Everything You Need To Know About FADGI

The Federal Agencies Digital Guideline Initiative or FADGI is a working group that develops quality standards for images and media. Organizations that digitize permanent records should follow the guidelines set by this initiative and use FADGI compliant equipment. Learn more about imaging equipment that meets these standards, a guide to buying FADGI-rated printers and scanners, the meaning of star ratings and important deadlines for compliance.

FADGI Compliant Printers

Specifications for FADGI compliant scanners should guide any digitization project. Printing goes beyond the primary focus of this initiative, but can generate copies of reproducible masters captured using FADGI scanners. According to the third edition of the FADGI Technical Guidelines, International Color Consortium profiling software is useful for printer calibration. 

It is important to note that conformance evaluation targets for digital images do not apply to printers. A printer company that offers services to help organizations meet color management standards can be helpful for achieving proficiency with ICC profiles, G7 certification or compliance with GRACol, Fogra, SWOP or other relevant standards.

Buyer’s Guide

The easiest way to shop for FADGI compliant imaging devices is to browse product lines that meet these standards. The product line of fi scanners, including the fi-7600, fi-7700, fi-7800, fi-7900, fi-8930 and the fi-8950, meet the requirements set by this initiative. 

Professional calibration is necessary to ensure that a scanner rated for FADGI requirements is actually compliant. Product bundles that include onsite installation, calibration and training can ensure that any documents that you digitize using a compliant device meet quality standards.

FADGI Star Ratings

The FADGI Still Image Working Group has developed a star rating system for image quality. You can refer to the following ratings when shopping for the best scanner for Mac or any other imaging device:

  • One-star images: Low-quality image captures are only useful for basic information.
  • Two-star images: Moderate quality images cannot replace original documents.
  • Three-star images: High-quality images can serve as reproducible masters.
  • Four-star images: The highest quality images are digital replicas of original documents.

The National Archives and Records Administration or NARA requires that all documents that organizations digitize for storage in permanent government records be of three-star quality or higher. 

FADGI star ratings apply to scanner models. You should be aware of the fact that digitization practices and methods factor into image quality. Proper training and settings are necessary to capture three-star or four-star images.

Compliance Deadlines

As of June 2024, all permanent records in the National Archives must be of FADGI three-star quality or higher. To meet this requirement, your organization will need to upgrade to a compliant device, properly calibrate a scanner and train staff who will process records. A portable monitor can be useful for conducting training and refresher sessions on best practices for scanning anywhere at any time. 

If your organization digitizes documents or captures images for storage as permanent records, it could be worthwhile to make the switch to FADGI compliant systems sooner rather than later. Scanners and printers that have FADGI ratings can produce higher quality reproducible masters and physical copies.

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