March 11, 2020
Is Microfilm Still Used Today? What Is Microfilm Scanning?
It may surprise you that in the 21st century, organizations still use microfilm (also called roll film). There are a couple of reasons why microfilm is still relevant in this modern age of digitization.
Many state, county, or federal government agencies demand that documents be archived on microfilm reels. It is easy to see why this is true. We have heard too many nightmare scenarios about digitized images and documents being lost due to accident. Indeed, it is a given that analogue media is “solid” and gives the impression that it could be accessed in the future easier than having the appropriate computer hardware and software to view specific file formats.
However, proponents of this philosophy ignore the inconvenient truths that microfilm actually degrades. If not stored in particular proper conditions, all microfilm could become brittle, start “melting”, smell like vinegar, fade, or become impossible to spool. Therefore, it makes perfect sense to scan your microfilm before it becomes unusable (and non-compliant with law).
It’s Always Been Done That Way
It’s possible an organization has been archiving or using their documents a certain way, dating back to the 1970s or beyond. Because things have always been done like this- and perhaps the fear of microfilm scanning costs- there could be a fear of change.
The counter argument to that is simple: having a company like Generation Imaging scanning roll film to tiff, pdf, or jpeg will save your organization time, space, and probably costs. Microfilm can become costly to store and difficult to manage and sort through. Digitizing your roll film makes your office more efficient. Indexed documents can be searched for and accessed in seconds instead of searching through hundreds of feet of roll film.
Please contact Generation Imaging today if you have:
Building Department microfilm
Police Department microfilm
Zoning and Planning microfilm
Environmental Protection microfilm
Public Works microfilm
Legal Department microfilm
Department of Health microfilm
Vital Records microfilm
Fire Department microfilm
Town Clerk microfilm
Student records microfilm
Social Services microfilm
September 18, 2018
Generation Imaging is your one-stop microfilm scanning service company which can convert all types of roll film. Here is a list of the different types of roll film scanning services we offer:
16mm Microfilm Scanning
The most common type of 16mm rolls have around 1800-2400 images contained on a spool of film. However, some reels contain duplex images, are on thin film, or have odd images. Some rare ones even wrap around in a serpentine order (duo roll film). With that said, a 16mm roll of film could contain anywhere from a handful to 20,000 images (sometimes front and back, other times very small checks, receipts, or index cards to have such a large number.)
35mm Microfilm Scanning
35mm reels contain wider images- usually drawings, blueprints, charts, newspapers, and maps, but also journals, registers, Official Recorder (County) records. They usually have around 350-600 frames on them, however they could also fit 1000-1200 images at times.
Other Microfilm Digitization Services
Generation Imaging offers standard shipping services (USPS, UPS, or Fed-Ex) and secure packing methods for your microfilm. Before the microfilm is digitized, we will check the microfilm status and determine if the film has any abnormalities like microfilm vinegar syndrome.
We can name rolls by their labels and roll match to databases if you have one. Additional services include indexing at the image level, OCR to create searchable PDFs, creating a spreadsheet or text file, cropping, rotating, and deskewing. Don’t worry about negative or positive polarities: we invert from negative to positive.
File formats include PDF, PDF/A, JPEG, TIFF, and other types.
Please contact us for a free estimate with no pushy sales tactics or selling your personal info. All work is performed in the United States of America.
March 28, 2018
Your county clerk serves an important role in the public sector, which can be taken for granted. Your local county clerk issues motor vehicle titles, registrations, marriage licenses, liquor licenses, and ensure elections are conducted according to law. The county clerk records the Board of County Commissioners’ public meetings. These documents could be stored the following formats: microfilm, microfiche, aperture cards, books, or paper documents.
The Electronic Recording Fund is a restricted fund financed by at least half of all document surcharge fees to a special account, which is maintained by the your state’s Secretary of State’s office. The unremitted portion of these fees is used to subsidize the cost of technology for electronic recording.
Clerks can get software which allows users to search for and print records. Users are charged a daily or monthly subscription fee. This revenue helps pay the contract and supports the the scanning, indexing and importing of past records.
If you work at the county clerk’s office, please contact us if you have a desire to digitize your microfilm, microfiche, aperture cards, or documents to import into a system to better engage the public.
February 23, 2018
History is defined as “the study of past events, particularly in human affairs” or “a continuous, typically chronological, record of important or public events or of a particular trend or institution”. Even the definition of “oral history”, which is defined as “the collection and study of historical information using sound recordings of interviews with people having personal knowledge of past events” points to storing the information on media.
Without a way of writing, typing, or recording writing, video, audio, and art, the last thing we have is passing stories down from generation to generation, but if you’ve ever played the telephone game you know that messages get messed up. Of course, no one would want to pass down detailed financial information, detailed law, scientific data, etc. anyway, so the bottom line is that human history only exists due to saving and maintaining The Record.
The United States of America is notorious for keeping vital records and having a paper trail for everything when it comes to you and the government. If you come from the Philippines, for example, you know how hard it is to get your birth certificate. Heck, you may not even have a lease to furnish for your house.
Therefore, without The Record, history is erased- its people, events, and facts. Without the archive, there is no history and there is a sense of nihilism. In 1870 American newspaper mills switched to wood pulp, which decay rapidly. In the 1920s, the Kodak proposed that microfilm was the solution, which allowed an entire newspaper to be contained on a small roll of 35mm microfilm. Eventually libraries were transferred to microfiche and microfilm while the originals were destroyed.
Now thanks to microfilm scanning and microfiche conversion, the documents are digital and can be printed, e-mailed, saved in the cloud, local PCs, discs, and servers.
January 4, 2018
So you are going about your normal workday when all of a sudden your boss has a new priority for you from left field- get pricing for microfilm scanning! You probably haven’t even heard about microfilm, your office never even uses it, but your boss has an opportunity or need to get microfilm converted- whatever that means! So you politely say “okay” and start your search online. Hopefully we can clear up some confusion with this article!
Confirm and Get the Microfilm Specs
Your ultimate goal is to get a price for microfilm conversion, but the first thing you have to do is actually identify and get details about the microfilm. Now, I know this may be hard if your boss just dropped a request for a roll film quote on your desk without telling you. But you can show off your knowledge to your boss by turning the tables and asking about what type of film it is. The two main types of roll film are 16mm and 35mm roll film. These look like small versions of movie reels. 35mm reels usually have newspapers, drawings, blueprints, or maps on them, while the more common 16mm reels usually have all other types of documents, like medical records, payroll records, school records, criminal records, land and deed records, marriage certificates, lawsuits, etc. If you have any specifications, let us know: DPI resolution (200, 300, or something else), pdf or tiff, bi-tonal or greyscale, and how are the files named?
A common misnomer is to call microfilm “microfiche”. Microfiche is actually flat plastic cards which contain a few frames on them. A microfilm roll is a spool of film.
Once you get the microfilm type, you want to get an estimate of how many rolls are in the collection. The reason for all of this fact-finding is to help us give you a free microfilm scanning quote. The price varied by type and volume. Without this information, it is like contacting a car dealership and asking for a car price without saying which year, model, or spec you desire.
What is Microfilm Used For, Anyway?
As far as why microfilm is still relevant today, there are still hundreds of thousands- if not millions- of rolls that have not been converted still. Governments still produce them to store their records on them because paper takes up too much space. You would think they would just scan the paper to digital image, but it takes too long and is costly. So it is possible that your boss is helping am existing client who also has microfilm but does not know how to convert it to digital image. Your boss may be trying to respond to a bid which has microfilm scanning requirements and your office can perform all of the other tasks but not the microfilm portion. There are dozens of reasons why your boss came across the microfilm scanning opportunity.
Other Important Questions
Your boss probably wants to know if it is cheaper to buy a microfilm scanner and do it yourself vs outsourcing microfilm scanning. We can give you price ranges for both. Generally speaking, it is more inexpensive to subcontract microfilm conversions. Microfilm scanners are very expensive to buy or lease, and you have to figure in the cost to train and maintain. In many ways getting your own microfilm scanner is like setting up a new business. Regardless, we will give you numbers to work from so you can give them to your boss.
Your would probably be expected to know how much it costs to ship the microfilm back and forth. The best way to get an estimate for that is to fill a banker’s box with paper and weigh it, or look at previous UPS, Fed-Ex, or USPS shipments you’ve made and extrapolate.
Other questions include turnover time: how long does it take to finish a microfilm scanning project? What are the images delivered on: external hard drives, USB flash drives, DVDs, FTP transfer.