Micrographics: From Glorious Past to Hybrid Future

   

Despite dire predictions of its demise, microfilm continues to be a viable storage medium, especially in hybrid document management systems. By Pat Lange

"The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated"- Mark

Twain

Micrographics as an industry is dead.... The market for microfilm is gone, as electronic imaging and optical disk storage have unceremoniously shoved micrographics out of the business market.... Micrographics services and suppliers are going out of business, or else consolidating in order to stay in business.... Since new technology is always better, regardless of the cost, any business which does not embrace the newest technology will be left behind.

Ouch dire statements and predictions regarding the micrographics industry can be read or inferred from the literature of the early 1990s. Whether the literature addresses it as micrographics, microfilm, computer-output microfilm, A microforms or microimaging, the inference is about the micrographics industry. While some of the aforementioned statements are partly true, the purpose of this article is to show that micrographics, and microfilm in particular, has weathered the storm of electronic imaging competition and has bolstered its position so that it is far from a dead industry.

A Little History

Microfilm, a film-based technology of photographically-reduced images, dates back further than the France-Prussian War of 1870-71, when carrier pigeons took messages on microfilm. Therein lies a useful property of