|Microfilm viewers at BYU Family History Library, Provo, Utah|
|Microfilm Storage Container|
|ScanPro 3000 with computer|
|Microfilm return shelf|
At this point, I could then conclude that using digital images is much less complicated than using microfilm, but that would be an oversimplification. Digital images of the microfilm have to be viewed on your computer and you have to know how to use a computer, how to access the internet, how to use the FamilySearch.org program (or find other digital images of historical records) and understand how to search and view the individual images. But here are the main differences:
- The FamilySearch.org images of the microfilm are no longer subject to rental fees; they are freely viewable online.
- The waiting time for receiving a film has been eliminated and all of the images remain online for viewing at any time of day or night.
- Billions of images are now available to be viewed from any computer or device that can access the internet.
- No more complicated microfilm or microfiche viewers. The images can be rotated, magnified, and enhanced by your computer.
- You can easily capture images from the microfilm for later use or to act as sources for supporting genealogical research.
- The online digital images can be randomly accessed.
- Those digital images that are only viewable in a Family History Center or at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah are the exception rather than the rule. Viewing them in a Family History Center or at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah is no different than viewing microfilm but the vast majority of the online images are freely available online.
The age of microfilm has now passed. Some of it will be around for a long time, but as genealogists become more comfortable with digital images and those images become more readily available, then using microfilm will become a lost art. Digital images will inevitably win the battle.