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n229nw
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Rant Thread: Microfilm

Tue Apr 24, 2007 12:28 pm

Microfilm has got to be the most annoying medium for reading anything! Every machine-reader loads differently. and many work quite badly. Then you have to adjust 800 different things to center and focus your image, and that's once you find the part you want to read in the first place--by slowly turning some crank or pushing some button for 15 minutes. If you want a copy you then have to take the whole reel off and reload it on a copier-reader and find what you need again. Then you can pay 25c (if you're lucky) for a print that is usually illegible with various contrast problems, blurry letters, and multiple stripes and lines running through it. Great. It just took you half an hour to photocopy one page from some magazine or newspaper or whatever.

Now I realize that back when Fred Flintstone was riding his dinosaur, microfilm was all technologically advanced and nicey nicey and--WOW--you could get a whole year of magazines on one reel and all that...

But ****, it's 2007. Can't they very easily digitize things now directly off microfilm? And why are they still microfilming stuff as we speak?

/rant mode

Thanks, I feel better.

[Edited 2007-04-24 05:42:51]
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sccutler
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RE: Rant Thread: Microfilm

Tue Apr 24, 2007 1:30 pm

Your problem is not with the technology, it's the implementation.

Digitize, says ye?

What about five, ten years from now when the hot technology of today is obsolete, and someone needs to try to look at a low-activity record saved and stored in what is, by then, obsolete media?

True story: I was part of the team that installed the very first deployment of electronically-imaged parts catalogs at a GM dealer- all very cool. Catalogs were stored on a 12" laserdisc. You suppose there's even a computer museum with functional hardware to read that today?

For high-activity records, digitized and on-line is the way to go, but for archival long-term, low-usage records, nothing beats silver film for stability and certainty. Shining light through film will always be an easily-achieved technology!
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Stealthz
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RE: Rant Thread: Microfilm

Tue Apr 24, 2007 1:47 pm

Quoting SCCutler (Reply 1):
You suppose there's even a computer museum with functional hardware to read that today?

Remarkable, if the folks in London or Washington would let you you could pick up the Declaration of Independence or the Magna Carta or Gutenberg's Bible and read them yet most of the data from the moon landings has been lost or is no longer readable.
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AsstChiefMark
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RE: Rant Thread: Microfilm

Tue Apr 24, 2007 1:56 pm

Quoting SCCutler (Reply 1):
You suppose there's even a computer museum with functional hardware to read that today?

I have a new MCA Disco Vision (Pioneer?) #PR-7820 laserdisc reader that I found in the attic of a Chevy dealer. They couldn't figure out how to use it, so they just stashed it upstairs. I found it when the city bought the building as our ambulance department headquarters.

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n229nw
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RE: Rant Thread: Microfilm

Tue Apr 24, 2007 2:23 pm

Quoting SCCutler (Reply 1):
For high-activity records, digitized and on-line is the way to go, but for archival long-term, low-usage records, nothing beats silver film for stability and certainty. Shining light through film will always be an easily-achieved technology!

Hmmm. Thing is, nowadays the scanning for microfilms is done digitally anyway, right? Which means that even if they keep a copy on silver film for "stability and certainty," it would be pretty easy to keep, say, a pdf file as well.

Also, old issues of Rolling Stone are hardly low-usage records. Yet most libraries have gotten rid of their paper copies and have them only on microfilm. These microfilms are worn and scratched, on top of the other disadvantages of the medium. (This is just one example.)

Don't get me wrong, I like secure and reliable old technology when it works well (I'm not parting with my giant LP collection any time soon!)--but microfilm is sh*t. At least with microfiche you could go quickly to the part of the document you wanted. That was a MUCH better format, but for some reason it was largely abandoned for reels...
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AirTranTUS
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RE: Rant Thread: Microfilm

Tue Apr 24, 2007 3:15 pm

Quoting SCCutler (Reply 1):
Catalogs were stored on a 12" laserdisc. You suppose there's even a computer museum with functional hardware to read that today?

My high school Physics teacher had one of those machines, but it was smaller than the one AsstChiefMark posted. It loaded like the DVD players nowadays.

To the OP, next time bring your digital camera with you, so when you get the right resolution, take a picture of it yourself and print it later.
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n229nw
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RE: Rant Thread: Microfilm

Wed Apr 25, 2007 5:36 am

Quoting AirTranTUS (Reply 5):
To the OP, next time bring your digital camera with you, so when you get the right resolution, take a picture of it yourself and print it later.

Yeah, unfortunately, most libraries don't let you do that--I guess they lose money...
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