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Monday, May 25, 2015

He's at the microfilm machine again, "BJ's got a new toy"

Posted Monday, July 25, 2011, at 3:53 PM

Most of us have some sort of addictive behavior, and it is not always a bad thing. It could be sex, drugs or rock and roll, or even reruns of Hogan's Heroes, but for me, it microfilm machines that can be used to look up old newspaper articles. At least that is all I can talk about without incriminating myself.

Thanks to the generosity of those folks at the Linton Public Library, we have a new microfilm reader, or as someone in our newsroom put it best, "B.J.'s got a new toy."

Since they have a new state of the art machine, their old one (that the then Linton Daily Citizen donated a small amount of money to help them purchase) was just collecting dust in a back room at their new building.

So this time is was our newspaper (now the Greene County Daily World) that benefitted from their generosity.

Our new machine actually has a motor that runs off of electricity. Our old machine that we have at our office at 79 S. Main does have a light bulb (I think we have mice to help power it up to 75 watts) to aid with viewing, but it features a hand crank to advance the film.

Lance Armstrong was busy riding the bike to keep power going at ESPN Studios in Bristol, Conn., if you remember that promo where the facility went dark when he stopped pedaling thinking that everyone had went home for the night, ha ha.

I have been in many a library trying to find out tidbits of information on microfilm and I have only encoutered one other such machine that seemed like it was around when the Wright Brothers finally got off the ground.

Not that I am against a good old hand cranking. I remember some of the best homemade ice cream I every had came as a result of a hand crank, but even those machines have motors now.

I am sure that when the fine people built the Northwest Microfilm 2020, it was something else. It was probably one of the finest machines on the market. The tabletop model has clear directions about loading the film, something that always comes in handy and is not readily available on newer machines.

But now it is a relic that best could be described as something that is ready to go the way of the buggy whip.

One thing that most modern-day microfilm readers do is print, making it easy to gather a lot of information with the punch of a buttom, but not the Northwest Microfilm 2020.

But as it fades from my memory, except for the fact I have to pass it on the way to the bathroom at work every day, I can now focus on the Canon Microprinter 60.

The word "printer" in the name Microprint is an indication that we have moved a few decades ahead in the development of reading microfilm.

This machine actually prints information from the pages of past papers quickly, speeding up what at times can become a tedious process, even for someone addicted to the end result -- more useless information.

Hopefully I can use this technology to find out some tidbits of information for some upcoming stories. I have already found a scoring record at Shakamak that was bound to fall; a fight between basketball players from WRV and Linton; and the first win for a Linton coach that was the last time the Miners beat that team.

B.J. Hargis is the sports editor at the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached at hargisbj@gmail.com or at (812) 847-4487, ext. 12.

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