Friday, July 22, 2011

Life in six-minute chunks

As per my earlier piece, the microfilm duly arrived yesterday – twenty-six priceless copies of the Sunday Express from July to December 1940. And, of course, they cannot be read with the naked eye.

I thought I could scan them in to the computer, but a wasted morning produced no results. Thus, a quick dash to the Central Library to use their reader and buy a small number of very expensive photocopies. That is a start, but hardly satisfactory.

Looking through the forums, it seems you simply cannot copy microfilm on a scanner system costing less than about £6,000. My scanner manual says explicitly (when at last I read it) that you can't. But they haven't met a North. By about ten last night I had cracked it.

However, it takes thirteen minutes to scan one frame, and then seven minutes to process that frame on a professional editor to make it readable – see example posted. There are 312 pages to scan, which gives me over sixty hours of scanning ... and I have 72 hours before I hand in the revised manuscript, including the new details I have gleaned.

Thus, in my spare time – the six-minute segment in every thirteen – I am having some jolly fun. Who said research was easy? Woops ... time's up. Gotta go. It's worth a book is that - life in six-minute chunks.