One of the most common questions I hear from someone referring to my media is "What is that?"
I recieved a plea of help phone all from a fellow special librarian on campus about a grad student needing to watch a film for a project. They didn't have the equipment, nor did they know if the film was playable. After a few initial questions like the date of the film and if it smelled (acetate or polyester), and the appoximate size (16 or 8), I decided it was worth examining in person, and playing it. So Friday afternoon, I loaded my favorite 16mm sound film projector on a hand truck, got a take-up reel in another hand, and put some cotton gloves in my coat pocket and wheeled the projector across campus (very slowy). And I do mean all the way across campus. A few students gave me odd looks, and an older professor stopped me and said, "It's not every day you see a 35mm projector." to which I replied, "Thank goodness this is only a 16mm projector!" He laughed. I was almost to my destination and very worn out by that point.
The film was in fairly good condition for an early 1970s polyester film, except for the red-shift, which is only confusing for the student. I'm going over today to set the equipment up for the student, and I will get one of the Archive's students to help me bring the projector back to the Archives (it was too heavy to wheel across campus)!