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Subject: Distorted microfiche

Distorted microfiche

From: Brian J. Baird <bjbaird>
Date: Tuesday, August 17, 1993

Without knowing more about your microfiche it is impossible to say for
sure, but I have seen many many fiche that develop a curved shape due to
the way they are stored.  They are not packed tightly enough in there
drawers and the front ones start to sag.  This creates a domino effect
and soon all the fiche are warped.  This effect is accelerated in some
cases because the film has a natural tendency to curl because when it
was manufactured it was rolled onto a roll while it was still warm.  This
gives each fiche a slight curve.  It is similar to copier paper.  The
paper wants to curl in a certain direction because it was trained to
while it was on the roll.  That is why there are instructions about
which way to put the paper into the copier for best results.

As for getting the fiche flat again, you basically have to re-train the
film to lay flat.  This can be done with weight. Heat would help too,
but I would not suggest that--too risky. Personally, I have always just
fixed the storage problem by making the fiche all stand up straight
again.  But I do not know if just having the fiche stored upright and
straight again is enough to fix the problem.  I have always just hoped
that it would and knew that it would keep things from getting worse.

Brian J. Baird
Assistant Preservation Librarian
Princeton University Libraries

                  Conservation DistList Instance 7:21
                  Distributed: Friday, August 20, 1993
                        Message Id: cdl-7-21-002
Received on Tuesday, 17 August, 1993

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