Cauli Le Chat

Cauli Le Chat
Cauli Le Chat, MPL Roving Reporter

Friday, December 16, 2011

New Digital Toy For Moi (Patrons, Too)

My Library has a new techno-toy for the Indiana Roving Reporter Room.

ScanPro 2000 Digital Microfilm Scanner

The high-tech world has caught up with local history and genealogy research at my Library, thanks to a generous LSTA (Library Services and Technology Act) grant from the Indiana State Library.  Patrons researching their family genealogies or local histories will now be able to digitally scan microfilm images, rather than print them on paper.  These digital scans may then be saved to a flash drive.  The resolution quality is enormously superior to the old microfilm reader that printed fuzzy black-and-white copies of the microfilm contents.  Pretty complex stuff!

My older readers need no introduction to microfilm; they were weaned on it.  But younger readers and slobberdogs may be perplexed.  Let's start from square one.

Microfilm Reels & Storage Boxes

Before computerized digitization was developed, printed information was photographed onto microfilm and stored on reels.  This saved considerable shelf space, as entire shelves of newspapers, magazines, or even books could be stored on a single reel.  All one needed was a microfilm reader, which shone light through the film to project a blurry image onto a screen.  It's like old-fashioned Nickelodeon movie machines that were used in theaters over a century ago.  Think of it!  No popcorn or soda.  They might have had chocolate-covered peanuts, though.  Probably the same ones they're still selling in movie theaters today.

Light-Projected Microfilm Reader

Nickelodeon Movie Projector
(This one was first used in Pittsburgh in 1905)

Nickelodeons first appeared in 1905 at a Smithfield Street exhibition hall in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  It was possibly Pittsburgh's historical high water mark.  (Just kidding!)  Scowl-Face used to live just south of Pittsburgh back in 1966-67.  Pittsburgh had a Gimble's Department Store, just like in the movie Miracle on 34th Street (1947), only that one was in New York City.  Scowlly says it was way-cool.  The one in Pittsburgh.  Look, let's go to the flow chart; it will surely simplify things.

Comprehension Tool?  Or Not

(Hey, Fox News:  Forget "Fair and Balanced."  Try this slogan:  "Clear and Understandable."  Then lose the flow chart, plus the two bleating "commentators" trying to make sense of it.  Lose the crawlers at the bottom of the screen, while you're at it.  Those things drive me nuts.  Multi-tasking is a myth devised by business management to justify downsized workforces and overworked employees.  But I digress.)

Anyway, this ScanPro 2000 will revolutionize my Library's patrons' historical and genealogical research.  High time, too, I'll say.  Morgan County Public Library already has two of these wonderful machines.  That's as many as the Indiana State Library!  Frankly, we were jealous.

We've Hit the Big Leagues Now,

Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
Library Technology News Beat

P.S.  "Weird Al" Yankovic's "It's All About the Pentiums" (1999) music video is a hilarious parody of constantly changing technologies.  Have I used it yet as a musical closer?  Well, it's worth another look-see.

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