Microfilm and microfiche are different types of microform, but ultimately operate under the same premise: they are compressed reproductions of text and imagery that have been reduced to a fraction of their original size. Specialized devices are then needed to properly read and scan them. Because of the specific nature of these machines, however, troubleshooting and restoration is best left to professionals with the express training and tools. Microfilm Equipment and Supplies, Inc. provides just that: equipment, scanner, and reader repair for both formats.
How It Works
Microfilm frequently comes in rolls of 16mm or 35mm film, which is stored on reels or in cassettes. A single spool can carry anywhere between 600 and 10,000 images depending on their size and shape and are stretched from one end to the other. Microfiche, alternatively, is formed of 105mm by 148mm film cards that lay out its images in a grid.
With both styles, a reader must be used to view their contents. Such a device consists of several parts:
- a loading dock on which the film can be placed to prevent damage while in use
- a docking frame on which a roll can be easily wound and unwound (if microfilm)
- a movable tray on which a card can be navigated (if microfiche)
- a magnifying lens that is able to expand images to their original dimensions or larger
- a screen with proper projection and lighting for viewing
A basic microfilm or microfiche reader is only able to display images when they’ve been properly loaded, but more advanced configurations also include an optical scanner, which will allow you to store content digitally. Some are built for only a particular microformat, while others have interchangeable systems for accommodating multiple types.
Reliable Repairs and Service
All of these bits and parts make for a complicated piece of equipment (or several) that must be handled with care to ensure reliable operation. Internal and external components — including software — are subject to general wear, bugs, and breaks, and improper handling may cause further damage.
Perhaps the most difficult part of relying on microfilm and microfiche readers and scanners is their growing obsolescence. Digital preservation is becoming ever more emphasized, and it can be difficult to find companies who are able and willing to repair this older technology. Microfilm Equipment and Supplies, Inc. provides maintenance to get you up and running again quickly, and we are able to repair multiple models and formatting types.
Librarians, archivists, and historical enthusiasts in Illinois and beyond need only give us a call to get their microform equipment ready for use once more!