Digitization of Microfilm for Enhanced Document Management

Posted by MESHDS on Jul 26, 2023 8:00:00 AM

Digitization of Microfilm

Digitization provides an equal playing field for all the document formats your business uses in your day-to-day operations. As a result, your team becomes more efficient with an enhanced document management system. However, many companies don’t realize that digitization is not limited to paper documents. It also includes microfilm conversion. 

You can overcome the limitations of microfilm as a storage medium with an accessible document management system that revolutionizes outdated management practices. Here we look at the digitization of microfilm and how it enhances your document management process.

How to Digitize Microfilm?

Microfilm is digitized using a scanning process that maintains your microfilm's integrity, clarity, and quality. Specialty scanning equipment scans the images in bulk to ensure efficiency. Quality assurance protocols are also used throughout the process, from the prepping of the film to the scanning and digital file editing to how the images are indexed and categorized. Microfilm conversion services are the future of microfilm storage, bringing your spools into the 21st century and avoiding the challenge of outdated equipment.

How Does Digitization Microfilming Overcome Microfilm Limitations?

Microfilm was important in document formatting and management when it was first introduced. It could store thousands of documents to free up space for massive paper document storage systems such as newspapers, government agencies and law firms. It was also perfect for large schematics and blueprints. However, while it proved to be more efficient for storing large quantities of paper documents, it also presented limitations, including:

  • Space: Microfilm comes in “spools” that must be stored on shelves. This takes up office space or requires an offsite storage rental space. A digital storage system takes up zero space.
  • Damage: Microfilm is delicate, requiring a temperature-controlled, acid-free environment to slow down deterioration. Digitization scans the documents and stores them in a digital storage system with backup, so there is no risk of lost data.
  • Access: Microfilm records management uses an outdated, cumbersome manual reference system when accessing your microfilm records. Digitization makes documents searchable using keywords and a logical indexing system.
  • Reading: Microfilm requires a reader “machine” stored in a “reading room.” That takes up more space. Once you retrieve the film, it has to be fed into the reader, which increases the risk of damage if the spool is not handled or inserted correctly. It is also frustrating to get it fed into the reader properly. When you finally get the spool set, you use clumsy buttons or dials to find the specific document or information you need. This also takes time. You also have to bring the data into focus, but the focus isn’t always perfect, leading to misinterpretation of the information and increasing the risk of errors. Microfilm to digital conversion digitizes files which are searched via the indexing system and can be read instantly from a computer, laptop, or handheld device such as a tablet or phone.

Digitization of microfilm frees up space and creates an easy-to-search digital storage system that frees up space and time. Your team can access digital files from anywhere, enjoy the benefits of quick searches, and put increased office space to better use.

What are the Advantages of the Digitization of Microfilm?

Digitizing microfilm offers many advantages, including:

Improved accessibility with keyword search capabilities

Digital documents use an easy-to-search indexing system with keyword search capabilities. When microfilm is scanned, metadata is applied to every file. All scans use the same protocols and criteria with the metadata and keywords that people are most likely to use during a search, whether they search by date, file name, client name, order number, etc. All possible criteria are considered to avoid holes in the search process.

Easy sharing and collaboration

Digital document systems use secure cloud storage with strict access protocols such as role-based authorization. As a result, all team members can access and share the documents they need to perform their jobs efficiently. You can even share documents with vendors, partners, customers, suppliers, etc., based on your sharing protocols to streamline processes, improve collaboration, and improve customer service. Your digital document management system allows your team to share information, communicate with colleagues and clients, and collaborate on significant projects.

Reduced physical storage requirements

Although microfilm doesn’t take up as much space as paper, it requires space for the spools of film and readers. If your microfilm library is extensive, you might even rent offsite storage, which is inconvenient and expensive. Digital storage is accessed from anywhere and requires zero physical space.

Integration with existing document management systems

Systems such as DocuWare allow instant integration with existing systems and standard business applications, providing a seamless transition from microfilm to digital files. This includes Microsoft Office applications, SharePoint solutions, and more. Also, your current manual system is instantly upgraded to an easy-to-use document management interface.

Preservation and longevity of documents

Microfilm is vulnerable to loss, theft, and damage. Digitization ensures critical documents with legal and financial implications have a system that protects your sensitive documents.

Enhanced document retrieval

An electronic document management system is a much more efficient way to store documents. You can organize information as you see fit based on logical indexing and classification for simplified document retrieval. You can also search based on limited information such as a date, possible keywords used on a document title, or a credit card number.

Improved compliance

If your industry is overseen by government-regulated compliance standards, digital documentation provides more control over your documentation. This includes thorough document audit trails and improved document retention compliance using automated deadlines to ensure all required documents are stored based on industry standards and regulations.

How Does Microfilm Digitization Improve Operational Processes?

Digitization positively impacts productivity, collaboration, and compliance. Your document management system can help drive operational efficiency and information accessibility. You can also automate day-to-day document flow to save time on low-volume, time-consuming manual tasks and gain the following efficiencies:

  • Quick access to information to reduce manual microfilm retrieval times
  • Decrease manual task burdens in microfilm management
  • Improve compliance-related tasks with automated audit trails
  • Reduce manual destruction of microfilm with automated destruction schedules and easy file deletion
  • Provide remote access to ensure workflows are not interrupted by team members not in the office
  • Consolidation of client documentation and payment/order records dating back decades

These are just a few examples of how you can improve operational processes through the digitization of microfilm.

You can revolutionize document management practices through microfilm digitization, providing a single format and storage system that streamlines processes across your entire enterprise. To speak to an expert about your microfilm scanning project, click here to set up a free consultation with MES today.

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