A microfiche scanner is required every time you need to scan microfiche cards or microfilm jackets. Whether it’s 16mm or 35mm microfiche cards, or microfilm jackets that hold 16mm or 35mm microfilm. Some devices will also work for aperture cards, which is always a great advantage.
This type of scanner will allow easy movement through the microform frames. The basic things you have to look out for is proper zoom, high quality cameras and the least chance of skipping frames when scanning.
In the past, we mainly used microfiche viewers, mostly analogical, to view microfilm. Some of these readers are connected to printers, so users could print images from microfilms and microfiche cards. Nowadays, with the advancement of technology, we are now using specialized microfilm and microfiche scanners. These will allow you to easily capture of the images from the microform and deliver the imagesthrough email quickly.
Why are documents stored on microfiche or microfilm jackets
Before the digital era, microform and film were the best solution to efficiently store large archives for longer periods of time. This was a good alternative to paper archives, or as a backup copy for archiving. Microfilm frames are microphotograpic reproductions of the original documents. We usually use a reduction of 12x to 48x for the images we save on film. This reduction helps in achieving great space saving for archives.
While the end result was very good, the process itself was very time consuming and quite error prone. Therefore, with time, archivists turned to digital backup as an alternative to microfilm. Still, enough time passed for large archives to be backed up on microform. Therefore, these days we have very large amounts of documents still on microfiche or microfilm.
Last but not least, microfilm is a very secure solution to back up critical documents. The best reason is the estimated lifespan, which we estimate at 500 years. I just love it when I see large archives that can be securely backed up. Second reason is that we need a dedicated device to read microfiche. Yes, we don’t like it when we have to read it quickly, but we like it when perpetrators can’t read it easily.
For example, architectural and construction drawings are still backed up on microfilm today. Usually these are backed up on 35mm microfilm, as it allows to store larger documents. Standard documents, such as contracts, insurance policies and other office documents, can successfully be stored on 16mm microfilm or microfiche.
Types of microfiche and microfilm jackets
In this paragraph we will try to describe the types of microfiche and microfilm jackets out there. Depending on the type of microfiche or microfilm jackets, you will require different types of scanners.
Standard microfiche 105 x 148mm
The standard microfiche we use is 105mm by 148mm. This is the most widespread variant of microfiche card out there. We use microfiche for the matrix shape storage it offers. While a microfilm roll is narrow, and will fit at most 2 images on top of each other, images coming one by one, the microfiche stores frames in a matrix.
This kind of microfiche will store images reduced from 12x to 48x, or even more. Depending on the reduction ratio, the microfiche can be classified as 16mm or 35mm. The color pattern is either monochrome, which is good enough for office documents, or grayscale, for images that also include pictures or dashes of gray.
A jumbo microfiche has a size of 180mm by 240mm. This exceeds the size of the standard microfiche and allows for the storage of higher quantities of documents. We have seen jumbo microfiche cards that hold over 300 images on a single card. This really pushes the archiving potential of microfiche to the limit.
Main uses for jumbo microfiche has been the reproduction of service manuals and parts manual for the automotive industry. Especially for those working in the restauration of old vehicles, or services for trucks and construction machines. Usually their need to scan old jumbo microfiche cards is real. They have a hard time reading them, and sometimes they require quick turnaround to fix critical issues in their line of work.
Microfilm Jackets 16mm or 35mm
Microfilm jackets look a lot like microfiche cards, but they are actually cards with sleeves. In these sleeves, operators introduce parts of 16mm or 35mm microfilm. We cut certain frames from the roll and insert them into a jacket or sleeve. Think of it as a holder for parts cut from a microfilm reel.
The end form of the microfilm jacket is more or less identical to a microfiche. It follows the matrix pattern and depending on the microfilmed material, the sleeves have to support 16 or 35mm microfilm. Sleeves are popular for situations in which the archive uses a microfilm writer. It will then insert frames with certain documents in certain jackets. For example, we use microfilm jackets to store patient records. The users would cut all the frames for a patient, and create a single jacket for each of the patients, introducing the appropriate documents for each one.
Aperture cards are thick paper stock medium which holds a frame of a large format drawing. This frame can be either on 16mm or 35mm microfilm, but more often than not it will be on 35mm microfilm. We use 35mm more often for aperture cards for the sole reason that they contain engineering drawings. I don’t want to use a large reduction ratio for a very precise construction or achitectural drwaing.
We mainly focus on the archiving properties of aperture cards, just like with microfilm or microfiche. They take less space than your regular large format drawing and the thick paper card will store important information about the drawing. Last but not least, the cut frame will store the microphotographic reproduction of the drawing itself.