This week the State Library installed ten new state-of-the-art microfilm readers and they are already a hit with newspaper researchers.

The ScanPro 2000 machines make viewing and scanning newspapers on microfilm much easier. They use a digital display which gives better image definition and a scanner which creates higher quality images for storage on portable media or for prints.

Each machine uses a large vertical computer monitor which provides a greater viewing area than the old projector based units. The software in the units is also improved, allowing users to automatically shift between positive and negative film. A new movable magnifier makes small text, such as that which appears in Birth, Deaths and Marriages notices, easily legible.

The State Library Newspaper Librarian, Tim Hogan believes the machines are a great improvement.

‘The new readers take a lot of the hard work out of viewing newspaper microfilms. With the old machines, users had to fuss with lenses, positive and negative images and the basic mechanics of the units which could be very fiddly. These new units are simpler, better and give a vastly improved result.’

A single microfilm roll can contain hundreds of papers. The State Library holds 40,000 rolls of microfilm covering 870 different newspaper titles. The earliest of these is Pennsylvania Gazette published in Philadelphia in 1728. New papers continue to be added regularly.

Learn more about our newspaper collection

New microfilm reader

Library user tries the new microfilm reader

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