A Big Week for Microfilm and Print Reference
The library's microfilm archive and viewers have seen heavy use this week. I printed, scanned and e-mailed two obituaries on Monday. On Tuesday I helped three or four people use their own microfiches or our reels of the Tallahassee Democrat, and a colleague looked up and sent another obit. Today, (Wednesday), I helped a woman use some reels of manuscripts that we got for her through interlibrary loan. I also took phone requests for more obits: one from a man in Tampa whose uncle died in a boating accident in 1966, (he wanted the obit and any reporting about the accident, which I found), and three more from a company called Heir Search, (grrr... Too bad we can't charge them).
You would think that newspaper archives would become increasingly available online with the passage of time, but in the case of the Tallahassee Democrat, there is less available now than there used to be. When the paper was owned by Knight-Ridder, we had archives online back to 1994 through NewsBank, but when it was sold to Gannett, (which publishes USA Today), ProQuest took over the archives, and now we only have them back to 2003 or so.
I took a call from a woman wanting HQ addresses and the names of chairmen/CEO's for several corporations. If you've tried corporate web sites, you will know that they are often useless for this information. I had to use the volumes of the Lexis-Nexis corporate directory, looking first in the master index to see whether they were public or private, and then looking in those volumes for the full listing.
I had an e-mail from someone asking about the Tallahassee Convalescent Home, which she could not find a contact for online. A relative had died there in 1972. I had to look at a number of years of the city directories to determine that it had gone out of business in 2002. I didn't tell the inquirer that I found in my own search that TCH paid out $1.5 million to avoid going to court on a charge of negligence in 1999.