In the past microfilm was frequently used for saving valuable storage space. Today though, DMS and cloud storage systems are the most common, as the combination of dropping costs and growing sophistication continues to make managing information more time and cost-efficient.
Watch the video or read the transcript to learn more about different microfilm types, how they’re used, how they compare to digital storage systems, and how the scanning and conversion process works in this video.
What Is Microfilm?
Microfilming involves creating images of documents to store on photographic film.
With a shelf life of several hundred years and the ability to keep a lot of information in a small place, microfilm provides a sustainable storage option.
Microfilm is used to store tiny micro-reproductions of document images via a film roll.
Storage capacities for microfilm range from 600 engineering drawings to 2,400 regular documents.
Because files are roughly 1/25 of their original size, microfilm was used in the past as a top way to save valuable storage space.
Other Microfilm Types
Besides microfilm, there are several types of microform, including microfiche and aperture cards.
Microfiche is used to store documents on a flat 105 x 145mm film sheet as opposed to a film roll.
Typically images are 10 x 14mm and are organized as a matrix of microimages on the sheet.
Aperture cards are hole-punched with a 35 mm microfilm chip mounted in the cut out space.
Because of their size a card can only hold a single microfilm image, making aperture cards only useful to archive unique files like engineering drawings.
Microfilm Scanning Process
- An optical scanner is used to capture the microfilm in its raw digital format
- The digital image is outputted in desired format (JPG, PDF, etc.)
- An automated optical character recognition (OCR) is applied for editing
- New digital files are integrated and indexed in an electronic DMS
- After extracting and converting files, it’s important the old physical copies are safely disposed.
- To ensure compliance with data protection laws and leave film unrecoverable, mixed media shredding is often the final step after scanning.
Modern Space-Saving Storage
Compared to microfilm, scanning offers several additional advantages, including:
- It’s faster and easier to retrieve and use documents in a DMS or cloud storage
- Additional indexing and tagging options to better manage and organize records
- Replicating and distributing information is sped up since documents can be directly accessed and shared online unlike how microfilm first requires extracting and enlarging the information first
Need to Scan Microfilm?
To find microfilm scanning services and additional information to help with your conversion project, give Record Nations a call at (866) 385-3706 or use the request form on this page.