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Thread: N/A ORB Digital Scans from Film discontinued

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    Default N/A ORB Digital Scans from Film discontinued

    Just had an email from N/A, saying that this service is being discontinued after 31st March 2014.

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    Alan could you enlarge on this I am not sure I understand what you are saying? Do you mean it will all be complete? What is available on film that will not be digitised?
    Steve

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    Dear all,

    I got the same message and as far as I understood from that the copying service for complete ORB's will be stopped, see message below:

    Dear Customer,

    As a previous user of the scan from film record copying service, I am writing to advise you that this service will no longer be available from the 1st April 2014, when our new pricing structure comes into effect. The new prices will be available on our website shortly.

    The scan from film service has been in decline for a number of years and unfortunately, no longer covers its costs, which is a requirement we are obliged to observe under HM Treasury rules.

    If you have been considering using the scan from film service it will still be available until the 31st March and any estimates requested before this date will be honoured for the standard 3 months.

    Alternative options for obtaining copies by digital download or on paper will continue to be available.

    Yours sincerely,


    One thing is not very clear to me: all ORB's have already been digitized for webshop purposes, so there shouldn't be any need to digitize the microfilms for a copying request for the complete ORB?

    Perhaps somebody can shed a light on this?

    Regards,
    Hans

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    Hi Steve,
    From what i read in the email, it seems to me (and i may be wrong) that the wording suggests that ordering digital copies of ORB's on disc, copied from film, is going to stop. Being sceptical, it looks as though they've realised that they can make more money by selling ORB's a month at a go, 3.36, than selling them as yearly copies at 10. Heres the letter....
    Dear customer,
    As a previous user of the scan from film record copying service, i am writing to inform you, that this service will no longer be available from 1st April 2014, when our new pricing policy comes into effect.
    The scan from film service has been in decline for a number of years and unfortunately no longer covers its costs which is a requirement we are obliged to observe under Treasury rules. If you have been considering using the service, it will still be available until 31st March, and any requests for estimates before this date, will be honoured. The alternative options for obtaining digital copies by digital download or on paper will continue to be available.

    Regards...Alan, Hans beat me to it.......:-)

    Hans, i still think that it's down to money. Why sell a whole year of ORB for 10, which has to have a member of staff copy it to disk, when you can separate that year into individual months x two, for 540 section and 541 section, for 3.36, with no staff involvement. 24 x 3.36 =80.64, a big improvement on 10, or am i being too cynical.
    Last edited by AlanW; 25th February 2014 at 20:43.

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    Sounds about right to me guys. This digital pay-as-you play thing is spreading everywhere. And, as I recall, those scans were sometimes of dreadful quality.
    David

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    I don't think you're being cynical at all Alan, I reckon you're bang on the money in fact. I too had the email, and suspect, like yourself, that this is about getting us to pay 3.36 per month rather than a tenner per file reference. When you consider how much most of the researchers on boards like this one put into the NA's coffers every year when compared to the average family researcher who may only make a small number of vists in a lifetime, this seems to me to be yet another example, IMHO, of the National Archives biting the hands of those who already give far more (in cash terms) than most. I'd be interested to know what the "Friends of the National Archives" have to say about it - is anyone here a member of that organisation?

    L/O

    Greg
    "You can take the boy out of Wales,
    But you can't take Wales out of the boy!!"

    Greg Harrison
    100 Squadron and 100 Squadron Association Historian
    100 Squadron Researcher 1917 - present day
    1 Group Researcher 1940 - 1945

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    Hi Greg and Alan,

    I share your thoughts about the, let me put in this way, business model.

    I'm not quite confident that TNA can handle the flow of requests next 5 weeks and therefor I've just requested an estimate for another 15 ORB parts in an attempt to have all BC Squadron ORB's complete up to 1943 and several others well into 1944 and 1945 before the service shuts down...

    Regards,
    Hans

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    I've just sent the following email to Billy Mahoney, Public Services Manager,Document Services Department, The National Archives: -


    "Dear Billy,

    Thank you for your email which I received earlier this evening. I am saddened to hear that you will be discontinuing your "digital scan from film" service as I have used it regularly over the last few months to update my old paper copies of Squadron "Operations Record Books" (ORBs) to a digital format. My main concern, however, is that your email doesn't make it at all clear what the service will be replaced with, and how much it will cost. I appreciate that the ORBs are available online to download currently, but at a vastly greater price than the "scan from film" service offers. For example, I recently obtained a digital copy of the 550 Squadron ORB, file reference Air27/2037, for 10. To order the same ORB online using your "immediate" service would cost me 3.36 a month, multiplied by nineteen months, which would cost 63.84, a huge difference. It would also be time-consuming, as every month needs to be downloaded seperately.

    As the records are already digitised, I am finding it difficult to see why you still need to scan documents such as Squadron ORBs from film anyway. Perhaps I am being naive, and I admit my IT skills and knowledge are not fantastic, but surely as a large number of the microfilm records are already digitised it would be a simple case of burning them to a CD or DVD, and for a fraction of the 3.36 a month cost detailed above? Or perhaps, with reference to the last line of your email, the current service will be amended so that you are still able to provide the "10 per file reference" service that you co currently, but instead of sending them out to CD, the customer downloads them to their computer from your website?

    As someone who has been a regular visitor to the former PRO, now the NA, for about twenty years, I am pleased to say that for the most part the services offered by you have improved tremendously. I remember well spending thousands of pounds on photocopying documents in the years before the advent of digital cameras and online services. At face value your email seems to be a huge backward step.

    Thanks for your time in reading my email Billy, and I look forward to reading your response.

    Very best wishes,

    Greg Harrison"


    I'll let you know as and when I get a reply!!

    L/O

    Greg
    Last edited by greg; 25th February 2014 at 23:22. Reason: Shoddy cut and paste effort!!
    "You can take the boy out of Wales,
    But you can't take Wales out of the boy!!"

    Greg Harrison
    100 Squadron and 100 Squadron Association Historian
    100 Squadron Researcher 1917 - present day
    1 Group Researcher 1940 - 1945

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    Gents,

    I have just spoken to Billy Mahoney, Public Services Manager, Document Services Department.

    Basically the facility of copying the Air 27 etc was taken from his department and given to the Bulk Ordering Department, this was an internal decision due to costs of running and profit etc.

    From April 1st there will be two options for Air 27, downloads per month (Costly) or contact the Bulk Ordering Section ( at this moment in time they cannot quantify what a "bulk" order actually is ) There are future changes in the pipe line which may benefit "us user" but I think it will not be for a least a year.

    May I suggest that anyone thinking about ordering any Air27 files get an estimate in before April 1st, this will be valid for 3 months and will be charged at the standard 10.00. Billy will be putting out another email clarifying the situation soon.

    Cheers

    Steve
    No.218 (Gold Coast) Squadron Association Historian
    No.623 squadron Research

    ~~IN TIME ~~

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    Thanks Steve, they are certainly on the ball today. I put an estimate in this morning before going to work, and it was waiting for me when i got in an hour ago. :-)
    Last edited by AlanW; 26th February 2014 at 15:28.

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