Association of College & Research Libraries

Preservation News

Jane Hedberg

Stanford’s book scanning report

Stanford University Libraries and Academic Information Resources (SUL/AIR) has published “Robotic Book Scanning at the Stanford University Libraries and Academic Information Resources: Report on the Status of Digitization Facilities and Services for Bound Library Materials.” The report describes their investigation of a Swiss-made page-turner and scanner called Digitizing Line (DL). This new equipment is a key component in their Digital Library Program (DLP), which is intended to increase access to the libraries’ resources.

DL processes books face-up, turns between 500 to 1,160 pages per hour, and accommodates books with differing sizes, book structures, and types of paper. SUL’s Media Preservation Unit did extensive testing to determine whether books would be damaged by DL, and concluded that there would not be any more damage than that produced by face-down photocopying. DL will not be used on rare or brittle materials. Its first large-scale project will be digitization of approximately 2,500 books published by the Stanford University Press. The New York Times covered this story in an article on May 12, 2003, entitled “The Evelyn Wood of Digitized Book Scanners” by John Markoff.

The report is available online at

Orphan films

The National Film Preservation Foundation (NFPF) awarded its 2003 federally funded grants to 33 archives for preservation of 65 historically or culturally significant orphan films. These small grants, normally $3,000 to $6,000 each, support production of new film master elements and public access copies. Orphan films are narrowly defined as those abandoned by their owners or caretakers, but more commonly defined as those outside the commercial mainstream, e.g., public domain materials, home movies, industrial and educational movies, independent documentaries, ethnographic films, and small or unusual gauge films. NFPF was created by Congress in 1996 as a charitable affiliate of the National Film Preservation Board of the Library of Congress.

More information about NFPF and this program is available at sm_index.html.

The University of South Carolina will host its fourth symposium about the preservation, study, and use of orphan films on March 25 to 27, 2004. The theme will be how regional and local films represent their worlds.

More information about the symposium and orphan films is available at orphanfilm/.

Archival Products Newsonline

Archival Products, a division of the Library Binding Service, has mounted many of the articles published in the print newsletter, Archival Products News, on its Web site. The articles, written by preservation practitioners, are succinct introductions to a variety of preservation topics. They include “Silverfish, Their Activities and How to Stop Them” by Margit Smith of the University of San Diego; “Helpful Hints for the Safe Transport of Library Materials” by Oliver Cutshaw of the Harvard College Library; “Rehousing a Portrait Collection” by Susan Martin of the New York Academy of Medicine; “Integrating Library Preservation into the Daily Operations of a Small College Library” by Rebecca Stuhr, Jean Reavis, and Sheryl Bissen of Grinnell College; “Managing a Stacks Cleaning Project” by Shannon Zachary of the University of Michigan; and “So You Want to Do a Time Capsule? Tips to Keep in Mind While Trying to Defeat Time” by Ivan Hanthorn of the University of Iowa. The articles are available at newsletter.html.

Photograph preservation

The Washington Post published “Buried Treasure: Why has Bill Gates Stashed Millions of the Greatest Images of the 20th Century Under a Mountain in Pennsylvania?” by Mary Battiata on Sunday, May 18, 2003, in its Post Magazine (page W14). Although the article is about preservation of the Corbis Collection, it covers many photograph preservation issues.

The article is available from libraries or from the Washington Post online archives for $2.95 at archives/front.htm. ■

Jane Hedberg is preservation program officer at Harvard University Library, e-mail:; fax: (617) 496-8344

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