Microforms or micrographics are general terms describing the industry and technology which focuses on various methods of using a film media for the storage of business records/documents.
Three formats are common: microfilm (reels), microfiche (flat sheets), and aperture cards.
Microfilm: A storage media for images that has been used since 1800’s. The standard is 16mm film but 35mm film is used similarly for engineering applications. Microfilm can be scanned and converted into electronic documents for easy retrieval.
Microfiche: A 4″ x 6″ piece of film that has reduced images of up to 700 pages of documents in a grid format for indexing. Microfiche generally refers to COM (computer output microfiche) a technology that stores computer reports on the film instead of paper. Microfiche can be scanned and converted into electronic documents for easy retrieval.
Aperture Card: Card that combines a computer punch card with an opening for the mounting or insertion of microfilm. A standard Hollerith encoded IBM-style punch card that acts as a transport for a 35mm transparency. Typically, aperture cards are used to store blueprints and engineering drawings.
Digital Documents: Documents that are stored on a computer. The documents may have been created on a computer, as with word-processing files and spreadsheets, or they may have been converted into digital documents by means of document imaging. Digital documents are also referred to as electronic documents.
Paperless Office: Many businesses feel that they are drowning in a sea of paper. What happened to the dream of the paperless office? Studies show that offices increase their paper demands by 25% per year; retention periods are becoming longer and access to the documents are becoming greater.
What is the cost of all this paper? It runs in the thousands of dollars when considering the price of paper, storage, filing, retrieving, and managing. How can a business cope with their increased need for documentation? The ability to efficiently store documents and easily search and retrieve their contents has been a constant struggle for records managers since the time of stone tablets and papyrus scrolls.
The answer lies in Electronic Document Management (EMD) systems. EDM systems offer secure archive capabilities, elimination of lost or decaying documents, and instantaneous access to all of the documents in the repository.
Today, a document can be scanned into a computer and the user can search a template profile or search the entire text of the document.
CD ROM’s have over a 30 year shelf life and can store over 15,000 documents.
A document that is stored on a computer can be easily located, and once it is found it can be printed, faxed or e-mailed.
Another advantage of an EDM system is its archival abilities.
An EDM system is a great asset allowing you to concentrate on managing your business, not on managing your paper.
Imagine storing 10 file cabinets worth of paper documents in your desk drawer, and being able to retrieve any document within 30 seconds!
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