Interment records microfilming and preservation

by ehistoryadmin on March 9, 2007

            What is preservation microfilming?
The reason we microfilm historical records is to permanently archive them in a durable, easily accessible format that is an exact representation of the document, as it was originally produced. In order to better preserve original material we microfilm it: we call it preservation microfilming.
Microfilming is still the option preferred by all archivists as a storage medium and therefore as an answer to preservation issues.
Do you think that microfilm is an old technology that has passed its useful lifetime? Aren’t we still using paper, which is 2000 years old?
Archiving is all about long-term preservation. We do know that, if stored in the right conditions (low temperature and humidity), microfilms could last forever (or almost).
Moreover, once microfilms are generated, they are easily scanned into the latest digital systems; that means that thanks to microfilming, the data will never falls behind. It will ensure that data is preserved and accessible: all you need is a microfilm reader. Microfilm is the most stable medium to store data.
‘Why don’t you digitise all that?’
Until proven otherwise, it is very unlikely that archivists will recognise digital systems as a reliable way of storing archival data.
Obsolescence is the real problem here. Hardware and software equipments are developing endlessly and in 5 years time the hardware and software we have at home will be superseded by other systems that probably will not be able to run the same applications.
Besides, microfilms are legally admissible in a court of law. In many countries worldwide microfilm is specified as the legally admissible archival medium of choice along with paper. In America over 43 States now insist that mandatory public records with a life of more than 10 years must have at least one copy stored in an analogue format i.e. paper or microfilm.
Nobody knows how long the digital technologies will last. Digital media haven’t been around for long enough for us to be able to tell. 
       Microfilming of Interment records           
       Graveyard records are unique and irreplaceable documents. Microfilming them is the only way to ensure that the original records are preserved under the best conditions, while not compromising the right to access the information they contain.
35 records of the following graveyards are now available on microfilms and CD-ROM, in Kildare Local Authority Archive, in Newbridge:
Allen cemetery (1927 – 1989)
Ballentine, Crosspatrick cemetery (1935 – 1963)
Ballybracken, Kildangan cemetery (1935 – 1954)
Boycetown, Kilcock cemetery (1909 – 1939)
Confey, Leixlip cemetery (1915 – 1986)
Crosspatrick cemetery (1963 – 1967)
Donaghcumper cemetery (1913 – 1951)
Fontstown cemetery (1935 – 1955)
Garrisker cemetery (1945)
Great Connell (Abbey) cemetery (1936)
Great Connell (Church) cemetery (1938 – 1939)
Kildare town cemetery (1941 –1990)
Ladytown cemetery (1935 – 1938)
Laraghbryan, Maynooth cemetery (1911 – 1999)
Monasterevin (1958 – 2004)
Newbridge (1894 – 1979)
Nicholastown cemetery (1935 – 2002)
Suncroft cemetery (1948 – 1949)
Usk cemetery (1963 – 1968)
 Extent: 4 microfilm rolls/1 CdRom
 Access: Only by appointment with the archivist, application and non-disclosure forms.
An article by Regional Archivist Cecile Chemin on the microfilming of interment records and preservation microfilming.

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