Critical to be Digital – Accessing Microfilm Records During COVID-19

Published Inside NIRMA Magazine Summer Edition 2020
By: Matt Anderson, VP of Marketing, nextScan

Going digital Is more critical in a pandemic world. What you need to know to fix that...

The world has been turned upside down in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken us to our core and has forced many of us into a new way of working. Thankful to be “essential” and that we still have our jobs many of us must reinvent the way we perform our tasks.  

Previously, working from home seemed somewhat unprofessional or something from a different generation. But when forced into conforming into a new way of getting the job done our human ingenuity took over and we were able to adapt.  

How have you had to adapt? While at first the video chatting and Zoom calls seemed very awkward and foreign. After some time, a familiarity has emerged, we know what to expect. Professionally, Microsoft has developed many platforms to allow organizations to work virtually together. Teams allows for the collaboration between team members online. OneDrive was developed by Microsoft to provide access to anyone’s drive of documents online. No need to lug around an external hard drive or multiple USB drives. Microsoft also developed SharePoint to allow files to be shared virtually between team members. The accessibility of these virtual documents creates the virtual office environment and allows the work to continue. 

So how do you access the files that pertained to completing your job? Where are those assets? Many documents we had grown accustom to accessing were no longer available to us during the pandemic. Those physical assets would be very valuable if they were able to be made available electronically. In order to work remotely you will need the tools and infrastructure to do so. 

Today there is VirtualFilm software that allows users to work remotely with virtual ribbons of microfilm just how they would have worked with the real rolls of microfilm, without having access to the physical roll. Here is how it works. Once a roll of microfilm has been digitized, it is placed onto a secure server or into the cloud. The next time a request comes in for information, instead of accessing the physical roll, a remote user simply logs onto the server to access the virtual roll. Now they quickly navigate to the desired information. With the information located the user downloads the digital file and is able to share. Anyone with the proper credentials can access virtual rolls of microfilm. VirtualFilm also has the ability to store images from paper and other electronic document sources providing unified content management and digital reformatting capabilities to your existing digital archives. 

Working in the time of this modern pandemic, and what the future may hold, is a challenge to us all as we learn to juggle all aspects of our lives. Being an “Essential Worker” has its demands. In the times of uncertainty, we want to be there to help restore some normalcy. And if that is through accessing your records, we want to be able to make that happen for you. 


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