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The Complexities & Economics of Scanning Microfilmed


Millions of records were microfilmed over the years and those records can now be digitized for improved workflow, easier access, archiving, litigation, compliance and online hosting.

Some of that film which was not properly processed or stored is now slowly disintegrating and has to be scanned for back up.

Professional equipment and experienced personnel are required to properly scan these records.

formats of microfilm
Formats of Microfilm

There are many formats of film based records, such as:




Aperture cards


Within these categories there are also many variables depending on cameras originally used as well as resolution, polarity, reduction and film type


Microfilm StandardsIndustry standards were originally established for the creation of filmed records which indicated requirements for : Consistency Chemical Residue Image Marks (blips) Density of Images Background DensityResolution Chart Resolution ReductionReadings for these standards can be measured by an experienced microfilm laboratory

microfilm lab
Microfilm Lab

An experienced microfilm lab will take readings to determine if the film meets industry standards as well as verify if the film media is original or duplicate film. Image quality and resolution will also be defined.

scanning approach
Scanning Approach

The film inspection and readings will aid an experienced lab to identify scanner settings which will ensure optimal image quality

During this stage certain requirements are identified, such as :

DPI (Dots Per Inch)

Bitonal vs Grayscale

Format - TIFF, PDF, JPG etc

Single vs Multi-page Images

the conversion process
The Conversion Process

The process of digitizing the film based documents can be quite complex, requiring experienced personnel and management as well as specialized professional equipment.

conversion complexities
Conversion Complexities

Not all conversion houses have the needed expertise or the high end professional equipment needed to analyze and digitize microfilm.

Technology is rapidly evolving requiring new investments in high end equipment and training.


Another consideration is indexing, to allow for the digital files to be searched and retrieved.

Options Include:

Manual indexing of each record

Indexing against an existing corporate Database or microfilm (CAR) database

OCR to make the documents word searchable

delivery upload
Delivery & Upload

The images and data can be formatted for uploaded into an imaging system

The image can be named as per index field to facilitate search and retrieval via Windows File Manager and stored on PCs, or drives

Images and data can be hosted online or on a network for access from various locations –


(631)563-6366 x301

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