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The Microfilm Shop | Equipment & Consumables

Clarity Matters: UScan+ HD A High Res Look at Image Quality

As a culture, we value high definition (HD) image resolution. An anthropological study has yet to be done on the societal importance of advanced image quality (I think) but the fact remains that HD is now a common feature in several industries worldwide. Products ranging from televisions to sunglasses are equipped with high-resolution options. Consumers demand information immediately and in outstanding quality. Call it another brick in the wall of our societies’ obsession with perfection but the higher the resolution, the better. This is especially true in the world of records management and archival preservation where clarity really does matter. For this reason, Crowley has developed the next generation in the UScan+ line of universal microform scanners, the UScan+ HD with 18 megapixel active pixel sensor array.

The Basics

Wicks and Wilson UScan HD Digital Microfilm ScannerUniversal film scanners are the Meryl Streep of the digital imaging world. Bold claim, right? Hear me out. Both are wildly versatile, perform with ease and work in the film industry (sort of — sprockets not included). As a universal film (UF) scanner, the UScan+ UF-series can digitise all microform media including microfilm, microfiche, aperture cards, photographic negatives, slides and more. (See? Versatile.) Record-holding institutions such as libraries, universities and financial and government offices (to name a few) utilise the versatility of microform scanners to offer patrons a simple way to search, scan, save and share documents and historical information. The end goal of all users is the same: acquire and save information. End-users may be searching for records such as research materials, genealogy, deed information or insurance reports on microfilm or microfiche. Patron scanners are designed to fit the needs of walk-up users looking for specific information rather than those who are seeking to digitise large amounts of film.

Progressive Features

Stronger, better, faster – the 18 megapixel active pixel sensor array of the UScan+ HD is the highest in its scanner class. Crowley utilised three decades of Mekel Technology and Wicks and Wilson manufacturing expertise to conjoin superior image quality with a USB 3.0 interface, creating excellent scanning resolution at an impressive speed. Of the seven current universal scanner models on the market, the UScan+ UF-series has three models including the UScan+ HD. Familiar features such as Interloan Library (ILL) compatibility, colour image scanning and small batch scanning continue to shine. Advanced camera capabilities offer excellence when searching through information. Real-time, on-screen viewing enables operators to review their material immediately as they search. As a new feature available on the HD+ model only, the camera can be enabled with a timed auto-capture for digitising microfilm and microfiche, meaning that the unit will scan batches of images at a pace specified by the operator.


By design, the UScan+ UF-series ushers end-users of any knowledge level — from first-time users to seasoned operators — through the process of scanning. Training features such as a walk-up instructional video are standard on all models of the UScan+ UF-series. As users become more familiar with the unit, additional functions can be customised and utilised to fit their needs. Crowley vice president of sales and marketing, Matthew McCabe notes, “The unit is set up to facilitate any level of user knowledge and to grow with the users as their scanning needs become more diverse, specific and perhaps greater in volume.”

The Best of Both Worlds

My personal experience with microform readers prior to working at The Crowley Company tested the concept of space and time. My records-searching endeavours took place in a newly renovated, modern library. The library was accessible, easy to navigate and utilised technology in a way that enhanced any experience held within its walls. As I stepped into the special collections room, however, time warped. The room was filled with ancient boxy beige units that looked as if they were carved from rock (more than two in a room and it felt like Stonehenge).

The UScan+ series creates a bridge between old and new by combining the familiarity of original reader/printer models with today’s technology. Outdated models of reader/printers lack compatibility with current operating systems and do not provide digital sharing options current with today’s technology. With the option of a custom-engineered stand, the monitor is over the scanner and not to the side, offering another level of familiarity and viewing comfort. Operated via mouse or touchscreen interface, UScan+ images can be scanned, edited and stored using scan-to-network, cloud sharing and USB among other paperless methods.

By Hannah Clawson – The Crowley Company


Hannah Clawson is The Crowley Company’s Marketing Associate. After working in the Technical Service department for two years, she is happy to put her technical knowledge and communications degree to good use in another facet of the company.

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