What is digitization? The conversion of traditional records into digital or electronic form. When referring to digitization of church records, the main group of documents are the historic records of the church. This covers paper records such as correspondence, committee reports, and photographs. Another important group are new ones being received at the current time. These would be fewer in number because most documents now are created and circulated electronically via email and the like.
Why Digitize? There are many reasons for digitizing your records. One is to preserve them better, especially when they have already becoming fragile from old age. Traditional records are already in danger of being lost because of their age, the difficulties of storage, or lack of proper care. Another reason for digitizing your records is space saving – which is limited in many churches. Digital records are also easily shared, and they can be copied, printed, and displayed with ease. They can also be integrated into many church’s current administration system where much is already digital. One of the best reasons for digitizing is ease of locating information. This is the case with printed material which can be turned into editable and searchable electronic files. Unfortunately, hand-written documents cannot yet be easily turned into editable and searchable documents – probably many of the older records of your church fall into this category. However, they can, at least, be viewed electronically, and stored with the rest of your church’s electronic documents.
How can your Conference Archive help? It is a big undertaking to digitize your church’s entire collection of historical records, so it needs to be planned and managed well. It needs good IT support and archival expertise to achieve a satisfactory outcome. The North Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church Commission on Archives and History offers to facilitate the digitization of your historical records. We are willing to help you choose which records should be digitized and we are willing to do the work of digitizing the records for you. After digitizing the records, we will return the originals and a digitized copy of the records to you. We will also house a copy of your digitized records in the Conference Archives.
If you are interested in preserving your church’s historically significant records, please contact either:
Commission Chair – Douglas Jonas at (919)771-6882 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Commission Archivist – Rev. Dennis Lamm at (252)521-1452 or email@example.com