The Delaware Public Archives has approximately 69,900 rolls of microfilm from various collections.
Microfilm, a scaled-down reproduction of paper records, was used heavily between 1950 and 1990 to preserve and store large amounts of information. Microfilmed images are reduced to about 4% or 1/25th of the original document size, making it a great option to save space for many repositories – including the Delaware Public Archives!
In 2018, some Records Services Team members conducted a cursory inspection of our microfilm to gauge its condition. Over 50% of the rolls inspected showed signs of deterioration. To address this, the Archives purchased a high-performance Mekel MACH10 Scanner from The Crowley Company. With the scanner and its software, we can now digitize our endangered microfilm rolls. And, in addition to preserving the records, digitizing them allows us to make them available online.
Since we started this long-term digitization project in October 2020, we have digitized nearly 700 rolls. After several months, we began uploading the records to CONTENTdm; we now have 58 rolls uploaded, totaling over 870 files.
Preservation and accessibility are at the core of the Delaware Public Archives’ mission, so we are doing everything we can to ensure the safety of these microfilmed records. With the help of the Mekel MACH10 Scanner, we have made real progress in this effort.