Ask a Librarian

Gratuitous Use of the Slide Scanner

by Alethea Drexler, archives assistant
I’ll be honest: This post is just an excuse to play with a new toy.
We recently acquired a new slide scanner:

Meet the Epson Perfection V750

It’s pretty exciting.  The HRC has lots of slides and negatives squirreled away in various collections but they have been pretty much inaccessible until now: We would have to take them to an outside photography company to have them scanned and printed.  Now we can do it ourselves.
Logically, slide scanners work like regular scanners except that they back-light the slides as they’re scanned to make the images show up.  You can see the second light bed in the lid of the scanner:
Two lights are better than one, at least if you're trying to scan film.

To make life easier for everyone involved, the scanner came with a set of frames designed to hold different sizes of slides and negatives still and straight.  I decided to use a selection of slides of the Library, taken in the mid-1980’s, that turned up in some old Texas Medical Center News items that came with the Mary Schiflett[1] papers.  (Ms. Schiflett was a former vice president of public affairs for the Medical Center.)
Notice how dark the slides look.  This is what you’d be trying to scan if you were using a scanner that didn’t have a back-light.  It doesn’t work.  I’ve tried it.
Columns and rows.

Not only does the slide frame have little pins that position and hold it perfectly on the scanner bed . . .

. . . it goes further and uses this perfect positioning to allow me to scan the entire frame in one sweep.  Yes, I scanned once and got twelve images.  Ain’t technology grand?
So what did the Library look like, circa 1984-1986?
The Texas Medical Center Library

Here is a dressier shot, with azaleas:
In its Sunday best.

I hardly recognize the place on the inside.  We’ll have to stop and ask for directions:
Information Services

Check out the Circulation Desk!  (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)
Circulation desk?

Print holdings were the name of the game:
The HRC probably has some of those now.

Hey, medical school is expensive!  Use your time wisely.  (Notice the décor: Those wavy banner things hanging from the ceiling are pretty snazzy.  I was going to say they almost give the place an underwater feel, but maybe that’s not an association we want to make with a library.)

In 1986, I would have been using computers like this to play Oregon Trail[2] and Lemonade Stand[3]:

The stacks haven’t changed so much:
Hard at work.

Guess who!
Beth White, former Library archivist

I’m not sure where this is in the building; maybe the Collections Development area?  It looks like they have nice lighting.

And last, but by no means least, a selection of very large office machines.

[1] Mary Schiflett at the Texas Medical Center.
[2] Oregon Trail on Wikipedia.
[3] Lemonade Stand on Wikipedia.