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Subject: Photocopying photographs

Photocopying photographs

From: Richard Pearce-Moses <iacrpm>
Date: Wednesday, May 15, 1991
Regarding Bob Kosovsky's comments that "any kind of photocopying of
photographs results in irreversible damage" I have two responses.

First, much as I admire and respect IMP/GEH, what is the basis of their
opinion that photocopying is bad? In fact, as Doug Nishimura points out,
Sazertsky's articles appear to be the only published literature, and
G.S. suggests that photocopying may *not* be harmful. I'm leery of
photocopying, because of the high light levels--often with high UV,
heat, and other factors, but I have no evidence to support my intuition.

Second, and much more important, is the problem of balancing apples and
oranges. While photocopying may cause some damage to an image, frequent
retrieval, viewing, and refiling of an image can cause substantial wear
on the image and those surrounding it in the file. Which is worse? A
single photocopy used to make an access copy (hence avoiding wear) or
the wear on the image? Access and preservation are always at odds. The
question ultimately boils down to: is photocopying to make an access
copy a good compromise, especially for those smaller institutions that
don't have the resources to use safer technology such as videodisk?

Although my vote is currently on the side of making a single access copy
to avoid wear, the distlist may rest in peace that ASU will not be
pursuing this option and will instead begin investigation of the more
high-tech video or digital disk. Having worked closely with many smaller
repositories (local history societies, small museums, etc.), I suspect
that photocopying is a good idea for many institutions; I hence further
exploration of this issue.

Richard Pearce-Moses         (602) 965-9276

                   Conservation DistList Instance 5:1
                   Distributed: Sunday, May 19, 1991
                        Message Id: cdl-5-1-002
Received on Wednesday, 15 May, 1991

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