About 250 million birth, death and marriage records held by the Office of National Statistics (ONS), UK, are to be data captured out of the southern Indian city Chennai. The city centre of Siemens Business Services (SBS) would help its parent to scan, digitise and index the records from the year 1837 to the present day.
The project is due to begin shortly and is likely to involve about 800 employees. The three-year project called Digitisation of Vital Events is part of the strategy to modernise UK's civil registration. The original paper certificates will not be removed from ONS-controlled locations and Siemens will not retain any data. All digitised records will be returned to the ONS and kept in a secure central repository. The microfilm archive of the paper records dating back to 1837 is held at the ONS in Southport, Merseyside. The microfilm cassettes will be taken to the Siemens Document Scanning Centre in Beeston, Nottinghamshire. All 80,000 microfilms will be scanned and encrypted and the images transmitted securely to the Siemens Business Process Operation Centre in India for data capture. It is planned that all certificates will be digitised by 2008. The ONS received more than two million applications for certificates last year.