Micrographics is defined as the technology of document and information microfilming. It is associated with the production, handling and use of microforms. Microforms contain microimages.
Micrographics technology consists of numerous procedures and equipments to produce, store, reproduce, retrieve, preserve and use microforms. Microforms contain microimages like microfilms which are basically units of information which have to be magnified in order to be read. When records are too large to handle or have to be retained for use many years later they are microfilmed. Micrographics require that records be prepared for copying, copy the records and ensure the quality of the copies.
Micrographics management involves management issues, project management issues and technical issues. Management issues involve the preliminary stage of converting the records to the required medium. Next would be to entrust the work to agents and the last one is to deal with specifications developed and to follow control guidelines. The New York State Archives recommends many guidelines that can be followed for effective management. The guidelines for micrographics management are listed below.
Determining the appropriate method for converting records-microfilming/imaging
Adhere to technical requirements to produce quality images
Prepare a proposal request
Select the vendor thoughtfully after going through various bids
Organize, arrange documents ready for imaging/microfilming
Contact/communicate with vendors periodically
Track progress of project
Duplicate records and index
Verify the images and store them after ensuring storage conditions
Micrographics process control ensures that preservation norms are followed once the filming is complete. The various factors to be considered for control are density which is the degree of opacity of the area exposed to filming, the document orientation, reduction ratio, contrast, splicing, resolution, format and last of all packing and storage. Control of the various stages in micrographics ensures that quality is assured after the process is completed. Generally the micrographics control list form which records the microfilms transferred for storage is completed as a check list for quality. Random sampling is done and the microfilms are tested and inspected for quality.
Micrographics control process aids in utilizing the technology for what it was intended to full extent. Some advantages of the control process include but are not limited to retrieving information quickly, saving space, protection of records, retain integrity of documents and ease information distribution. Micrographics can be justified for numerous reasons but maintaining quality through control would benefit the user immensely by achieving superior results. The control process ensures that the microfilm accurately depicts the original and can be identified clearly.
EPA Records Management Manual Micrographic Management Available at
http://www.epa.gov/records/policy/2160/2160-06.htm (accessed on Oct 31,2006)
Introduction to Micrographics – Archives technical Information Available(accessed on Oct 31,2006)
Basic introduction to Micrographics PDF (accessed on Oct 31,2006)
Micrographics Available at
http://www.admfincs.forces.gc.ca/admfincs/subjects/cfao/036-59_e.asp (accessed on Oct 31,2006)