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Microfilm / Microform Scanners

Introducing Alfred

Alfred's Capabilities:

  • Microfilm type: Reels and Microfiche
  • Digital images available? No
  • Printing: Dedicated printer, 8.5 x 11" paper.

Alfred is one of our older machines and is a favorite of library staff. He has been very reliable, but we must cherish every minute that we have with him. Parts are no longer available for Alfred, so once one needs to be replaced, Alfred will probably finally get his chance to rest and retire in style.

If you have worked with Alfred before, you might remember that we need to feed his printer one page at a time, otherwise it gets cranky! Alfred also has a hard time loading microfilm sometimes, especially if it is a little crinkly at the end. Make sure that your roll of film is looking good before loading otherwise, Alfred might shoot the film out towards his right side rather than accept it!


Canon 800 on table with attached printer and chair.

Turn on Machine

The power switch can be found on the front, left side at the base of the machine.

Closeup of Microfilm Reader with power switch circled.

Loading, Navigating and Removing Reels

Note that the machine includes a guide for how to load the film.

Closeup of bottom left side of microfilm reader. The printed guide for loading film is highlighted.

The microfilm available at Ort Library is 35mm. However, if you have 16mm film, you will need to adjust the take-up reel to accommodate this. (If using 35mm film, just double-check that the size is set to 35mm if you are having difficulty loading the film.)  The size adjustment wheel can be found on the lower right side of the machine.

Close-up of the dial/wheel that changes the size of the take-up reel from 35 to 16mm.

The spindle for the microfilm reel has a bump. This should line up with the notch on the center of the microfilm reel.

Image of microfilm reel, highlighting notch that needs to be aligned with the bump on the spindle. and Image of microfilm spindle with bump for alignment

Make sure that the film is loaded with the film coming down from the top of the reel rather than up from the bottom. Push the reel as far back on the spindle as it will go.

Slide the film under the first roller and about halfway under the glass.

When the film is loaded halfway under the glass, press and hold the blue lever by pushing and holding it to the left.  This should automatically load the film the rest of the way. 

Microfilm loading lever close-up

Troubleshooting – Sometimes the film does not load properly and comes out the right side rather than around the take-up reel. When this happens, slide the film back to the halfway mark and try again. (If you are comfortable doing so, bring the film beyond the glass plate and begin wrapping it around the take-up reel.) If this continues to be a problem, there may be a problem with the microfilm itself or the machine. Ask for help if this occurs.

Adjusting the film

The film will need to be moved back underneath the lens. You can move the whole film carrier by gripping the silver handles on either side, and pushing forward or pulling toward you.

You also might need to move the film this way while viewing to see other parts of the image on the screen.

Image of the microfilm carrier, highlighting the handles that are used for moving the carrier forward and back.

Advancing the film

The knob on the attached controller lets you advance the reel of film forward and backward. 

Clockwise – moves forward

Counter-clockwise moves back

The further that the knob is turned to the right or left, the faster the film will move

Close-up of the knob that advances or reverses the microfilm.


Removing the reel of film

Turn the knob on the attached control pad to the left to reverse/rewind the film. The farther it is turned to the left, the faster the film will rewind.

Close-up of the knob used for advancing and reversing microfilm with arrow indicating that it should be turned counter-clockwise in order to remove the film.

Pull film from spindle. Return to box, and place film on the reshelving cart when finished.


Loading, Navigating, and Removing Fiche

To view microfiche, the reel carrier needs to be pushed all the way to the back of the machine. It needs to be pushed far enough toward the back of the machine so that you can pull the microfiche carrier (circled) toward you and then to the right and under the lens

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.)

Move through the microfiche sheet by shifting it side-to-side and front-to-back using the silver handle.


Removing Fiche

Remove the microfiche by pulling the carrier toward you until the glass plate raises, and then remove the film.>

Changing back from fiche to reels

When finished using the fiche, please change the machine back to the reel set-up since this is how it is most often used.  Move the microfilm carrier all of the way to the left and then towards the back.  Hold the film carrier on both sides and pull it toward you so that it appears at the front of the machine.

Adjusting the Image on the Screen

The knob to the bottom, right of the screen can be used for:

  1. Zooming in and out
  2. Focusing, or
  3. Rotating the image

Select the button to the left to change the knob's function.

Closeup of the knob that allows adjustments to zoom, focus, and rotate.


Printing Images

The printer attached to this scanner is only able to handle one sheet of 8.5x11” paper at a time. Load a single sheet sideways into the front of the printer before printing each image as shown in this photo

Printer with single piece of paper loaded.

The control for printing is the green button (circled) that appears on both the machine and the control pad. 

The outline on the screen will help you determine what will be printed.  This is difficult to see on the photo below, but the machine defaults to the area in the center for the printed image.

Image of microfilm reader with screen and green printing buttons highlighted.

Additional Printing Adjustments

Additional adjustments can be made for printing using the options under the screen. Printouts can be:

  1. Negative/Positive – Change from black on white print to white on black.
  2. Trimming/Border – Trim part of the image or remove black borders.
  3. Scanning Position – selects the area which will be scanned/printed
  4. Paper selection – Please leave this to LTR, which is the only option for this printer.
  5. Brightness – Lighten/darken the printouts

When Finished

Please do not return microfilm to the drawer. Place it on the designated cart. Thank you!

Image of book cart with sign asking that microfilm be returned there. Includes 2 reels of microfilm.