For those of your born after 1990 this is a video of what a microfilm machine looks like and how to load it.
A few weeks ago I hit the stacks in the basement of a library. That is where the microfilm and microfiche machines are stored. I wanted to research how women were presented in newspapers and magazines back in the day. I got a lot of great story ideas that I would like to make into projects.
- Ads that targeted a woman's looks
- How goods and services were sold to women
- Service articles i.e. "what you should know or how to do it"
- How they were missing from major news articles unless they were in a crime story.
Lighting is going to be dicey too. You might be in a dark cavern or in florescent city. You will be very dependent of the quality of the bulb in the machine. There could be crud on the screen or on the film.
Loading the reels is an act of patience. Newbies might want to stick with microfiche to get the hang of it. Other than that it is rock and roll.
There are some copyright issues. The copy of the microfilm/fiche is copyrighted by the original recording company, if they still exist. Then you have to look at the copyright of the publication.
Depending on the age of the news and magazines materials these could be in the public domain. You can write down the details and then give it a try with Public Domain Sherpa's Calculator for U.S. works and for those in the E.U. try out the one at Europeania
So if you are up to it go physically into your local library and see what stories you can find.