Publication Date



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.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.