Tag Archives: large format microfiche

Digitizing Combo Microfiche

What is Combo Microfiche?

Combo microfiche is defined as a microfiche fiche jacket containing both 16mm and 35mm frames.”Combo microfiche” is also called “combo fiche”, “combo-fiche”, and sometimes the misnomer “dual format microfiche”. The “combo” word is obviously short for “combination”, indicating that the 16mm film strips and 35mm film strips were combined to create one microfiche card. Many describe it as “a microfiche that has 16mm and 35mm images”, which is an accurate observation.

combo fiche

Combo-fiche is unique but not rare.

Combo fiche is unique because most microfiche is either all 16mm or all 35mm. However by no means is combo fiche rare. They are used mostly by government building departments, sewer departments, or contain property records. Basically, the 35mm images are blueprints, maps, or engineering drawings, while the accompanied 16mm frames are usually the accompanied 8.5 x 11 or similarly sized descriptive documents. Both types belong to the same case file, address, property lot, or drawing number.

How Can They Be Named?

The indexing information is usually contained on the title bar of the microfiche. There are times when even more detailed indexing is required, so the individual images would need to be manually keyed via data entry. However, for the bulk of digital conversions naming the fiche by the information from the header is fine.

Combo fiche can be converted into tiff, pdf, or jpeg images. Most clients opt for multipdf,multitiff files, or single page tiffs. That preference is usually based on what system the client is using to import and view the images. If the client does not have a system, it is easy to open up a multi-page image and scroll through the pages on any computer operating system or pdf viewer.

How to Scan Combo Fiche?

Not all microfiche scanning companies can scan combo fiche. You need special equipment to digitize combo microfiche because of the unique nature of having a microfiche with two different reduction ratios. Combo fiche is a symbol of how different the microfilming industry is compared to the microfilm scanning industry is. You see, the people creating combo fiche thought it was very convenient to put the drawings with their respective documents instead of making a separate card for the 35mm drawings. However what they did not know (or care about) is that putting two different reduction ratios is a nightmare for future digital conversions.

For combo fiche, the 35mm frames are probably 12X to 16X while the 16mm frames could be 22X to 28X (although to be technical, the ranges could be even more varied, but this is the average based on our experience.) Well, when the times comes to actually scan combo fiche, the scanner could only be set up to digitize one reduction ratio per card. This means that the scanning manager has to make a choice to either choose an acceptable reduction ratio as a compromise (and risk not blowing the images up to their original size) or scan the combo fiche with two passes from two different set ups, which cost double the money. In other words, the price for combo fiche could be a 35mm minimum fee per card + 16mm like they were two separate cards.

The other reason why not all companies can convert combo fiche is that some of them are on large format jackets. A large format microfiche is too wide to be placed on the microfiche scanner’s glass platen. The only way to convert large format microfiche for the company to buy an additional adapter to replace the original platen so the large format combo fiche could be placed down and loaded.

We Can Scan Combo Microfiche For You

Anyway, those are two problems for other microfiche scanning companies, not this one. We are experts on combo fiche and can scan combo fiche for you with no problems- after all, as of January 2018 no one else on the internet has written anything as in-depth on this topic or even took a photo of a combo fiche like we have.

So if you have a scanning opportunity for combo microfiche, please feel free to contact us for a free quote. CONTACT US

Scanning Oversized Microfiche (Wide Format Microfiche)

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

vinegar syndrome

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

Generation Imaging can scan all sizes and formats, including jacketed fiche, computer output microfiche (COM fiche), 105mm microfiche, step-and-repeat microfiche. CONTACT US