Maintaining a digital archive of company document records is made easier everyday with a myriad of cost-effective, on-site and cloud storage solutions, but a digital document archive is not document preservation. While digital archives can provide the ability to have quick access and low cost storage of documents, they inherently lack the attributes associated with preservation of a document.
Document Preservation Characteristics
Document preservation requires documents to be recorded on a media that renders them as:
- Technology independent
- Maintaining original record integrity and authenticity
- Self-sustaining over a long period of time (no migration maintenance is required)
- Easily convertible back to digital format for access and viewing
Benefits of Microfilm for Document Preservation
Recording digital documents on reference archive microfilm media is one of the ways documents can be preserved with all of the listed attributes that are essential to successfully preserving a document.
Archive microfilm can not be modified or corrupted by a key stroke or digital manipulation, does not require a specific operating system, computer application, file format compatibility, or digital media availability. Documents recorded on archive microfilm maintain the original record integrity and authenticity and are self sustaining without the need of data migration for a period of at least 5 centuries, and are easily convertible by scanning back to digital format for access and viewing.
Microfilm is relatively inexpensive to record; approximately the same cost of making a paper print of a document. Storage of archive microfilm is also cost effective because the storage space required is a fraction of space required to store paper documents and, because archive microfilm requires no migration maintenance, the high cost of migrating digital documents through time is never incurred.