Westmont Magazine A Micro Revolution
Technology has transformed Westmont since Dan Donaldson ’73 majored in English and used an IBM Selectric Typewriter — and he has contributed to the revolution. The inventor and developer of the ST200 digital microfilm imaging system, he installed his machine in Voskuyl Library last year. The device allows users to to read microfilm on a computer and easily capture and print the stored information.
,p>Dan loves the written word, which is why he studied literature in college instead of building on his experience as an electronics technician for his father’s business. He wanted to be a writer and knew that learning to communicate would be useful in any career. In fact, he ended up working in computer product sales, service, consulting and innovation. “But I write all the technical manuals, user guides, marketing literature, conference white papers, patent applications, proposals and business correspondence for my business,” he says.
After graduating, Dan got a job with Radio Shack, becoming a regional manager responsible for 20 stores. The chain introduced the first microcomputers, which is how he got involved with the technology. He later spent 11 years with Anacomp, a company that stored information from mainframe computers on microfilm and microfiche and manufactured devices to read the microimages. By the time he became national vice president of equipment sales and service, the company faced a problem: a decline in demand for its products.
That’s when Dan became an inventor. He developed Image Mouse in 1999 to increase Anacomp’s business. The device allows PC users to scan, view, digitize and enhance microfiche and microfilm.
In 2004, new technology allowed him to improve on his invention. He produced the ST200 Microfilm Scanner for ST Imaging, a division of Digital Check Corp. More than 500 libraries (including Yale, Harvard, the Library of Congress and University of California campuses) have installed the all-digital system. Viewing microfilm documents on a computer provides a better image and the ability to capture, store or print digital-quality electronic images.
“Images of ancient reference or source documents on film can now be duplicated to a thumb drive and inserted into computer-based term papers before they are printed,” Dan says. “It’s also possible to see special collections without being present as remote users can control the machine and view the information on their own computer screens.
“I like to find new ways to help people solve difficult problems with computer-based solutions,” Dan says. He has submitted U.S. and international patents on several successful computer hardware and software innovations.
He continues to work for ST Imaging and has moved with his wife of 35 years, Lindy Emary Donaldson ’75, to New Jersey to be near their son, Matthew, their daughter, Sarah, her husband, Kevin, and their granddaughter.
Dan values the biblical training he received at Westmont as much as learning to communicate with the written word. “Both have stood me well in my Christian walk and in my profession,” he says. “In the end, the whole point of the business sales process and Christianity is to clearly and effectively communicate a message. Westmont prepared me for both.”