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How Can I Scan My Microfilm?

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Are you handy with DIY or do you prefer to leave it to the professionals? Here's two methods for digitising microfilm and unlocking the wide range of benefits going digital brings.

Why Scan Microfilm?

For a long time, microfilm were the ultimate space saving way to store documents like newspapers, magazines and large format plans but times have changed. With advances in technology has come a huge rise in digital storage for those sorts of files meaning old storage methods like microfilm, microfiche and aperture cards have been left by the roadside.

This isn't a bad thing though because managing your files digitally can bring a wide range of benefits from cost and space savings to efficiency boosts and improved access. As a result, it's not hard to see why so many people have already made the jump to digital. If you're ready to do the same, take a look at two of the methods you could choose to scan your microfilm.

How Can Microfilm Be Scanned?

microfilming old


When you just have one or two microfilm you want scanned, it can sometimes be more cost effective to adopt the 'do it yourself' approach. I recently found a tutorial which explains how to scan microfilm yourself. Among the things you will need are a flatbed (or personal) scanner, desktop lamp or flashlight with a fluorescent bulb and a microfilm (or negative) holder.

This seems to be a trial and error method which could work if you have some time to spare and a wide variety of light coloured materials to help the film show up as brightly as possible. There could be some cost savings in doing the job yourself but you also have to be careful about making mistakes because any that are made will have to be sorted by you too.

In the right circumstances this could be the perfect solution to help you scan a small amount of microfilm in your space time.

Outsource to Professionals

If you're looking for better quality scans or you need a higher volume of microfilm to be scanned then you should look to outsource the work to professional microfilm scanning services. These companies are equipped with top quality machines specially designed to provide high quality microfilm scans. Where it could take you days or even weeks to complete the scanning of a medium sized project, professionals can have it done in no time.

One of the other main benefits of getting the professionals in is the fact that you won't have to worry about doing any of the work yourself. You're microfilm will be taken away and before you know it you will have scanned and fully indexed digital copies ready to be viewed, shared and edited in an instant.microfilm scanning service

Overall, this method is the perfect solution to relieve stress, speed up digitisation and provide high quality scans.

Where Can I Scan?

Here at Pearl Scan we offer a professional yet affordable microfilm scanning service for businesses, organisations and individuals across the UK. We have recently invested in a brand new microfilm scanner to help us provide high quality scans in a quick and cost effective turnaround for our clients. The machine can scan 16mm and 35mm microfilm reels as well as microfilm cartridges that are either simplex or duplex. This helps us to provide a full cycle service handling collection, preparation, scanning, indexing, OCR processing and delivery.

If you would like some more information about the way we scan microfilm, take a look at our website and blogs or for a free, no obligation quote give us a call today.

Is Now The Right Time to Scan My Photos?

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photo scanning banner1. Digitising photos, slides and negatives through the UK.

A Brief History of Photographs

You've been putting it off for years and letting your photos gather dust in boxes but now you want to begin the process of going digital. So, is it the right thing to do?

The first photograph was taken in 1822 but it wasn't until the 20th century that our nation's fascination with photographic images really took off. By the 1930s almost one million images were taken every year but today that number has increased to a massive 380 billion photos per year! In total, more than 3.8 TRILLION photos have been taken by humanity. Just imagine how much space those photographs will be taking up in our homes and offices.

It's almost guaranteed that you have a box full of old photographs stored somewhere in your house, probably gathering dust, but you don't want to get rid of them because of the memories they hold.

Why scan photos?

Scanning photos brings a great deal of benefits from the obvious to the surprising so it's little wonder so many people have already digitised their photos.

  • You can ensure your photos are safe from loss, theft and damage.
  • You can share your photos with anyone in the world at the click of a button.
  • You can save space by storing your photos virtually instead.
  • You can find your photos quickly through a quick search of name, date or reference number.
  • You can digitally enhance your images to improved their quality.
  • You can create DVD movies and slideshows.
  • You can have all photos available whenever and wherever you need them.

Why now?

Since the 2000's, digital photography has overtaken film photography in use with most people now using digital cameras or even the built in cameras in their phones to capture the snaps they want. This has left film photography and everything that comes with it on the scrap heap (or up in the attic).

The longer you leave it before digitising your photos, the longer you're leaving them open to the risks of loss, theft and damage. By the time you finally decide to digitise, your photos might have been damaged too much to be able to view them as they once were.

Also with the rise of social media, particularly those with an emphasis on posting photos like Instagram and Pinterest, now seems to be the optimum time to get your photos digitised and share your old memories with friends, family and online communities.

Photo Scanning Services

Scanning photos doesn't have to be a painstaking process either because if you have a significant amount of photos you want digitised, you can outsource the project to professional services. Here at Pearl Scan we offer a bespoke photo scanning service for companies, organisations and individuals across the UK.

We can scan photos (as well as negatives and slides) to TIFF, PDF or Jpeg using high quality super fast scanners. We hold ISO accreditations for quality and security so your photos will always be in safe hands.

If you would like some more information about our photo scanning services please browse our website and blogs or complete the online form for a free quote for your project.

Update Your Document Storage Method With Microfiche Scanning

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By refusing to go digital and keeping your files stored on microfiche, you are shunning an efficient, up to date, cost effective and even more space saving solution to managing your documents.

Storing Microfiche

Microfiche are small card-like materials containing pages of information that have been significantly reduced in size and printed onto the transparent film section of the card. They have been used for alternative document storage for almost one hundred years. So let's take a look at the pros and cons of storing documents like this.microfiche storage


  • Space Saving- In their time, microfiche offered the best space saving solution there was. Each microfiche would be stored in an open top envelope and then stored in boxes and cupboards in libraries, museums and businesses.
  • Long Lifespan- Microfiche have an estimated lifespan of around 75-100 years depending on how they are stored.
  • Protects Original Documents- Storing files on microfiche protects the original documents from fingerprints and manual handling damage.


  • Equipment Needed- Microfiche can only be viewed using a microfiche reader which is bulky and can be expensive.
  • Susceptible to Loss, Theft and Damage- Microfiche themselves can be lost, stolen or damaged just like their paper counterparts.
  • Not Flexible- Because of the need for a microfiche reader to view the files, microfiche are not very flexible at all and they can't really be shared.

The Digital World

Since the invention of the computer, its development and the rise of 'smart' devices, lots of processes which were once manual have gone digital. This includes document storage with a lot of businesses storing files in shared computer networks, on multiple devices or even in the cloud. In the interest of fairness, this method also brings pros and cons so let's have a look at what they documents


  • Sharing- There are lots of ways your documents can be shared digitally such as over email, shared networks or cloud platforms.
  • Space Saving- Digital files are even more space saving than microfiche because they take up no actual space, only virtual, allowing you to free up valuable office space.
  • Time Saving/Efficient-Digital files offer quick access, editing and sharing with quick file retrieval of fully indexed documents too.


  • Managing- To fully benefit from digitised documents, you must have a system in place to enable you to manage the files efficiently.
  • Security- While digital document storage is still the safest way to store documents, you have to take security seriously and implement the necessary steps to ensure data protection.
  • Poor Scan Quality- Your files may have become so damaged before you decided to have them scanned that the quality of the digital image is not what you want so you have to make that decision before it's too late.

Scan Microfiche With Pearl Scan

If you have been convinced to go digital with files previously stored on microfiche then we can help. Here at Pearl Scan we offer an excellent, fully bespoke microfiche scanning service with the infrastructure to handle small to large scanning projects.

Following the scanning, you will be given fully indexed, high quality digital documents in the format you have required and they can even be OCR processed if you wish. For those companies who don't already have software in place to help them manage digital documents, we also provide our image management software, Halogen free of charge.

For more information about how we scan microfiche or for your free, no obligation quote, get in touch and speak to a member of our friendly and experienced team.

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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.
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