London: 0207 183 1885   |   Manchester: 0161 832 7991   |   Birmingham: 0121 285 1900   |    Nationwide: 0845 225 5923          

Copyright Office Experiences Problems With Microfiche Use

User Rating: 2 / 5

Star ActiveStar ActiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive
microfiche banner3

The Copyright Office are experiencing a backlash to their archaic ways of managing copyright applications with calls for them to update their systems for the 21st century. So where is the Copyright Office going wrong?

According to a recent LA Times article, copyright lawyers have highlighted the need for a review of the way the Copyright Office deals with incoming documents and document storage. With the current system, copyright applications have to be "submitted in the form of costly and increasingly redundant microfiche."

copyright seal

This outdated system seems to have discouraged many from sending applications which brings problems further down the line when members of the public wish to view copyright details of films, music and art. They face many frustrations when they need to find documentation within the Copyright Office.

According to the article, when documentary film maker Aviva Kempner wanted to find out who owned a specific song so she could buy the rights to use it, she has to either send someone to the offices to search through the mountains of hard copy microfiche or she could pay a member of staff at the office $200 an hour with at least six weeks response time and no guarantee of finding the information she needs.

With all of these problems is it any wonder the company is getting criticism?

This Is Not Just a Problem in the US

The restrictive problems of storing documents on microfiche isn't just a problem in the United States, over here in the UK many organisations, including lots of local authorities, still store their archives on microfiche causing access problems not only for employees but also for members of the general public who have to go through a long, drawn out process to view the documents stored.

What Can Be Done to Bring Positive Changes?

But it's not all doom and gloom because something can be done to bring these companies into the 21st century, bringing improvements right across the board. Scanning microfiche to a digital format such as PDF or even an editable format like MS Word can save space, costs and, more importantly, time spent searching through hard copy archives.

After the microfiche have been scanned, they can be fully indexed making them retrievable instantly. Just a simple process like this can improve efficiencies in organisations such as the Copyright Office and UK local authorities.

Microfiche scanning can help to:benefits of microfiche scanning

  • Free up office space
  • Improve response to customer queries
  • Eliminate overheads by streamlining document management
  • Accelerate the flow of information and help you rapidly trace and retrieve documents
  • Improve document security and control
  • Comply easily to file retention laws

and much more (this list could go on forever!)

Microfiche Scanning Services

The LA Times article highlights common frustrations with businesses and organisations who fail to update their processes in line with technological advances. If you are a business or organisation in the UK however, we can help. Here at Pearl Scan, we have worked with a number of companies to digitise their microfiche archives.

Our microfiche scanning services are completely bespoke and can be tailored to suit your needs exactly. Our experienced sales team will work with you to understand your document management issues and explain the best solutions for you. For a free quote please give us a call or request a quote by following the relevant links below.

Request a Quote  |   Contact Us   |    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Document Scanning by Pearl Scan

The Scan-do Peopletm

For more information feel free to give us a call: 
Nationwide: 0845 22 55 923         London: 0207 183 1885
Manchester: 0161 832 7991         Birmingham: 0121 285 1900

Streamline Planning Application Storage and Processing

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

microfiche banner1
Local authorities continue to struggle with planning applications stored on microfiche when there’s a better solution which can bring benefits all round.

Does This Scenario Sound Familiar?

Many local authority planning offices store planning application documents (usually from before the turn of the millennium) on microfiche to save space. Unfortunately, while they do to some extent save space, this method of document storage can also bring a few problems particularly when it comes to accessing the files.

When a member of the public requests a viewing of one of the planning files stored on microfiche, it’s not as simple as ‘ask and you will receive’.

The process is;

  • Time consuming
  • Laborious
  • Costly
  • Inefficient
  • Frustrating

You Need To Streamline Your Planning OfficeDigital document management1

Sometimes it takes more than a lick of paint to transform your office and it might not even have been a solution you’ve considered but scanning those microfiche to a digital format will enable instant access not only for the employees in your office but also for member of the general public.

When you receive a file request, you will no longer have to search through piles and boxes of microfiche, set up the reader and supervise the viewing. With scanned microfiche, all you need to do is search for the file on your system (which with fully indexed files will take mere seconds) and email it. You can also give other people access to the files over a shared network.

Other Benefits of Microfiche Scanning

Cost Savings

Microfiche equipment is becoming more obsolete and thus, more expensive so by going digital, you can eliminate the costs of buying and maintaining it.

Storing large volumes of microfiche in hard copy will incur storage costs which you won’t get with virtual storage.
Time is money as they say so any time wasted searching through microfiche is also wasted money.

Increased Security

Microfiche are susceptible to loss, theft and damage even in the most secure filing cabinets but when the files are stored digitally, they can be encrypted and password protected to ensure they don’t get into the wrong hands and backups can ensure you still have a copy even if disaster strikes.


If you lose the only copy you have of a planning application stored on microfiche then you may find yourself with some major compliance issues which could lead to hefty fines. Digital files are now an accepted form of document so as long as you have a digital copy (and one backed up just in case) you no longer need to store the paper documents and worry about compliance and file retention worries.

Microfiche Scanning to Planning Portal

To make your digital planning applications fully accessible, they should be uploaded to a planning portal where staff and members of the public can search through relevant planning applications. This can be done in six steps:

SCAN- Your microfiche should be scanned using a specialist microfiche scanner. This work is often outsourced to a microfiche scanning company like Pearl Scan in order to have the microfiche scanned professionally.
INDEX- Your microfiche scanning company will then index the scanned planning applications by relevant fields such as reference number, date, name etc. to aid easy file retrieval.
IDENTIFY- Suitable files can then be identified and selected as uploadable and viewable without restrictions.
CATEGORISE- The files should be sorted into previously agreed categories such as location or types of plans.
REDACTION- Sometimes it is required to remove personal details from the applications for security and confidentiality reasons.
UPLOAD- Once these steps have been completed, the files are ready to be uploaded onto your planning portal.

Scan Microfiche With Pearl Scanmicrofiche image

All of the above steps can be completed by Pearl Scan with our microfiche scanning service. We use the latest industry standard microfiche scanners to digitise microfiche to a high resolution in a quick turnaround time.

We have completed a number of projects for local authorities across the UK, helping them to unlock the benefits of streamlining their processes. Our of services are all fully accredited to ISO quality and security standards making us the go-to company for secure and confidential microfiche scanning.

For more information or to claim your FREE no obligation quote, please get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.

Request a Quote  |   Contact Us   |    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Document Scanning by Pearl Scan

The Scan-do Peopletm

For more information feel free to give us a call: 
Nationwide: 0845 22 55 923         London: 0207 183 1885
Manchester: 0161 832 7991         Birmingham: 0121 285 1900

The Different Types of Microfiche and Microfilm

User Rating: 5 / 5

Star ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar Active

microfiche banner1
If you store just one type of microfiche or a number of different ones, it can be useful to know which types they are. Here is a short guide for your reference.

16mm icon16mm Microfiche

A 16mm microfiche is typically used to archive A3/A4 documents in a scaled down image. The 6 x 4 inch fiche can usually store around 98 frames of data with documents of A4 size taking up one frame, A3 taking up two and A5 taking up half a frame. The 16mm refers to the size of the frames of data.


35mm icon35mm Microfiche

A 35mm microfiche is often used to archive large engineering plans, construction plans for buildings and newspapers. These fiche are also 6 x 4 inches in size meaning they fit a smaller volume of 35mm images on them.


Combi iconCombi Microfiche

Combi microfiche store both 16mm images and 35mm images such as an A4 planning applications (16mm) and the corresponding large format plans (35mm). These kinds of fiche are often used by the construction industry as well as local authorities.


com microfiche pearl scanCOM Microfiche

You will usually find 24X and 48X COM microfiche. The number represents how many times smaller the documents have been shrunk to. The COM microfiche can store around 270 frames and is used widely including in the corporate environment to store and archive mainframe or computer generated reports and data and in the vehicle manufacturing industry to archive parts lists, catalogues, reports, payroll data and more.


16mm reel icon16mm Microfilm

16mm microfilm could be stored in a reel, roll or a spool. The film contains A3 and A4 sized documents with the capacity to store up to 2,400 medium sized images.


35mm reel icon35mm Microfilm

35mm microfiche are used to store larger sized documents shrunk down to 35mm originally from up to A0 in size. The file can store up to 800 medium documents or 600 large documents/drawings.

Microfilm Cartridges and Cassettes

The above types of microfilm could also be stored in cartridges or cassettes to protect the rolls or spools of microfilm.

Pearl Scan Microfiche Scanning Services

Microfiche and microfilm were once the best way for businesses to store and archive documents but in our increasingly digital age, they are becoming obsolete in favour of more reliable, efficient and cost effective solutions. For this reason, lots of businesses are turning to microfiche and microfilm scanning services to digitise those documents.

Here at Pearl Scan we have the infrastructure to scan small to large volumes of microfiche and microfilm. We have recently invested in a brand new top quality microform scanner to help us bring our clients high resolution scans in a quick turnaround.

By exploring our blogs, you can find out about the benefits of scanning microfiche and microfilm. For more information about our microfiche scanning services, get in touch and our sales team can draw you up a quote for your project.

Request a Quote  |   Contact Us   |    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Document Scanning by Pearl Scan

The Scan-do Peopletm

For more information feel free to give us a call: 
Nationwide: 0845 22 55 923         London: 0207 183 1885
Manchester: 0161 832 7991         Birmingham: 0121 285 1900

Accreditations and Certifications

Accreditations and certifications

Newest Articles

Microfiche Readers Become a Thing of the Past

Microfiche readers become a thing of the's time to let go. It's been the case since the origins of Read More

What Type of Microfiche Do I Have?

A lot of people today don't know what microfiche is let alone with type of microfiche they have, so here's Read More

Copyright Office Experiences Problems With Microfiche Use

The Copyright Office are experiencing a backlash to their archaic ways of managing copyright applications with calls for them to Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15
  • 16
  • 17
  • 18
  • 19
  • 20
  • 21

Why choose us

  • Experience >

    We have over a decade of experience providing scanning services for some of the most reputable companies in the UK including blue chip companies and organisations as well as small businesses and private individuals. Some of our past clients have included NHS, local government, Manchester Metropolitan University, The University of Manchester, Aviva, BBC, Sky, Metropolitan Police, Environment Agency and many more.
  • Scalability >

    We have the infrastructure to support small-to-large, quick-to-long term scanning projects and with a capacity to scan 10 million images per month. This scalability provides a great deal of flexibility with the services we offer meaning we can tailor all of our services to suit the needs of each client and we will always try our best to accommodate any request.
  • Audited >

    We are backed up by external quality and security audits. Our operations have been audited and approved by many NHS, Local Authorities, Private blue chip companies and we pride ourselves on the high levels of quality and security we provide to each and every one of our clients.
  • Accreditations >

    We hold a number of ISO accreditations including ISO 9001 (Quality Management System), ISO 27001 (Information Management System) and EMS 14001 (Environment Management System) and Data Protection 1998. We are also a member of the Information and Records Management Society as well as being supporters of Investors in People and a member of The Skills Pledge.
  • Innovation >

    Our scanning bureau is fully equipped with state-of-the-art dedicated scanning hardware catering for a wide range of document types and sizes making us a one-stop service for your scanning and digital conversion cycle. We upgrade our scanners to keep in line with the latest scanning technology and ensure we are providing the best possible scanning service at all times.
  • Security >

    We operate from a custom built scanning bureau focussed on security, safety, confidentiality and scalability. The main building is monitored by Red Care security systems and has 24 hours internal and external CCTV. We are more than happy for you to come and visit our premises so we can show you how safe your documents are with us.
  • 1