When you have a small batch of microfiche records and want to get them digitized, you may be wondering if anyone will help you. After all, most scanning companies work on projects with large numbers of microfiche sheets; will you be able to get your records scanned?

Read on to find out what it means to have a small microfiche scanning project, what’s included when you work with us on this type of job, and more!

What’s Considered A “Small” Microfiche Scanning Project?

Microfiche scanning projects with fewer than 5,000 sheets are what we consider a “small” project. 

5,000 sheets sounds like a lot, and it is when taken on its own. However, our operations are built to ingest tens to hundreds of thousands of fiche sheets so in a relative sense, 5,000 sheets is small.

These projects may not be the larger style that we’re geared for, but they’re just as important to you and we’re able to successfully convert your records so you have a digital copy.

What’s Included When You Get Your Microfiche Scanned?

All microfiche scanning projects are unique in some way, but when it comes to small scanning projects it’s best to have a “go-to” scope of work to eliminate as much uncertainty as possible. 

When a large scanning project comes in, there’s more wiggle room to craft a completely unique project process flow because with a large project, the overall price allows for it. With a small scanning project, it’s normally very quick and completed before there’s a change to utilize our technology or scalability. Because of this, we’ve crafted a “template” for small projects to make the whole process more straightforward and efficient. 

The basics of what you get when you scan with us are the following:

300dpi is the standard scanning resolution in the industry. If you want something different (200dpi, 400dpi, etc.) just let us know and we’ll see how we can make it happen for you.

Sometimes one image type can be better than the other, so we provide you with both sets and you can decide which is better for your needs.

Multi-page PDF files per bi-tonal and grayscale image type. This means you’re getting a bi-tonal PDF of all the images on one microfiche sheet, and also a multi-page PDF in grayscale. 

PDFs are the standard and it’s what most of our customers ask for, but we can mix it up (such as TIF or JPG) if you need to.

PDFs are named by the fiche title strip information with a BMI UID (unique ID #). 

Fiche level indexing is the simplest method and is included in the price, though more detailed indexing can be added if you’re interested.

Your digital files will be exported to a USB drive and returned at the end of the project. In most cases, we’ll encrypt the USB because of sensitive information on the files.

Included! We normally use UPS and FedEx for our shipping needs.

What’s The Process?

The general theme of a small microfiche conversion project runs right in line with our larger projects (which you can read about here), but with some adjustments that accommodate the reduced scope. 

First, what’s included in the scanning is limited to keep the price down for you. Since it’s a small project, you don’t want to be spending too much money to digitize your records. However, if you have any special requests or requirements, we can go over those with you and see how to incorporate them into your job. 

Second, the Milestone 1 Proof of Concept is removed from the process. With standard microfiche scanning projects, we have potentially tens of thousands of sheets to work with, and building the process flow and testing with our M1 process gives us the ability to adjust our setup and execute the project at scale. With a small project, by the time we create the process flow and run an M1 process, the job is almost over! Instead of doing that and creating a new setup for each small project, we’ve honed the process flow to accommodate the vast majority of similar jobs, so the need for an M1 is mostly removed. 

Finally, the timeline to complete a small project is much shorter than a standard digitization job. If you have a large number of microfiche, the M1 alone can take 3-4 weeks before it’s ready to be approved. But because of how we’ve streamlined the small projects we work on, you’re likely to have the entire project completed within 2-4 weeks.

How Much Does A Small Microfiche Scanning Project Cost?

In general, your pricing for a small project will be roughly in the following range:

$1.25 – $2.50 for jacket microfiche (16mm and 35mm)

$3.50 – $5 for COM and “step and repeat” fiche. 

There will also be fees for administrative items such as setup and shipping, so those will be in addition to the scanning price. 

If you’ve read our other article about standard microfiche scanning costs, this is a bit higher but now you know why. Further explanation on the difference in price is described below in the next section.

Why Is The Price Different Than A “Large” Project?

Small projects cost relatively more than “large” or “standard” microfiche scanning projects because we’re built to ingest, scan, process, and deliver large quantities of microfiche. 

For almost every project, we create a unique process flow based on specific job requirements and requests, assign a dedicated project manager to the work, and run tests and a proof of concept in order to deliver a successful end product. 

In the case of smaller microfiche conversion projects, we still apply the same level of professionalism and care to your job, but to utilize the exact same methodology that we’d put towards scanning 100,000 microfiche wouldn’t make sense! Instead, we’ve developed a standardized project scope (that we described in the “What’s Included” section) and give you simple specs and pricing to get you what you want: digitized files. 

If there’s a specific request that you have that’s outside of our small project scope, we can adjust the project to fit your needs. Just be aware that now we’re delivering a custom project instead of our standard small project output.

Other Options To Digitize Your Microfiche

We’d love to be the only microfiche scanning option available, but we’re not. (yet!)

Something we recommend to many customers who contact us with a small number of microfiche sheets is to reach out to your local library and ask if they have microfiche scanning machines. Most of them have scanners because they have their own archival fiche collections. Once you confirm that the library has a scanner, you can likely go there with your fiche and scan it for free or very little charge. You’ll just have to put in the time to get it done!

Next Steps

Reach out to us today! Click the “Get Your Quote” button below, fill out the form, and we’ll quickly reply to you to discuss your project.

Further Reading

Take a look at some of our other articles related to microfiche and microfiche scanning:

“The BMI Microfiche Scanning Process” illustrates our 11-step method to take your fiche records from hard copy to digital. Steps include transportation, proof of concept testing, and post-scan image processing.

“3 Mistakes That Can Derail Your Microfiche Scanning Project” cover common mistakes that can swamp your microfiche scanning project. Avoid these!

“Microfiche Scanning: 6 Frequently Asked Questions” introduces common questions about fiche scanning and our answers. Questions include “which type of microfiche do I have?” and “how many microfiche do I have?”