Carl Malamud is calling for the US to establish a national scan center.
In the course of doing research for some recent testimony before Congress on the National Archives and Records Administration, I was struck by several facts about how our first National Archivist, Robert D.W. Connor, met some seemingly insurmountable challenges when he took office in the mid-1930s.
The biggest challenge was the deluge of paperwork, a situation not very different from what our national institutions face today. Instead of simply moaning the impossibility of swallowing all the records Connor would need to establish the National Archives, he thought nonlinear. The result was the invention of several key technologies: the airbrush to clean paper, the laminator to protect it, and of course, the microphotograph (now known as microfilm or microfiche), a technology so successful it reduced incoming paper needs by 95%.