Technology aids budding Eldorado history project

</element><element id="paragraph-1" type="body"><![CDATA[Eldorado Memorial Library has begun a local history project incorporating the latest in microfilm technology.

The library recently aquired a digital microfilm reader, scanner, printer, three computers and a new microfilm cabinet all purchased with a $15,990 Illinois State Library In Sync With Technology Grant. The microfilm machine is a pivotal tool in the program called Opening a New Window into the Past at the Eldorado Library.

Librarian Brenda Funkhouser is learning the ins and outs of the machine that has been in place for a month.

"With this new machine we can print it onto a piece of paper, scan it, put it in a file and e-mail it to someone," Funkhouser said.

She has e-mailed obituaries to two people using the new equipment. The e-mailed file allows people to add their own comments for a scrapbook.

Patrons may look up the information on the microfilm and e-mail it to themselves so it will be available on their home computers.

Aside from ease to library patrons doing research the technology allows users to create a database of items buried in roles of microfilm so the next time someone wants the information they can find it by searching computer files.

Someone might be looking up the winning baseball team for a certain year. The next person looking for the same information can find it with a computer search if the information is saved.

"This will save time on looking it up again," Funkhouser said.

There are computer files created for local history, geneology, sports, obituaries and local events.

This morning Funkhouser was adding an Eldorado Daily Journal story about a visit by President Harry S. Truman into a computer file for local history. The library has Daily Journal issues dating back to 1917.

The history project also includes a blog on the library's website

Funkhouser's hope is that patrons will add information they find in microfilm research and other information onto the weblog and make it available to anyone with a computer.

"We are going to create a blog so people in this area can add historical pictures of this area," Funkhouser said.

The library is holding an open house 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Jan. 29 to show people how to use the new machine. Funkhouser is planning a blogging class later.

She hopes in time the blog will be a great resource in quickly locating historical items relating to Eldorado.

"It's technology we didn't have in the past that we have now thanks to the state and our partners," Funkhouser said.

Supporting partners for the grant are Boy Scouts, City of Eldorado, Daily Register/Daily Journal, Daughters of the American Revolution, Old City Hall Museum, a library patron, Saline County Genealogical Society, Colonial Terrace Funeral Home, Friends of the Eldorado Library and Watson Funeral Home.

-- DeNeal receives e-mail at