Scanning Fiche

From: Bill Richman <>
Date: Sun Dec 6 21:20:14 1998

We installed a document imaging system at my office about a year ago; it
has a Kodak double-sided paper scanner and a fiche scanner. The fiche
scanner (admittedly low-budget compared to the $50K+ fully-automated
scanner) is called a "ScreenScan". It's basically a standard fiche
reader with what looks like the guts of a flatbed scanner mounted across
the front. You insert a sheet of fiche, position and focus the page you
want, and hit the "scan" button. It scans a linear image sensor array
like the one in a flatbed scanner down the screen from top to bottom, at
pretty much standard flatbed scanning speed. I think it's set up to do
200 or 300dpi; not the world's sharpest images, but most of this stuff
is just for backup records of stuff that happened 20 years ago, so it's
not critical that it be pretty - just readable. I wouldn't be surprised
if you could rig up something like this pretty easily yourself; pick up
one of the fiche viewers that they can't give away at most university
and government auctions, get a cheap flatbed scanner (even pretty good
new ones can be had for under $100), take the mechanism out of the case,
and bolt it to the front of the fiche viewer. You'd have to remove or
disable the light source, since the bulb in the fiche viewer provides
the illumination. I don't think you'd even have to mess with the focal
length much; the fiche viewers normally do a rear-projection on frosted
glass, and the scanner is set up to focus on a sheet of paper an inch or
two away from the sensor, so with a spacer or two it should just work.
That sounds like an interesting enough project that I might even build
one if I had anything on fiche to scan. (I'm more interested in getting
my 2,000-3,000 science fiction and computer books on CD-ROM, personally,
but I have yet to come up with a non-destructive method that's
reasonably fast. I could take them to work, use the hydraulic paper
cutter in the print shop to cut the spines off all of them, and then jam
them through the auto-feeder on the Kodak scanner, but I'd hate to.
I've even gone as far as scanning all sides of a couple of books and
using a 3D drawing program to make a rotatable, zoomable "virtual book"
that I could put on a "virtual shelf" in a "virtual library" and use as
an index to the scanned text, but there's still something about touching
an actual paper book that I can't let go of...)

On Sun, 6 Dec 1998 15:15:17 -0800, Zane H. Healy wrote:

>While this might be considered more than a little off topic, I don't think
>so, since a lot of us have classic computer documentation in the form of
>MicroFiche. Does anyone know of a method of scanning this stuff into a
>computer, or any idea as to what resolution of a scanner such a project
>would require?

      -Bill Richman ( - Home of the COSMAC Elf Microcomputer
       Simulator, Fun with Molten Metal, Orphaned Robots, and Technological Oddities.
Received on Sun Dec 06 1998 - 21:20:14 GMT

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