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Community Forums › General › General Discussion Groups › just curious (FHC rant)

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just curious (FHC rant)
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dvaccaro
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Joined: Mar 19, 2008
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Location: Minneapolis, MN

PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2008 11:53 am    Post subject: just curious (FHC rant) Reply with quote

my local Family History Center does not have a microfilm scanner and it drives me crazy. i've got a few hundred dollars worth of films on permanent loan there, and all i can ever do is print a crappy, high-contrast xerox-like copy of these beautiful, nuanced historical records. to make matters worse, i am a computer artist by trade and it pains me to think about what i could do with these documents if i could simply get a scan from the film directly onto my laptop. i've got a high-end computer, professional software, cords, flash drives and everything, and i've got to sit here and look at really really bad printouts from an archaic machine that are sometimes about 25% as readable as the original film image.

so i am wondering, is this common? does your FHC have a microfilm scanner? do most? more and more, i am hearing people talk about scanning files at their FHC. does everyone but me have FHCs with nice equipment?!

i'm not asking for much, just a damn USB port! save a tree! and my burning eyes!

rant over.
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Robert
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2008 12:13 pm    Post subject: Re: just curious (FHC rant) Reply with quote

I have not been to the one in South Kensington since moving back to the UK, but don't recall them having a scanner. I used to request copies of documents, pay 25p for them and then collect them a few days later - I don't know how the copies were made but the quality was sufficient for my needs.

I do know that they are in the process of digitalising all of their records (at least last I heard they were) and so guess they are not going to invest in equipment that will soon be redundant for them (at all FHC's at any rate, I guess they will always need them in the Vault).

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dvaccaro
Mem
Mem


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2008 1:42 pm    Post subject: Re: just curious (FHC rant) Reply with quote

Robert wrote:
I do know that they are in the process of digitalising all of their records (at least last I heard they were) and so guess they are not going to invest in equipment that will soon be redundant for them (at all FHC's at any rate, I guess they will always need them in the Vault).

very good point. however, from what i've heard, digitizing all the records will take about 10 years using the latest and fastest technology. with my luck, i am sure the films for my little sicilian town will be online around 2019.

what could be a solution in the meantime is if they would allow me to "borrow" a few films at a time and scan records on machines at the public library...
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nuccia
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2008 2:03 pm    Post subject: Re: just curious (FHC rant) Reply with quote

Unfortunately, people can not "borrow" films. They have to stay in the FHC. Sad
When Jim does Carini scans for his site, he photocopies EVERY image in the highest resolution possible, then takes them home and scans and crops them before he uploads them to his site. You should hear how much money his has spent since 2003! My FHC does have a scanner and the quality of prints I have been getting lately are horrible! I actually thought about doing it the way Jim does it but I just don't have the money to invest.

Hopefully the films will all be online before 10 years. I know they are very busy indexing them as we speak and are always looking for volunteers.

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Emmy
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2008 2:49 pm    Post subject: Re: just curious (FHC rant) Reply with quote

Nuccia This may sound a silly question but when you say James 'photocopies'
every image do you mean he takes a picture with a digital camera or he uses a photocopier? Confused

At my FHC the only way I can get a copy of any documents from the films is by using my digital camera there are no scanners or photocopiers available and the 'machines' used to view the films are very old too The only time I can get a print out is if it 'local' information for the area where I live which they have on cd's.

The annoying thing is sometimes the pictures dont come out clear and i've to do it all over again Crying or Very sad
Emmy

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dvaccaro
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2008 2:52 pm    Post subject: Re: just curious (FHC rant) Reply with quote

Emmy wrote:
Nuccia This may sound a silly question but when you say James 'photocopiAt my FHC the only way I can get a copy of any documents from the films is by using my digital camera there are no scanners or photocopiers available and the 'machines' used to view the films are very old too The only time I can get a print out is if it 'local' information for the area where I live which they have on cd's.

wow. emmy, you make me feel lucky my FHC has a photocopier!

i guess i'll quit whining!
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nuccia
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2008 2:53 pm    Post subject: Re: just curious (FHC rant) Reply with quote

James uses a photocopier...I think . He definitely doesn't take pictures. I know how you feel though. I used to take them with my cell and man was it ever a pain.

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dvaccaro
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2008 2:55 pm    Post subject: Re: just curious (FHC rant) Reply with quote

nuccia wrote:
Hopefully the films will all be online before 10 years. I know they are very busy indexing them as we speak and are always looking for volunteers.

from mormontimes.com (july 15 2008)...

Mormon Times wrote:

The Family History Department faced a herculean task five years ago. Heath Nielson provided the answer.

The challenge was digitizing the genealogical records kept in the Granite Mountain Records Vault, a process that would have taken more than a century. But Nielson, a FamilySearch software engineer, helped develop a technology that makes it possible to complete the project in about a decade.

"Under the old technology, we did not expect to see it in our lifetime," said Paul Nauta, manager of public affairs for FamilySearch. "The time required to digitize the 2.4 million records that we have rights to digitize is (now) eight to 10 years."
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nuccia
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2008 3:07 pm    Post subject: Re: just curious (FHC rant) Reply with quote

dvaccaro wrote:
nuccia wrote:
Hopefully the films will all be online before 10 years. I know they are very busy indexing them as we speak and are always looking for volunteers.

from mormontimes.com (july 15 2008)...

Mormon Times wrote:

The Family History Department faced a herculean task five years ago. Heath Nielson provided the answer.

The challenge was digitizing the genealogical records kept in the Granite Mountain Records Vault, a process that would have taken more than a century. But Nielson, a FamilySearch software engineer, helped develop a technology that makes it possible to complete the project in about a decade.

"Under the old technology, we did not expect to see it in our lifetime," said Paul Nauta, manager of public affairs for FamilySearch. "The time required to digitize the 2.4 million records that we have rights to digitize is (now) eight to 10 years."

Thanks..good to know! Smile

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JamesBianco
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2008 7:16 pm    Post subject: Re: just curious (FHC rant) Reply with quote

Actually I used to photocopy each page at the center and then hand scan them in one by one (there are tens of thousands of these on my website so you can imagine how long that took). Now that the scanner is fixed at my center I scan them directly to my passport drive. It is so much easier (and at .10 cents a photocopy a heck of a lot cheaper).

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dvaccaro
Mem
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2008 7:39 pm    Post subject: Re: just curious (FHC rant) Reply with quote

JamesBianco wrote:
Actually I used to photocopy each page at the center and then hand scan them in one by one (there are tens of thousands of these on my website so you can imagine how long that took). Now that the scanner is fixed at my center I scan them directly to my passport drive. It is so much easier (and at .10 cents a photocopy a heck of a lot cheaper).


THAT'S what i'm talkin' about.
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Cathy
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2008 7:45 pm    Post subject: Re: just curious (FHC rant) Reply with quote

I paid .30 cents a photocopy until I finally got smart and burned them on CD's. I had a passport drive but my daughter "borrowed" it and I have not seen it since. Crying or Very sad
The first FHC I went to had no equipment at all - no printers, scanners - not even a computer. Shocked Only 2 microfilm readers! I found a wonderful center with the equipment I needed. It is much further from my house but well worth the extra time and gas. And the hours were much better too.

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Eleven
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2008 11:16 am    Post subject: Re: just curious (FHC rant) Reply with quote

I am a tad confused as to how you guys are copying these films...scanner..photocopy etc.

When I used to go there (abt 15 years ago) They had a reader that printed. People were supposed to take their film out of the regular reader that they were using and bring it to this other reader/printer, find their spot and print. I cant recall if we paid for the paper copy. I do know, on the machine they had to view what they had on cd..gave you a printout (on that paper with the holes on the sides). Those, were 5 cents a copy. I wanna say, I didnt pay for the document printouts..because I have hundreds of them..and even took some of people who I wasnt sure belonged to me.

These copies, are dark..the backgrounds on all of them are a dark gray. Had I been smart, I would have brought my own acid free paper...but, I didnt..I bought the archival quality plastic page covers and have them all in books, using those.

As I mentioned before, when I went, their readers didnt have the proper lenses to see the tiny microfilm. They allowed me to use that reader/printer, but, I had to get off of it 15 minutes before closing. This probably didnt make the other people there, very happy, because now..they couldnt stop..carry their film over and print..when they found something. They had to make a note of it..and then refind it at the end of the evening. I was so lucky that they never got the proper lenses for the two years that I went. They got them just when I finished.

I am indexing for them. I got so much from those people..that I thought I would give them a hand...since I have the time. Actually, I am enjoying it. Anybody can do this. Their software makes it go very fast. On their mid 1800s censuses, very little info gets copied. Name, age, sex, color, and birthplace. With their software..it takes me 15 minutes or less to do the entire page of 40 names. The newer censuses take a little longer, since you are adding more info.

Nobody from there bothers you..they dont email or contact you..you can do it whenever you want, etc...no obligation. If everyone who used the genealogy forums (this one and others) only did one page a day..imagine how fast they could get more online.

On their list of upcoming things to index is the 1905 NY state census. I have never seen that..and cant wait to get my hands on it..lol
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nuccia
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2008 11:25 am    Post subject: Re: just curious (FHC rant) Reply with quote

Eleven..

This is exactly what the scanner/photocopier is a my FHC. First I have to reserve a reader (16 mm) which there are only two of, then once I find what I want, I have to carry the film over to the reader/printer. I have been lucky. I usually go when there are not a lot of people and so they let me copy the whole film on the reader/printer and I can stay on it for as long as I like. The director likes me, thank God.

As for the volunteer project. I told you it was easy. I started doing it when they first introduced it but I had trouble sending the info to them. They only give you so much to work on the project and then they take it back. After that, my PC crashed and of course other things came up. But I think I will start helping out again this fall since I will be home for a while. Thanks for reminding me.

Hugs

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JamesBianco
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2008 11:34 am    Post subject: Re: just curious (FHC rant) Reply with quote

I have always had the advantage of being a librarian with keys (Since I was 18 years old) , almost all of my photocopying was done while the center was closed.

an example of a page I photocopied years ago and scanned in at home:

Photocopy Scan

a recent example of a direct microfilm scan:

Direct Scan

As you can see the direct scan is much clearer, if you get the settings right.

Very Happy

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