Tag Archives: Microfiche

The Various Names for Microfiche

What is definition of “Microfiche”?

And why do some people call it different things?

 

Every industry has its own lingo. Sometimes even within the industry professionals use different terms.

Oxford Dictionary defines microfiche as “a flat piece of film containing microphotographs of the pages of a newspaper, catalog, or other document”.

Etymonline.com says the term came into use in 1950, from French.

“Micro-” of course is the prefix meaning small, and “fiche” the French word for “card, index card, slip, form”.

Those in the micrographics field are used to the word “microfiche” because that field has mastered the technique of photographing written or printed pages in reduced form to produce microfiche.

Microphotography has its roots from the 1800s as it was a form of art. It eventually became used in espionage and passing coded messages.

It should be simple to understand that microfiche is a flat sheet with shrunken images on them.

So why do some people call “microfiche” microfilm? And what’s up with microfiche jackets, COM fiche, step-and-repeat microfiche, duplicated fiche, Microx, and aperture cards?

Well, it doesn’t help that the Wikipedia editors decided to have roll film and microfiche in the same article entitled “microform”. Microform is indeed the generic, all-encompassing term for all types of microphotographic reproductions. However, if someone says that they have “a drawer full of microform”, there is no indication of what type of film or fiche is in the collection, or they actually mean a “mixed collection of various media”.

To add insult to injury, jacketed microfiche is actually made up of cut microfilm which is then inserted into channels (jackets). Therefore, jacketed fiche are indeed composed of cut microfilm. And, of course, “film” can be strips or spooled. So as you can see, it is easy to fall into a word trap here!

Microfiche can also be 16mm, 35mm, and have various colors (clear positive, black negative, purple or blue duplicates), shapes, and organization.

Sometimes it is easier to remember things by visualization. Let’s keep it simple:

Microfiche is a flat sheet with reduced documents on them, like this:

microfiche

THIS is microfiche

Or this:

combo fiche

35mm and 16mm combo fiche

 

Or this:

computer output media

COM Fiche

 

Or other various types of flat sheets.

It does not look like a spool or reel of film. Nor is it opaque on cardboard. Nor is it a Kodak mounted slide.

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Storing Microfiche vs Digitizing Microfiche

microfiche storage

A photo of an iron mountain.

If your company or organization has thousands of microfiche you have probably wondered if you ought to be paying monthly storage fees with a document storage company or just have the microfiche converted into digital image.

The largest document storage service in the world provides storage for microfilm and microfiche, audio and videotapes, film, X-rays, blueprints, vital records, and courier operations, the collection, handling, disposal of sensitive documents for corporate customers; and information destruction services, information governance and digital solutions, and fulfillment and technology escrow services.

However the storage and record retrieval fees add up over time and require a contract. A shortcut is to get your microfiche records converted into a TIFF or PDF. Generation Imaging can scan your microfiche and even index them by the title bars or document fields per image. After the microfiche is scanned, you can upload them to your server, computers, or cloud and do with them as you wish. Best of all, no more monthly maintenance, retrieve, or delivery fees. You will have all of your microfiche images in your hands for instant retrieval, all for a low project cost. CONTACT US

What’s On Your Permanent Record From School?

microfiche school record

“This is going on your permanent record!”

I scan microfiche for a living. I have seen all types of microfiche containing various documents. Such examples include medical records, land records, police records, building blueprints, sewer maps, aerial photographs, military personal records, National Archives, registers, newspapers, accounting and payroll records, marriage licenses, court transcripts, and countless other types of documents. In fact, almost anything that was created on paper documents has made it to microfiche at one point.

permanent record

Where Are Your Permanent Records, Anyway?

If you have ever wondering if your school permanent record really existed, I could vouch that it does. The majority of schools keep them on hard paper which look like folders, like a thin cardboard. Alternatives include microfilm reels or microfiche. The last couple of decades if schools allocate funds in their budget, they can have the paper, microfilm, and microfiche scanned to digital image, indexed by student name. Once digitized, the school can store the PDFs or TIFFs on their computers and/or server. Depending on state law, the paper, microfilm, or microfiche can be shredded or incinerated to save space in the school. So your permanent record will live on with the potential of unlimited copies- truly permanent (until the end of civilization, at least).

permanent record

What is On Your Permanent Records?

Depending on the local laws, your permanent record has your biographical information, such as name, date of birth, social security number, place of birth, parent’s names and telephone numbers, photo, date of registering and leaving, teachers’s names, grades, and standardized test results. There have been fear-mongering articles about data collection of pregnancies, mental health, and economic status, but I have not seen those on school permanent records. I have seen psych evaluations and write-ups, but not in school permanent records.

convert microfiche

What About The Bad Stuff?

That’s all I’ve seen in decades of converting school records to digital images. If you were expelled, obviously that would have been noted because you it meant you were transferred out to another school. If you were suspended, a note is made. However, if you had detention, were disciplined, yelled out, had a parent come up to settle an issue, talked during a firedrill, or other standard childhood mischief, don’t worry about it. In fact, for the most part only you have legal access to these records anyway.

So if a teacher or principal ever threatened you by saying your misbehavior was placed in your permanent record, it was just a threat of punishment. 99% of the information contained in your school permanent records are your boring contact information, grades, and test scores, which you need to transfer to another school or apply to a college/university.

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Microfiche is Still Being Used, No Matter What People Say

Is Microfiche Still Used Today?
microfiche still used

EdTech Magazine published an article entitled “Microfiche Was the Dawn of Multimedia Research“. It describes how it is as easy as “hitting Ctrl F” for students to research today and that “[a] millennial college student today might not even know what a microfiche is”. Well, no argument about the millennials. But microfiche is not dead. As the article begrudgingly admits at the end: “..universities remained optimistic about microforms for the purpose of historical archiving, and BU [Boston University] still maintains their microform department today” and “[t]hough not an easy tool for mainstream research, microfiche can have niche uses — Tedium reports of expensive classic comic book archives — among researchers and history buffs.”

Of course, the article was written from the higher education perspective, and academia has a habit of not knowing that there is a world outside of campus. Professors and students like to extrapolate trends on campus to the real world. However, the real world has microfiche in many other niches. State, county, and city governments still use them. Microfiche contain payroll records, student records, building departments, land records, marriage certificates, medical files, court cases, criminal records, genealogy records, newspapers, books, parts manuals, military service records, and many other types of documents.

Heck, even the article stated that Boston University has impossible-to-find material still contained on microfiche: “Ph.D. students use them when they need an obscure journal or archived material”. So what a minute, higher education: do you mean to say that the internet doesn’t have all of the world’s knowledge? Yup, the rest of it is contained on microfiche, microfilm, slides, books, magazines, newspapers, ancient texts, and oral traditions which have no been converted to digital image. The technological hubris never ceases to amaze me.

Granted, many organizations need microfiche converted to PDF or TIFF to allow easy search and online distribution, and many of them still struggle with the old ways and use microfiche reader printers or microfiche viewers. Microfiche is still used in 2018, and for some organizations it is still a convenient way to storing files compared to paper files, as they lacked the ability to convert the paper files to digital images at the beginning. Some organizations have always done it this way, and they can’t or don’t want to change, especially if they have a microfiche backfile. If they were to go a digital route, there are costs involved. Some legal or government agencies still believe that because microfiche has a lifespan of over 100 years that they are more safe than CDs, DVDs, and even digital images. Some researchers are traditionalists who prefer microfiche like that of film photography over digital.

Either way, it may be shocking for some people, but for someone in the microfiche scanning industry, microfiche can be found in hundreds of industries, and although unlikely, it it possible that college students of today will come across them in their job at some point. CONTACT US

What is a Microfiche Scanning Company?

Not All Microfiche Scanning Companies are the Same

Is hard to believe that so many companies or governments still use microfiche cards for archiving. In our microfiche scanning company we transfer thousands of microfiche to digital formats all the time. It is good to know that a microfiche scanning company can transfer your microfiche to pdf, jpeg, or tiff images, and this is not very expensive if you find the right scanning company. We have helped hundred of companies and individuals that decided to transfer their archived data.

Scanning Company That Services All Your Imaging Needs

The microfiche scanning company you select to scan your microfiche cards will help you choose from the many options available for you digital scanning system. We help out customers from the very early stages of their microfiche conversion project. We believe that planning is extremely valuable for the scanning company and for the customer. Therefore, we take the time to test and inform customers at the very early stages. For example, our scanning company provides free test scanning for every project. This process gives a customer good feedback and assures that the communication good between the customer and the scanning company.

Experience and reliability are also good qualification of an efficient microfiche scanning company. You want to feel the work is guaranteed. Make sure that you can speak to your microfiche scanning company representative and the project manager. When you have a question or concern, getting quick response from your microfiche scanning company is essential.

Most micrographics companies sell hardware, software, or perform paper document scanning or microfilm services, or even sell microfiche scanners. It is rare to find a company which focuses on microfiche conversion specifically. CONTACT US