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COM: a choice of three flavors

Library Systems Newsletter [September 1982]

Libraries producing computer output microform (COM) catalogs have long debated the relative merits of the two most common forms of output; 16mm roll film and fiche. Proponents of the roll film approach base their preference on file integrity, security and the ease of access achieved through the use of one of the sealed unit motorized 16mm microfilm readers (the Auto Graphics LCR, no longer being sold and the Information Design ROM readers). Fiche fans point to lower production costs, rapid access, greater storage capacity and less expensive readers as benefits offsetting the potential problems of the misfiling or loss of fiche.

Recently, a third format-rollfiche-- uncut fiche produced in a continuous roll, has become available. A 400 foot roll of 105mm vesicular rollfiche contains the images of 800 fiches, an information storage capacity equivalent to that of 4,000 feet of 16mm roll film.

Most conventional roll film readers can effectively handle only 100 to 120 feet of film; the LCR and ROM readers can accommodate up to 1,000 feet or so of 16mm film; the rollfiche readers offer effective access to 400 feet of fiche film 105mm wide. Thus, libraries with large COM catalogs can offer sealed unit access to the same number of catalog entries using fewer readers. The relative economies of fiche production can also be enjoyed.

To date, we have identified only one company which markets rollfiche readers. Auto Graphics Inc. offers two models of its Micromax 800: a manual reader priced at $1,150 per unit when ordered in quantity and a motorized reader-recommended for files containing more than 400 fiches-priced at $2,150 in quantities. The readers are available with 24x, 26x, 42x, 48x, or 52x lenses.

The availability of rollfiche production facilities is not expected to impede the growth of the format as a relatively inexpensive attachment enables existing COM fiche duplication facilities to output rollfiche.

Although rollfiche readers only became available earlier this year, a number of libraries have purchased them and are changing to roilfiche COM catalogs. It is expected that the rollfiche format will also become popular in non-library applications.

Library Technology Reports has tested both the Information Design P014 4 which is a 16mm motorized roll film reader and the Auto Graphics Micro Max 800. These reports should be available early this fall.

[Contact: Auto Graphics Inc., 751 Monterey Pass Road, Monterey Park, CA 91754. (213) 269-9451.]

View Citation
Publication Year:1982
Type of Material:Article
Language English
Published in: Library Systems Newsletter
Publication Info:Volume 2 Number 09
Issue:September 1982
Publisher:American Library Association
Place of Publication:Chicago, IL
Notes:Howard S. White, Editor-in-Chief; Richard W. Boss, Contributing Editor
Subject: Computer output microform
Record Number:3855
Last Update:2024-07-09 22:09:37
Date Created:0000-00-00 00:00:00