Scanning & Conversion Services for Microfiche
Superior Equipment & Technology
We use the latest generation microfiche scanners to digitize microfiche of all types, including standard or long jackets, COM, AB Dick, Ultra Fiche and Microx, 16 mm, 35 mm, combo 16 mm / 35 mm, silver, vesicular, diazo, duplicates, positive or negative, simplex / duplex, portrait (cine), landscape (comic), etc. Most microfiche scanners attempt to capture individual frames at scan time. However, they can miss frames when the fiche is inconsistent, which it often is. Our microfiche scanners scan entire rows including areas in between frames. We can then interactively review the results to manually capture any frames that would have been missed. We also adjust the image quality to compensate for the fiche density changes.
In addition, we use our own proprietary technology to control, streamline and automate all our scanning operations, from A to Z – ScanFactory Resource Planning (SRP). It was developed entirely in-house by our expert personnel. Its main purpose is to reduce human intervention to an absolute minimum and remove the risk of human error. This highly sophisticated, one-of-a-kind technology offers complete traceability and provides full real-time reporting functionality.
The Customer Portal allows you to search for and consult the status of every microfiche processed by ScanFactory at any point in time (e.g. In Transport, in Scanning, etc.). The Portal also makes it possible to make requests for on-demand or urgent scanning or physical delivery of a particular microfiche, and view full history of such requests. All information and metadata about your microfiche, including its exact physical location, are stored in the SRP database and can be retrieved on-demand.
Microfiche Scanning Process
Microfiche conversion is a multi-step process.
Sample Sheet Selection
We begin scanning by selecting sample sheets, inspecting them and scanning a small number of images to properly calibrate the equipment to optimal processing settings that produce the best possible images. The settings are saved in a template before full-scale production commences.
We inspect the microfiche to identify scratches, tears, remove surface obstructions, etc. If problems are found, we follow previously agreed corrective actions or, if necessary, notify you. Sheets that fall beyond the range of pre-set processing parameters for optimal legibility will be individually calibrated. Standard settings are only used for sheets that fall within the acceptable range.
Most microfiche scanners try to output images on-the-fly as sheets are passed through the machine. This only gives the scanner a single opportunity to perform its frame detection (the process during which the machine recognizes individual frames and segments them into separate image files) as well as other necessary computer-intensive tasks such as deskewing, cropping, sharpening, etc. If there is a change in the density of the fiche (the difference between the lightest and darkest images), an image may be cut in half by a misfiring frame detection process or even skipped entirely. Fixing these types of mistakes requires the identification of a skipped frame, finding it on the sheet, re-scanning it properly, and manually inserting / replacing the re-scans in the original batch of images. This is a very time consuming and expensive process, which is why most service providers don’t do it.
We use scanners and software the capture the full fiche and then detect individual pages or frames. By capturing the whole fiche in one large continuous uncompressed “ribbon” file, which includes all the empty spaces between the frames as well as the frames themselves, we are able to perform frame detection as many times as required in order to perfectly capture every frame on the fiche. Frame boundaries can even be re-drawn by the ScanFactory operator by simply dragging them with a mouse. We can also ensure faster throughput by automatically detecting and scanning only those images that contain data.
Quality Control & Image Enhancement
Due to the potential inconsistent nature of microfiche and depending on how the fiche was created and possibly duplicated, the film could have moved, overlapped or just been filmed incorrectly. A high level of operator expertise is therefore required to correctly capture all images on the fiche. This is why our experienced operators spend the majority of their time on quality control and tweaking images before they are output (not after), so there are no mistakes to correct in the final images. We audit the quality of separate images and, if corrections are needed, they are done immediately. Final quality control confirms that all the above steps have been correctly implemented. In addition, our SRP system has built-in quality control features (as do all scanners used at ScanFactory). Our Quality Supervisor is automatically notified by the SRP of any quality issues.
We also perform a number of automated and manual image enhancement functions, such as manual or automatic image rotation, sharpening, cropping / trimming of edges (e.g. black borders), auto framing, splitting of 2-up frames into individual pages, auto deskewing to remove the slant of an image that prevents it from being perfectly squared on the page or screen, automatic compression of background density variations, etc. Importantly, the SRP Image Enhancement module utilizes a 16-core server dedicated exclusively to post-scan image processing and performs a series of complex algorithmic image enhancement tasks.
Last but not least, our employees are trained to apply ISO 9001 Quality Management principles in all their work. We get it right the first time, and guarantee that we correctly capture 100% of the frames.
After the microfiche scanning is complete, we can index the scanned documents by matching to any existing databases such as CAR databases (Computer Aided Retrieval), by manual keying, or other methods. Additional services include OCR for text searchable PDF files, unitizing images into documents, and preparing images and index information for import into your back-end databases and systems, such as your DMS, or any other applications.
Metadata & Image Delivery
Delivery of images and metadata can be done via a Direct File Transfer method (VPN) or External Storage Device method (e.g. encrypted Hard Disk, USB sticks, etc.). You decide which option suits you best. Delivery is a fully automated process governed entirely by SRP. During scanning, all scanned images and metadata are stored directly in the SRP database. These images and metadata are automatically exported from SRP without any human intervention whatsoever. As a result, you have virtually unlimited flexibility in choosing your preferred image and metadata file formats.
Image & Metadata File Formats
Here are just a few examples of the possible formats:
- PDF & PDF/A
- Image-only or searchable OCR with invisible text under the image
- Multipage or one file per image
- JPEG & JPEG2000
- Uncompressed lossless 8-bit TIFF
- TIFF Group IV bitonal
- Structural metadata XML file or CSV file
Other Scanning Options
Here are a few additional options available to you:
- Bitonal format (black and white)
- 256-Color or Grayscale (better preserves fine details like handwriting, rubber stamps, and photographs)
- Resolution: 100 – 600 dpi true optical resolution (depending on application)
Return, Storage, Destruction
What would you like us to do with your microfiche once scanned?
- Return your microfiche archive to you
- Store it in our secure Microfiche Vault (long term storage)
- Securely destroy your microfiche and provide you with a confidential destruction certificate
Privacy & Security
iGuana takes matters of privacy, security and data protection very seriously. We have an in-house Data Protection Officer (DPO) on staff who is responsible for ensuring compliance with internal privacy & security policies and implementing procedures in line with GDPR and with the ISO 27001 standard for information security.
Microfiche Vault is a specialized service package that we offer to customers who wish to outsource long term storage of their microfiche archive and have it converted to digital format on-demand. Microfiche is subject to very specific storage requirements. It also requires special equipment to read data off the fiche. We recognize that many customers would prefer that an experienced service provider handle these specialized tasks.
We will store your microfiche archive in our safe and secure Microfiche Vault. We will give you access to our Customer Portal where you can search through your entire archive and request a particular microfiche to be scanned, indexed and delivered to you securely in digital format.
Let us take care of your microfiche for you, it is safe with us!
We would love to hear from you. One of our specialists will contact you as soon as possible.