Abstract: From microfilm’s widespread adoption in the 1950s to its fading popularity due to electronic media, archivists have evaluated its benefits and shortcomings, debating its ability to preserve authenticity. While many practitioners initially praised microfilm’s stable and tamper-evident qualities, more recent re-evaluation has placed new emphasis on the materiality of originals for the context they provide in addition to the information content, unlike surrogates. These changes in archival practice are relevant for today’s challenges with digitization; archivists’ past experience with microfilm technology and current work on digital preservation can provide important lessons and perspectives regarding records’ essential characteristics and the implications for preservation reformatting.



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