Why Microfilm is Still Relevant for Many Institutions


In total’s increasing digital world, it may be easy to assume that microfilm is just another dead relic of a pre-digital age.

While it is true than many industries and institutions have spurned the tried-and-true microfilm technology for flashing digital document imaging solutions such as Laserfiche, the need for microfilm is as great today as it ever was for many organizations. The reason for this need is simple – microfilm is a stable, reliable, and it some ways ‘eternal’ way to store critical documents.

Why do we say it’s ‘eternal’? Simple. The technology to access and read today’s digitally stored records will almost certainly become outdated and eventually disappear as scanning standards and image storage technologies evolve. Many business and institutions, in fact, have been forced to pay expensive conversion fees in order to move their document repositories forward from now-abandoned systems and formats to modern storage and retrieval systems.

Microfilm, in comparison, requires only a light source and a magnification system in order to retrieve the records. While this is normally provided by a microfilm reader, there’s nothing to stop future microfilm users from accessing document images stored on microfilm via digital magnification or scanning, or any fairly basic light-and-magnification system.

This means your critical records will be accessible, wherever and whenever needed, for generations to come. Microfilm is a proven, stable storage medium that has been successfully used since 1925. This first system, the Checkograph machine, was invented by New York banker George McCarthy to solve the very real need of banks to store check images. Modern banks today still have the need to store financial records on microfilm, and still do.

Other institutions, such as libraries, also still rely on microfilm for much the same reason — the need to make sure that the knowledge they store is accessible in the future, regardless of changing storage trends or potential accident disaster that can destroy or otherwise make digital records inaccessible.

There are also a number of government institutions that, although they are digitally imaging records, also rely on microfilm to ensure records are properly preserved. From financial records to adoptions and birth records, government institutions have learned to rely on the permanence of microfilm.

Is microfilm right for you?

Contact us to see all the ways microfilm can help your business thrive and survive in an uncertain future.