PRESERVATION RESOURCES


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I. Preservation Resources' History

Preservation Resources is the only not-for-profit organization in the country exclusively devoted to preservation reformatting. Originally called MAPS, the Mid-Atlantic Preservation Service, the organization was developed in 1985 to serve the preservation microfilming needs of five mid-Atlantic research libraries - Columbia University Libraries, Cornell University Library, Princeton University Library, New York State Library, and the New York Public Library.

A division of OCLC since January 1994, Preservation Resources operates from a custom-designed laboratory built with funds from the Pew Charitable Trust in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Preservation Resources serves the preservation needs of clients from every part of North America and is increasingly reaching a global client base. The infrastructure and operating principles were formulated and implemented by information professionals and continues to be operated by librarians seeking continual improvements and preservation options to meet the needs of information professionals engaged in the effort to preserve and provide access to our intellectual heritage.

With a decade of experience in preservation project planning and implementation, micrographic technology, high-quality microfilm production, and the preservation of multiple documentary formats, Preservation Resources offers a broad array of technical and professional services to the library and archive community. The management of Preservation Resources combine years of experience in document preservation, project and information management, and micrographic technology. The entire staff and management at Preservation Resources are focused exclusively on meeting the goals of the preservation community.

II. The Mission

The mission of Preservation Resources is to preserve and further access to research materials in libraries and archives for current and future researchers, to maintain a leadership position in preservation microfilming, and to improve access to preserved material. Our mission is fulfilled by providing the broadest array of services and the best quality based on continual experimentation to find flexible and cost-effective media conversion options, by providing dissemination options including bibliographic control, document delivery and distribution options, and by monitoring technological developments as they relate to the preservation of library and archive materials.

Preservation Resources is engaged in a diverse array of preservation projects. 75% of our work is done with libraries who have obtained funding from NEH for brittle book projects and large scale manuscript preservation. The other 25% of our activity is with a diverse group of smaller libraries and archives. In 1994 we completed our first project for a European archive, and we are currently exploring ways to increase awareness of our services in other parts of the world.

III. Directions

A significant investment of resources has been made in the preservation of library and archive materials in microform. Microformats have been the primary medium of choice for media conversion of large quantities of library materials. By the end of FY 94, it is estimated that the NEH Brittle Book program has preserved on microfilm 654,000 volumes or 98.1 million frames. The US Newspaper Program has funded the filming of 220,000 titles and 53 million frames. The goal is for the program to film 2 million volumes, or 300 million frames in twenty years (by the year 2009).

Microfilm's stable and standardized properties and its convertibility to other media will guarantee its continued use in the preservation community for reformatting for decades to come. Ultimately, microfilm is the media of storage rather than the media of access. With the increased availability of computer work stations in the library and with researchers remotely connected through the Internet, electronic access to research materials is a concept whose time has arrived.

Preservation Resources will develop access and dissemination capabilities by leveraging three significant, existing strengths: our infrastructure, our experience in preservation reformatting, and our research and development mission.

1. Infrastructure
The Preservation Resources laboratory, a 17,150 square foot facility built in 1990, was designed specifically to meet Preservation Resources' production and security requirements and is the most technically sophisticated micrographic operation in the country. The camera studio is equipped with thirteen state-of-the-art, high resolution, computer controlled Herrmann and Kraemer (H & K) cameras. The cameras operate on three shifts and have a production capacity of over 14 million frames per year. This is equivalent to 14,000 reels of microfilm or the potential to preserve 70,000 brittle volumes annually. The H & K superior resolution and the tight controls over density variations achieved through Preservation Resources' patented exposure system, results in film of unparalleled quality. The efforts invested in producing film of this quality is rooted in the knowledge that films produced by Preservation Resources, when properly stored, will exist decades in the future and will provide the optimal foundation medium for digital scanning.

The building was constructed with a print master storage vault which is unique. No other vault exists in the United States which was built and used for the sole purpose of storing the print masters from filming clients and from films produced by other microfilmers. We are currently storing nearly 50,000 reels of film and 25,000 microfiche for 100 different clients. This is equivalent to approximately a quarter of a million titles. We are utilizing only 35% of our capacity. We fulfill approximately 20 to 50 duplication requests for clients every month from stored print masters.

2. Experience
Since its inception, Preservation Resources has filmed well over 20 million frames of preservation quality microfilm. Preservation Resources' efforts to date translate into approximately 112,500 volumes microfilmed and preserved. Preservation Resources has served hundreds of institutions, including the preservation programs of large research libraries, academic library special collections, and also smaller institutions such as local historical societies, archives, and museums.

Preservation Resources has successfully filmed a variety of materials including embrittled monographs, pamphlets and serials, bound and disbound newspapers, manuscript collections, scrapbooks, technical drawings, and photographs. Among 20 other projects we are currently filming large NEH-funded brittle book projects for the New York Public Library (Americas project), SOLINET (ASERL project), Princeton University (Arabic Collection), University of Notre Dame (Medieval Institute) and Columbia University (Modern Economic and Social History).

3. Research and Development
Building on Preservation Resources infrastructure and expertise in preservation reformatting, the organization has developed unique tools and services including a continuous tone filming process which captures 16 steps on a Kodak gray scale and a patented exposing system which allows the production of microfilm with exceptionally narrow density ranges.

With the development of digital imaging technologies, Preservation Resources is able to leverage its existing microfilm services to unite the best of all worlds: to ensure preservation microfilm copy will be available in the future and to optimize current access and research by scanning microfilm and making indexed images available in a variety of electronic formats.

IV. Digital Scanning of Microfilm

Preservation Resources began research and experimentation in digital access in the early 1990's. Our commitment remains to preservation microfilm as the foundation medium. Therefore our efforts have focused exclusively on the cost, quality, and efficacy of digitizing from microfilm - both that is currently produced at Preservation Resources and that which was produced by and for libraries before the widespread adoption of preservation guidelines. Preservation Resources has concentrated research and development activity in the last twelve months on developing quality, cost, and production models for digitizing from microfilm.

Preservation Resources' considerable expertise in the production and quality assurance of preservation microfilms has enabled the organization to evaluate film scanning technologies and produce several demonstration projects. Preservation Resources experience with digital imaging includes the following: