Microfilm destruction: can I do it at home?

Match destroying data - scan film or storeWe know what you’re thinking: microfilm destruction sounds like so much fun – can’t I have a go? But just as re-enacting World Wrestling Entertainment can lead to more broken bones than imitators expect, microfilm destruction too is something you should not try at home.

But I have a shredder!

We get it. Shredding is fun. Unfortunately because of their size, shredded microfilm images can still be read. So it really is just a waste of shredding energy that could be better invested in heavy metal guitar solos. Side note: standard issue shredders aren’t a secure way of destroying any kind of data – almost anything can still be pieced together and read afterwards – we, however, undertake to destroy it properly.

Microfilm, microfiche and aperture cards are designed to last for 500 years. You know, just in case you still need it in five centuries. Just as the power of One Ring could only be undone by the fires of Mount Doom, the mighty microfilm can only be destroyed by professional incineration.

Incineration? I can do that myself right?

I’m afraid that lighter won’t do much good. The same goes for a bonfire. You’d even struggle with your own furnace. Microfilm burns at 1,000°C and is highly combustible. So if you do manage to destroy it you might burn down any nearby buildings too. Plus, when it reaches burning point, microfilm releases chemicals that you don’t want to breathe in. Even if you have your own gas mask, there are strict (and necessary) regulations surrounding incineration. In the spirit of Boromir and his many memes: “One does not simply burn microfilm.”

So how come you get to do it?

We’ve got a track record for destruction (don’t we sound cool?) and also for safety, security and professionalism. Our vetted staff will remove your microfilm from its current storage, place it in security sealed and bar-coded bags and securely transport it to the place of incineration. The bags are weighed and scanned to ensure everything is accounted for, then we witness the incineration on your behalf. We know you wanted to see it too, but at least this way you’ll receive a Certificate of Destruction and a Waste Certificate for your audit trail.

Is there anything you can’t do?

We haven’t learned how to turn lead into gold yet, but we’re getting pretty close. Seriously though, it doesn’t matter how much microfilm you throw at us (preferably not literally) we’ll be able to take care of it. Check out our case study of how we oversaw the incineration of 24 tonnes of microfilm, which we had to transport in 1600 bags. Over 4 days, we watched it burn, staggering the process appropriately, so that the chemical fumes could be safely contained.

Can you take the Ring to Mordor?

Um, no. We have to draw a line somewhere. We may add destruction of magical items to our services list at some point but in the meantime, if you have any microfilm, microfiche or aperture cards that need to be shown to the flames, don’t hesitate to call us.

Unusual document storage solutions you might not have thought of

Tardis - space saving storage - scan film or storeOffice too cluttered? Bored of filing cabinets? Cloud storage too mainstream? Fear not. Out of our limitless ingenuity we have drawn up these alternatives to the tired status quo.

Abstraction

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, right? We don’t think businesses have truly considered how painters could streamline operations. If you were to hire a renowned artist (or perhaps a fine art undergraduate) they could translate all your long-form documents into an abstract image or two. A blue circle in the centre of a white canvas, for instance, could say everything that needs to be said about last year’s employee records. Of course, you would also need to hire art critics who could accurately interpret the abstract images. You might need to make some room for error, but at least you won’t need to make room for wordy documents.

Bury it all

Whenever pirates needed to store important or sensitive information, they found a distant island – possibly inhabited by cannibals – and dug a large hole. We think there’s valuable lessons to be learned from such an approach.

Even if hackers were to get their paws on the maps that marked the treasure, they would have to sail through dangerous high winds, fend off sea monsters and escape the clutches of Long John Silver. Businesses considering this storage option will need to settle on an alternative method for storing the treasure maps themselves. If you bury those too, your documents may be lost for a few generations.

Put in under the mattress

No one would ever think to search under a mattress would they? This unprecedented and highly original idea would require you to divide your documents between trusted employees, who would stash the sensitive material under their snoozing place. Documents stored in this way are reported to be better rested and no longer demand as much coffee in the mornings.

Hand your files to Julien Assange

Sounds counter-productive possibly. But if you accept the pessimistic belief that privacy is a thing of the past and the government is watching you through your phone camera anyway, you might as well store your documents where everyone can see it. Just pass all data to your least favourite whistleblower and let them store everything on the internet for you. Benefits include: short-term saving on time and funds. Downsides include: potential breach of law, possible company collapse.

Use TARDIS technology

Don’t waste space by sticking to a mere four dimensions. The Doctor has already shown us that we can conceal an entire space ship in blue phone box, so doing the same with our documents should be as easy as fending off another wave of daleks. When your desk can hold a warehouse of material in its drawers, storage will never be a problem again. As long as your desk doesn’t travel freely through time and space.

Deep freeze

If you don’t think you’re going to use your documents anytime soon, you could consider freezing them for the future. It’s a good option if you’re reluctant to destroy data in case it comes in use in a few centuries time. Then your children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s children will be able to read your 2018 refund policy and allow its legacy to continue.

Use a professional

Ok, so maybe not an unusual solution. But an unusually good one! If you pick the right team, of course. Seriously, there are no magic formulas here, no matter what Marie Kondo says. If you need stuff stored – and you need it stored securely, in a climate controlled environment that is alarmed and monitored 24-7 – then you need to give us a call. We’re really very nice and we’ll even provide boxes and come pick everything up for you.

If you’d like to discuss your document storage needs, get in touch with us today.

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