American Horror Story: the Microfilm Scanner 400

The return of our digital microfilm reader puts all scanning fears to rest.

As Halloween draws near, everything tends to look a little creepier.  The increasingly waning moonlight for the duration of the month will cast darker shadows, and spirits of old library technology are rumored to be poised to walk (or run, rather) among us. If you’re picturing this all in your head as a strange yet spooky Tim Burton-esque film featuring inanimate objects that spark to life and begin crawling away then you have the wrong idea.  This is a rejuvenation of a different sort, and it’s not to be feared.  It is the reemergence of the long forsaken microfilm machines in the Main Library’s Central Reading Room.  With the arrival of a new, upgraded digital version of our old familiar scanning devices (the ScanPro 3000), more people have begun feeling at ease with the microfilm format and are using them to access our archives of film, fiche, cards, and print to enrich their research.

This new scanner, the Buzz Lightyear of our toy collection, is amazing.  Your scans can be edited to enhance the image quality, searched for words of interest, sent as email attachments, saved to a USB device, or printed to any of our Pharos printing stations. Although such technology might make the older models seem like the old Aunt Edna of the family, they are by no means obsolete. For those who shun the suspiciously too convenient ease of “smarter” computerized equipment, the Microfilm Scanner 400 is a fine alternative.  It’s a relatively user friendly, no thrills version that complements the no-nonsense researchers among us. And you never need worry about facing the machines alone.  Our staff here is very knowledgeable and very brave and can help guide you through your scanning experience.  Just ask.

Janet Clarke

Janet Clarke

Associate Dean, Research & User Engagement at Stony Brook University Libraries
Janet Clarke
Posted in Central Reading Room, Libraries, Research, Technology