Prior to the widespread adoption of more modern archival media, organisations utilised microform, which were photographic reductions (typically 4%) of documents. Microform predominantly came in three physical storage formats called microfilm, microfiche, and aperture cards.
These were used to store and archive all types of documents, including industrial and engineering drawings, architectural plans, and other large-format documents. While these storage formats were convenient and were designed to last decades if stored properly, they can still gradually degrade over time.
Before your organisation engages a microfilm scanning service to convert its archives to digital (e.g. microfilm to pdf), it’s good to understand the fundamental differences between the different microform formats, namely microfilm, microfiche, and aperture cards. Here’s a quick overview of the three storage formats.
Just like cinema film, microfilm are rolls of photographic film (typically 16mm or 35mm) stored in reels. The documents are set so the text ends up parallel to the sides of the film. Since the film can come in lengths of 100 to 200m and because the documents are optically reduced, a typical roll of microfilm can store 2400 pages of letter-sized images or 600 drawings (possibly more depending on the size).
In contrast to microfilm, microfiche comes as single sheets of flat film the same size as A6 paper. The word itself comes from French, meaning “small slips of paper.” A sheet of microfiche can store about 98 letter-sized documents. They are stored in drawers or boxes with each sheet protected by an open-top envelope.
Are stiff paper cards that have holes punched in them (known as Hollerith Cards). Small chips of 35mm microfilm are then mounted in the hole using a clear plastic sleeve, or simply secured over the hole (aperture) using a type of cellophane tape. Aperture cards were more often used to archive engineering drawings.
At Scan2Archive, we utilise state of the art FlexScan professional digitisation equipment to ensure high-quality results when scanning your microfilm, microfiche, and aperture cards and converting them to digital formats. Great care is taken throughout the entire microfiche digitisation process to prevent your records from being damaged during digitisation.
The FlexScan’s superior camera technology produces uniform output and precision even while scanning at incredible speeds. The FlexScan also uses fiber-optic light sources to eliminate hotspots and uneven lighting, resulting in sharper images with better edge definition.
Scan2Archive has over 35 years of experience in the industry backed by AS/NZS ISO 9001:2015 Quality Accreditation. Contact us to help you convert your microfilm, microfiche, and aperture card archives to more versatile and durable digital files.