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In some of Tameran’s blog posts, we talk about how organizations can simplify and improve how their business critical documents are managed, converted and stored. Occasionally, we run into a news story about data backup and document retention at a business or local government. Each article is a good reminder that organizations need a solid strategy for managing, accessing and preserving their documents.
We recently read the article “Microfilm still has its place in local governments,” published by the Columbus Dispatch. In today’s digital world, a lot of people might question why the City of Gahanna is leasing a microfilm reader to view records. People might even wonder why records are still stored on microfilm. The general public might think microfilm technology is obsolete and documents should be stored in the cloud. However, microfilm storage is far from dead.

Why is there a need for microfilm storage?

The article states there might not be much of a demand for microfilm. That’s not true.

Today, many industries must retain documents that are critical to their business and infrastructure for anywhere from 10 to 100 years or more. Some records related to construction, land development, environmental management, long range facility planning, power supplies, water supplies, public works including road and rail, public safety and even corporate management must be kept for life or even permanently. What happens if and when these records are lost or not available due to a digital technology failure?

Reasons to microfilm records and documents

Information Security – information stored on durable microfilm is accessible for up to 500 years if stored properly and securely; not vulnerable to internal or external hackers as with digital data or information stored in the cloud.

Document Integrity – microfilm does not deteriorate with age like paper nor stand the chance of digital data loss through migration or a failure to migrate; microfilm is also not susceptible to outdated software, technological obsolescence or hacking like digital data

Longest Lasting Media – ensures safekeeping longer than any other media

Saves Space – microfilm is convenient and stores easily in a smaller area

Quick Access and Retrieval – roll microfilm is easy to scan into digital form or view with the human eye by magnifying

Admissible in Court of Law – admissible as evidence in a court of law whether original documents exist or not

How do I backup and archive records?

We recommend a hybrid approach to preserving records: a digital archive for everyday access and a microfilm reference archive for information of enduring value and permanence.

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Where can I buy a new microfilm reader, microfilm equipment and systems?

The Columbus Dispatch article mentions there are only two companies left that manufacturer new microfilm equipment. That’s actually incorrect. There are numerous companies around the world manufacturing, selling and supporting microfilm systems.  They include the following:

AGFA, Canon, Eastman Park, E-Image Data,  FUJI, Image Retrieval, Indus International, Konica Minolta, Microbox, Next Scan, ST Imaging, SunRise, Tameran Graphic Systems, The Crowley Company, Wicks & Wilson, Zeutschel and hundreds of other companies providing related services.

As a reader of this blog, we encourage you to think about how you can help your organization develop a strong strategy for managing, accessing and preserving your documents. More facts and information about microfilm and microfilm preservation is available at Facts About Microfilm.  You can also download our Guide to Choosing the Correct Microfilm Media.

Easily integrate microfilm into your document management system- Let us show you how to create a secure and permanent archive.