On 15/11/2013, Tom Fine wrote:

> Hi Malcolm:
> What I wish is that someone like the donors would step up
> and digitize more microfilms. How hard can it be, it's just scanning a
> perforated film. The whole thing should be very easy to automate, just
> make a "microfilm maw" and pay an intern to keep it fed all day. I
> wonder if one of the big donors to the Newseum could be convinced to
> get into this? There are many little local newspapers around the
> country that for practical purposes exist only on a few rolls of
> microfilm. Hard copies may or may not exist, but they will never be
> scanned and decompose toward dust, more each day.
Assuming the microfilm is on a modern film base, it is not at all likely
to turn to dust. Silver-based film, provided it has been correctly
processed, is very long lived. 

You will give up on migrating your digital files before the microfilm

Which is not to say that a high resolution scanner (or imager) for
microfilm wouldn't be very useful, but for use rather than preservation.

> As far as a "remote microfilm reader" like you describe, this seems
> totally doable, via a USB-linked device on the other end of an
> internet connection. You'd basically be controlling one process on the
> host computer, which would be real-time scanning whatever microfilm
> was in the USB-connected machine. Remote-control commands to move the
> film are just simple encode/decode stuff. It's akin to a modern piece
> of hifi gear with BlueTooth or WiFi capability, being controlled by an
> iPhone app. Why the remote microfilm reader doesn't exist probably is
> a combination of too small a market and too much resistence from
> copyright owners.

Don Cox
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