In the later part of the 20th century, the solution of choice for archiving documents was often to store them on microfiche. Libraries, large companies, governments and other organisations with large amounts of documents to store found the microfiche an efficient solution for efficient data storage that didn't take up as much space as the original documents. Microfiches and microfilms take up small amounts of room, are easy to duplicate and are based on very inexpensive technology compared to the computing technology available at the time.
Unfortunately microfiche technology is now very outdated, and has numerous problems including:
- Microfiche readers are slow and it's not possible to carry out automated searches like with computer based information.
- Before you find the information you're looking for, you first have to locate the microfiche films that contain the information you're looking for. This takes time, especially if your data store is located offsite.
- Microfiche documents are based on a physical storage medium that decays over time and is vulnerable to loss, accidents or other disasters.
- Microfiche readers are usually quite bulky and take up a lot of room.
- Microfiche data storage is considered very old fashioned by staff members used to the instantaneous data retrieval speed offered by Google and modern databases.
- Although designed for archival purposes, microfilms created before the early 1980's are especially prone to deterioration due to the acetate based microfilm commonly in use at the time.
Additionally, although Aperture cards associated with microfilms are often used to store metadata about the microfilm itself, the data encoded onto an aperture card is normally encoded using very old punch card technology, and it's not easily human readable.