You Can Do That With Microfilm?

Published in the Spring 2018 edition of the NIRMA newsletter.

Advancements in microfilm scanning equipment are helping shape the way professional record managers access their microfilm records. Users of older, antiquated reader/printers are in a constant struggle of balancing the requirements of file retention with the advancement of the digital age. Now, in the time it would take someone to look up a single document, that individual can now scan an entire roll of microfilm and store it for fast, future retrieval.

In-House Conversion

While converting old microfilm to new digital files has been available for many years, the cost or concern over security has not allowed many organizations to convert their microfilm archives. This forces record managers of nuclear plants to use decades old reader/printer technology, many of which are in need of repair or are unrepairable because of a shortage of parts. The new FlexView from nextScan allows for secure, in-house conversion from a desktop device.

Recognizing this dilemma, nextScan determined that the record managers needed a solution that not only delivered production level image quality and processing results, but was affordable and within a simple easy-to-use platform. With the new FlexView roll film scanner, the scanning process is easy. The operator loads the film spool onto the scanner, similar to the way of loading the film on a reader/printer. Once the film is loaded, the scanning process can begin. nextScan’s proprietary LuminTec Stroboscopic LED light line technology freezes the motion of the film and creates archival quality images while allowing for a top speed of over 300 pages per minute (PPM). The line scan camera ensures not a pixel is missed while the entire roll is captured electronically. This LED strobing light has never been offered on an affordable desktop scanner. The compact design, similar to ST Imaging’s ViewScan 4, makes it the perfect size to fit comfortably on a desktop.

Viewing Your Electronic Documents

A roll of microfilm has been converted to a digital file, now what? A simple retrieval method is required to accelerate the file lookup process. Developed specifically for microfilm, nextScan’s Virtual Film archive creates an environment not unlike that found on reader/printers. It is like you are scrolling through a roll of microfilm but at the speed of the digital age by going directly to any individual document instantly. Utilizing these advancements dramatically cuts down the time it takes for retrieval!

The other critical element of digital documents is having the ability to enhance the captured images. The Virtual Film software allows users to adjust and edit images if the quality of the microfilm images themselves are less than optimal. In addition, many rolls of microfilm were filmed under less than ideal conditions. Previously, a user could only duplicate the file up to the quality provided. By utilizing new software technology, the user is able to access easy on-screen controls to adjust lightness/darkness, sharpening, and contrast of scanned images.

With these enhancements, information that may have been lost forever might be salvageable. Those images now have a chance to be saved in the file format of your choice, whether PDF, JPEG, TIFF, and dozens more, for quick access for many years to come.

Storing Converted Files

Digital images captured by the FlexScan are sent to a server or Ribbon Storage Device (RSD) for quick and easy retrieval using Virtual Film. Now, when a request is received, instead of heading to the microfilm collection, any record manager can access the RSD, select the roll and document, and receive the file instantly!

Working with analog microfilm documents can be challenging. The team at nextScan continually strives to make working with those documents that much easier. Learn how nextScan conversion scanners can help in your facility by creating quicker and accurate information exchange.