Utah Department of Administrative Services

Division of Archives & Records Service

Introduction

Archives Services to State Agencies and Local Governments

  • Feasibility Studies
  • Advice on Micrographics Systems
  • Camera Operator Training
  • Microfilming
  • Film Processing
  • Microform Quality Control Inspection
  • Microform Duplication
  • Off-site Master Microform Storage
  • Record Expungements

Benefits of Microfilming

There are various reasons for microfilming records. One of the most important is for the preservation of information. Microfilm is recognized as durable medium for permanent records, with an estimated lifespan of more than 500 years when properly manufactured, processed, and stored. Records whose original format has intrinsic value would also benefit from filming in order to save wear and tear on the original. If the records do not have intrinsic or even permanent value, but are used frequently, microfilming can still save on wear and tear.

Micrographic technology has been around for more than 70 years, so there is a well-developed set of standards that, when followed, assure high quality, longevity, and compatibility. These standards are set by organizations such as American National Standards Institute (ANSI ) and the Association of Information and Image Management (AIIM).

Microfilming provides security of information vital to the operation of an office. If records are microfilmed and the film is stored off-site, the data will be available even if the original paper is destroyed or lost. The need for space can also be a factor since a roll of microfilm can hold from 900 to 6000 pages. The cost of storing paper in a records center balances the cost of filming after approximately twenty years. Storing paper in an office setting (which is very expensive) would justify the cost of filming well before the twenty-year mark.

Microform Copies as Evidence

In Utah, "a transcript, exemplification, or certified copy of a microphotograph has the same legal force and effect as the original" (Utah Code 63-2-906 (2)). Nationally, microforms are considered legally acceptable substitutes for original records if they are created during the normal course of operations. Following the recommended practices for targeting and identification (adapted from ANSI/AIIM MS19-1993, Standard Recommended Practice -- Identification of Microforms) should satisfactorily identify and authenticate the microform copy to meet the requirements stated in the Uniform Photographic Copies of Business and Public Records as Evidence Act.

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