The Continued Importance of Microfilm

Importance of MicrofilmWe are a society built on the blood, sweat and tears of the previous generation. Everything we have now can be traced back to our ancestors: our government, our technology, our language and so much more. We constantly build on the work of the previous generation. And we learned long ago that an oral tradition could only take us so far. In order to truly thrive, society needed a better form of preservation. Thus, the written language was formed.

Our ancestors wrote down everything. It is our duty and our privilege to preserve that history.  Ask yourself where we would be without some of our most important historical documents –  the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, the Magna Carta or the Bill of Rights? Our books? Our newspapers? Our magazines? Much of our beginnings and our evolutions are preserved in print. However, paper has a very short lifespan relative  to the world around us and the reality is that digital images may not always be accessible. So how do we preserve our most important information?

Microfilm, that’s how.

The Continued Importance of Microfilm

In today’s technologically-driven age, microfilm is still the king of information preservation. Why?

  1. Microfilm produces an image identical to the original,  is easy to view and is legally acceptable. This is critically important today as businesses seek to satisfy the financial record retention regulations of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act passed in 2002.
  2. Microfilm is a cost effective way to preserve your most important documents, books, photos and more.
  3. Under adequate storage conditions, microfilm will last for 500 years.
  4. Microfilm and microfilm reader/scanners have been created with standards among manufacturers, allowing for continual access.
  5. Once created, microfilm does not require costly maintenance to ensure preservation and accessibility.
  6. Microfilm does not take up a lot of space, making it much easier to store than large volumes of printed materials.  In fact, microfilm saves 95% of the space required to store paper documents.
  7. When an unforeseen disaster strikes, microfilm is typically more salvageable than paper records and may be more accessible than digital records, depending on the disaster type.
  8. Microfilm can be duplicated or scanned – a vital cog in disaster recovery plan implementation.

Microfilm helps preserve our most important documents and images so future generations can have access to the same information.

“Information lasts only so long as someone cares about it,” said well-known inventor Ray Kurzweil, who is responsible for the first CCD flatbed scanner and the first omni-font optical character recognition, among many other innovations.

“The conclusion I’ve come to …, after several decades of careful consideration, is that there is no set of hardware and software standards existing today, nor any likely to come along, that will provide any reasonable level of confidence that the stored information will still be accessible (without unreasonable levels of effort) decades from now.”

Microfilm, meanwhile, has stood the test of time. When combined with available technologies, writing to microfilm can help augment long-term preservation and disaster recovery programs.  On the service bureau floor today, Crowley Imaging is writing digital images of historical town records to microfilm for a major genealogy firm and is also duplicating (copying) microfilm for the archive departments of both a major Midwest and an Ivy League university – just a few examples of how microfilm can extend accessibility for the long-term.

If you have any questions about The Continued Importance of Microfilm, please contact the Crowley Company by calling (240) 215-0224. Click here for information on microfilm pricing or visit  Crowley Imaging’s Micrographics Conversion Services pages to find out how we can help with your microfilm preservation efforts.  General inquiries can be emailed to blog@thecrowleycompany.com.

The Crowley Company is a unique blend of manufacturer, distributor and service bureau. Not only do we offer a complete array of manufactured and distributed equipment and supplies to meet all production-level and walk-up imaging needs, but we also provide leading-edge document conversion and reformatting solutions to libraries, archives, publishers, local government agencies and commercial clients.

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