Have you ever looked into the old cupboards and found strange looking, old and bulky microfilm reels? Microfilm reels were invented and used widely before and during the 1980’s when massive and crucial information was securely stored in them. But just like old manuscripts and documents, microfilm and microfiche deteriorates with time which can lead to loss or damage of important information permanently.
But apart from saving the information from getting lost, there is another major concern we usually ignore. How to know when those old microfilms are at the risk of extinction? Well, here we sort out some critical signs that would tell you about the health of microfilm and also ways you can increase the longevity of these precious reels.
1. Vinegar Syndrome:
Does your microfilm smell like vinegar? Then it’s high time you should take good care of them. The acetate based microfilm records breaks down into acetic acid which gives that distinct pungent odour. It’s the first stage of deterioration and you can confirm by formally testing the reel with an A-D strip.
Once the microfilm is tested positive with Vinegar syndrome it is essential you isolate the particular microfilm from the rest. Vinegar Syndrome is a contagious disease and can double up the degradation process of the other films.
● How to Preserve Information:
Microfilm deterioration and especially Vinegar Syndrome is a one way process. So, it is essential to save the information on them. Document scanning services can help with microfilm scanning process to extract the data and store them in secure digital archives.
2. Redox or Orange Patches:
Another process of microfilm deterioration can be found as Redox – red or orange spots on the microfilm. This happens due to oxidation of silver in them when exposed to air, moisture and other contaminants.
With Redox the silver coating on the microfilm can be corroded which might lead to damaged or unreadable data.
● How To Preserve Information:
Redox can be rectified using brown toning treatment – the chemical process of converting silver to silver sulfide which is more resilient to moisture and contaminants. This would lead to less corrosion and more data preservation for a longer period of time.
3. Reels becomes Fragile and Flaky:
Everyone might have noticed this more commonly. The film becomes extremely brittle and cannot tolerate the tiniest strain of bending or twisting, even breaking at a little snapping of the fingers while handling them. Embrittlement is irreversible and cannot be prevented.
● How to Preserve Information:
Once you find that the microfilm has become embrittled, all you can do is get a professional document scanning service provider who can temporarily restore the elastic nature of the film and extract the stored information using microfilm scanning service. The extracted data can be stored in a safe and easy accessible electronic archive which would never be damaged or lost again.
Microfilm scanning services is an essential part of document scanning process which stores and shields sensitive information from getting lost and disoriented.
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