF or  JPEG  –  a  format  generally  used  online to view documents.

The Solution

With millions and millions of documents preserved on film in variable conditions, possibly in need of multiple types of image enhancement treatments, LAC needed to find a way to convert these images quickly, accurately and efficiently. With the careful guidance and expert knowledge of Ristech Company, a leading distributor of document management and micrographics solutions for the Canadian and US Markets, LAC evaluated and then purchased three high production Eclipse 300 microfilm scanners, made by nextScan.

The Eclipse high production rollfilm scanner from nextScan scans 16 and 35mm microfilm and can scan up to 300 images per minute in grayscale and bitonal concurrently. The Eclipse is a proven workhorse, designed to run 24/7, and LAC depends on the scanner’s stability to convert huge collections of microfilm on a daily basis. Eclipse has many features that make it the perfect fit for LAC’s needs, to include high speed rewind, auto focus, fast straight line film loading, and superior camera technology for only the best images .

The Eclipse, combined with nextScan’s NextStar Ribbon Scanning software, enables LAC to scan an entire roll of film from top to bottom and end to end as one  image .   This ensures  that absolutely  no  images are  lost, so there is no need for time consuming rescans. The unique image enhancement features included with the NextStar software enable the resulting digital image to often be even better than the source microfilmed  image, automati­cally. As a result, very little time is needed in the audit /Q A process after scanning, and the image quality is such that a document could easily be OCR’ed for full text search capability online.

The Results

For the past three years, using the robust, flexible and fast Eclipse 300 scanners, combined with nextScan’s innovative NextStar processing software, LAC is able to manage the end-to-end conversion process of millions of microfilm images to further its overall mission of making information available to the public online. The Eclipse scanners offer an excellent return on investment, saving LAC precious time and money.

About Ristech Company

Ristech Company is a leading distributor of document management and micrographics solutions for the Cana­dian and US Markets. Formed in 1995, we have built our name on a commitment to providing companies with leading-edge technology, convenient service offerings and the expertise and knowledge required to support these technologies. Ristech offers a broad selection of imaging products, together with the information necessary to make the best choice for your requirements. To learn more visit:

About nextScan

nextScan is a developer of leading edge technology for the micrographics conversion and document manage­ment industry. nextScan’s innovative products are designed and built with a simplicity and functionality that aim to increase user production and lower overall cost for scanning film and fiche.


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