2011-September: Intelligent Microfilm

An article by Daniel Lawrance [ Laurie ] Varendorff ARMA 2011-09-16

INTELLIGENT MICROFILM from UNINTELLIGENT Raster Images

The HISTORY OF MICROFILM is being rewritten with the imminent introduction of the greatest breakthrough in Micrographic History since the 1920′s, the e-ImageData Corp. ScanPro 2000 INTELLIGENT MICROFILM from UNINTELLIGENT Raster Images PowerScan Productivity Suite – PPS software.

All of us here at DME felt it appropriate not only to SHOUT from the rooftops about the EARTH SHATTERING aspects of the e-ImageData Corp. ScanPro 2000 INTELLIGENT MICROFILM from UNINTELLIGENT Raster Images PowerScan Productivity Suite – PPS software, but to bring people who were born since the birth of the Bits & Bytes Information Technology Era with the release of the IBM ( model 5150 ) Personal Computer – PC introduced on August 12th 1981 up to speed regarding the every expanding History of Microfilm over the past THREE – 3 centuries.

This article is an attempt to do justice to that past THREE – 3 centuries of MICROFILM HISTORY

In a sister article entitled – MICROFORMS are DEAD – LONG LIVE MICROFORMS !!!!!!!! – I expressed my SHOCK & JOY at my first encounter with the ScanPro 2000 – PowerScan Productivity Suite – PPS – INTELLIGENT MICROFILM from UNINTELLIGENT Raster Images from Jim Westoby &: Todd Kahle of e-ImageData Corp. of 340 Grant St – Hartford, WI 53027 – USA the manufacturer of the ScanPro 2000 .

I have repeated that euphoric moment recorded below:

Start of article – MICROFORMS are DEAD – LONG LIVE MICROFORMS !!!!!!!!

2011-SEPTEMBER: Have I been struck by Lightning?

It certainly feels like it, as I have just experienced the most SHOCKINGLY DELIGHTFUL awakening.

This was my first exposure to the greatest breakthrough in Micrographic History since the 1920′s when a Banker in New York invented a camera that would make a positive record of cheques that were returned to depositors or forwarded to other banks. What did this mean? Principally, that the bank could maintain a legal record of transactions, economically and quickly. It meant new security for records. It meant that time-consuming handwritten descriptions of cheques would have to be made no longer. The banker’s name was George McCarthy, and he deserves a high place of honour in the history of microfilm.

Fast forward to today with the imminent release of the e-ImageData Corp. ScanPro 2000 – PowerScan Productivity Suite – PPS – INTELLIGENT MICROFILM from UNINTELLIGENT Raster Images – software in the next few weeks & HEY PRESTO another EARTH SHATTERING development in the History of Micrographics with the introduction of INTELLIGENT MICROFILM from UNINTELLIGENT Raster Images. YES, that is what I said the introduction of INTELLIGENT MICROFILM from UNINTELLIGENT Raster Images.

In recent weeks Canon Japan Head Office has announced their decision to cease the manufacture of Microfilm Equipment because of the continued shift towards electronic document capture solutions and the decline in demand for micrographics equipment.

At the same time as Canon Japan Head Office makes this announcement e-ImageData Corp. has, over the past FIVE - 5 years installed several thousand of the ScanPro 2000 & the earlier version the ScanPro 1000 Digital Microfilm Scanner Printers in Libraries Internationally.

No wonder Canon Japan has experienced a decline in demand for micrographics equipment.

Not because there is no demand for micrographics equipment but because of the superiority of the ongoing & every continuing technological improvements being made by Jim Westoby & Todd Kahle of e-ImageData Corp. with the ScanPro 2000 Digital Microfilm Scanner Printer.

I wrote an article back in March 2008 entitled 2007 – A watershed year for the Micrographic / Imaging Industry regarding the then ScanPro 1000 Digital Microfilm Scanner Printer & available for review with a copy of the article @ 2007 – A watershed year for the Micrographic / Imaging Industry – March 2008.

With this introduction of the e-ImageData Corp. – INTELLIGENT MICROFILM from UNINTELLIGENT Raster Images – software via the release of the e-ImageData Corp. ScanPro 2000 PowerScan Productivity Suite – PPS software an EARTH SHATTERING change has occurred in the Microfilm Industry.

Here are the capabilities of the e-ImageData Corp. ScanPro 2000 – PowerScan Productivity Suite – PPS – INTELLIGENT MICROFILM from UNINTELLIGENT Raster Images – software:

Click on the INFO-Link Button / Icon - Then CLICK on a word that give you the choice of THREE - 3 links to internet Search Engines on the WWW.

The defaults are:

1. Google;

2. Wikipedia &

3. Dictionary.com.

SPECIAL NOTE: The Administrator can select any THREE - 3 WWW Search Engines available on the WWW suitable for their specific requirements.

1. Click the Edit Image Button / Icon - Then select & highlight the information on your microfilm image and copy it to the clipboard as text for pasting into any document e.g. Word etc. or Copy it as a UNINTELLIGENT image to verify the correctness of the text information captured.

2. Click the OCR Searchable PDF File Single Page Button / Icon - Then with a single click you can convert any microfilm image to a word searchable PDF as a single page file.

3. Click the OCR Searchable PDF File Single Page Button / Icon - Then with a single click you can convert any microfilm image to a word searchable PDF as a multiple page file.

4. Click the WORD-Search Button / Icon - Then enter a search word in the Search Box which then highlights that word everywhere on that page of the microfilm image you currently have up on your PC Monitor screen. Should your search word not be on that particular image on the roll of 16 or 35 mm roll microfilm then all you do is click on the Forward or Backward Arrow Button / Icon & repeat the search on the next & possibly subsequent images until you locate the search word you require.

SPECIAL NOTE: The e-ImageData Corp. ScanPro 2000 – PowerScan Productivity Suite – PPS – INTELLIGENT MICROFILM from UNINTELLIGENT Raster Images – software is capable of searching on around ONE HUNDRED & SEVENTY FIVE – 175 different languages as well as English.

NOW FOR THE GOOD no GREAT NEWS: For all our clients who have purchased the ScanPro 2000 or the earlier version ScanPro 1000 since MID 2006 this NEW OPTIONAL software from the e-ImageData Corp. the ScanPro 2000 – PowerScan Productivity Suite – PPS – INTELLIGENT MICROFILM from UNINTELLIGENT Raster Images can be retrofitted to your currently installed ScanPro 2000 or the earlier version ScanPro 1000 Digital Microfilm Scanner Printer.

Who can claim that e-ImageData Corp. & Digital Microfilm Equipment – DME do not protect their clients investment in their ScanPro 2000 or the earlier version ScanPro 1000 installations with every continuing technological improvement being made available to our clients to protect their investments from OBSOLESCENCE.

The e-ImageData Corp. & Digital Microfilm Equipment – DME have our clients’ interests at the forefront of our business policies, processes & practices. Please show me another Microfilm Equipment Manufacturer who provides this depth of commitment to their clients.

End of article – MICROFORMS are DEAD – LONG LIVE MICROFORMS !!!!!!!!

On further contemplation after taking in the impact of this current new GIANT Step forward in Micrograph Technology I felt it appropriate to do a little navel gazing in respect to the LONG & sometimes COLOURFUL [ though microfilm is generally only a positive or negative Black & White image ] HISTORY of MICROFILM spanning some THREE - 3  - YES, THREE – 3 Centuries since its was first created BACK IN 1839.

The – HISTORY OF MICROFILM – Important events & dates

Microfilm had its infancy back in the late 1839′s when John Benjamin Dancer, an English optical instrument maker successfully made a microphotograph & thus unwittingly started this three century application with the use of MICROFILM for details on John Benjamin Dancer

The first application was as the use as a Curio mounted on the end of a little cylinder of glass, thus giving them a magnification of 300 to 400 times. These tiny images were inserted into fancy goods like pen-holders, rings and lorgnettes and, although now out of fashion, they may be found in some curiosity shops and souvenir stores.

At the ( now ) Royal Photographic Society on the 3rd March, 1853, its Treasurer, an A. Rosling, exhibited micro-copies of a page of the London Evening News, perhaps the first newspaper microfilm on record. This reduction was one 800th part of the original and it is recorded that it could be read quite perfectly.

Enter René Prudent Patrice Dragon a French photographer and inventor @ for details on René Prudent Patrice Dagron 

On 21 June, 1859, Dagron was granted the first microfilm patent in history. During the 1870-71 siege of Paris by the Prussian armies Dagron assisted his country by providing a novel way of communication with the free areas outside of the capital.

He sent carrier pigeons with messages in microfilms across German lines.

This was the first important application of microfilm.

The microfilm industry is considered to have been created by him, starting in 1859 when he obtained his patent.

First use of Microfilm in a Military context

Microfilm first came into prominence during the Franco-Prussian War in 1870 when carrier pigeons were used for taking messages into the beleaguered city of Paris.

This was not the first use of microfilm, but it is perhaps the most fascinating and ingenious one and therefore has overshadowed the less dramatic experiments in this field and become the highlight of microfilming history.

With Paris completely surrounded by the Prussian armies and all lines of communication severed, the French Postal Authorities struggled to re-establish communication with guerrilla forces fighting in the provinces, and also to make contact with the rest of the outside world.

A free balloon drifting out of the capital crossed the enemy line and landed safely in unoccupied territory.

This indicated a possible way to re-establish the mail service. The balloon post solved only one part of the problem, because prevailing winds would not allow a balloon to make the return journey.

Only six miles in diameter, the city was a difficult target in variable breezes and, with no means of control, the few occasions on which it had been attempted ended in failure, and indicated that it was far too difficult to be practical.

Two rival pigeon racing societies in Paris, therefore, saw in this dilemma an opportunity to render patriotic service with the help of their trained birds.

The French Cabinet was impressed by their suggestion, and a balloon was dispatched with 300 pigeons, which were to be used to make the return journey carrying mail to Paris.

The method he used was to reduce photographically an abbreviated version of the document on to a tiny film measuring 30 x 55 mm.

A number of these were inserted into small tubes and attached to the pigeon’s tail.

A single bird could carry 18 or more of these films, which weighed less than half a grain and contained more than 80,000 words.

The First Microfilm Airgraph

Not much happened for the next seventy five – 75 years until a GROUND BREAKING application designed & created by a Banker in New York when he invented a camera that would make a positive record of cheques that were returned to depositors or forwarded to other banks.

What did this mean?

Principally, that the bank could maintain a legal record of transactions, economically and quickly. It meant new security for records.

It meant that time-consuming handwritten descriptions of cheques would have to be made no longer.

The banker’s name was George McCarthy, and he deserves a high place of honour in the history of microfilm.

From this point onward the use of microfilm has taken many and varied a part to ever increasing use with numerous new applications & expanding use across many & varied industries & professions.

Ongoing use of microfilm in military applications.

The siege of Paris was revisited by the US Government with the introduction of V-Mail.

Uncle Sam was not insensitive to their needs. But he knew that there were problems of transporting millions of letters, as well as the expediting of delivery to the waiting G. l’s. Microfilm, proven in a long-ago war, was the answer.

Perhaps a billion letters from the United States to soldiers overseas were reduced onto microfilm for shipment.

At their destination point they were photographically enlarged into readable copy.

It was by far the biggest microfilm venture up to that day.

It had a solid humanitarian base.

After Pearl Harbour on December 7, 1941 the US Government had a logistics issue & the responsibility to address this issue was assigned to a new organization, the Coordinator of Information – C.O.I. in Washington headed by Robert W. Sherwood, playwright and author.

A classification expert, John F. Langan, & developed of the microfilm aperture card. Langan made some 300 microfilm aperture cards, cutting rectangular holes in the IBM tabulating cards with a razor blade then he stuck frames of 35 mm microfilm in the apertures with the adhesive.

The process worked, launching a new microfilm format, the Aperture Card another important step towards making microfilm an active, everyday medium @ for details on the Aperture Card 

There is more of this History to tell so please be patient with me in the telling

Happy INTELLIGENT Scanning of your microfilm, Laurie Varendorff ARMA.

The Author

Laurie Varendorff, ARMA, a former RMAA Western Australia Branch president & national director, has been involved in records management and the micrographic industry for 40 years.

Laurie has his own microfilm equipment sales & support organisation – Digital Microfilm Equipment – DME – and a – records & information management – RIM – consulting & training business – The Varendorff Consultancy – TVC – located near Perth, Western Australia, & has tutored & written course material in recordkeeping & archival storage & preservation for Perth’s Edith Cowan University – ECU.

You can contact Laurie Varendorff @ email @ Laurie Varendorff ARMA; or Phone: Australia @ 0417 094 147 – International @ +61 417 094 147; Fax : Australia @ 08 9417 5981 – International @ +618 9417 5981 at Digital Microfilm Equipment – DME.

The author, Laurie Varendorff gives permission for the redistribution or republishing of this article by individuals and non-profit professional organisations without cost based on the condition that he as well as the URL of the article are recognised at the introduction of the article when redistributed or republished.

SPECIAL NOTE: Use of this article by publishers, commercial, government, or educational organisations requires a financial agreement to be negotiated with Laurie as the copyright holder for this work.