Tameran Survey Reveals Microfilm Preservation Prevalent in Ohio Government Despite Popularity of Digital Systems

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Microfilm continues to be recognized as the main strategy for preserving vital records in Ohio government. A recent survey conducted by Tameran revealed that nearly 70 percent of county offices are practicing preservation of vital records on microfilm while 15 percent who are using digital systems are risking compliance by only relying on backup servers.


Tameran Microfilm Survey Results Infographic

“It appears that the majority of Ohio county governments understand the paradox of digital document storage. It is very powerful for document organization and document access while at the same time fragile for document preservation."

Microfilm is not a forgotten source for preserving critical records and documents. A recent survey of Ohio government officials conducted by Tameran Graphic Systems, Inc., a 40-year manufacturer and supplier of document distribution and preservation solutions, found the majority of county governments are currently microfilming for preservation while a small percentage is not addressing digital files as a fragile form of preserving vital records.

The survey, conducted to determine current use and anticipated longevity of microfilm technology in the preservation of critical records, concluded that not only are county organizations still creating microfilm (70%), they are using it to reference documents internally with 65 percent referring to them on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

The benefit of digital document management systems for quick access to records is embraced by the majority of Ohio County governments; digital files of vital public records are being maintained by 83 percent of respondents. Yet the majority also practice microfilm preservation citing a practical and statutory responsibility to maintain critical documents for a very long and indefinite period of time as the main reason.

All organizations who currently are microfilming also revealed plans to record critical documents onto microfilm well into the future. Forty-six percent of responding county officials indicated intent to microfilm for the next eight or more years and 42 percent disclosed they will microfilm until the law changes or as long as microfilm is considered permanent.

The survey also uncovered that 15 percent of counties in Ohio are relying exclusively on redundant digital servers to preserve digital files of vital records while 70 percent indicated using microfilm only or in addition to paper or backup servers for preserving digital records. The small percentage of counties not microfilming are at risk of not being able to access their important documents or incurring future unplanned costs to preserve critical documents.

“It appears that the majority of Ohio county governments understand the paradox of digital document storage. It is very powerful for document organization and document access while at the same time fragile for document preservation,” said Mark Wise, President of Tameran Graphic Systems, Inc. “The opportunity for businesses supplying microfilm systems is to help counties achieve document preservation in a way that is efficient, economical and integrates with digital systems.”

Tameran contacted State and County officials in the 88 Ohio counties. The majority of respondents was from county government and affiliated with County Recorder’s offices or Common Pleas Courts. Half of the respondents had the job titles of County Recorder, County Auditor or Clerk of Courts. Approximately one-third of respondents serve on a County Microfilm Board.

The full survey report, A Report on the Current and Future Use of Microfilm in State and County Government—Ohio, can be obtained by visiting http://www.tameran.com/use-of-microfilm-ohio-government. Tameran also illustrated its survey findings in an infographic that can be viewed at http://www.tameran.com/2015-microfilm-survey-results-infographic.

Tameran Graphic Systems, Inc. provides equipment, software and services for microfilm preservation, microfilm and aperture card conversion, and stacking and folding accessories for wide format printers and plotters. More information about Tameran is available at http://www.tameran.com/about-tameran/.

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Mary Jeanne Wise
Tameran Graphic Systems, Inc.
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