Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Into The Belly Of The Beast

There likely will be no posts for the next week as I am leaving today for Washington to do research at the Library of Congress. I have two missions -- one is to tie up about a gazillion loose ends in the Stripper's Guide listings. With any luck I'll come back with hundreds of question marks removed from my listings. That will leave just a zillion unanswered questions -- a marked improvement!

The second mission is a real crapshoot. As a few of you know I have a pretty good start already made on a book about the comic strips of the black newspapers. My problem is, though, that the microfilm of these papers is in horrid condition and I own only a small stack of black papers (they're VERY scarce). I can't put the book to bed without lots and lots of good quality scanned samples that I don't have. Cole Johnson verified that the LoC has a pretty good run of the Amsterdam News in bound volumes, which would yield lots of good samples (though nowhere near enough to complete the book). I verified with the LoC that I can have access to the volumes, but was told definitely not to the idea of bringing in a flatbed scanner. So I invested $300 in a PlanOn wand scanner, which the LoC doesn't seem to object to. Problem is that in my preliminary testing of the PlanOn scanner it -- how do I say this politely -- has some major deficiencies. It is a real pain to use, slow, undependable and can't be trusted to make a decent scan. So although I have high hopes for getting lots of scans from the Amsterdam News and thus making a great stride forward in completing my book I am also fully prepared to be stymied once again.

If there's any posts in the coming week they'll probably be reports on my progress at the LoC or profanity laden harangues about the PlanOn scanner. Stay tooned folks.

Allan, a good digital (without flash, of course) can make quality "scans" of difficult-to-scan items, Yes, it takes a steady hand, especially in low light conditions, but it can be done. Perhaps that will yield better results than the wand scanner?
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