The Challenge:

In response to a 2015 Congressional mandate, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) needed digitization services for more than 157,000 hard copy service member records to provide improved access to DPAA staff and activities. The agency needed a cost-effective solution that would provide high-quality imaging while also preserving the fragile makeup of these documents, most of which date back to World War II. Once digitized, these records would enable more effective and efficient case management and research in support of DPAA’s mission to provide the fullest possible accounting of missing in action service members to their families and the nation.

The Approach:

The Nakupuna Companies worked with DPAA to develop a scanning and document digitization process that ensured high quality along with the speed and accuracy necessary to meet project and Agency deadlines. At our St. Louis offices, each physical record was reviewed and processed by imaging specialists proficient in a variety of specialized functions, including warehouse logistics, indexing, document preparation, image capture, quality assurance, publishing, and data transfer—ensuring quality at every stage of digitization.

Given the fragility of the records, images were digitized photographically, and each image was edited for clarity and enhanced viewability using specialized software such as the EOS camera utility, Adobe Bridge, and Adobe Lightroom CC. Quality assurance technicians performed a complete 100% page-by-page check of the digital images against the physical record to ensure completeness, correct sequence, proper orientation, and readability consistent with DPAA expectations. All images were published as PDFs with an Agency-specified naming convention and then scheduled for data transfer into the client’s network, both for immediate use as well as long-term archival storage in a Glacier government cloud data repository provided by Amazon Web Services. Throughout the process, all physical documents were prepared and imaged using document handling and archival techniques approved by National Archive and Records Administration (NARA), taking care to avoid damaging any fragile materials present in the records.

The Results:

The Nakupuna St. Louis team digitized DPAA’s records collection in 36 months—6 months ahead of schedule—producing over 8.5 million individual images with a first pass error rate of only 0.113 percent. Additionally, a small team of imaging technicians worked in the St. Louis NARA research room conducting document digitization services on separate files prioritized by our customer, securely transferring over 4,000 digitized records to date. The Nakupuna team continues to fulfill agency demands for document conversion, imaging, scanning, archiving, and curation services as requested.