Thursday, January 7, 2010

Types of Microfiche - COM Fiche, 16mm Jackets, 35mm Jackets, and More

Because microfiche is used in a wide variety of industries, many users or sales representatives don't realize that there are so many  types of microfiche. Many times when an organization wants to consider a microfiche scanning conversion, they do not know the exact type of fiche they are working with, and just refer to it as a generic "microfiche" or "fiche card".

Here's a listing of some of the major types of microfiche:

COM fiche (Computer Output Microfiche)- they usually contain accounting reports, payroll records, tax rolls, and most any computer generated report that requires an archival retention period. Standard microfiche are either 42 or 48X - 207 or 269 pages of data respectively, plus an index page located at the last frame, to make it 208 and 270 digital images. (Please note that some columns may not be full).  There are also super dense COM fiche (sometimes called ultra fiche) that can store 400+ images. COM fiche's main characteristic besides its number of frames is that the images are equidistant and line up. Columns and rows that are skewed are due to COM hardware  being improperly set or, more likely, the COM was incorrectly duplicated.

16mm or 35mm Jacketed fiche (jackets) are actually 4x6 inch plastic sleeves designed to hold strips of microfilm- so yes, at one point rolls of film were cut and inserted into the sleeves to make "jackets". This allowed the grouping of related data into one logical record, such as payroll, mortgages, school records, maps, and human resource departments. Many clients or sales representatives get confused when identifying jacketed fiche when there are no visible sleeves. This occurs where the microfiche had been duplicated. Duplicated jacketed fiche that have a purplish or bluish tint to them. Although these duplicates no longer have plastic sleeves, you can still see the horizontal lines where the sleeves were. Jacketed fiche have a wide range of images stored on a card, from 1 to 70, or more.

Step-and-repeat fiche are not manually inserted into plastic sleeves. The images contained on step-and-repeat cards are generally equidistant and straight, except when some frames are orientated differently. These fiche usually contain owner manuals or operational handbooks. The cards have a header at the top, which contains detailed information. These types of fiche can contain hundreds of images. Many motorcycle manuals or car manuals are on step and repeat fiche.

Rewritable microfiche (Microx or AB Dick) contain positive images that can be erased or have a new record added. These cards are utilized in a filing system, usually under a name or social security number. Daily use and exposure to light mean these fiche generally do not have a long lifespan, which means they should be converted to digital images as soon as possible.

All of these type of different types of microfiche (and more) can be converted to digital format by Scanning Depot's microfiche scanners.

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Anthony Ferrar Scanning Depot 786-227-3042
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