Three reasons it costs less to preserve documents on microfilm than paper
Document preservation experts and industry regulators recommend keeping analog copies of records, including digital records, for long-term document preservation. What is an analog record? It’s an unalterable, human readable and self-sustaining record. It can also easily be converted to digital formats to quick access and distribution. Both paper and microfilm are examples of an analog record.
There’s a good chance your office currently makes paper copies of important digital records. Paper might be perceived to be a quick and easy way to preserve your digital documents, but you need to know it’s secretly draining your budget dry.
1. It costs less to produce or record documents on microfilm.
The cost of preserving a digital document on microfilm can be up to 75 percent less than preserving a document on paper. The chart above illustrates these costs.2. It costs less to organize and file microfilm.
The cost of organizing, filing and boxing paper is significantly higher than microfilm. A single roll of 35mm microfilm contains more than 11,000 indexed document pages. A standard Bankers Box holds 2,000-2,500 document pages in file folders with staples. Five Bankers Boxes of paper files equal one roll of microfilm.3. It costs less to store microfilm than paper.
Microfilm requires 99.5 percent less storage space than paper. This is the number one reason it costs less to preserve digital documents on microfilm. The costs of document storage will continue for the entire time period the documents need to be stored.
Storage costs are not a one time expense. They continue every day for the length of time documents are stored. This could continue for decades or even centuries. In addition, costs will rise as more documents are produced and require additional storage space.