New Economy; New Rules: Discounted Microfilm Scanning, Microfiche Scanning, Aperture Card Scanning, and Imaging Services

Category: Microfiche Scanning

Microfiche To Digital Plus OCR

Recent trends in the Microfiche to Digital imaging has included an additional process called OCR. This process adds significant value to a microfiche to digital conversion because of the increased functionality of the final product. OCR refers to the Optical Character Recognition and involves the process of reading information from an image after the microfiche to digital conversion has taken place. The software that is designed to perform the OCR then creates a text layer of the information it gathers from the image.


After the microfilm to digital and the OCR process has completed, you should be able to work with the file just as if the image had been created using a text editor. This means that the microfiche to digital process creates a picture of the image and the OCR creates a text version of the same image. The benefits from this conversion are immense. For example, if you where interested in finding information about a person listed in the document, you could do an automated search and a text editor would locate the name for you. This would not be possible without an efficient microfiche to digital conversion.


Consider the following, Last year, a historian approached us for a microfiche to digital conversion. He had been working with a local library gathering information from old newspaper that had been microfilmed years earlier. Without a microfilm to digital conversion, he was limited to viewing a frame at a time on a viewer and looking for information by reading off the screen. Needless to say, he was wasting lots of time. After performing a microfiche to digital and OCR process, he was able to work from his own computer and perform searches instantly.Microfiche to Digital and OCR Scanning CONTACT US

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Convert Microfiche

Although there are technically several ways to convert microfiche to PDF, TIFF, or JPEG, only one of them will deliver to you a high quality product, in a fast amount of time, at a low price. That method, of course, would be to send your microfiche to Generation Imaging in Davie, Florida via USPS, Fed-Ex, UPS, DHL, or via courier. But let us quickly go through the other methods to convert microfiche and see why they aren’t truly options:

  • Buy your own scanner. Sure you can get a ScanPro 2000 for a few thousand dollars. We have one of those- but we wouldn’t dare use them to convert microfiche for you. The reason why the ScanPro is inexpensive compared to the high production microfiche scanners is because the optics are poor for scanning microfiche; the high reduction ratio of microfiche (24x to 48x), lack of advanced quality filters, and rudimentary camera optics are all factors that are obstacles for creating a quality image. I didn’t even mention that you have to load one card at a time for the ScanPro. Although the ScanPro has its uses for other media, and it does come in handy for us for odd microform we may come across (it’s our business to receive all types of weird film) it’s not suitable for producing an acceptable quality to convert microfiche.
  • Buy high-end scanners. High production/high optics microfiche scanners (what Generation Imaging uses) can run you anywhere from $30,000 to $100,000 each depending on make and model. In addition to maintenance costs, you must consider training, managing labor, workflow, and technical support.
  • Flat-bed scanner. PC scanners are unable to convert microfiche (the magnification is too low).
  • Reader printer. Reader printers cost around $3000 to $8000. The manual labor is very time consuming to convert microfiche to digital image (one frame at a time).
  • Used scanners, used reader printers, etc. Although used scanning equipment sounds good on paper because the prices are cut by thousands of dollars, they don’t come with any warranties. When you consider that reader printers are known to break down and parts are needed, and the same can be said of microfiche scanners.

Ultimately, it is more cost effective and safer to allow Generation Imaging to convert microfiche for your project. You can plug the numbers yourself and weight the risk factors. If you have a small volume project which requires you to convert microfiche, it’s a no-brainer to use Generation Imaging.

how to convert microfiche CONTACT US

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Convert Microfiche vs Convert Microfilm

A mistake that occurs from clients or organizations who are not familiar with micrographics is mixing up microfiche and microfilm. Every industry or niche has its own lexicon, and in the micrographics industry there are major differences between microfiche and microfilm. The purpose of this article is to describe the differences between microfilm and microfiche.

Microfilm- It’s rolled.

microfilm scanning
In the most simplest terms, microfilm is rolled and microfiche is flat. Microfilm is also called roll film, and microfilm reels, microfilm rolls. Sometimes the width of the film is used to describe the types, such as 16mm roll film or 35mm microfilm.

Microfilm is usually stored in plastic or metal spools.  Some old microfilm is stored in metal pans. Yes, microfilm generally looks like small versions of movie reel film, except without the classic sprockets.

Microfilm cartridges look different that the standard reel spools- but only on the outside. The film is enclosed in a hard metal square casing to protect it. Kodak and 3M were innovators in producing microfilm cartridges.

There is no such thing as a 35mm roll film cartridge; there are only 16mm microfilm cartridges.

The actual microfilm frame placement and types vary, such as duplex film, positive, negative, duo, fixed, blipped, variable, etc, however that is a different topic and is unrelated to identifying microfilm vs microfiche.

Microfiche- It’s flat.

scan microfiche

A jacketed microfiche

Microfiche are flat “cards”, usually 4.13 x 5.83 inches, containing a few frames on them. Whereas a microfilm may hold 500 (35mm) to 20,000 frames (duplex), a microfiche card may hold as many one one frame to a couple of hundred (COM fiche).

Jacketed microfiche are simply roll film cut up into strips and inserted into plastic sleeves. Some people get confused if they don’t see the jacket sleeves, but it could be that the microfiche was duplicated. If it was duplicated, the copy may still have faint lines highlighting the border of the jackets. Since jackets are created from microfilm strips, they can come in the 16mm microfiche or 35mm microfiche varieties. A 16mm jacket has more rows and columns, and thus can hold more frames that a 35mm jacket (1-6 frames).

COM microfiche is computer generated and contain very small frames (usually with a 42x or 48x reduction ratio).

Step-and-repeat microfiche were created with a step-and-repeat camera. Many times they contain manuals or books and can hold hundreds of frames. CONTACT US

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Microfiche Scanning- How To Scan Microfiche

Microfiche scanning is the process of converting microfiche to digital images. Scanning microfiche and microfilm scanning are two of Generation Imaging’s main specialties- from quality to price, and to fun. As you could imagine, G.I. gets a lot of questions from callers and e-mails from potential clients that are new to the world of digital conversions. Also, many industries and organizations use different terminologies, so let me clear up some things up:

The difference between microfilm and microfiche is that fiche contain small images on flat sheets. Microfilm is roll film, usually spooled on a 16mm or 35mm or inside a Kodak or 3M cartridge. It gets kind of confusing for some people trying to identify media when they see cut strips of roll film inside clear plastic jackets. But the strong definition is that microfiche is contained on transparent flat sheets (around 4 inches x 6 inches, or 105 x 148 mm).

I used the word transparent for a reason; an image on an opaque sheet (like cardboard or index card) will only work if the material is has a cut-out rectangle. In that case, the “microfiche” is really an aperture card (an old PC card). The aperture card usually has a 35mm drawing, blueprint, or map in the cut-out. There are other scenarios where 16mm strips were cut and pasted in the rectangular cut-off. Either way, Generation Imaging can convert aperture cards to digital image.

There are a few different types of microfiche:

Jacketed microfiche (aka jacket fiche, jackets, jacket microfiche, microfiche jackets, jacketed microfilm sheets) generally contain around 5 rows of cut 16mm microfilm strips. However, 35mm jacketed microfiche have around up to 3 rows. Jacket fiche are perhaps the most varied type of microfiche: some only have a few frames on them, while others have around 60-90 images. Some jackets may contain unusual records, such as EKG, old school dot matrix computer printouts, or earthquake seismographs.

Jacket fiche can be duplicated, which ads to some people’s confusion when identifying microfiche. A diazo microfiche would not have physical sleeves anymore; instead you may see horizontal lines for each row.

digitize microfiche

COM microfiche have been around for a long time. COM = Computer Output Media. These microfiche are computer generated and usually line up perfectly, in addition to having rows/columns or 16 x 13 or 18 x 15. Occasionally, not all the frames are filled with data, so there are blank spaces instead of a packed microfiche. COM fiche usually contain accounting records.microfiche scanning

Step-and-repeat microfiche were created with a special camera (also called 105mm film). They are more straight and even than jacket fiche. These microfiche have a varied image count, I’ve seen some have 100-300 images. They mostly contain manuals: airplanes, motorcycles, automobiles, jetski’s, scientific notebooks, etc.

microfiche conversion

Other rare types of microfiche include ultrafiche (350-500+ tiny images) and rewritable microfiche, sometimes called Microx or AB Dick microfiche.

Microfiche Scanning

Where Generation Imaging comes in is that G.I. Partners, LLC can convert microfiche to digital images, such as TIFF, PDF, or JPEG at a very low price. Microfiche scanning with NextScan scanners is a specialty of G.I. G.I. also has years of experience with microfiche scanning using Sunrise, Mekel, and Wicks & Wilson microfiche scanners, and has handled all types of microfiche scanning projects. CONTACT US

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Converting Microfiche to Digital Image

converting microfiche to digital image

Converting microfiche to digital image, such as PDF, TIFF, or JPEG is one of our specialties. If you have no experience with microfiche scanners, don’t have $70,000 to invest in one, or don’t have the time or money to print out one microfiche image at a time with a microfiche reader printer, then you should be pleased to know that Generation Imaging (G.I. Partners, LLC) can convert microfiche to digital image quickly and efficiently.

Microfiche is still used in many different scenarios, such as large insurance companies, genealogy records, military records, County records, engineering drawings and blueprints, sewer maps, and literally hundreds of different of industries. Many times a company or organization gets used to running a microfiche filing system and either doesn’t know about microfiche scanning or believes converting microfiche is cost prohibitive. Perhaps they inquire about buying a microfiche scanner and realize how much money, labor, and maintenance goes into microfiche scanning production. Perhaps they had purchased a cheaper alternative like a Scanpro, and realized how slow it takes. In almost all cases subcontracting microfiche digitizing to Generation Imaging is more cost-effective and quicker, not to mention microfiche conversion experts are running the project instead of newly trained laborers.

For hobbyists and researchers, sending Generation Imaging a batch of cards, or even one or two microfiche is an easy solution. With a low minimum fee for microfiche scanning, G.I. Partners takes pride in helping the so-called “civilians” in the scanning industry, as well as giving low microfiche scanning prices for high volume projects. Heck, in this new economy, the low  microfiche scanning price is necessary. When you combine quality of work with the low scanning pricing, you can see why G.I. Partners is the number one choice to convert microfiche to digital image.

G.I. Partners is located in South Florida, but accepts projects from all over the world. Contact Dan or Damian for an industry-best quick response. CONTACT US

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