The Federal Agency Digital Guidelines Initiative (FADGI) is a government effort to move away from paper records toward fully digital record keeping. The guidelines establish methods, practices, and quality standards to digitally organize all historical, archival, and cultural content within the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), for starters.
NARA and the OMB recently announced they’ll no longer accept paper documents starting on July 1, 2024 (the compliance deadline is June 30th). All materials sent to either NARA or OMB are required to meet FADGI guidelines after that point.
Many organizations are now faced with the challenge of complying with FADGI standards. This mandate is likely to extend to all federal agencies and any organizations that submit digital records to them. Kodak Alaris serves many federal government agencies. Companies of all sizes can leverage this expertise to prepare their digital workflows and systems for FADGI compliance.
For the most part, FADGI is still a specialized use case. Only federal agencies and the organizations working with federal agencies need to consider these FADGI requirements.
For digitization experts like Kodak Alaris, this trend is an opportunity to help inform and prepare business leaders and technology procurement professionals about their options. Whether FADGI is relevant to your organization or not, scanners and software from Kodak Alaris will continue to produce the highest quality image, and our goals remain the same: to help you optimize and simplify your digital conversion systems and workflows.
Kodak Alaris was recently presented with the Buyer’s Lab 2023 Scanner Line of the Year award from Keypoint Intelligence, the world’s leading independent provider of testing services and analytics to the document imaging industry. This recognition reinforces what the industry has known for many years—that scanners from Kodak Alaris consistently produce the best image quality while also delivering robust workflow automation capabilities and exceptional paper handling.
For organizations that need to take a deeper dive into FADGI requirements, here’s a breakdown of the official guidelines.
FADGI measures image quality on a four-star rating system, as follows:
One star: Acceptable for frequently accessed content or image-based documents at 150 pixels per inch (ppi), intended for reference only because they don’t meet OCR quality standards.
Two star: Also used for frequently accessed informational content and images, but at a higher ppi of 300, which may or may not meet OCR standards.
Three Star: High quality that enables researchers to note details like paper condition and weave, age, ink type, and more. These are 300 ppi images well-suited for OCR and reprint on commercial printers.
Four Star: Images suitable for almost any use from high-level image capture at 400 ppi.
On the first day of July, 2024, all organizations interacting with the Library of Congress, OMB, and the National Archives administration will need to submit digital records that meet FADGI 3-star requirements. These digital standards will likely extend to all federal agencies over time, so it’s critical that organizations that interact with US government agencies are prepared to meet these requirements.
For organizations submitting to agencies such as the Library of Congress and National Archives, FADGI also outlines the following best practices for still image capture:
Do not apply pressure with a glass platen or use vacuum boards, high UV light sources, or automatic page turning devices unless approved by a paper conservator.
For master files, the image, document, or photograph must include the entire area of the page with a small white border.
For oversized material that has sections compiled into a single image, the separate images must be saved for archival purposes.
For transparencies, tonal scale and color balance should match the original transparency.
When scanning negatives, tonal orientation should be inverted to a positive.
Master files should not be retouched.
DICE is a software application developed with the support of the Library of Congress. DICE provides detailed information on the performance characteristics of image targets. These targets are meant to measure and monitor a document to determine FADGI compliance. DICE testing and a monitoring system together provide the foundation for a digitization program that’s compliant with FADGI.
Analysis software and DICE targets are necessary for a FADGI conformance certification. There are several analysis software tools, including AutoSFR, which determines the actual resolution of a document and whether it meets FADGI compliance.
FADGI requirements are a bit complicated, but Kodak Alaris makes it easy for any organization to produce FADGI-compliant digital files. The KODAK i5250 and i5850 Scanners are FADGI-compliant out of the box, and we continually monitor the developments around FADGI to ensure we’re aware of any updates and new requirements.
Our scanners are known in the industry to produce the best image possible, and we work diligently to ensure that our customers are producing electronic records that meet and exceed FADGI requirements.
If your organization has purchased scanners from Kodak Alaris in the past, there are no system updates that can retrofit your scanners into FADGI-compliant status. However, acquiring our new scanners will offer many additional benefits beyond FADGI compliance.
Not all records need to be compliant with FADGI guidelines, but if your organization ever needs to send records to federal agencies, you’ll need to incorporate FADGI compliance into your planning. Again, these regulations go into effect July 1, 2024, so now is the time to purchase and configure your document scanners for FADGI compliance.