Microfilm scanning is a specialized process. Microfilm reels look uniform on the outside, but upon inspection, one often finds that films differ in frame spacing, image size, density, tonal range, etc. Scanners that can handle the variability of microfilm are complex, expensive machines. ArcaSearch’s microfilm scanner, a custom-built Italian machine, has been providing HMML with film scans since 2004, which is a long time in “digital years.”
To enhance its scanning capabilities, ArcaSearch has purchased a FlexScan microfilm scanner from NextScan, Inc. This new machine offers improved capabilities to further enhance HMML’s offerings to scholars:
- Increased resolution for larger digital images, which allows usable scans to be made from 16mm microfilm and other film with very small image sizes.
- The ability to scan microfiche—a special automatic feeder attachment allows for stacks of microfiche to be scanned without operator intervention.
- Special software that allows for the successful scanning of films that other frame-detection systems won’t handle. With the new system, an entire reel of film is initially scanned as one long “ribbon” image. This is presented to the operator with proposed frame segmentation—the operator can adjust and “overrule” the automatic frame detection, fine-tuning the cropping of frames before finally exporting the images. This allows for the proper scanning of “difficult” films that the previous scanner couldn’t handle.
This new technology will allow HMML to offer its scholars the very best microfilm scans available.