APPENDIX 4: Figures for Cost and Production


The conclusion of this report stated that an analysis of costs during the main phases of the project has lost much of its relevance except as a historical footnote. But it is possible to give some data about the actual cost of implementing the system in an archive, to assess whether a project can be economically viable.

With this goal, we are going to analyze a typical case, including the acquisition of the necessary hardware and software and assuming production of a significant number of digital images (including document preparation, scanning, and storage).

The costs are estimated for Spain. Equipment and personnel costs vary greatly among countries.

1. The Documents

We assume that 250 bundles of old documents (about 11,300 files or 500,000 pages) will be scanned that pertain to two different series of the AGI: Confirmaciones de Encomiendas and Confirmaciones de Oficios. These are two series of the AGI that were digitized in the project’s main phase. Their catalog is included in the information system and a paper copy also exists in the Reading Room. Preparation of the documents entails moderate difficulty.

2. The Work

Archival Work

This involves the normal work of archiving: organizing, describing, indexing, placing files properly in folders, writing the call number, and so on. Description includes the cataloging of every file. Elements include title, dates, abstract, and call number. The indexing includes the extraction of the principal key words.

Textual data of the new descriptions are then entered in the information system, and a “digitization guide” is prepared. Repair or conservation of documents, sometimes necessary, is not assumed in this example.


This involves the scanning, storage and creation of backup file, and quality control by automated means.

3. Staff and Production Estimates

Archival Work

Three full-time staff per year (archival and historical background). It is presumed that an archives expert can prepare two bundles per week (45 weeks per year x 2 bundles per week x 3 persons = 270 bundles)


Four full-time staff per year (scanner operator). The average production is 135,000 pages per person per year (600 pages per day x 5 days a week x 45 weeks a year). This is a conservative estimate. If there is no problem with hardware and personnel, productivity will be higher.

4. The Equipment

We assume that a full set of equipment is needed. It is composed of an Ethernet local area network, with:

  • One server, with CD-R and DAT tape units, laser printer, Windows NT, DB2 or Oracle, and application software (ArchiGES and ArchiDOC).
  • One scanning workstation with Windows NT and ArchiDOC for image capture.
  • One textual data entry workstation (valid also for consultation), with Windows NT and the corresponding application software.
  • One consultation workstation, with the same configuration.
  • One user-management workstation, with a printer, Windows NT, and the corresponding application software.

5. Project Duration

Preparation of documents is estimated to take one year, assuming a staff of three archivists. The level of difficulty in preparing various documents will influence the time and staffing required for preparation.

The scanning process requires four years if only one camera is used, and assuming one daily shift. If there are two daily shifts, the time required for scanning will be reduced to two years.

6. Costs

Archives experts (3) 11,200,000 ptas.
Scanner operators (4) 10,500,000 ptas.
Server (with laser printer, CD-R and DAT units) 1,740,000 ptas.
Digital camera 2,320,000 ptas.
Workstations (4) 1,850,000 ptas.
Media (disks, tapes, etc.) 100,000 ptas.
Basic software (Windows NT and Oracle) 700,000 ptas.
Application software
(software, installation, training, hot line, etc.) 5,160,000 ptas.
TOTAL 33,570,000 ptas.
($US 223,800)
Figure 4

Figure 4. Example of System Configuration