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Microfilm / Microform Scanners

Introducing Gaston

Gaston's Capabilities

•    Requires login access to computer.
•    Microfilm type: Reels or Fiche
•    Digital images available? Yes
•    Printing: Printing available

Gaston's Story

Gaston is the newest machine to join the library.

Notice the extra-long monitor for viewing a whole newspaper page at once. Gaston requires a computer for navigating the film, but it can work with either reels of microfilm or sheets of microfiche. 

Once you have found your images, you can capture a full screen or select a specific section. 

These images can then be either saved digitally or printed to a network printer. While the quality of the scans on this computer is very good. It can be tricky navigating, zooming, and focusing due to the delay between the camera on the scanner and the computer. 

We encourage you to try out Gaston but be patient with yourself as you become familiar with its controls.

No one scans like Gaston!
Photograph of computer with large monitor, microfilm scanning machine, and microfilm and microfiche on a table.

Turn on the Machine

The power switch can be found on the right side of the computer. Log in with your Frostburg account.

Logins for non-Campus Community

If you are not a student, faculty, or staff member at Frostburg, then you will need to request a temporary login.  This requires a community borrower card which will be used to check out the temporary login.  Please visit the main desk on the 3rd floor and let them know that you need a temporary login.
Close-up of computer with power button on lower, right highlighted with a red circle.

Open the ViewScan Premium Software from the desktop.

Screen shot of viewscan premium software icon.

After your microfilm or microfiche has been loaded, you will return to the computer for viewing the film.

Reels or Fiche

Gaston is equipped to work with either microfilm on reels or flat microfiche sheets.

The initial instructions cover the use of microfilm reels, but information about loading and moving through microfiche follows.
Close-up of a reel of microfilm, the box that it came from, a sheet of microfiche, and the envelope that it came from.

Loading Reels

In addition to these instructions, a diagram is also available on the machine for loading microfilm.

Close-up of diagram on microfilm machine. Shows film coming off of the top of the reel, under left roller, under glass, and under right roller. Ends in the slot of the take-up reel on the right.


Be sure that the film comes from the top of the reel when mounting.

Line up the square hole at the center of the reel with the square shape at the base of the spindle on the left side of the machine. Press the film firmly onto the spindle until it clicks into the square at the base.
Reel of microfilm about the be loaded on the left spindle of microfilm reader. The film is positioned to roll off of the reel from the top, and an arrow in a clockwise direction illustrates this.

Pull the carrier out toward yourself, this will cause the glass cover to rise.

Using the guide on the machine, pull the film under the left roller, under the glass, under the right roller, and slide it all the way back into the notch of the take-up reel.
Microfilm is shown coming from reel, under first roller, glass, and 2nd roller.

Microfilm is shown coming from under the right roller, and inserted into the slot of the right take-up reel.

Loading Microfiche

Pull the microfiche handle out until the cover-glass raises. Slide the microfiche under the glass and push it back under the lens. (It might take some trial & error to get the microfiche positioned correctly.

Navigate the microfiche by moving the handle left, right, forward, and back.‚Äč

Sheet of microfiche being inserted under glass. Red arrow points away from the machine, indicating that it should be pulled forward so that the glass raises.


Adjusting and navigating reels of film

Use the red and grey buttons to move forward and in reverse through the film.  You may also need to physically move the tray toward and away from you to see all parts of the images. Do this by using the handle at the front of the machine.

Adjusting and navigating microfiche

Use the handle at the front of the machine to move the film both right and left and forward and back.

Red arrow overlapping microfiche reader indicating that the carriage can be moved back and forth and left and right in order to navigate the fiche.

ViewScan Software Overview

The ViewScan software is used to navigate and manipulate the images on the microfilm.

When you first open the software, you are in browsing mode. The selected tab at the top will confirm whether you are in Browsing Mode if you’re unsure.

Note the advance and reverse controls at the bottom of the screen. These controls function the same as the physical buttons on the machine.

Options for focusing and zooming are found along the left side of the page.  

Screenshot of ViewScan software. Image area is black, and controls appear4 along left and bottom sides.

Image corrections

At times, you will notice that the loaded film is upside down or reversed, or looks like a negative image (white text on black background)

Use the options shown to adjust these problems    

Image of newspaper shown as a mirror image (text and photo are reversed.)

Screen capture of controls that will correct image problems (rotate left, rotate right, flip vertical, mirror image, straighten)


The Auto-Adjust button can also be helpful in improving image quality.


Image shows document on scanner screen, but difficult to read on the left. In the center is an image of the auto adjust icon. On the right is the image after being adjusted. It is brighter and easier to read.

Focusing and Zooming

Please read this to avoid frustration!

The next few steps will explain how to focus on an image and how to zoom in and out.
Since this is all controlled by the computer, rather than directly on the machine, there is often a delay in between the time you click an option and when you see the results of that action.
Do Not hold the mouse button down on the zoom or focus options, because the machine may focus or zoom faster than you expected and go beyond the zoom or focus that you’re trying to achieve. Instead of holding down the mouse button, just adjust things one click at a time.


Screenshot of software options for focusing in and out with the camera.

The controls for focusing can be found on the left menu.

Remember the warning not to hold the mouse button down on these controls!

When you change your zoom, you may need to adjust your focus. A rule of thumb: After zooming out, then focus out. After zooming in, then focus in.  

Zooming in and out

Notice that there are two options for zoom on the menu, Camera Position and Digital Zoom.

Camera Position – This actually manipulates the physical camera on the scanner. It should only be used when the digital zoom (below) fails to move in or out far enough.

Digital Zoom – This is the zoom that you should always try to use first.  
Screen shot shows software options for Camera position zoom out, zoom in, Camera focus focus out, focus in, and digital zoom with a plus and minus underneath.

Capturing an Image

Once you’ve found your information and have it readable on the screen, it is time to crop and print or save the image.
Change the tab at the top of the program to Cropping
Screenshot of software with the cropping tab circled at top

Use the mouse to highlight the area to be captured by dragging from top left to bottom right corners of the area. The selected image will have a yellow border around it.

Image of newspaper with article at top left bordered in yellow (indicating that it has been selected)

Often after cropping an image, you will get a copyright caution button. Read and click ok to continue.
After selecting your image, choose “Capture Cropped Area” which appears at the bottom of the window.
Note that there is also an option to capture everything on the screen. This can also be done if needed.

Screenshot of software with control to "capture cropped area" at lower left circled.

Printing an Image

Captured images will appear in the area at the bottom of the window. Click once on each image for the option to print the image. (Select printer and other details after clicking Print Image

Screen capture of a newspaper article with a selected area ready to be printed. The image icon at the bottom is circled, and the button to print the image is also circled.

Capturing an Image - Save to USB

Select the image that you wish to save (at bottom of screen). Then select the Save to USB option along the right side of the window.

Screen capture of viewscan software with the save to usb icon circled on the left side of page (second icon down the left)

Capturing an image - Saving Elsewhere

You may also save your images to computer, network, and other drives.
To do this, after capturing images, change the tab at the top of the page to File.

Screen capture of viewscan software with file tab circled at top left side of window.

Change the option on the left to File Save, and then save the file to your preferred location.

Screen capture of viewscan software with "File Save" option circled at top left.

Remove Reel of Microfilm

When finished, use the reverse buttons to remove the film.
Remember to pull the carriage handle forward until the glass plate raises to allow even faster rewinding (using the left red button).


Photo of front controls of microfilm viewer with the red button on far left side circled.

Remove Microfiche

Pull the microfiche handle out until the cover-glass raises. Slide the microfiche out from under the glass.

Close-up of microfilm viewer with the carriage pulled out until the cover glass is raised. Arrow indicates that it needs to be pulled toward the user for the glass to raise.