Records Management Blog | Practical Records Management

Film and Fiche just can't be Found?

Posted by Michael Thomas on Mon, Mar 08, 2010 @ 06:48 AM
Many companies have old files that may include documents that have previously been saved using microfiche or microfilm. In today's environment, however, Microfiche and microfilm are no longer the standard used for archiving documents nor are they convenient for document retrieval, sharing, or printing.  The use of computerMicrofilm Reader technology has brought with it a new standard for document storage, and that is the scanned image.  If you have used microfiche or microfilm in the past you may be wondering what to do with your current archive.

We've found that while many people know that scanning can be used for paper documents, many folks are not aware that other media can also be scanned as well.  Microfiche, microfilm and aperture cards can all be easily and successfully scanned. Better yet, scanning these images into TIF and PDF converts them into useable formats that can be viewed, shared, and printed by anyone. In addition, these can be easily stored electronically and organized within a database for quick access and retrieval. 

Once your documents are converted you'll be able to easily search and review files on your computer.  Having up to date files can reduce the time spent looking for files and viewing them with readers.  Now files can easily be sent between users who need them with no problem.  Your company will be in compliance with information laws such as the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), and other emerging standards. 

 There are many advantages of converting your microfiche or microfilm to electronic documents, including:

  • Reducing the cost and requirement of storing old microfiche or microfilm
  • Eliminating the need to use reading machines that are quickly becoming obsolete
  • Reducing the expensive maintenance on reading machines
  • Streamlining the process of retrieving files
  • Providing flexible use of electronic files - files can be emailed, printed or faxed
  • Allowing for better organization of files for faster retrieval.

Have you come up with other alternatives for dealing with legacy Film and Fiche files? Please share them in the comments and let me know what you think.

Tags: Scanning, File Storage, Records Management, Microfiche, Microfilm, Scanners

Scanning Microfilm and Microfiche to Digital Images

Posted by Michael Thomas on Thu, Feb 25, 2010 @ 04:53 PM
In the early 1800's, Microfilm was introduced to the world as an efficient, effective method of reducing the physical size needed to store and archive information. Now, nearly 200 years later, many Companies and Government Organizations continue toMicrofilm Roll use Microfilm as an archival solution, although when compared with other modern technologies, there are some inherent limitations that point to Digital Images, such as TIF or PDF being a better solution.

While it is true that Microfilm does give you a long-term, stable archive medium, that is human readable, it is also subject to some of the following limitations:

  • Limited Accessibility - Microfilm, Microfiche, and Aperture Cards may only be reviewed by one user at a time.
  • Physical Space Requirements - Microfilm, while taking significantly less space than paper, still consumes physical space, and must be manually accessed for retrieval.
  • Specialized Equipment needed for Reading
  • Microfilm cannot be easily printed, emailed, and/or faxed without the need for manual intervention.

Converting Microfilmed documents to digital images, therefore is a bit like converting old Vinyl Albums to MP3's. It can help unlock the content and help to make the information both portable and shareable, while allowing for easier, distributed access. The same concepts hold true for the conversion of Film to TIF or PDF.

For more information about converting Microfilm, Microfiche, and Aperture cards to Digital Images, visit Shoreline Records Management's Website..

Tags: Scanning, Microfiche, Microfilm