12-203 - Standards and Practices for Microfilming Records of Short-Term Retention Value

12-203. Standards and Practices for Microfilming Records of Short-Term Retention Value

A. Short-Term Value Records

SHORT-TERM RETENTION VALUE microfilm records are filmed records that have to be kept less than ten years as determined by a duly approved Records Series Retention/Disposition Schedule or the equivalent. The fiscal, legal, reference, or administrative value is of short-term duration, but for reasons such as volume or bulk, the paper records are converted to microfilm.

B. Camera Microfilm Resolution

1. Silver halide or other films legible on a microfilm reader and from a paper copy made from a reader-printer are acceptable.

2. Resolution charts should be filmed as an aid in maintaining equipment specifications.

C. Density

No test is required, but the film must be legible when viewed on a microfilm reader.

D. Base Plus Fog Density

No test required.

E. Processing

The film must be developed in a processor that will insure legibility of the film. There is no absolute requirement for the microfilm processor to have a separate tank or container for the thiosulfate (fixer) when processing film of short-term retention value, but it is advisable to take this extra precaution whenever possible if the film is expected to last for a few years.

F. Security Film

Security copy film must be safety base film of such quality as to be capable of producing two generations of legible film. Silver-gelatin film must be used for security copies to be stored in the State Records Center film vault. The security copy must meet the requirements for: (1) processing of camera exposed film and (2) storage requirements for security microfilm as outlined in the section for archival and long-term value film above.

G. Destruction of Records

Short-term value records that have been microfilmed or converted to film may be disposed of after the Microfilm Quality Certification for Records Disposition Form (see Appendix D-1 and D-2) has been completed and approved by the state agency or political subdivision office or agency and the Department, as specified in a duly approved Records Series Retention/Disposition Schedule or its equivalent.

Ch. 12, Art. 2, Attachment


(50 Fed. Reg. 26935, June 28, 1985)

1228.188. Machine-readable records.

(a) Magnetic tape. Computer magnetic tape is a fragile medium, highly susceptible to the generation of error by improper care and handling. To ensure that permanently valuable information stored on magnetic tape is preserved, Federal agencies should schedule files for disposition as soon as possible after the tapes are written. When NARA has determined that a file is worthy of preservation, the agency should transfer the file to the National Archives as soon as it becomes inactive or whenever the agency cannot provide proper care and handling of the tapes (see Part 1234 of this chapter) to guarantee the preservation of the information they contain. The tapes to be transferred to the National Archives shall be on one-half inch 7 or 9 track tape reels, written in ASCII or EBCDIC, with all extraneous control characters removed from the data (except record length indicators for variable length records, or marks designating a datum, word, field, block, or file), blocked no higher than 30,000 bytes per block, at 800, 1600, or 6250 bpi. The tapes on which the data are recorded shall be new or recertified tapes (see Part 1234 of this chapter) which have been passed over a type cleaner before writing and shall be rewound under controlled tension.

(b) Other magnetic media. When a machine-readable file that has been designated for preservation by NARA is maintained on a direct access storage device, the file shall be written on new or recertified one-half inch 7 or 9 track tapes, written in ASCII or EBCDIC, with all extraneous control characters removed from the data (except record length indicators for variable length records, or marks designating a datum, word, field, block, or file), blocked no higher than 30,000 bytes per block, at 800, 1600, or 6250 bpi. This copy shall be transferred to the National Archives.

(c) Documentation. Documentation adequate for servicing and interpreting machine-readable records that have been designated for preservation by NARA shall be transferred with them. This documentation shall include, but not necessarily be limited to completed Standard Form 277, Computer Magnetic Tape File Properties, or its equivalent. Where it has been necessary to strip data of extraneous control characters (see paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section), the codebook specifications defining the data elements and their values must match the new format of the data. Guidelines for determining adequate documentation may be obtained from the Office of Records Administration (mailing address: National Archives (NI), Washington, DC 20408). Section 1228.198 is amended by removing in paragraph (b) the words "Regional Archives" and by revising paragraph (a) to read:

1228.198. Use of records transferred to the National Archives.

(a) In accordance with 44 U.S.C. 2108, restrictions lawfully imposed on the use of transferred records will be observed and enforced by NARA to the extent that they do not violate 5 U.S.C. 552. Statutory and other restrictions on transferred records remain in force until the records have been in existence for 30 years, unless the Archivist of the United States, after consulting with the head of the transferring agency, determines that the restrictions shall remain in force for a longer period of time for specific bodies of records. The regulations in Subchapters B and C of this title, insofar as they relate to the use of records in the National Archives or in a Federal records center, apply to official use of the records by Federal agencies as well as to the public. * * * * *15. Parts 1230, 1232, 1234, and 1238 are added to read as follows:

PART 1230


Authority: 44 U.S.C. 2907, 3302 and 3312

1230.1. Scope of part.

This part provides standards for using micrographic technology in the creation, use, storage, retrieval, preservation, and disposition of Federal records. Agencies should also consult 41 CFR Subpart 201 - 45.1 for GSA requirements relating to micrographic records management programs.

1230.2. Authority.

As provided in 44 U.S.C. Chapters 29 and 33, the Archivist of the United States is authorized to establish standards for the photographic and micrographic production and reproduction of records by Federal agencies with a view to disposal of the original records; to establish uniform standards within the Government for the storage, use, and disposition of processed microfilm records; and to establish, maintain, and operate centralized microfilming services for Federal agencies.

1230.4. Definitions.

For the purpose of this part, the following definitions shall apply;

Archival microfilm. Silver halide microfilm meeting the requirements of Federal Standard No. 125D, Film, Photographic and Film, Photographic Processed (for permanent records use); American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Standard PH1.25-1984 Safety Photographic Film, Specification for; PH1.28-1984 Photographic Film for Archival Records, Silver Gelatin Type on Cellulose Ester Base, Specifications for; PH1.41-1984 Photographic Film for Archival Records, Silver Gelatin Type on Polyester Base, Specifications for; when tested by ANSI Standard PH4.8-1984, Methylene Blue Method for Measuring Thiosulfate and Silver Densitometric Method for Measuring Residual Chemicals in Films, Plates, and Papers; and stored in accordance with ANSI Standard PH1.43-1983, Storage of Processed Safety Photographic Film, Practices for.

Computer Output Microfilm (COM). Microfilm containing data produced by a recorder from computer generated signals.

Facility. for equipment and operations required in the production or reproduction of microforms either for internal use or for the use of other organizational elements of the Federal Government.

(a) Microfilm. [Raw exposed and unprocessed] film with characteristics that make it suitable for use in micrographics;

(b) The process of recording microimages on film; and

(c) A fine-grain, high-resolution photographic film containing an image greatly reduced in size from the original. Microform. A term used for any form containing microimages. Microimage. A unit of information, such as a page of text or a drawing, that has been made too small to be read without magnification.

Permanent record. Any record (see definition in 44 U.S.C. 3301) that has been determined by the Archivist of the United States to have sufficient historical or other value to warrant its continued preservation by the Government.

Unscheduled records. Any record that has not been appraised by NARA, i.e., a record that has neither been approved for disposal nor designated as permanent by the Archivist of the United States.


Standards for Creation of Microform Records

1230.10. Authorization.

(a) Agencies proposing to microfilm permanent records or unscheduled records shall submit Standard Form (SF) 115, Request for Records Disposition Authority, in accordance with Part 1228 of this chapter. The SF 115 shall provide for the disposition of original records and microforms.

(1) Agencies proposing microfilming methods and procedures meeting the standards in Section 1230.14 shall include on the SF 115 the following certification: "This certifies that the records described on this form will be microfilmed in accordance with the standards set forth in 36 CFR Part 1230."

(2) Agencies having proposed microfilming methods and procedures that do not meet the standards in Section 1230.14 shall include on the SF 115 a description of the system and standards proposed for use.

(b) The approved retention period for temporary records shall be applied to microform copies of those records; the original records shall be destroyed upon verification of the microfilm, unless legal requirements preclude early destruction of the originals. NARA approval is not required prior to implementation of this provision.

(c) Agencies proposing to retain and store the silver original microforms of permanent records after disposal of the original records shall include on the SF 115 a statement that storage conditions shall adhere to the standards of Section 1230.20. Such agencies shall also indicate when the first inspection of microfilm required by Section 1230.22 will be conducted.

1230.12. Preparation.

(a) The integrity of the original records authorized for disposal shall be maintained by ensuring that the original microforms are adequate substitutes for the original records and serve the purpose for which such records were created or maintained. Copies shall be complete and contain all record information shown on the originals.

(b) The records shall be arranged, identified, and indexed so that any individual document or component of the records can be located. At a minimum, the records shall include information identifying the agency and organization; the title of the records; the number or identifier for each unit of film; the security classification, if any; and the inclusive dates, names, or other data identifying the records to be included on a unit of film.

1230.14. Microfilming.

(a) Film stock standards. The film stock used to make microforms of permanent records for the purpose of disposal of the original shall conform to Federal Standard No. 125D and be on safety-base permanent record film as specified in ANSI PH1.25-1984, Safety Photographic Film, Specifications for; PH1.28-1984, Photographic Film for Archival Records, Silver Gelatin Type on Polyester Base, Specifications for; and tested according to PH1.29-1971, Curl of Photographic Film, Methods for Determining the; and PH1.31-1973, Brittleness of Photographic Film, Method of Determining the. Procedures for testing are covered in Federal Standard No. 170B, Film Photographic, Black and White, Classification and Testing Methods, which cites ANSI standards. To ensure protection for permanent records, agencies using microfilm systems which do not produce silver halide originals meeting these standards shall submit with the SF 115 required by Section 1230.10 a schedule for the production of silver duplicates meeting the standards.

(b) Index placement. All indexes, registers, or other finding aids, if microfilmed, shall be placed in the first frames at the beginning of a roll of film or in the last frames of a microfiche or microfilm jacket. Computer-generated microforms shall have the indexes following the data on a roll of film or in the last frames of a microfiche or microfilm jacket. Other index locations may be used only if dictated by special system constraints.

(c) Original permanent microfilm records. Systems that produce original permanent records on microfilm with no paper original; e.g., COM, shall be designed so that they produce microfilm which meets the standards of this section.


(1) Microfilm Processing. Microfilms of permanent records where the original will be disposed of shall be processed so that the residual thiosulfate ion concentration will not exceed 0.007 grams per meter in a clear area. Agencies or services that conduct tests for Federal agencies shall meet this requirement by performing the methylene blue test specified in ANSI PH4.8-1984.

(2) If the processing is to be of the reversal type, it shall be full photographic reversal; i.e., develop, bleach, expose, develop, fix, and wash.


(1) Quality Standards. The method for determining minimum resolution on microforms of source documents shall conform to the Quality Index Method for determining resolution and anticipated losses when duplicating as described in the Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM) Recommended Practice MS104.

(i) For permanent records, a Quality Index of five is required at the third generation level.

(ii) For nonpermanent records, a Quality Index of five is required at the level of the specific number of generations used in the system.

(iii) Resolution tests shall be performed using the NBS 1010a Microcopy Resolution Test Chart or equal and the patterns will be read following the instructions provided with the chart.

(iv) The character used to determine the height used in the Quality Index formula shall be the smallest character used to display record information.

(2) The background photographic densities on microforms shall be appropriate to the type of documents being filmed. Recommended background densities are as follows:




Description of documents


Group 1 ......

High-quality printed books, periodicals, and dense typing.


Group 2 ......

Fine-line originals, letters typed with a worn ribbon, pencil writing with a soft lead, and documents with small printing.


Group 3 ......

Pencil drawings, faded printing, graph paper with pale, fine colored lines, and very small printing such as footnotes.


Group 4 ......

Very weak pencil manuscripts and drawings, and poorly printed, faint documents.


Group 5 ......

COM ...............................................


The procedure for density measurement is described in AIIM Recommended Practice MS104-1972.

(3) Computer Output Microforms shall meet the AIIM Standard MSI-1971, Quality Standards for Computer Output Microfilm.


(1) Microforms and formats. The following formats are mandatory standards for microforms produced by or for Federal agencies:

(i) The formats described in ANSI Standard MS14-1978, Specifications for 16 and 35mm Microfilms in Roll Form, shall be used for microfilming source documents on 16mm roll film. A reduction ratio of 24:1 shall be used whenever document size permits.

(ii) The formats described in ANSI Standard MS14-1978, Specifications for 16 and 35mm Microfilms in Roll Film, shall be used for microfilming source documents on 35mm roll film. When microfilming on 35mm film for aperture card applications, format 2 prescribed in MIL-STD 399A, Military Standard Microform Formats, shall be mandatory.

(iii) Format 3 prescribed in MIL-STD 399A shall be used for aperture cards.

(iv) For microfilming source documents on microfiche, the formats prescribed in MIL-STD 399A and the standards and specifications referenced therein shall be used where appropriate for the size of documents being filmed.

(v) Mandatory Federal COM format standards are contained in Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) Publication Number 54.

(2) The outside dimensions for microfilm jackets shall be 148.00 +" 0.00 - 1.00mm × 105.00 +" 0.00 -0.75mm.

(g) Microfilm duplicating. The production of more than 250 duplicates from an original microform, i.e., one roll of microfilm 100 feet in length or one microfiche, requires the approval of the Joint Committee on Printing, as set forth in the Government Printing and Binding Regulations. Administrative records and accounting reports are exempted from this requirement.


Standards for the Maintenance, Use, and Disposition of Microform Records

1230.20. Storage.

Nonpermanent microform records can be safely maintained under the same conditions as most paper records. The following standards as specified in ANSI PH1.43-1983 are required for storing permanent record microforms:

(a) Roll form. Microforms stored in roll form shall be wound on cores or reels made of noncorroding materials such as nonferrous metals or inert plastics. Other metals may be used provided that they are coated with a corrosion-resistant finish. Plastics and coated metals that may exude fumes during storage shall not be used for confining film on reels or cores. If paper bands are used, the paper shall meet the specifications of ANSI PH1.53-1984.

(b) Storage containers. Storage containers for microforms shall be made of inert materials such as metal or plastic. Containers made of paper products should be avoided unless the conditions prescribed in ANSI Standard PH1.53-1984 are met. The containers shall be closed to protect the microforms from environmental impurities and improper humidities.

(c) Storage rooms. Storage rooms or vaults for archival microforms shall be fire-resistant and must not be used for other purposes such as office space, working areas, or storage of other materials. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) publication NFPA 232, Protection of Records, provides further guidance. Protection from damage by water shall be accomplished by storing permanent record microforms above reasonably anticipated flood stages.


(1) Environmental Conditions Required. The relative humidity of the storage room or vault shall range from 20 to 40 percent with an optimum of 30 percent. Rapid and wide-ranging humidity changes will be avoided and shall not exceed a 5 percent change in a 24-hour period.

(2) Temperature shall not exceed 70 ° F. Rapid and wide-ranging temperature changes shall be avoided and shall not exceed a 5 percent change in a 24-hour period. A storage temperature of 35 ° F, or below should be used for color film.

(3) Solid particles, which may abrade film or react with the image, shall be removed by mechanical filters from air supplied to housings or rooms used for archival storage. The mechanical filters are preferably of dry media type having an arrestance or cleaning efficiency of not less than 85 percent as determined by the stain test described in ASHRAE Standard 52-68 (11).

(4) Gaseous impurities such as peroxides, oxidizing agents, sulphur dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, and others which cause deterioration of microforms shall be removed from the air by suitable washers or absorbers. Archival microforms shall not be stored in the same room with nonsilver gelatin films. They also shall not be stored in another room using the same ventilation system because gases given off by the other films may damage or destroy the images on the silver archival films.

1230.22. Inspection.

(a) Master films of permanent record microforms and records microfilmed to dispose of the original record shall be inspected every 2 years during their scheduled life. The inspection shall be made using a 1 percent randomly selected sample in the following categories: 70 percent--microforms not previously tested, 20 percent--microforms tested in the last inspection, and 10 percent--control group. The control group shall represent samples of microforms from the oldest microforms filmed through the most current. The results of the inspection shall be reported to the Office of Records Administration, National Archives (NI), Washington, DC 20408, 30 days after the inspection is completed. Reports shall include (1) the quantity of microform records on hand; i.e., number of rolls and number of microfiche; (2) the quantity of microforms inspected; (3) the condition of the microforms; (4) any defects discovered; and (5) corrective action taken.

(b) The elements of the inspection shall consist of (1) an inspection for aging blemishes following the guidelines in the National Bureau of Standards Handbook 96, Inspection of Processed Photographic Record Films for Aging Blemishes; (2) a rereading of resolution targets; (3) a remeasurement of density; and (4) a certification of the environmental conditions under which the microforms are stored, as shown in Section 1230.10.

(c) An inspection log shall be maintained. Information to be contained in the log shall include (1) a complete description of all records tested (title; number or identifier for each unit of film; and inclusive dates, names, or other data identifying the records on the unit of film); (2) the record category; i.e., newly tested, previously tested, or control group; (3) the date of inspection; (4) the elements of inspection; (5) the defects uncovered; and (6) the corrective action taken. In addition, the log shall contain the results of all archival film tests required by Section 1230.14.

(d) An agency having in its custody a master microform that is deteriorating, as shown by the inspection, shall prepare a silver duplicate to replace the deteriorating master.

(e) Agencies are responsible for the inspection of agency microfilm records transferred to Federal records centers.

1230.24. Use of microform records.

(a) The master microform shall not be used for reference purposes. Duplicates shall be used for reference and for further duplication on a recurring basis or for large-scale duplication, as for distribution of records on microform. Agency procedures shall ensure that master microforms remain clean and undamaged during the duplication process.

(b) Agencies retaining the original record in accordance with an approved records disposition schedule may apply agency standards for the use of microform records.










(Added by State Register Volume 12, Issue No. 3, eff March 25, 1988.)

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