Microfilming is the creation of images of documents to store on photographic film which has historically offered users a sustainable storage option by making it possible to have lots of information in one place. However, given the heightened sophistication of modern document management system software (DMS) and the cloud, microfilm has become an outdated way of storing large amounts of documents and information.
On top of this, having a non-digitised storage system means that physical files containing data can be misplaced, damaged, or destroyed. By scanning them into a digital format you not only provide your data with the proper protection, but you can also access and duplicate them much more easily.
For this reason, microfilm scanning is required in order to digitise previously film-based media, allowing users to store the same large amount of information in an easily accessible, modern format. Today we're going to have a look at several different kinds of microfilm scanning technology and learn about some of the tangible benefits of using it.
What are the different forms of microfilm scanning?
Microfilm in its different varieties is often referred to as microform, as sometimes the media is film-based without being in the form of an actual film roll. As well as microfilm there are several other kinds of microform, including microfiche and aperture cards, all of which require a scanner to allow them to be digitised and to project and magnify images stored in microform to readable proportions.
Microfilm and microfiche scanners
Microfilm and microfiche were at one time considered by many to be the best way to store large amounts of data, and were widely used for the storage of newspapers, books, photographs, instruction manuals, and other files.
Both microfilm and microfiche essentially employ the same method, using tiny exposures of a particular document stored in their minimised version in order to save physical space. One slight difference between the two is that, instead of using a film roll, microfiche stores multiple documents on a flat 105 x 145mm (about 4 inches x 6 inches) film sheet; with media organised as a matrix of micro images on the sheet.
Another difference is the amount they can store; typical microfilm rolls are capable of storing 2,400 letter-sized pages, while a standard microfiche sheet can store about 98 pages. Despite their lower storage capacity, microfiche sheets have historically been seen as easier to organise thanks to their shape and form factor.
Microfilm and microfiche scanners use the latest technology to scan exposures from microfilm rolls and microfiche sheets and convert them to a high-quality, digital format; making problems related to the storage of physical exposures irrelevant.
Aperture card scanners
Developed in the early sixties, these cards were the go-to method of data storage for many engineers, architects, and people working in public administration as they can be easily read, indexed, stored, and retrieved by computer.
Aperture cards allow users to store images by compressing data into a smaller format in order to facilitate its duplication and transfer. The cards are hole-punched and a 35mm data chip is then mounted in the cut-out space.
Aperture card scanners allow users to digitise the 35mm microfilm images and data from the cards, creating accessible, searchable images that can be viewed, saved and shared instantly.
Finding the right microfilm scanner to meet your needs
As an end-user, it's important to think about the exact nature of the scanning that you want to carry out before you invest in any kind of microfilm scanning technology. Likewise, if you're a hardware reseller, you should make sure that customers are fully aware of the different options on the market to suit their specific needs and line of business. Below are two products featured on our website that can help take someone's microfilm scanning operations to the next level.
Wicks and Wilson specialise in production-level digital capture solutions for records management and cultural heritage digitisation, preservation, and online access. They also focus on the research and development of scanners for electronic imaging and retrieving all microform formats, from microfilm and microfiche to aperture cards as well photo negatives and other media.
In particular, their Scanstation CS-Series 8800 microfilm scanner features the latest in digitisation and image processing technology, allowing for speedy automatic batch conversion of both 16 mm and 35 mm roll film into easily accessible digital data. Like all Wicks and Wilson microfilm roll film scanners, it comes with a clear graphical wizard and a fixed lens system, making set-up quick and easy and allowing you to get scanning as soon as possible.
If you're specifically looking to scan microfiche documents, The Wicks and Wilson Scanstation CS-Series 7700 Microfiche Scanner is an excellent option. They provide automated batch digitisation for all types of microfiche including jackets, COM, step-and-repeat, as well as aperture cards. They also come with a custom lens, holographic diffuser, and 12-bit camera system specially designed by Wicks and Wilson for microfiche scanning.
Whether you're an end-user or a hardware reseller looking to diversify your portfolio, investing in a high-quality microfilm scanner could be a real game-changer. Whatever your needs, Dyanix can help you find the product to suit you and your budget.