Microfiche and Microfilm Sources: What it means for Document Conversion

Microfilm and microfiche format sources were invented in the mid-1800’s and have a very extensive history.  In the 1950’s, micro format developed into the preferred way for people to document information.  The format source was first adopted by libraries, financial institutions and universities.  For several decades, micro format sources were the sole means for copying and storing information, and to this day, there are still agencies and organizations that archive information on microfilm and microfiche.

Prior to today’s digital world, widespread adoption of microfilm and microfiche format sources invaded the commercial business sector. It wasn’t until the 1980’s that we began to see more technological developments in digital documenting solutions. As microfilm and microfiche made its way out, those people still using it were challenged with how to continue accessing their valuable format source. Since images on this type of format source are typically reduced to about one twenty-fifth of the original document size, they can only be accessed through special film readers. Finding quality and affordable micro format reading equipment is difficult nowadays, making it nearly impossible to access the information.

Some companies are still archiving information on this reliable, practical and long lasting format because they don’t have access to scanning equipment to effectively convert the film.  Document management firms offer solutions and can convert these sources just as they do with paper. Businesses are choosing to convert, or digitize, micro formats, because continuing to use them poses challenges that they simply can’t afford.  Rolls of film or sheets of fiche are impractical and not accessible in this day and age of digital media.  They are also unable to be shared among people within or outside of the company.  Businesses and government agencies have come to realize that micro format sources are outdated and aren’t an efficient means to document, access, store and share information.

Advances in the ways that businesses are expected to store data have prompted changes in how they document information.  Many companies and government agencies are now required to convert to updated mediums of data storage.  File types, like a JPEG, TIF or PDF, are common sources for converting and storing micro format data.  Once converted, micro format data is indexed and stored on a computer system where it is easily accessed and shared.  Like other computer-based software, such as email clients, word processing and spreadsheet software, files are saved into the computer system and instantly backed up.  This all allows businesses to better address the needs of their end-users without the use of specialized reading equipment.

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