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Who uses fiche?


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#1 Sarah

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 12:45 PM

Leading up to the questions...

We host a huge old collection of books, how-tos, etc in our Librum library, the online portal (librum.us), and icsarchive.org. Visit the link in the signature if you might be are interested.

Way back when, Y2k days, we also did a LOT of microfilm and microfiche. It was a 'pay the way', not really commercial, online and mail order. The real 'sellers' were our locally produced magnifying readers. The 'carry' factor was the big point.

Today, we still do electronic, mostly free, in ebook and pdf. There has not been much demand for the film/fiche, and that part of the work has declined to almost nothing. The equipment is really starting to show it's age, and the maintenance costs keep growing.

Now the question:

Seriously, does anybody still use fiche/film?

Sarah
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#2 Cat

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 09:33 PM

Is what you have *also* easily available electronically? Or is it unique to the medium?

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#3 Annarchy

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 08:15 AM

Wow, fiche. I remember, putting all the older county records on fiche/film. I have not heard of it since the turn of the century. Which makes me wonder, how much of the old records are left and like you mentioned, how many of the machines are left that read the data. Or have all the doc's been converted to digital?

We looked up some old newspaper articles in one of our libraries.

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#4 Mt_Rider

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 11:35 AM

Yeah, I remember it was a pain to have to scroll down [literally] to find data. Cuz no way to jump by chapter or anything like we do electronically now.

OTOH....if the lights go out......

Really all that's required to read this would be a big flashlight and a magnifying lens....right? Sounds like a back-up plan that's being degraded by time. :(

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#5 out_of_the_ordinary

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 11:48 AM

We use microfilm in several libraries in our area to do genealogy research. Most (but not all) of those libraries have obituary indexes (a list of names with the name of the newspaper and date). Usually, DH sits down at the reader with a list and the rolls of microfilm I need. I do other research while he's doing that. (If I start going through the old newspapers looking for the obits, I get VERY easily distracted by articles!)
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#6 Sarah

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 09:28 PM

Is what you have *also* easily available electronically? Or is it unique to the medium?


A good question. I am not sure just what you are asking for, an index?

As the fiche and film were created electronically, I could say yes, if we still have the origionals. (?)

And we can fiche/film present electronic works, but have had no demand, which is why I asked my question.

The fiche more than the film, as microprinting is how we duplicate(d) fiche, but film was a photo process from a electronically printed 'photo master'. Reverse scanning would be a lot of work.

I think you have given me another project for the next class. Inventory just what we do have on film/fiche vs electronic.

Wow, fiche. I remember, putting all the older county records on fiche/film. I have not heard of it since the turn of the century. Which makes me wonder, how much of the old records are left and like you mentioned, how many of the machines are left that read the data. Or have all the doc's been converted to digital?

We looked up some old newspaper articles in one of our libraries.


'Standard' readers, flat and reel, are relatively cheap. I want to say in the $6x range. Tip: if you have access to a military installation, they have the sheet readers, as military records are still sheet microfilmed.

To my knowledge, most are not converted. There is not enough demand to do so. The converting scan machines do exist but have such a large price tag that most simply can not substantiate the cost. I just finished researching/pricing for a SECOND HAND 35mm roll film scanning unit, for the local county historical society, and it was over $6x,xxx. But one can get film done, by the roll, for about $4xx per roll, pages straightened and cropped, into pdf. They are wanting to convert the now defunct county newspaper. Considering that they have 'only' seventy eight reels, I suspect they will go this route, especially has they have floor space issues, and that would take their volunteers a 'month of sundays'.

Yeah, I remember it was a pain to have to scroll down [literally] to find data. Cuz no way to jump by chapter or anything like we do electronically now.

OTOH....if the lights go out......

Really all that's required to read this would be a big flashlight and a magnifying lens....right? Sounds like a back-up plan that's being degraded by time. :(

MtRider --- from back in the old days of working at high school library :pc_coffee:


Correct on lens and light. And 'carry factor' (bulk) issues.

Oddly enough, the biggest sellers for fiche, were the 'fiction classics'. On second thought, no, it is not odd, it was a good cheap way for mothers to have a huge virtual library for the kinder, before electronic formats became so 'vogue'. Today I have seen quite a bit of such in electronic format.

We use microfilm in several libraries in our area to do genealogy research. Most (but not all) of those libraries have obituary indexes (a list of names with the name of the newspaper and date). Usually, DH sits down at the reader with a list and the rolls of microfilm I need. I do other research while he's doing that. (If I start going through the old newspapers looking for the obits, I get VERY easily distracted by articles!)


Interesting. We do little geneology work, due to little interest. But when I do, I send them to the CSC then the MCC.

The MCC, Mennonite Central Committee, maintains the hardcopy records, but researching takes too much time, and is a pay-the-researcher's time system.

The CSC, Center for Special Children, (Mennonite, Amish, and related, in Strasburg) converted the MCC records years ago to find/track genetic faults. These are much easier to search, and then if the researchers iis interested in specific information, then they go to the MCC archivists, using the CSC records as keys.

On the subject of indexes, we just pushed one project out the door that converted that same historical societies four 8xx+ page typed pages to searchable pdf. They next project for them will be the graveyard records.

On newspaper work, try contacting the Library of Congress. They have converted quite a few, down to county level, the size of that collection is staggering. And such are available via Inter Library Loan, if not online. Tip: The LOC used to offer a scanning service of any work in their collections, for a fat fee, but do NOT do this any more for individuals.

Back to my original question:

Is there still a market for this, or should we dispose of this old ageing equipment?

Sarah
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#7 Annarchy

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 09:10 AM

I guess you could consider me a hoarder, I collect antiques. - Save it!

If you were to dispose of the 'old aging equipment',what would you do when you need to locate information on the fiche, if the data has not been converted to electronic media or the original documents no longer exist?

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#8 Andrea

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 12:24 PM

I used the microfilm machines a LOT for my undergrad degree - but that was over 25 years ago. When I was working on my Masters, 12 years ago, I never touched the machines. Everything I needed was either available online or I could request a pdf copy from another library through interlibrary loan. If that information could be put into an electronic format for an affordable price, I would go that route and ditch the machines.


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#9 lovinit

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 08:04 PM

I just remember being sick from scrolling through the info I needed. Not pleasant!

#10 Sarah

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 10:08 AM

Thank you all for the responses.


Summary: Nobody uses these today. Or if they do, it is simply because they have it already, and would not be interested in purchasing new or updating collections. People want the electronic, for convience if nothing else.


This makes me wonder about EMP, etc. It also makes me remember a little ditty our main benefactor, RIP, used to hum. A 'rip' on 'Bad Boys'. "English, English, whatcha gonna do? Whatcha going to do when things go boom!?"

What are 'you' going to do?


Well, we are working today. And today I start to figure what do to do with what. The photo repro equipment goes. The specialized printers (ALL parrallel connectors!). The lens moulds. The metal jigs. Etc.


I admit a bit of sadness. Those Texas Instruments electric arc printers, burns the paper surface to print... a fascinating 'lost' technology. Or the Olivetti carbon arc printer, that prints in pencil carbon. Does Olivetti even still exist? :sad-smiley-012:



Sarah
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"Ever wish to know what thy grandparents knew? Thee CAN!"

http://www.librum.us



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