Either digitizing or microfilming paper university records, also known as institutional data, may be an effective strategy for saving space, increasing access, reducing retrieval time, or creating back-ups.
If your office or department is considering microfilming or digitizing records, please contact the DCA at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617.627.3737. Please also contact the Purchasing Office for assistance in selecting an imaging or microfilm vendor.
Digital imaging is a way to convert paper records to digital files. This process can drastically reduce storage costs by ending the need to store the paper records that have been digitized. The process can also dramatically improve retrieval efficiency by enabling searching capabilities that are not possible in a paper environment.
Digital imaging is ideal for records that would take up an extensive amount of space in paper form and require regular and rapid retrieval.
Imaging projects should be done carefully. In order to enjoy the full benefits of digital search and indexing capabilities, files need to be well organized before they are imaged. Imaging projects require an investment in time and money. You should carefully consider the costs and benefits of such a project before diving in.
Microfilming is a compact way to manage and store long-term records. Because people only need a light source and a magnifying glass to read microfilm, the format avoids the technological obsolesce problems that electronic records and digitized documents face.
Microfilm is best suited for serving as back-up copies for records that require permanent or long-term retention. If a department or office uses high quality microfilm, stores them in a stable and secure environment, and keeps track of them, microfilm can easily last well over 100 years. In some circumstances, it is an appropriate strategy to microfilm records and destroy the original paper documents.
Most vendors that provide microfilm will digitize documents and produce a microfilm output in addition to digital images.
Microfilming projects should be done carefully. Files need to be well organized before they are imaged. Otherwise, finding documents on a roll of microfilm can be a burdensome task. Microfilming projects require an investment in time and money. You should carefully consider the costs and benefits of such a project before diving in. In addition, it is becoming increasingly difficult to manage and maintain microfilm readers because fewer vendors are continuing to provide support for these machines. Make sure you have access to a working microfilm reader before starting a microfilming project.
Archival records transferred to the Digital Collections and Archives do not require microfilming.