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Library Corner

July 11, 2013

Microfilm machine steps into the digital age

Technology developments advance quicker than we can imagine as you can see with computers, phones, televisions and even how we keep in touch with each other. Such is the case with the microfilm machine in our New York State Room. 

A microfilm machine is a microfilm machine, right? Remember the days of threading the film, winding the crank, or advancing it with the motorized models? When our thirteen machine started acting up last fall and we couldn’t get parts, I figured that my winter project would be to price and replace our old machine. So, when I started working on the project in January, I was informed that microfilm machines as we always knew them were discontinued and were now considered a dinosaur relic. Really?

Off to learn all about the new technology on the block. Today’s machine is digital in scope, works through computer-based software, and does everything except take your blood pressure. I might suggest to the manufacturers that they consider adding that option to relieve the stress and BP hike you get when researching these new kids on the block.

When you finally select the machine you want, you can place your order, but that is just the beginning. You also have to have a computer, and not any computer will do. It must be built to certain specifications and the screen has to be HUGE to capture the entire image of a newspaper page. 

Because our purchasing must be done on New York state contract, where many machines are already pre-constructed, it’s no picnic when the site keeps saying, “Are you SURE you want this option, because it will delay production?” YES, I’m sure! “Are you SURE...” popped up at least eight times, and YES, I was sure. Finally the orders for all the components were placed.

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