Microform helps British Online Archives with PDF Compressor

Frank Kettenstock // December 18, 2019

PDF in general Member News Case study

Microform has completed a flagship project with the help of the PDF Compressor from Foxit Software: the website for the British Online Archive (BOA). BOA is home to nearly 4 million data sets from private and public archives which librarians, professors, students and researchers of the humanities and can use to lean about over 1,000 years of world history. Many of these documents were created by Microform using the PDF Compressor.

Microform is one of the most comprehensive scanning service providers in the United Kingdom. The company has over 40 years of experience with microfilming and scanning, and has used the PDF Compressor from Foxit Software since 2015. The PDF Compressor is a leading software solution for automating optical character recognition (OCR) and PDF conversion. It converts paper documents, scanned images and born-digital content such as emails and Microsoft Office documents into compressed, fully text-searchable, perfectly optimised PDF and PDF/A files. The priority here is efficiency. The PDF Compressor offers a range of automation functions, reduces unnecessary processing steps and streamlines the process of converting large volumes of documents much better than other products. These additional functions support faster business process throughput, improve customer satisfaction and allow companies to increase their income.

All of this meant that the PDF Compressor was in its element at Microform. “In the past ten months alone, we’ve used it to convert over four million pages’ worth of invoices, HR documents, medical records, newspapers and more,” said Karl Wood, Technical Support Specialist at Microform, adding, “Two to three million of these were colour or greyscale images, and around 500,000 were published online through the British Online Archives.”

The process has been designed so that most documents are scanned in black and white. “We generally only scan documents in colour if they contain important colour information, like maps, architectural drawings, photos, graphics and colour-coded diagrams,” explained Wood. For the British Online Archives, original documents were therefore scanned in colour for preservation purposes, while scans of microfilms and microfiches were always done in greyscale to maximise quality. Greyscale scans also benefit from the PDF Compressor's compression functionality, resulting in small, high-quality files.

This results in efficiently created, high-quality PDF documents which will be usable error-free on any device running any operating system for many years to come. They also include relevant metadata and are fully text searchable – which is exactly what students and researchers need.

About British Online Archives

British Online Archives is one of the United Kingdom’s leading academic publishers. Our goal is to provide students and researchers in the humanities and social sciences with access to unique collections of primary source documents. To this end, our website hosts nearly 4 million records drawn from both private and public archives. These records are organised thematically, covering 1,000 years of world history, from politics and warfare to slavery and medicine.

Whether you’re an individual interested in your family’s history, a librarian looking for ways to adapt in the digital age, or a professor in search of innovative teaching tools, we have something to meet your needs. For more information, please visit https://microform.digital/boa/

About Microform

With over 50 years’ experience, Microform provides one of the most comprehensive scanning and microfilming services in the UK. Its origins can be traced back to 1956, when the business was known as Micro Methods (later E.P. Microform, then simply Microform). The company was set up as a publishing venture to serve academic institutions in the microfilming of research materials and theses. The current Chairman, Nigel Le Page, headed up a management buyout with his wife Glennis on July 4, 1988, when they bought the business from its previous owners. That same year the company changed its name to Microform and has grown in size ever since. 2016 saw the company achieve its compliance certification for the coveted ISO 27001 accreditation (Information Security Management). For more information, visit https://microform.digital/

About Foxit Software

Foxit is a leading provider of innovative PDF products and services, helping knowledge workers to increase their productivity and do more with documents. Foxit addresses the needs of three distinct market segments. For End-User Productivity, Foxit delivers easy to use desktop software, mobile apps, and cloud services to make knowledge workers more productive. ConnectedPDF delivers leading edge technology that powers document management, security, and collaboration services for PDF files. Foxit’s Developer Solutions enable developers to incorporate powerful PDF technology into their applications. For Enterprise Automation, Foxit provides server software for large scale PDF document management and data capture.

Foxit has over 560 million users and has sold to over 100,000 customers located in more than 200 countries. The company has offices all over the world, including locations in the US, Asia, Europe, and Australia. For more information, please visit https://de5.pdfa.org/member/foxit-corporation/


Frank Kettenstock

Frank leads the marketing efforts for Foxit, responsible for product marketing, corporate marketing, and public relations. Frank earned his Electrical Engineering degree from Brown University and a MBA from Boston University.


Frank Kettenstock

Frank leads the marketing efforts for Foxit, responsible for product marketing, corporate marketing, and public relations. Frank earned his Electrical …

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