Friday, July 09, 2004

Today's Lesson: The Advantages Of Microfilm

Advantages of Film Based Imaging (Microfilm):
Film Based Imaging or microfilm is the safest, longest lasting and most cost-effective way to preserve and protect any kind of information. That's why it is still the medium of choice when used for off-site storage, document reconstruction and long term image preservation.

Microfilm is eye readable. All one needs is a piece of glass and the sun to read microfilm. NO computer hardware and NO software is ever needed to view microfilm. Microfilm is the ONLY fail-safe medium that can be read anywhere, at any time, by anyone.

Microfilm is the only medium recognized by the Federal Government of the United States as a legally retained copy of the original in ALL 50 states. See Legality below for more information.

Microfilm is considerably less costly than electronic media for (2) two reasons.

1. Microfilm technology is consistent, it does not require continual hardware/software upgrades
2. A single photograph holds virtually an infinite amount of detail because it is not limited to DPI (dots per inch), as are digital imaging devices.

Recent history has proven that keeping up with continually changing digital technology is very costly.

Longest lasting medium available with a 100+ year life expectancy. The Society of American Archivists reported: "Today's digital media should be handled with care, but most likely will far outlast the capability of systems to retrieve and interpret the data stored on them. We can never know for certain when a system has become obsolete."

"We consider microfilm to be the only tested media for preservation, digitizing is fast and economical to distribute, but unless you update an image often, you're taking a risk, technology is changing to fast" said Julio Berrios, Head of the Micrographics Section of the Photoduplication Division, Library of Congress.


A microfilm image has been for decades, and still is, a certified legal copy of a document, once the original is gone (the standard practice in micrographics is to destroy the documents once they have been microfilmed - FicheNet has the paper hydropulped and recycled). All government agencies and courts accept microfilm images as if they were the original (again, if the originals are gone). There is good reason to have this trust in microfilm. To this day, it is virtually impossible, or at least cost prohibitive, to alter a microfilm image in a way that is undetectable. Can you say that about a scanned image? Not without a rather sophisticated coding or encryption scheme implemented. Even then, certain sophisticated computer hackers are sometimes looking for new challenges. Do you want the only form of your data to be their challenge? LINK

Play it again, Uncle Sam!

To this day, it is virtually impossible, or at least cost prohibitive, to alter a microfilm image in a way that is undetectable.



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