A Hybrid Systems Approach to Preservation of Printed Materials


Comparing Micrographics and Digital Technology: This paper will focus on questions about the use of micrographics and digital imaging technologies for preservation of printed materials. It will not address any of the issues involved in the preservation of sound, motion pictures, video, art, or color images. The author is aware that other document preservation issues exist; however, it was felt that these two technologies were of most interest to the preservation community at this time. Topics to be covered include:

Areas of Analysis: There are three primary areas of analysis in comparing digital electronic image systems to film-based systems for preservation: document capture, storage, and access. In capture, the analyst will be concerned with the capture mechanism, resolution, quality of the captured image, acquisition speed, system cost, operating cost, and indexing requirements. In storage, the concerns are media permanence, media refresh requirements, technology obsolescence, drive cost, media cost, interchangeability of media, reliability, performance and access tradeoffs. Finally, with regard to access, the designer must examine retrieval capability (both searching and browsing), retrieval speed, transmission and distribution capability, and retrieval quality. Micrographics and imaging technologies can complement each other and best address these concerns together in the well-designed preservation system.

This paper will survey micrographic and digital technologies in light of the issues and concerns defined above. The objective is to arrive at short and long-term recommendations for developing document preservation systems based on these technologies.

Executive Summary: Based on a review of the technology, our findings are:

Recommendation: Currently, practitioners choosing microfilm for a preservation solution can feel confident that their printed materials will be adequately preserved and that even in the next century or beyond the technology will be available to transfer this material to other media if desired. This is true because of its accepted archival nature, and the fact that one only needs a lens and light to read it. Optical storage can be considered for preservation on a selective basis provided there is a plan to recopy the media prior to any substantial degradation. For the longer term, practitioners should immediately begin planning for, and designing, the hybrid archival preservation system of the future. The continuous and accelerating improvements in electronic imaging and optical disc technology will be the key to solving preservation problems.

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URL: http://cool.conservation-us.org/byauth/willis/hybrid/intro.html
Timestamp: Sunday, 23-Nov-2008 15:20:24 PST
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