Many businesses have old film that they need to store as part of their business model. Banks and hospitals used to convert their files to microfiche or microfilm in order to save on back up space and to create an additional copy of this information.
Whether it is several years old or brand new, it’s important to have a good back-up plan. Businesses use microfilm and microfiche as an archiving tool because it’s a proven, reliable method to back up data over time.
Microfilm and microfiche are also accessible and available if we lose the ability to access technological solutions like cloud storage which— is becoming more popular. Many of these same techniques can also be applied to old family films and photograph negatives that you might want to store for personal reasons.
Microfiche and Microfilm
Microfilm and microfiche are two storage methods that many businesses rely on to store information. This type of data is quite safe, and it has an expected shelf life of about 500 years if you choose the correct materials for the film.
Experts recommend using polyester based film instead of cellulose film if you want the records to last that long. In order for the records to last, you do need to follow the correct guidelines for storage conditions.
The storage conditions are the most important aspect of preserving the film. In addition, you need to make sure that you have the material recorded properly on the film.
When you are storing film negatives, you want to store them in containers that will not damage the images or cause them to fade over time.
Using a test like ANSI IT9 to determine if materials are safe helps, but you should also look for items that state they have been approved for film storage or that they meet these standards.
Cold storage can help preserve items, but that does not mean you should put them in your freezer. It has to be a frost free environment because if you store them incorrectly, you can damage the items further. However, you should try to store them in an area that will stay cooler and will not be exposed to direct sunlight.
If you are operating a business, you may want to find an offsite media storage facility that offers climate-controlled rooms.
Storage conditions for the film are essential if you want the films to last. The room needs to be kept at a low humidity rate.
The recommended rate is below 50%, and it may be even lower for certain types of films. The maximum storage temperature is 70 degrees, though most people recommend storing the films at an even lower temperature.
Additionally, many people recommend allowing the film to gradually warm up before being handled to prevent moisture from damaging the film. This may mean that you have to wait a few days before you can look at a requested film.
Often companies will contract out the storage of this type of material to businesses that work to maintain this environment. This is because it can be difficult to maintain all of the conditions on your own.
While films can be an excellent way to archive information, it’s always good to have a backup plan.
Every time you handle the microfiche or microfilm, you expose it to conditions that may damage it.
You can keep your films safer and easier to access by making a digital copy for your employees to reference on a database.
While digital storage may not take the place of film storage, it is a complementary method to your storage solutions. You can scan the microfiche and microfilm and turn your negatives or film reels into digital copies.
This process may be time consuming, and so you may only choose to do this to the most important documents. Another solution is to convert your microfilm to digital images for backup.
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It is important to find a company you can trust to help you manage your important documents and records. Fill out the form to the right, or give us a call at (866) 385-3706. Within minutes of receiving your request, you will have free quotes from experts in your area that can help you with your records management and backup.