The Problem with Oversized Microfiche
Some 35mm and even 16mm microfiche jackets are oversized. They sometimes are called wide format microfiche or large format microfiche. Oversized microfiche have an abnormally wide length. These rare, large microfiche jackets are too big for the standard glass platens that come with microfiche scanners. In other words, they cannot be scanned using normal equipment.
The good news is that some microfiche scanners offer large format microfiche adapters as add-on equipment. At Generation Imaging we have these wide format glass platens which enable us to scan oversized microfiche. These special oversized glass platens can also scan aperture cards and weird microfiche such ultrafiche and minifiche sizes.
Scanning microfiche requires the proper equipment and quality control procedures to make sure all of the images are captured. Since microfiche is different, making sure that you capture every image is critical. The benefit of converting microfiche into an electronic format centers around the ability to extract information off the fiche and then make it instantly available via searches within a document management system. It also provides protection against the media degrading over time.
Brief History of Microfiche Degradation
Microfiche created before the 1930s were created on nitrate film, which poses high risks since it is flammable. In the 1940s to 1980s, microfiche were usually printed on a cellulose acetate base, which is prone to tears, vinegar syndrome, and redox blemishes. Vinegar syndrome is caused by chemical decay and produces buckling and shrinking, embrittlement, and bubbling. Redox blemishes are yellow, orange or red spots caused by oxidative attacks, and due to bad storage conditions. These issues can make microfiche unreadable and valuable information is lost forever