Printer Friendly

PEN-ultimate: CRUSTY on: 50 years since the moon landing and.... 50 years of continuous print for this magazine.

On a bright and breezy May evening in 1969, Mitch sat at his old double-pedestal desk and gazed thoughtfully out of the window.7 should do it', Mitch thought to himself, 7 should produce a newsletter on the microfilm industry for the upcoming National Microfilm Association Convention'. He wound a fresh sheet of US Letter size paper into his trusty Remington typewriter, and began the newsletter that would ultimately continue under various titles, well into the next century. The Microfilm Newsletter was born.

OK, so perhaps it may not have been such a prosaic start, but it did begin back then. Mitch Badler founded The Microfilm Newsletter in May of 1969, and the title continued until 2001 when it merged with a UK magazine. There have been a few title changes along the way, not to mention a merger and changes of ownership over time, but that is how the IDMi Magazine began. It is interesting to note the significant years, 1969 and 2001. You would need to have been living in a cave in deepest Siberia not to know that 1969 was of course the year the USA landed on the moon, and 2001--A Space Odyssey, is a very relevant name and year for the sci-fi film directed by Stanley Kubrick.

However the film, which inspired many, was actually released in 1968 --a year before the moon landing. At the time and even now, it is hailed as a cinematography masterpiece of great vision. Strauss's Blue Danube Waltz has for many, never been the same since. When heard, it conjures the image of the spacecraft docking with the rotating space station. Let's not forget, this was years before the CGI we know today, which makes reality and fiction appear seamless to the human eye.

It is interesting to note that even 50 years ago, Mitch wrote of the high instance of women in the (USA) records management industry, and that was at a time when male supremacy was, (in my view and that of many others,) tantamount to outright bullying and oh so politically incorrect. There was also mention of colour microfiche too. At that time, colour microfilm must have been seen as something of science fiction becoming reality in itself.

Fast-forward to today, and the majority, (but sadly not all,) of the male population of Earth, see women as equals--if not superior in many ways. Colour microfilm though, has come and gone without the huge uptake expected. (Otherwise it would still be here.) So we look to other methods of preservation and archiving of important documents and arte-facts in full colour, to be used as an insurance and true record of content and colour.

50 years on and there is a lot of talk of mankind, (and womankind,) going to the moon and back, or taking a one-way trip to Mars (or further) to set up a colony. It might be a good idea for Earth to set its own house in order before inhabiting and contaminating other planets. At a time when international shipping cannot go about its business without the threat of piracy, and all of the other unfortunate circumstances still prevalent on Earth, should we not all get together before embarking on major journeys into space? It has been a feature of many sci-fi novels, television series, and films, but the concept of a unitised civilisation is well beyond the grasp of Humanity as it stands at present. I will never see a World Government in my lifetime and when you consider that in the UK we are having enough issues with just a European government, as that power does not even have representatives of all European countries sitting in Brussels, it is hardly surprising.

But what of the industry Mitch wrote of in 1969? Well, the Old Lady Microfilm was condemned to 'death by unpopularity' by many in the 1990's and became known as a 'sunset industry', but she lives on by reinventing herself to mix it big time with computer technology, and to give a good run for the money by being analogue and unblemished by the need to consistently upgrade as you would need to in the computer industry. Information Technology definitely has its place, but it is not as a long-term archival medium.

Film does, and I say 'film' and not 'microfilm' for good reason, as microfilm is already certified to provide 500 years archival permanence. Now there is the capability of preserving film for 10,000 years archival permanence. Sci-fi? No. Achievable? Yes. Look at the calculators on for more information.

All the titles which fore-run IDMi have been relevant and responsible for shaping what IDMi is today. I raise my glass to the magazine and wish it all the very best for the next 50 years. Yes, IDMi will change, but it will do so by adopting, adapting, and improving. That is the key to survival. Whether the magazine continues in print, in digital, as both, or perhaps in some other format not yet invented, we will need to wait and see. For now, just enjoy the variety and take comfort from the fact that in the last 50 years, many B2B and other magazines, newspapers, and even huge legendary companies, have NOT survived evolution.


Caption Tranquility Base, The Moon, 1969
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2019 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:IDMi (Information & Document Management International)
Date:Aug 1, 2019
Previous Article:IDMI MEDIA PARTNERS: Bringing together information management professionals All print advertisers qualify for a complimentary display entry on this...
Next Article:LETTER from the DEPUTY editor.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2020 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters