Thursday, September 1, 2011

Microfilm Scanning @ RELIC

I'm very excited about the new equipment installed last week at RELIC.  This wonderful local resource for county history and genealogy recently connected a computer with Microsoft Office Document Imaging software to a microfilm reader.  Researchers now have the ability to print hard copies (as usual) and/or scan a digital image of the microfilm image and save it to a Flash Drive.  Images can be saved as Tagged Image File Format (TIFF) or Microsoft Document Imaging Format (MDI) to the flash drive and then used on your home computer.

I had the opportunity to play with the new scanner last weekend when I started abstracting PWCo Will Book I as a RELIC volunteer project.  Instead of having to sit by the microfilm reader typing on a laptop or printing page after page for transcription later, I was able to use the new software to scan and download 60 pages to my flash drive.  Much easier!!  (And free!)

There are, of course, a few things to note.  The scanner is unable to clean up a dark or grainy image.  Pretty much what you see on the microfilm reader screen is what you'll get on the digital image.  Any "noise" (i.e., microfilm scratches, shadows, streaks from the film image) will transfer to your scan and must be cleaned with a graphics program (Adobe Photoshop, for instance).  Also, you must bring your own flash drive!  RELIC cannot provide one for you.

There is currently only ONE scanner available, connected to ONE microfilm reader.  RELIC hopes to obtain another in the near future.  I'm certainly happy with one scanner over no scanner, but I expect that this one device is going to become popular (and busy!) very, very quickly.  If that becomes the case, RELIC may have to find a way to manage how long a single user can monopolize the scanner if there's someone waiting to use it.


  1. I love going to facilities that have this capability!

    Just a thought, what about selling flash drives to the people that come in and forgot theirs or didn't know they needed one?

  2. That's not a bad idea. Maybe someone should suggest it. :)

  3. Document scanning and Microfilm are very useful and mostly used service. As we need document imaging as , There are various firms which provides this service , so we have to choose much professional for this purpose.

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