What are Aperture Cards and their types, How are they used?

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Aperture cards are an affordable way of storing or archiving multiple copies of documents, engineering drawings and maps, and photographs to ease access, distribution, and long-term storage.

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What are Aperture Cards and their types, How are they used?

  1. 1. What are Aperture Cards and their types, How are they used? Aperture cards are an affordable way of storing or archiving multiple copies of documents, engineering drawings and maps , and photographs to ease access, distribution, and long-term storage. Aperture cards were introduced in 1943 and used by US military agencies to capture and archive photographs of strategic value and other important documents. An aperture card is basically a holerith card with a cut-out window where a chip of 16mm or 35mm microfilm is mounted. This microfilm mounted consists of an optically reduced image of a confidential document such as an engineering drawing, maps or newspaper pages. The aperture card can be viewed only on a specialized card reader which interprets the metadata on the punch cars and enlarges the film for easy viewing. The use of microfilm has been widely popular for archival purposes as well as a solution to bulky, expensive storage of print materials. Over the years, improved film, better readers and viewers, high-tech reader-printers, and portable readers also helped drive the popularity of microfilm storage options. Today, though microforms are still used to preserve and store documents, businesses are opting to scan and digitize their microfilm and microfiche cards. This allows content to be easily viewed on computers and shared and stored digitally. Different Types of Aperture Cards Available • Conventional aperture cards – A conventional aperture card (82.5mm x 187mm) have a microfilm mounted on a window provided on the card with dimensions of approximately 50mm x 40mm that will light to fall on the microfilm image, allowing the data contained in it to be read. • Duplicards – These are aperture cards with duplicating film pre-mounted in them, but unexposed. Of dimension 82.5mm x 187mm, the duplicard consists of a diazo emulsion microfilm and is used for making a copy of an original aperture card for future use.
  2. 2. • Camera cards – They are similar to and of the same size as conventional aperture cards and duplicards. Unlike a duplicard that has a piece of unexposed microfilm pre-mounted on the card, a camera card has a piece of unexposed silver halide microfilm pre-mounted on it. Camera cards are used in special type of cameras that can capture voluminous data such as large maps and engineering drawings. • Polyester Pocket Aperture Cards – These cards feature a polyester pocket placed in the card on which microfilm is mounted. They do not use adhesive tape like duplicards. The most popular type of polyester pocket aperture card now in use is the MIL-D card. Advantages of Aperture Cards • • • • • • • • With a life expectancy of 500 years when appropriately processes, they offer stable document storage Actual images are stored, so there no need of any software to access or decode them Stored pages cannot be torn or destroyed as with paper Save storage space by 95% compared to paper documents Are easier and cheaper to distribute than paper documents Prints accepted in legal proceedings in lieu of original documents Prevents editing of images stored in them Rare and fragile documents can be stored and accessed while avoiding risk of damage or theft. This is of great use to libraries and government organizations For Conversion to Digital Format When the Internet took over as the main medium of communication worldwide, and digital storage systems became widespread, businesses and public and private organizations began scanning aperture cards to digital formats such as JPEG, GIF, TIFF and PDF. A professional document scanning company would have all the resources necessary to address high volume conversion of information in aperture cards to digital format efficiently and affordably. With businesses and other organizations adopting digital systems for archiving and sharing of important documents, the need for aperture cards was reduced. However, aperture cards have their own advantages and disadvantages when compared to digital systems, and still play a significant role in helping business with archiving certain types of documents.

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