Workshop for Exploring Microform Documents: "Spy Warfare Technology" Extends the Life of Ancient Books for 500 Years

  The staff is microfilming.

  The staff completes the process of composing papers in the early stage of digitalization.

  What is "borrowing from heaven for another 500 years" for precious ancient books? What put the Millennium civilization in a small drawer? A few days ago, the reporter walked into the microfilm workshop with the staff of the National Library Document Microfilming Center. Here, generations of miniature people conscientiously use the traditional way to restore a clear world between squares.

  Microform technology has a preservation life of 500 years.

  "Microfilming technology was first applied to ‘ Spy warfare ’ In the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, Frenchman D ‘Aguilar successfully transmitted 115,000 letters and information by using microform technology. Nowadays, photographic films containing microfilms are usually used to record books, newspapers, photos, drawings, documents and so on. Widely used in books and archives, military and political research and other fields. "

  Wang Hao, deputy director of the Microfilming Center, told reporters that in the 1980s, microfilming technology was very advanced. Since the beginning of this century, there was a time when the industry was relatively indifferent to microfilm technology. "Everyone put their energy and funds into the digitization of documents." Why has microfilm become popular in the industry in recent years? Wang Hao told reporters that the main reason is the stability of the preservation medium. "In a warehouse with constant temperature and humidity, the preservation life of microfilms is as long as 500 years."

  Wang Hao introduced that at present, with the unremitting efforts of experts in the industry, great progress has been made in the long-term preservation of digital resources, but the carrier problem is still difficult to solve. Taking ordinary CDs as an example, the preservation time is only 20 years. "In most cases, digital resources will be migrated once in a few years. If massive data are involved, this migration is very difficult, which will consume high costs and may also cause data loss. In addition, with the continuous upgrading of computer systems, in the future, some formats of digital files are at risk of being unreadable and unrecognizable. There is no such problem in the preservation of microfilms.

  Wang Hao, for example: During the Wenchuan earthquake in 2008, the whole workshop of Dongfang Steam Turbine Factory collapsed. "Previously, Dongqi has preserved the engineering drawings in paper, digital and microfilm." In the process of reconstruction, engineers found that all the rescued paper documents were flooded and disorganized, which was very inconvenient to find, and the digital server could not be restored for the time being. "At this time, microfilm has good integrity because of its stable medium, and has not lost any pattern, which has played an indispensable role in the process of self-rescue reconstruction and recovery of production in Dongqi Plant."

  Thousands of volumes of "Zhao Cheng Jin Cang" were put into drawers.

  In addition, microforms also have the advantages of high reduction, space saving and equivalent to the original.

  "You see, some parts of the first shot of this" Dunhuang suicide note "microfilm are lighter in color than the surrounding areas, indicating that these ancient books are damaged and truly restored on the film." Zhang Chaoya, a staff member of the center, said that due to the age, many ancient books have problems such as moth-eaten, rat-bitten, blisters, floc, etc. In the process of preservation in past dynasties, it is easy to have many traces of repair, annotation, seal and so on. "Some digital restoration technologies highlight aesthetic features and pursue uniformity, so these traces are easy to be lost, and they can reveal more complete literature information in academic research, and the advantages of miniature reproduction are obvious."

  Another example is one of the "treasures of the town hall" in the national map — — Due to various crises in history, many paper parts of Zhao Cheng Jin Cang have been seriously damaged. "For the need of document protection, public reading was not provided in general. Readers who want to see the truth or conduct academic research depend on these microfilms. " At present, the national map contains 4813 volumes of Zhao Cheng Jin Cang, but through microfilming technology, it has become a small 249-volume film, which greatly saves storage space.

  "The proudest thing about our national map is that we have a set of Sikuquanshu in the original letter." However, it is precisely because of the "original letter shelf" that the "Sikuquanshu" of Guotu Wenjinge occupies a huge area, with a total of 36,304 volumes, which are packed in 6,144 wooden envelopes and placed on 128 shelves. "And if we make it into microfilm in the future, a small drawer can solve the storage problem."

  The miniature man shoots 2000 pages of literature in one day.

  The reporter came to the microfilm workshop with the staff of the microfilm center. Here, generations of miniature people have been "fighting" with dust and mites in ancient books and books of the Republic of China for years; Shuttle through the microfilm warehouse with constant temperature and humidity regardless of cold and heat; Stay in the airtight darkroom for a long time, rain or shine, and "cheat" with all kinds of liquid medicine and data day after day … …

  "In a narrow confined space, we have to shoot 1,000 times in one day, that is, about 2,000 pages of books, periodicals and rare books." Ma Yufeng, deputy head of the shooting and service group of the Microform Center, told reporters that turning pages, pressing books and pressing the shutter can be done twice in one minute when this set of actions is particularly smooth. It takes about 340 minutes to calculate 1000 beats, that is to say, each worker needs to work continuously for more than 6 hours every day, which can be described as "physical work".

  "The papers in the war years were rough and the preservation environment was bad, so the damage degree of the documents of the Republic of China was often much more serious than that of the rare books of ancient books." Ma Yufeng said that it is more difficult to shoot the literature of the Republic of China. "The preservation situation is the most ‘ Miserable ’ Some newspapers in the Republic of China are even broken when they are turned over, so we will try to minimize the secondary damage to it when shooting. " First of all, the movements of the staff must be gentle; In addition, paper products that are particularly wrinkled and damaged need to be repaired before they can be filmed.

  Microfilming is divided into black and white and color. Based on black-and-white microfilming, the Microfilming Center carried out technical transformation, successfully set up a production line for color microfilming and development, and in 2010, it became the first unit in China to formally carry out color microfilming and mass-produce color microfilms. Ma Yufeng said that his main job at present is color microfilming, mainly aimed at rare ancient books.

  Ma Yufeng told reporters that the color microfilm shooting work does not need dimming, and the illumination adjustment is fixed, but the machine requires the staff to stand and shoot. "It is also very tired at the end of the day." Moreover, the shooting work does not allow mistakes, "because the machine is high-end and the film is expensive." Ma Yufeng introduced that color microfilm is imported, and the shooting cost has increased by more than 25% this year alone. "I’m sorry to shoot such expensive film."

  Digital resources can also be converted into microfilm.

  In the microfilm workshop, a digital archiving machine is working tirelessly. It is completing the work of converting digital resources into microfilm. "The integration of microform technology and digital technology can make it easier for readers to access the information they need. The digitization of microfilm shows the rescued ancient documents to readers completely, which not only improves the utilization rate of the rescued documents, but also avoids digital scanning of the original ancient documents again. The conversion of digital resources to microfilm takes advantage of the long-term reliability of microfilm to solidify digital resources on microfilm in the form of images. This technology is called ‘ Digital to analog ’ 。”

  Liu Xiaolu, a technical expert, told the reporter that this "digital-to-analog" machine has a very high resolution display screen, which can expose electronic images to film. By adjusting the exposure times and screen brightness, the density of the photographed images, that is, the color depth of the images visible to the naked eye of readers, can meet the requirements of quality inspection.

  "Because of the superiority of technology, this work is very simple and convenient, and it can be done by automatic setting of equipment without manual shooting. It takes one and a half hours to shoot a roll of 600-shot film, during which there is no need for manual intervention. "Liu Xiaolu pointed out that due to the relatively stable shooting of the machine, the labor cost of the digital conversion work is very low," but there will be some problems. For example, because not every picture has been manually adjusted, there will be problems with the image density of individual beats in a roll of film, so it is necessary to coordinate with the development department and the quality inspection department for processing. "

  The film length of rescue literature is 4000 kilometers.

  "Comrade Qiao Mu: In early June, due to work needs, I went to Qufu Confucius House to consult relevant files and gained a lot. According to what I have heard, I put forward four suggestions for properly preserving and making full use of Confucius’ archives. " In the National Library, an old file tells the origin of the establishment of the National Library Microfilm Center. Zhang Chaoya told reporters that in 1982, Ren Jiyu, then director of the Institute of World Religions of China Academy of Sciences, went to Qufu, Shandong Province to consult the archives of Confucius, and was worried about the increasingly damaged archives. After returning to Beijing, he wrote a letter to Hu Qiaomu, secretary of the Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee, suggesting that microfilm be used to rescue precious historical documents, which was strongly supported. In 1985, the National Library Document Microfilming Center was established, which opened the prelude to the regenerative protection of documents by using microfilm technology in libraries across the country.

  Since its establishment, the Microform Center and its member libraries have used microfilm technology to rescue and photograph 189,478 kinds of precious documents, totaling 76.5 million shots. At the same time, we will carry out large-scale literature filling work, provide microfilm reading services, establish a national microfilm master database and a copy database, continue to develop and utilize the literature in depth, and realize the data conversion of the bibliography. "The cumulative length of the rescue literature film is more than 4,000 kilometers, which is the distance from Beijing to Kuala Lumpur." Zhang Chaoya said with a smile, I believe that in the near future, the microfilm of rescue documents will "arrive" in the southern hemisphere. "We will not stop there. With the efforts of generations of microfilms and the progress of science and technology, it is not impossible for microfilms to go back to the northern hemisphere from the southern hemisphere. "

  Our reporter Sun Leqi