Utah Department of Administrative Services

Division of Archives & Records Service

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Why should I microfilm my records?

A. Records with a long-term retention are more cost effective to store as film rather than paper, but that's not the only reason. For more information about microfilming options, pro and con, see Deciding to Microfilm.

Q. Why can't we just digitize these things?

A. You can. However, there are some potential drawbacks in using digital imaging systems for long-term (need to be retained over 10 years) records that you should consider when making the decision about how to copy or reformat your records. You can review our electronic records policies, or agencies may get advice from their records analyst.

Q. How can we request copies of a reel or reels of microfilm?

A. State agencies and local governments should call Micrographics at (801) 531-3830
to request copies of their own film. We will retrieve the master from the off-site vault, duplicate it, and make arrangements for delivery or pick-up. You'll be sent a bill for the cost at the beginning of the following month. Private individuals and non-state organizations should contact the Research Center at 801-533-3535 to obtain copies of film.

Q. If I want to get something microfilmed, who do I talk to?

A. State agencies and local governments should talk to the records analyst who is familiar the records first. Your analyst can perform a feasibility study from information you provide to help you decide if filming is appropriate, tell you what type of microform is best, and give you an idea of how much it will cost. See Microfilming Records for more information on filming options.

Q. How do we get a microfilm camera?

A. To help you decide if buying a camera is cost effective, state agencies and local
governments should call Micrographics at (801) 531-3830.

Q. What is the difference between microform and microfilm?

A. Microform is a general term for anything containing microimages. There are a number of
different microforms that serve various records management needs. Roll microfilm is the most common type of microform.

Q. How long does microfilm last?

A. Different types of film have different life expectancies. Silver halide film can last more than 500 years if it is manufactured, processed, and stored properly. Diazo copies last approximately 20-50 years. When choosing a microfilm system, it is important to decide ahead of time if the film must be of archival quality.

Q. What is a target?

A. The target sequence identifies the records that will be on the microfilm. It is strongly recommended that these targets be used in order to adequately identify and authenticate the microform copy for legal purposes and to assist with quality control.

Q. How much do the Archives' microfilming services cost?

A. Many microfilming-related services are free to state agencies and local governments.
For more information, see our list of costs or call Micrographics at 801-531-3830.

Q. How many images fit on a microfilm reel?

A. A roll of microfilm can hold from 900 to 6000 pages. To know how many images of your records can fit on a microfilm reel agencies may get advice from their records analyst.