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Subject: Barcoding microfiche

Barcoding microfiche

From: Erich Kesse <erikess>
Date: Monday, November 6, 1995
In reply to Becky Ryder's request regarding "Barcoding Microfiche"
(2 Nov. 95)

A good portion of the information Becky Ryder seeks regarding
microfiche barcoding (the List (9:39) can be found in several ANSI
standards on storage and stability of (micro-)films, including:

    ANSI IT 9.2 -- contains information about adhesives; describes
    the "Photographic Activity Test" in relation to storage (see
    also IT 9.16).

    ANSI IT 9.11 -- storage of processed safety photographic film.

    ANSI/NAPM IT 9.16 -- The Photographic Activity Test, an
    evaluative mechanism for the effects of enclosure materials,
    adhesives and inks on silver and diazo images (and gelatin

While the standards make dry reading, they provide good cause for
caution. Specifications for purchase of barcodes for use on
microfiche should be drawn up to require that they pass the
Photographic Activity Test.

Information (i.e., the reports of tests, etc.) are referenced by the
standards.  This literature, for example, D.W. Nishimura
("Improvements to the photographic activity test in ANSI Standard
IT9.2, Journal of Imaging Technology. 17 (6) : 245-252, Dec. 1991),
provides supporting arguments. The literature deals with image
degradation/oxidation/staining resulting from the use of
materials, adhesives and inks containing reaction agents. It
concentrates on effects on imaged areas of films with degradation
measured in terms of image density, discoloration and mottle.

Now, some anecdotal experience:

A few years ago, without checking, one of the U.Florida libraries,
barcoded microfiche in its collection.  Barcodes were applied to the
microfiche envelope (which passed the Photographic Activity Test)
rather than the microfiche.  Within a year, staff began to report
mirroring on the fiche beneath the barcoded area of the microfiche
envelope; mirroring (tarnishing/oxidation of the silver image)
obscured imaged text. Fortunately, the problem was caught early and
microfiche envelopes were easily replaced.

Of course application to the polyester base (i.e., non-emulsion
side) or to non-imaged areas should mitigate problems associated
with mirroring or other adhesive/emulsion interactions of imaged
areas *resulting from direct contact.*  This wouldn't necessarily
eliminate potential problems; barcodes containing reaction agents
may indirectly damage microfiche.  I haven't seen this documented
but suspect the possibility within closed microfiche cabinets or in
the case of either microfiche stored without envelopes or barcodes
placed in non-image areas and would personally err on the side of

Erich J. Kesse
Preservation Office
University of Florida Libraries
Fax: 904-392-7251

                  Conservation DistList Instance 9:40
                 Distributed: Monday, November 6, 1995
                        Message Id: cdl-9-40-004
Received on Monday, 6 November, 1995

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