It’s 2018 – Do We Still Need Microfilm?

As long as documents have existed the need to preserve them has existed. So, the answer is YES, we still need microfilm today! Read more to find out the reasons why microfilm continues to be an important way to safely and securely store data.



Records of every aspect of human life must be kept to inform the future. In the past centuries, visionaries invented microfilm technology to address this need. As it turns out, their achievements have proven to be incredibly successful as microfilm records storage remains, today, the only acceptable long-term storage medium for certain records of the United States government. This requirement is in recognition of microfilm’s inherent qualities. Microfilm provides a safe and accurate copy of the original record. The storage space requirement is small due to the reduced nature of the image. And, the various microforms are incredibly durable. Microfilm was designed to have a stable life of 500 years, with proper storage. Because of these qualities, over the years trillions of records have been safely stored on microfilm.

Today, we are in the digital age. Practically everything in our lives is affected by digital technology. We have come to expect things to come to us fast and accurately. That expectation extends to our need to preserve records into the future. In the United States, with the exception of the aforementioned requirement of certain U.S. government records, most records, today, are preserved in digital form. Digital records preservation, itself, has proven to be fast and accurate. The stored records present an accurate representation of the original and the storage space needed is small. Durability, while still falling short, rivals that of microfilm. An addressable current shortcoming of digital storage is that stored data needs to be reformatted from time to time to remain compatible with emerging digital technology.

The major drawback? Security. Digital records can be hacked, corrupted, or maliciously disseminated. Records managers, today, spend considerable time and funds trying to deal with this issue. Digital insecurity invades not only our businesses but our personal lives as well. We are all looking forward to a safe and effective solution to this problem. Our records integrity is paramount, and the safety issue must be resolved.

So, what do we do in the meantime? We want the lightning speed of digital. We also want the security of microfilm. The answer is to capitalize on the best of both worlds. Keep a foot on each side of the stream – just in case.

Luckily, we are well positioned to do this. We can safely keep our past records on microfilm and quickly and easily bring them into the digital world to work with them, then digitally re-store them. Today’s microfilm scanners, especially the small, fast, and highly versatile ScanPro All-in-One™ scanner, has been developed to handle just such a need. When working with the scanner the user feels right at home with the digital features. The user’s task can be accomplished quickly, in keeping with the speed and accuracy expectations of the modern workplace. Convenience is achieved by having digital information that can be worked with many times or transmitted to a colleague, then digitally stored for future use. And when the microfilm is returned to storage – security!

Until digital storage technology or some as yet unimagined new records storage technology can achieve the level of durability and security offered by microfilm, we will continue to need microfilm. A foot on each side of the stream – just in case.


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