February 14, 2011
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.
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.
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.
Other rare types of microfiche include ultrafiche (350-500+ tiny images) and rewritable microfiche, sometimes called Microx or AB Dick microfiche.
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.