Bronwyn's Library Blog

Monday, August 15, 2005

Who would have thought ... microfilm

We threw out our microfiche reader a few years back, after keeping it "just in case for a couple of more years." "Old technology", we smugly thought. "Out of date." Now while I don't think we will be going back to it for our catalogue records, it seems that the technology is not outdated in the field of preservation. This article illustrates ...

Deep inside an abandoned iron mine in upstate New York, forklifts move pallets of sealed containers around an atomic storage centre.
The facility was set up during the Cold War to protect millions of government and corporate documents.
The Iron Mountain Atomic Storage Centre is now part of a vast network of archive centres - a lot like the warehouse that became the final resting place of the Ark of the Covenant in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Each is an Aladdin's cave of priceless treasures storing millions of historic documents that have been painstakingly catalogued, many shrunk onto microfilm and sealed into airtight containers to preserve them for centuries.
In an era exploding with digital formats it seems that microfilm has become the last back-up, a simple strip of celluloid film that only needs a torch and a magnifying glass to access it.

Read the whole article.


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