What is Microfiche and Microfilm?

December 15th, 2016

Microfiche and microfilm are not everyday words to most, but in their day, both microfiche and microfilm offered the best possible storage and archive solution. In the days before computers really took off and the digital age became what it is today, they were commonplace for those wanting to preserve documents and images in time.

However thanks to the almost unprecedented advancements in technology over the last 15 years, both microfiche and microfilm are now seen as outdated, having been replaced by more modern methods – such as simple scanning. These methods have taken over thanks to providing numerous benefits, such as more economical and secure, as well as providing much faster access to these important documents. And as a result, microfiche scanning and microfilm scanning is now a popular option for those wanting to make the leap towards more modern processes.

Despite being seen as outdated, both microfiche and microfilm are a part of our history. And you may even have come across them before, but have not known exactly what they were. So if you’re keen to learn more about these two, once pioneering methods, keep reading.

What is microfiche?

Microfiche is essentially a card made from transparent film. It is used to store printed information in a small form in order to save space. Not readable to the naked eye, it must be placed under the lens of a specialist machine which magnifies it to enable it to be read easily.

They became so popular thanks to their small and super-thin size. This allows them to be stored easily and efficiently which allows libraries, museums, and businesses to increase their resource collections without the need for additional storage space. Although their popularity has declined, microfiche records are still created and used.

What is microfilm?

Microfilm is similar to microfiche but does have a significant difference. Where microfiche is a sole sheet of plastic that contains several pages of text or images, microfilm is a long reel of plastic film that winds and rewinds to view the text or images.

Microfilm again requires a specialist tool to enable the data to be read easily due to the scaled-down size of the information contained on it. Just like microfiche, they were common sights in archives, libraries, and museums, providing a glimpse of days gone by. Many microfilm reels have been replaced nowadays due to their outdated nature, but do still exist.

Thanks to computers offering a cheaper and more economical storage solution, microfiche and microfilm are on the decline.

Find out about our microfiche scanning and microfilm scanning services for businesses of all sizes.