Cabinets and Storage
Planning for microfiche storage:

We use these guidelines: 40 fiche, enveloped = 1 inch (this varies substantially from title to title)
Using a standard size, 10 drawer Russ Bassett cabinet: 25" per row, 75" per drawer and 750" per cabinet
NOTE: Russ Bassett figures 160 microfiche per inch.  This must be un-enveloped; enveloped it would be about 80 per inch. Therefore they will claim to be able to get about twice the number of fiche in a drawer than I've ever found practical, although I readily admit that 40/inch is an under-estimate.  At 40 fiche per inch, this allows 30,000 fiche per cabinet.  This is a conservative estimate.  I used to use 32, 500 enveloped fiche per cabinet,  and that always worked fine. What I like about 30,000 is that it gives us the possibility of leaving the bottom drawer empty, which makes it easier to get at the fiche and spreads space should it need to be used for some reason.

We buy the Russ Bassett 10 drawer high vertical cabinet, which come with control plates. Control plates take drawer space, but they keep the fich from curving due to the extra bulk of the envelope seam.

Planning for roll film storage
Plan to fit 16 rolls of 35mm film per row of a drawer; there are 5 rows in a drawer = 80 rolls per drawer. (130 rolls of 16mm per drawer).  We get the Russ Bassett R-11, with 11 drawers in each cabinet = 880 rolls per cabinet.  No one disagrees on the number of film rolls per drawer.  The R-B figure is also 80/drawer.

UMI SpaceSaver--can not find information on their website.


We do not lend our originals, but make copies that the patron can use without damaging the original fiche.   This helps us maintain the integrity and quality of our microfichecollection and gives users the convenience of having the fiche in hand, to use whenever he or she wants.  We make an average of 5 or 6 copies a day.   We do not duplicate roll film.

The duplication process is done in two stages.  First run a blank fiche and the fiche to be duplicated through a duplication unit.  The film must connect emulsion to emulsion.  If you get an unreadable image, you probably did not meet that criteria.    The next step is to run the duplicated fiche through a developer.   It  that is all done properly, the resulting image should be about 10% less clear than the image on the fiche you duplicated from. This is not a negligible difference, but it usually does not cause a significant  quality problem.

A duplicator unit can be either planetary or rotary.  The planetary unit copies an original held in place with suction. The rotary unit grabs the original and the film and the blank film and runs them through together.  In theory, the planetary unit produces a  better copy because the original is not moving, but that is only as good as the suction unit and we could never get a good suction on the model we were using.  We traded it for a rotary, which gives us good copies, but if we could get a better copy with a planetary unit, we would prefer that.

The developer develops with heat and ammonia and the ammonia unit releases fumes.  Workers in the area dislike the fumes, so we went to a unit that uses "coupler sheets",  that is ammonia laden sheets of paper that are run through the developer with the fiche. This does eliminate the problem of fumes, but we must be extremely careful not to let the sheets have much air contact as the ammonia as they quickly lose their potency.  Even when kept wrapped in zip locked bags they have a limited shelf life.

On the microforms list-serve  two libraries report they use the Minolta Duplimatic 105 and are satisfied with it, but I could not find it on Minolta's website, nor could I find any evidence that they make another model.  The two satisfied users reported no ammonia fumes and ease of use.  Presumably they also got acceptable copy quality.  This was a private brand that was made by a Canadian company and they are no longer made, nor are supplies readily available.

One library reported being satisfied with a 3M 261 Duplifiche Printer, but I can not find that is still being made.  It is not listed on the alphabetical list of products on their website.  It may have been a private label production of one of the other models mentioned on this page.

In 1992 we tried the  Micobra A-9 IV Microform Duplicator, a table top unit designed for exposing vesicular and diazo films.    It was noisy, but that seems to be the case with most of these machines.  It is a stationary model, selected because it should give better copies.  However we could not get the suction to work properly, despite repeated repair calls.  I also talked to the manufacturer, and to tell the truth, I can not remember the details, except that he was cooperative.  Finally, we exchanged it for a rotary model, the Micobra M-1.   (See Connecticut Graphics, below). We still use this machine.  It is inevitable that a copy is not going to be as good as the original; the quality decreases with each generation.  The decrease in quality is fairly significant with the M-1, but I do not know if this is the normal decline or if we could lessen it with another model.   This machine is not still in new production, but you can still get parts for it. Ours still works fine. It is no longer being produced; the M-1 model has been replaced by the M-2.

 Connecticut Graphics  manufactures duplicating/developing equipment and provides spare parts for equipment manufactured by others.  It looks to me like they have taken over the Micobra line and they also manufacture and sell

Bell & Howell makes a duplicator/developer, or used to make one, but it uses bottled gas and ventilation is an issue.  I did not look into that.

Keyan makes a model.. or made one, but I've found no information on it.




Reader Printers

Indus: microform readers, including portable and handheld

Diversifax: offers a devise that will convert microprint reader to reader/printer

Hand Held Readers

Image mouse -- This is the site for Anacomp, which I learned is going out of business, but plans to sell the image mouse to another company.