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  • For the Record: Using microfilm to store permanent records

    By Daniel Davis


    Maintaining long-term and permanent records on microfilm is a secure and cost effective way of preserving important records.  Daniel

    State statute requires that microfilm be stored in a secure fire-resistant vault or storage facility, with a separate air-circulating system, and be free from dust.  A suitable storage environment is essential; storing records in temporary storage containers, offices, or work areas is strongly discouraged.  If properly housed, microfilm records have a life expectancy of up to 500 years.

    Pima County is fortunate to have a storage vault that meets State requirements located within the Management of Information and Records (MIR) facility. The vault is fire-rated, humidity controlled, temperature controlled, dust and rodent free, and secured and locked at all times.

    As part of the State’s requirements, an annual review of microfilmed records is conducted to certify that the rolls of microfilm and their storage jackets are in good condition and show no signs of deterioration.  If any damaged microfilm is discovered, the record is copied and corrective actions are taken. 

    To date, there have been no reports of deterioration among the microfilm stored at MIR.  

    Microfilm storage at the MIR facility is available to all County departments and MIR will provide copies of those records on an as-needed basis to the department.  Typically, microfilm stored in departments do not meet State Library preservation standards.  If you have microfilm records stored in your office, please contact MIR to discuss options to transfer, preserve, and protect your records. 

    Please feel free to direct any questions or comments to Eric Flohr, Records Division Manager, at 351-8466 or eric.flohr@pima.gov.        

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