Microsoft Office Used to enhance print production

Organization Information:

Organization Name:
American Aviation Historical Society
City & State:
Santa Ana, 
Organization Website:
Organization's Mission Statement

The American Aviation Historical Society is dedicated to the preservation and dissemination of the rich heritage of American aviation. Our purpose is to collect and preserve a written and visual record of the planes, people, places and events involved in the development and expansion of American aviation. It achieves these educational goals, in part, through the quarterly publication of a Journal and an eNewsletter on the AAHS Web site located at

Submission Information

Impact Essay

American Aviation Historical Society Uses Microsoft Office

The American Aviation Historical Society, founded in 1956 to preserve a record of the people, places, planes and events that comprise the rich American aviation history uses Microsoft Office products to streamline two of its primary activities while engaging more members in the Society’s activities. The AAHS publishes a quarterly journal and newsletter, and has an on-going cataloging project for its photographic archives. The society is an all volunteer organization based in southern California with membership scattered through North American and Europe. Membership is open to anyone interested in American aviation history.

Traditionally, the process associated with publishing the AAHS Journal and AAHS Newsletter required a long, drawn-out process of circulating printed manuscripts and copy to local area proof readers and reviewers. The Society avoided engaging member volunteers that were non-local to the Societies office because of time constraints and the unreliability of mail service. Even with using local resources, publishing the newsletter and journal in a timely manner was problematic. We needed a more reliable way to address the publication process. The advent of the Internet and desktop publishing provided the vehicle to allow us to enhance the process. Microsoft Office provided the primary tools to allow us to accomplish a streamlining of this process.

Through the use of Microsoft Word we have been able to streamline our publishing process while increasing the quality of the finished product. The first step was to standardize on the use of Microsoft Word as the basic manuscript format in this process. All manuscripts received that are not in Word format are converted to Word via OCR scanning or by utilizing the various Word converted utilities. After editorial review and conversion to meet the Society’s style guide, these Word documents are distributed to proof reader reviewers via email. By using Word and the Internet, the Society has been able to expand this group from the local few to more than half a dozen reviewers around the country. Changes are indicated in the manuscript using Word’s Markup feature. This allows the editors, on receipt of an edited manuscript, to quickly review the changes and determine which changes to incorporate into the final version. The process also facilitates having multiple reviewer’s working on the same manuscript.

By using this process, the Society has been able to implement a reliable publication schedule, expand volunteer involvement in the organization and improved the quality of its publications.

The other area where Microsoft Office has been a valuable asset to the AAHS is in conjunction with its photographic archives. The archive contains over 150,000 images in the form of prints, slides, and transparencies. The archive is widely used by aviation researchers and writers. In the past these individuals were required to physically come to the AAHS office to search through the files for images of interest. This is a somewhat cumbersome process limiting process. About three years ago, the Society started a project to produce a comprehensive catalog of the photo archives. In the last two years, a handful volunteers have added approximately 24,000 entries to this catalog. In addition, approximately 3,000 images have been scanned to digital format. The ultimate goal being to create a digital copy of the archive that is available online with a searchable index to facilitate locating images of interest to researchers and hobbyist.

The Society standardized on Microsoft Excel for creating and maintaining the photo archive catalog. The rationale for this decision being that most of our volunteers have access (or were provide access through the donation program) to this spreadsheet tool. Its ease of use required minimal training and support, and the managers could easily create template spreadsheets for the volunteers to use. From the Excel worksheets, we are able to quickly load an online database accessible through the Society’s Web site. This process provides an easy method for maintaining the catalog while providing timely updates to all users. With the advent of the online catalog, researchers are now able to do preliminary research from their homes or offices with the knowledge they are accessing the most current information about the archive.

The next phase in this program is centered on the digitization of the archive. The plans are to expand our volunteer network nationwide by creating CDs containing digital images in need of cataloging along with an Excel worksheet template. This package will be sent to a volunteer who will perform the photo identification and data entry into the worksheet. When completed, the worksheet will be emailed back to the Society where a reviewer will perform a quality control review of the information. On completion of this step, the Excel worksheet will be merged into the master catalog and the digital images added to the digital archive.

Without Microsoft Office Word and Excel, the American Aviation Historical Society would be limited in achieving its primary mission of preserving a record of American aviation history. While we could still achieve our goals, the pace at which we would be able to accomplish them would be much slower than what we can do through the use of Office. Also, our ability to engage and utilize volunteers would be much more constrained, which in itself is limiting.

Submission Category
Optimize Mission Delivery
Project Image
Supporting Work Files