Tag Archives: optical character recognition

What is Computer Output Microfilm (COM fiche)?

What is Computer Output Microfilm (COM)?

Computer Output Microfilm (COM) is a system that converts stored data directly to microfilm or microfiche. I know around ten people who used to sell Bell & Howell Computer Output Microfilm systems as far back as the 1960s to the 1980s. It almost seems to be a prerequisite for salespeople in the micrographics industry from that era.

com fiche

COM recorder

Computer Output Microfilm systems are still used today, mostly by organizations who need to store payroll, accounting, insurance, inventory, or employee data. Yet because most of these organizations have outputted the Computer Output Microfilm to microfiche, they have to manually search for a record and use a reader printer to save out a particular file.

computer output microfilm

Old diagram of COM creation (microfilm)


A more feasible option is to convert Computer Output Microfilm to digital image via Generation Imaging’s microfiche scanning services. Generation Imaging specializes in microfiche to PDF, TIFF, or JPEG conversions.

Using high quality/high production microfiche scanners, we convert the COM microfiche to digital. Generation Imaging provides this COM fiche scanning service to end users as well as other service bureau’s. Clients can choose from Adobe PDF format, Group 4 TIFF (tagged image file format), or greyscale JPEGs. PDFs and TIFFs can be wrapped in a multi-page file. Generation Imaging offers an optional OCR (optical character recognition) image processing and other indexing services (by folder or filename).

The end result of this entire process is a digital image which you could easily search the file containing records by name, account number, date, and/or social security number. Obviously this saves time and efficiency.

computer output media

COM Fiche

Definitions of COM

1. Computer Output Microfilm: microfilm containing data, which is created by a recorder from computer generated electrical signals.
2. Computer Output Microfilmer: a recorder which converts data from a computer into language and records it on microfilm.
3. Computer Output Microfilming: a method of converting data from a computer into language onto microfilm.

You can substitute “microfilm” with “microfiche“.

Do you have microfiche to convert to pdf or digital image?

If so, please contact us today for a free microfiche scanning quote. Let us digitize microfiche for you. Generation Imaging has wholesale scanning prices, and is run by a specialized experienced team. With over 30 years of experience, we have seen all types  of microfiche. We have top notch customer service and a quick turnaround. CONTACT US

Historical Society Microfiche To Digital

Scanning Microfiche Containing Genealogical Records

Many historical and genealogical records are stored on microfiche cards. This is available to someone interested in the information for private and or historical uses. In many libraries and other locations around the United States, they have microfiche readers to help you find what you need.

Converting the microfiche to digital allows this process to be much easier. Microfiche to digital conversion is the process of scanning microfiche with high tech equipment, and creating an image that is stored on computers. Microfiche to digital conversion can make a big difference to genealogy researchers that are looking for specific information contained within a large collection of data.

history microfiche

Traditional Uses vs Digital Conversion

A good way to compare these processes is to consider the differences between the two formats and what can be accomplished with each. Traditional microfiche readers rely on you to manually locate the film, insert it into the reader, then finding the general area where your data may be, and then hunting for names as you would find a word in a book. A Microfiche to digital conversion creates digital images of the entire collection.

All the data is then stored in a computer and can be viewed as many time as you like. The scanning of microfiche to digital technology has been available for a few years and is the logical means for optimization. Microfiche readers and printers where great years ago, but the time it takes to find information is greatly reduced thanks to a microfiche to digital conversion process.

Searchable PDFs or Text Files

There is even better news. After the Microfiche to Digital process is complete, we can perform an OCR or, Optical Character Recognition, to the files. By doing this, all files that were converted from microfiche to digital can be data searched by simply typing a name in the computer. Imagine you are looking for persons name and you don’t know where it is within thousands of records. The value of microfiche scanning is realized when you are able to type in the name and have the computer bring up the page and point to the location where the name is found.Microfiche to Digital CONTACT US