The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 14, Number 5
Aug 1990


NEDCC and Solinet Break Microfilming Logjam

Even though funding for large-scale microfilming of brittle books became available a few years ago, riot as many libraries as expected have set up microfilming programs. The reason for this slow progress is fourfold: lack of preservation microfilming facilities within the library; a national lack of trained microfilming staff to run such facilities, and no labor market through which they might be recruited; a shortage of commercially available services and lack of experience and knowledge among those who would be responsible for setting up a program. Even when microfilming can be sent out to a cooperative and conscientious vendor, there is still a lot of demanding preparation, inspection and other work that has to be done inhouse to rigid specifications, because if microfilm is not purchased, processed and stored according to national standards, it is likely to be short-lived, and the work of filming will have been in vain.

The first three of these obstacles have been reduced by the establishment of MAPS (the Mid-Atlantic Preservation Service) and the continuing enlargement or adaptation of existing facilities, both commercial and noncommercial, that do work for others. The fourth has recently been made much less formidable by an NEDCC training program and a set of new microfilm-related services offered by SOLINET.

The Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) is inviting applications for its expanded training program in preservation microfilming, supported by a grant of $250,000 from the Pew Charitable Trusts. Professionals who are responsible for managing microfilming projects will be trained in intensive workshops to plan, implement and manage filming projects. Over 50 people have been trained to date in workshops held in Philadelphia, Albany and Andover. Future workshops are planned for Atlanta, Albany, Andover and Ohio.

Participants learn skills for planning microfilming projects, developing specifications, and writing contracts with vendors; they obtain hands-on experience in operating a camera and inspecting completed film. Fees are in the $150-$250 range. For information call or write Mary Elizabeth Ruwell at NEDCC, 100 Brickstone Square, Andover, MA 01810 (508/470-1010).

The Southeastern Library Network (SOLINET) has received a $1.26 million grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to support a cooperative preservation microfilming project. Twelve members of the Association of Southeastern Research Libraries (ASERL) will film 17,000 volumes over the next two years through a centralized service at SOLINET. Their staff will select titles in the humanities for filming, focussing on Latin America and the southeastern U.S. Through its central Preservation Microfilming Service, SOLINET will prepare volumes for filming, catalog the microfilm, manage contracts with filming agencies, inspect completed film, and monitor quality control in all areas. Books will be returned to the libraries along with a printing master, and service copy of the microfilm. SOLINET will store all master negatives. Production is scheduled to begin in October 1990.

For more information contact SOLINET, 400 Colony Square, Plaza Level, Atlanta, GA 30361-6301 (404/892-0943).

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