Microfilm: 100 Years and Counting

Do we use anything created before 1900 in the technology industry? Well, oddly enough, micrographics/microfilm, invented in 1839, still serves a purpose in the industry today. Furthermore, there are a number of new, advanced software and hardware technology products being developed to continue to utilize microfilm. Pretty amazing, actually.  

Even with the development of digital documents, documents are still being transferred onto microfilm, and reader/scanners are still being used in business every day. So naturally, the question is, why?

Information Security
Information on microfilm cannot be accessed without using a reader/scanner, which means microfilm rolls are very rarely the objects of theft.

Document Integrity
Unlike paper, microfilm does not deteriorate over time and is not susceptible to outdated software or hacking like digital documents. It also has a lifetime of around 500 years ensuring safekeeping of documents.

Saves Space
In comparison to paper documents, storing rolls of microfilm takes up a lot less space. Up to 12,300 images can fit on one roll. That’s 12,300 documents, a whole file cabinet worth. This reduces the storage space of microfilm to 2% of the storage space of a file cabinet.

Admissible in Court of Law

Any document on a roll of microfilm is admissible as evidence is a court of law whether the original document exists or not.

As this form of media continues to be created and used, reader/scanners also continue to develop. Today’s reader/scanners are half the size of original machines and now connect with computers to offer functions like printing whole or portions of pages and keyword search engines.