A couple of weeks ago, we mentioned we’d be picking up some microfilm from a customer to do a test conversion. We always start with one roll of film, or one sheet of fiche, due to the vast spectrum of details that can affect the quote for the project, and taking a small sample gives us the opportunity to make an informed pitch to the customer.
We received a 4×6 sheet with images, organized in a grid and demarcated with separator images. It’s always a source of astonishment for us to try to review filmed data with the naked eye, as its amazing how much data can be stored in a non-digital form.
Page counts and file size
After reviewing the contents, our Project Manager Chris Kajano was able to produce high-resolution digital images of the film, creating two PDF files. The first was a 60-page PDF at 21 MB and a 100-page PDF at 41 MB. We took the two files and ran them through compression and OCR engine, solving two stumbling blocks to efficient and useful archiving—storage space and searchability.
PDF image processing
Once complete, the PDF files were searchable using the tools provided in the PDF reader, and the file sizes were brought down to less than 8 MB apiece. For a project that ultimately will expect thousands of pieces of film, both aspects are hugely important.
This solution works great, especially for documents of historical value, as in this case. Surely, the documents that were originally relegated to microfilm are preserved safely and the information is accessible without having to pull the originals which, in all likelihood, are themselves as delicate as snowflakes.