Microfilm collections are prone to damage when not stored properly. Once microfilm becomes unreadable, the risks of losing your records become a genuine threat. But damage isn’t the only issue with microfilm and records such as microfiche and aperture cards. Storing and searching these records is an archaic process that wastes time, space, and money. However, digitization offers an easy, affordable solution to protect, store and review microfilm, microfiche, and aperture card records. However, the biggest threat to microfilm is “vinegar syndrome” where acetate films start to deteriorate and the process quickly accelerates.
Finding the best microfilm scanning services in Maryland is a good place to start once you decide to digitize your records. Use these tips to discover a state-of-the-art microfilm scanning company offering advanced document conversion and data storage solutions.
Does the Microfilm Scanning Company Actually Specialize in Microfilm?
Not all scanning companies specialize in microfilm/microfiche scanning. So, before you move forward, this is the first thing you want to confirm. Do they have the microfilm and microfiche scanners required to handle these mediums to preserve them as digital images and protect the integrity of your files, or do they send it out to a third party?
Find scanning services in Maryland with microfilm scanning services.
Do They Understand Your Industry?
Your microfilm scanning project is unique, with specific types of microfiche records your scanning service needs to manage. Just like you want a scanning service that understands microfilm, you also want a company that understands your industry. Why? Because there are rules for different types of records. Not all scanning companies understand industry-specific record maintenance regulations or even respect the fact that improper scanning procedures put your organization at risk.
Enquire about the microfilm scanning company’s areas of expertise, such as accounting, human resources, manufacturing, government agencies, etc. You want to ensure they understand compliance and will take the necessary steps to protect your reputation and reduce the risk of fines.
What Quality Control Steps are in Place?
Quality checks ensure your digital images are easy to read and accurate. A scanning company should perform quality checks and use leading-edge document scanning technology and image clean-up software to optimize your digital images. Your scanned film should be a replica of your records in an easy-to-store, search and read format. Take the time to ask how your film will be scanned to guarantee there are no missed images. There are differences in how microfilm scanners capture images – the best film scanners allow the scanning company to see if any images were missed and make the necessary corrections. Less sophisticated film scanners can’t detect missing images.
How Does the Microfilm Scanning Company Approach New Projects?
Conversion services in the Baltimore area should have a solid scanning process they can walk you through. The steps required for a stress-free microfilm/microfiche scanning project should include the following:
Step 1: Microfilm Pickup
Your scanning service should provide easy instructions to prepare your microfilm for pickup. Prioritizing your microfilm by importance, recording your microfilm inventory, and packing your microfilm securely for shipping helps start your project off on the right foot.
Step 2: Microfilm Prep and Scanning Process
The microfilm scanning service should review each roll of film and match it to your inventory list. They should also check for damage, such as splices, tears, and deterioration. Density checks are an essential step to determine the average density for each roll, so operators can calibrate the scanners to optimize each scan.
Step 3: Digitized Record Indexing
Digitized files are indexed based on your chosen naming protocols and categories to make searching and finding records easy. Some of the criteria used for indexing may include dates, invoice numbers, client/patient names, DOB, etc.
Step 4: Quality Control
Every digital file must be checked to ensure it is readable and accurate.
You can learn more about the document scanning process here.
How Does the Microfilm Scanning Company Charge for Scanning Services?
Of course, cost always comes into play. Ask your scanning service how they charge for their microfilm scanning services. For example, do they charge by the roll? If so, do they offer a bulk rate at a certain number of rolls? If you’re also doing microfiche, do they charge by the sheet/size? How about aperture card scanning? Do they charge more for OCR and IDR?
Basic prices are usually as follows for microfilm scanning service, microfiche scanning services, and aperture card scanning service.
Other factors that can affect costs might include:
- Data indexing – how do you need the images indexed?
- Document management systems – are there any data formats required for the images to be imported into your DMS?
Ask for a quote and compare pricing based on the level of service and expertise offered. If a service stands out with a surprisingly low price, chances are they lack the expertise, security, and value-added services to ensure your scanning project goes off without a hitch.
What Separates the Best Microfilm Scanning Company in Maryland from the Rest?
The conversion service qualities that separate the best from the worst include:
- Expertise throughout Baltimore: How well do they understand microfilm and the unique challenges of handling older, fragile rolls of film? How much experience do they have in your industry?
- State-of-the-Art Technology for Maryland Scanning Services: What technology are they leveraging, from the type of scanners to their tech capabilities, such as optical character recognition (OCR), intelligent data capture (IDR), and text searchable digital images?
- Customization to Suit Your Baltimore Organization: What questions are they asking about your organization and project? What solutions do they offer to provide the types of services and document management that help improve workflows?
- Patience and Guidance for Maryland Enquiries: How far do they go to make sure your project is stress-free? What guidance and advice do they offer when you contact them about their services? How responsive are they to your questions?
- End-to-End Security in Maryland: What steps do they take to remain compliant and protect your records from prying eyes? How do they manage issues such as physical security for your microfilm during the scanning process, personnel security/access, and cyber security as your files are scanned and indexed?
- Cost: How cost-effective are their solutions, and what steps do they take to bring more value to their services?
Find a company with these qualities, and you’ve found the best company for your microfilm digitization project, whether you’re in Baltimore, Columbia, Waldorf, Germantown, or anywhere in the Maryland area.
MEDI specializes in microfilm scanning services in Maryland with a team of experts ready to walk you through the microfilm conversion process. Speak to our team today.