Q : MICROFILMING is an old technology. Why should we go in for this?

Q : Digital Technology is latest for preservation, storage & retrieval of information.

Q : Microfilms can not be produced as primary legal evidence in Court of Law.

Q : How do we retrieve information from microfilm (rolls)?

Q : How and where can both microfilms and digital technologies be used?

Q : Can existing microfilms be digitized ?

Q : What is Computer Assisted Retrieval & / or Sequential frame number ?

Q : MICROFILMING is an old technology. Why should we go in for this?

A : Yes you are right. Microfilm is an old establised technology. Internationally microfilms continue to be the most appropriate media for preservation & archiving of important and rare documents. The reason being that microfilms have a life of more than 500 years. Microfilms are a secure media, as information cannot be tampered with. Microfilms save more than 99% storage space. The most significant advantage is that it is technology obsolescence and virus proof. It obviates the need for data migration with every new storage medium.

Q : Digital Technology is latest for preservation, storage & retrieval of information?

A : Digital Technology is being extensively used for documentation. As you are aware the storage media changes every few years. Remember, there were 8 inch and 5-1/4 inch floppies. Today - there is no system which has a compatible drive. Besides digital media is subject to easy corruption resulting in data loss. Even CDs have a limited span of life and need careful handling - whereas microfilm can be read with the help of simple hand held device even after 100 years.

Q : Microfilms can not be produced as primary legal evidence in Court of Law.

A : Till recently microfilm were not recognized as legal evidence in India. Under the new IT 2000 Bill microfilms can now be produced as primary legal evidence in Court of Law.

Q : Microfilming is very expensive.

A :It is a misconception that microfilms are expensive. If a A4 Size document is microfilmed by a service bureau the normal charges are Rs. 2/- per A4 document. In case, the volumes are large the rates can come down substantially. Customers who have very large documents to be preserved regularly can have in house microfilming facility. A Desktop Microfilmer would be under Rupees 4 lakhs. If microfilming is done in house the running cost for microfilming of A4 size documents would be a fraction of photocopying cost.

Q : How do we retrieve information from microfilm?

A : There are inexpensive readers available at a price of around Rs. 30000/- to Rs. 35000 thousand. In case both reference and printout are required microfilm reader printers are available at Rs. 350000 onwards. Where reference is occasional microfilm scanning devices are available at a price of Rs. 150000/- approx. With the use of such devices one can have a Hybrid system i.e. both Microfilms & Digital Records.

Q. How and where can both microfilms and digital technologies be used?

A. Depending on the nature of documents either of the two technologies can be used. Current documents that are requred to be distributed to many people and for a limited period can be converted to digital media. Documents that are required to be preserved for a longer duration and are of important and secure nature should be microfilmed. Documents once microfilmed can not be tampered. Microfilms last for over 100 years.

There are hybrid cameras by which documents can be microfilmed or scanned or microfilmed and scanned at the same time.

Q. Can existing microfilms be digitized ?
A. Yes, there are devices available that can scan the microfilms and the data can be converted to digital format.

Q. What is Computer Assisted Retrieval & / or Sequential frame number ?

A. A three level blip is generated at the time of microfilming. This helps in image identification. Through a database software the desired image can be retrieved very quickly. This process is called Computer Assisted Retrieval.