Microfilm Scanners VS Microfilm Reader/Printers

We understand how difficult it can be, if not just plain confusing, to decide what kind of equipment to purchase when it comes to document storage. We also understand that it’s an expensive investment and Imaging Systems wants you to make the most informed decision before you take the plunge.  So the question remains—should you invest in a microfilm scanner or a microfilm reader/printer?

Below are some helpful pros and cons of both machines in order to point you in the right direction.          

 Microfilm Scanners

PROS:

  • Microfilm scanners allow you to create digital images (i.e. digitization) of microfilm and microfiche giving you instant access to your documents via your computer. So instead of digging through filing cabinets and archival boxes, your documents are stored directly on your computer for immediate retrieval.
  • Digitization as a technological storage method is a huge space saver – you no longer have to worry about boxes upon boxes of archives taking over every square inch of your storage.
  • Digitization of documents also allows you to make your documents readily available to the public. For example, the Census Bureau recently digitized millions of the 1940 Census Records electronic distribution.
  • Data that was previously stored on film can now be converted to various formats including PDF, Adobe, TIFF, and others.

CONS:

  • When stored properly, microfilm can have a life expectancy of up to 500+ years , whereas the life expectancy of a hard drive is unpredictable.
  • Because the life expectancy of a hard drive is unpredictable, you have to create digital forms of back-up to ensure the security of your documents.
  • If you store digital documents on an online database, they are susceptible to being compromised by hackers.
  • Keep in mind that most microfilm scanners do not support OS upgrades. For example, Bell and Howell Spectrum XF machines will no longer support Windows XP in 2014.  Fortunately one of our technicians found a solution, otherwise these particular machines would have become obsolete.

 Microfilm Reader/Printers

PROS:

  • As stated above, microfilm has a longer life expectancy than computer hard drives.
  • Companies have been using these machines for years; its proven technology that people can rely on.
  • Because microfilm scanners are now in the forefront of document digitization, these analog machines are no longer manufactured which makes them much cheaper than their digital rivals.
  • They are often easier to operate because they require fewer programs to operate.

CONS:

  • These machines generally take up more space – they’re heavy, large, and the hard copies of your documents need to be properly stored somewhere.
  •  Although microfilm has a longer life expectancy than digital documents, the drawback is that they are susceptible to natural damage such as fires, water, and general wear and tear.
  • They are analog machines so microfilm reader/printers cannot digitize information
            MS7000 Micro Scanner                                         ABR2600 Reader/Printer

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