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If your company still periodically utilises archived information stored on microfilm and microfiche, then be aware of the potential odour of a sour scent of vinegar. Microfilm and microfiche were extensively used as archive media in the era before desktop computing became ubiquitous.

Since they were able to store multiple pages in a compact form, microfilm and microfiche became an ideal choice for architectural firms, land developers, hospitals, accounting firms… basically any business that generated large volumes of paper records. Despite their utility and convenience for the time, microfilm and microfiche unfortunately can degrade over time. This leads us back to the sour scent of vinegar.

As a result of deterioration and breakdown, acetate-based microfilm and microfiche emit fumes that have a vinegar-like smell. Instead of breaking out the chips, however, you should immediately inspect your archives. This natural process leaves the film brittle since the emulsion and the film base separate. Rolled-up degrading microfilm will also stick together, rendering them useless.

To prevent this from happening, care must be taken in storing and handling microfilm and fiche. The reference copies of film and microfiche should be kept in a clean, dark, climate-controlled room. Temperatures should be kept between 18 and 22 degrees Celsius. Additionally, relative humidity should also be kept between 45 and 55. Since they also degrade through extended exposure to light,  microfilm and fiche should be immediately returned to their proper storage container.

Engaging a firm that specialises in microfiche scanning can eliminate the risk of losing important information to the vinegar syndrome. Leading scanning services such as Scan2Archive can take care of this process for you. Using the state-of-the-art FlexScan professional scanning system, their team of experts can convert your physical archives into digitised files. The FlexScan system is specifically designed to produce uniform output at incredible speeds and precision.  


Since microfilm and microfiche can degrade over time without proper (and costly) storage, your organisation should act fast to preserve your information. Contact our friendly team of experts at Scan2Archive now to learn about how our over 35 years of experience in the industry can assist your organisation.


Scan2Archive is an accredited vendor with the NSW Procurement ICT Services SCM0020 Category G20 Digitisation and a signatory to Queensland GITC5 for Government purchasing. Our strict quality control processes are backed by AS/NZS ISO 9001:2015 Quality Accreditation. Contact us now so we can help you convert your microfilm and microfiche archives to more versatile and durable digital files.