Friday, June 02, 2006

Long-term archiving of office documents

For many, storing data on microfilm is still the preferred method when archiving. But what about your electronic files (e.g., word processing files, spreadsheets, PDFs, etc.)? Last week, I learned of one piece of equipement that will take electronic files and write then to microfilm. The machine is the ArchiveWriter OP 500 manufactured by Zeutschel GmbH. The brochure says that it will preserve "all native digital data (CAD, e-Mail, Word, Excel, etc.) and digitized data (scanned documents, images, etc)." It can create up to 1200 images per hour in color.

I can see some institutions using this type of hardware because they recognize the need to keep some of their office documents long-term. They might try to compile the document by type, focus or subject so that similar information was stored together. I can really see this being used in industries that are heavily regulated and need to keep documents for government inspection.

It would be interesting to hear from record managers who might be using this type of equipment. How did they get started? How do they organize the files? Do they keep the electronic versions for access purposes and use the microfilm only as the archival version? (Well...that's the option I would take.)

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