RECORDS MANAGEMENT
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Standards for Microfilm Quality

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WHY USE MICROFILM / REPROGRAPHICS?

Microfilm is normally used for a number of purposes. It is carried out as a means of Document Management, in that it allows users to look at documents that are infrequently consulted while removing the necessity of holding the original on-site, it is also used as a means of preserving documents by making them available to researchers without exposing the originals to wear-and-tear. Perhaps the most common use of Microfilm/Reprographics is in Vital Records Protection, in that it allows a cheap copy of rare or important documents to be made and held off-site, thus ensuring the preservation of the information on those documents.

TECHNICAL OVERVIEW

While Microfilming/Reprographics is a very cost-effective solution it is best, as is the case with Scanning, to work towards only having to film each document once, as although Microfilming is cheap, it is labour intensive. Once filming is complete on each reel it should be developed on Silver Halide stock and marked clearly as a 'master' film. The master film should be treated as an archival document and kept as true to the original as possible. Multiple copies of the master should be kept in a number of locations, preferably off-site, as this offers some protection against possible destruction/damage. Other films for use by researchers, or in file rooms, should be created from themaster film on seperate stock, and replaced when worn out by once again copying the master. Copies should not be made of copies.



There are 2 primary formats of Microfilm, 16mm and 35mm (not counting microfiche, which is a varient in the printing process). Traditionally archivists have advocated the use of 35mm film, for reasons of clarity and resolution. It is also possible to get colour film in 35mm which is obviously useful in capturing documents for which colour is an important part, for instance maps and drawings. There are 2 main criteria in choosing a format, once is the size of the document and the other is whether colour is required or not. For all intents and purposes 16mm film is perfectly acceptable for filming all documents up to A3 size provided they are in black and white. Another consideration is that there are no 35mm cameras in Ireland available for commercial use, so filming in 35mm would involve contracting work to the UK. In instances where 35mm is required it is probably best to consider Scanning/Digitisation as an alternative.

Contact 


If you are a provider of professional microfilm/reprographics services and you would like to be mentioned on Archives Ireland please submit details of your service here

Records Management Consultants Archives Management Scanning FOI E-Records


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