Re: [Videolib] Future of microfilm

Glenda Pearson (
Tue, 11 Oct 2005 09:08:33 -0700 (PDT)

Hi Becky, et al,
Microform is still the so-called gold standard of preservation as far as
academic libraries are concerned. Too little is known about the longevity
of newer technologies, problems with hardware and software availability
over the long term, etc. (As one wag said, you can still read microform
if you only have a match and a magnifying glass.)

Microform colletions are now the basis of very large scale
conversion-to-digital projects involving massive filmed sets of monographs
and journals, newspapers, etc. Microform should be considered the basic
platform from which other forms of delivery to the user are based.
It is space efficient compared to print, very long-lived (given reasonably
good environmental conditions), easy to organize and not of any interest
to hackers. When Proquest online databases go down or the New York Times
facsimile web version is inaccessible, researchers can still turn to
microform holdings of the same intellectual content found in the
electronic resources.

And despite popular opinion to the contrary, "everything" is not on the
web. It will be decades before even a majority of U.S. newspapers will
have a complete digital presence on the web, to say nothing of foreign
news sources. Not every library needs a vast microform collection because
institutions that have these large resources usually will lend them.
Microform is fairly easy to ship, or scan and send electronically, giving
the format some degree of portability.

Enjoy your new reader/printers!

Glenda Pearson
Head, Microform and Newspaper Collections
Suzzallo Library
University of Washington
Seattle, Washington 98195

On Mon, 10 Oct 2005, Tatar, Becky wrote:

> Hello, all.
> A little bit away from video. We need to purchase some new microfilm
> reader printers and do have the equipment chosen. However, now our
> director would like information on the future of microfilm since
> everything is going digital. Our ASD head remembers seeing something
> online, possibly in a British source that said microfilm is going to be
> around for a long time, long after the digital material has
> deteriorated. The article actually had someone holding up a cunieform
> tablet saying that the tablet would last longer than digitization. Does
> this sound familiar to anyone? These reader printers we want are state
> of the art - clear and clean up fuzzy and faint film, and more. Thanks
> in advance.
> Becky Tatar
> Periodicals/Audiovisuals
> Aurora Public Library
> 1 E. Benton Street
> Aurora, IL 60505
> Phone: 630-264-4100
> FAX: 630-896-3209
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