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Digital Projects Toolkit: Microfilm

Digitizing Microfilm

Digitizing Microfilm: Introduction

Microfilm is defined as "a a film bearing a photographic record on a reduced scale of printed or other graphic matter" (Merriam-Webster).

In a digital era, microfilm continues to be produced and used. Why? According to the National Archives and Records Administration, microfilm is "a low-cost, reliable, long-term, standardized image storage medium."

The problem with microfilm, however, is often the machines or readers. They are bulky, and it takes time and money to keep them up and running. This is why many cultural heritage institutions (libraries, archives, museums, etc.) are turning to digitization.

Digitizing Microfilm: In-House

Digitizing microfilm (often times newspapers on microfilm) can be done in-house. However, the process can be time-consuming and expensive. But, if you are interested in digitizing microfilm on your own, you can learn a little more about the process here:


Microfilm Scanners

Consult the list below for some examples of where microfilm scanners can be purchased.

Digitizing Microfilm: Vendor

Since microfilm digitization can be costly and complex, many choose to work with a vendor.

In North Dakota, some public libraries have worked with Advantage Archives to contribute their microfilm to the North Dakota Newspaper Archive, but there are also other vendors available.

Consult the list below for a few examples of vendors that provide microform services (microfilm and/ or microfiche).