Microfilm is a 35mm film on which printed materials are photographed at greatly reduced size for ease of storage. The digital lens on the microfilm reader enlarges the image, allowing you to read the contents.
Microfilm has been a reliable tool for archival preservation since the 1920s due to its reliability and space optimization. This versatile technology scans physical assets at a reduced size on microfilm, which can then be stored in a compact, long-lasting format. Researchers, historians, and government organizations often rely on microfilm to access archived historical records. Although microfilm is a valuable resource for preserving cultural heritage, its use has decreased with the advent of digitization. Now, Ovation can digitize your microfilm so your information is easily accessible and ready to use.
Microforms have been manufactured on various film bases, including cellulose nitrate, cellulose acetate, and polyester. Cellulose nitrate-based microforms, like other cellulose nitrate films, are highly flammable, prone to releasing hazardous gases over time, and subject to natural decomposition.
The deterioration condition, named “vinegar syndrome,” creates a vinegar smell as the film base outgasses acetic acid and causes the film to shrink, curl and become brittle. Polyester, the replacement film base for acetate, became the base of choice and most users converted as the acetate microfilm was phased out.
High humidity combined with high temperature or extreme changes in temperature are causal factors of vinegar syndrome. Decomposition of triacetate films is caused by hydrolysis of the acetate groups, which results in the formation of acetic acid. In general, environmental requirements of microforms resemble those of other photographic materials. Temperature should not exceed 70°F, and cooler temperatures are preferable. Year-round relative humidity lower than 50% is recommended for all film types. This can be difficult and expensive to maintain.
Fortunately, Digitizing microfilm improves the accessibility of your stored documents and enables you to store a backup of your data in the cloud that can be used to recover your data in the case of a catastrophe.