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Subject: Preservation of clippings

Preservation of clippings

From: Eric Mundell <emundell>
Date: Thursday, December 3, 1998
Linda Most <most [at] kravis__org> writes

>I have in my collection ten storage boxes of newspaper press
>clippings which date back to the mid 1980s.  Some are mounted on
>bond paper using various types of clear tape and some are filed as
>clipped.  We have made the management decision to begin immediate
>preservation photocopying of this collection and will probably scan
>the copies into digital storage in the near future, but there is a
>part of me that hesitates to discard the originals, brittle and
>yellow as some are becoming.

Your message to Ramona Duncan-Huse has been forwarded to my
attention. Since I have been integrally involved in our library's
own newspaper clippings and information files, Ramona thought I
might be able to help you.

You wondered about maintaining a large body of clippings which dates
back to the middle 1980s and whether or not the the originals should
be kept, considering that you are presenting scanning them digitally
for long term preservation.

Our library has not quite gotten to that degree of sophistication in
preserving and storing its information from newspaper clippings,
thus we still have originals on file.  We have generally photocopied
the yellowing and brittle items to acid-free paper in the past and
maintained all others until they began to reach a certain stage of
deterioration where it was obvious there was no turning back.
Because of this, we have some information files which have the
originals and some which have acid-free photocopies.  We have done
no scanning of clippings, but are currently scanning and storing
visual materials and photos in our collection.

Also, we have recently acquired access to NewsBank, a news service
which provides full text information from hundreds--even
thousands--of newspapers nationwide and in Indiana.  This service
makes it possible for us to cease the maintenance of clippings after
1991, except for those that we may wish to maintain in original
format (for purposes of photos, diagrams, etc., which are not
included in NewsBank due to copyright issues).  NewsBank is
accessible via the Internet, so we have access to it through our
library's online public access catalog.  By searching under key
words, names, etc., you can find just about anything you want.  It's
very easy to use, though not entirely cheap.  Our start up cost
(which includes access to all available past, current, and future
newspapers from 1991 through October 1, 1999, was around $3500. We
will then have to pay an annual fee to subscribe to each new year's
offerings.  So it is ongoing, but likely well worth it.  Perhaps you
will want to explore this option.  If so, I can give you some
referral info.

In general, I would encourage you to go ahead and discard any
originals you have already copied for the sake of preservation.  I'm
a pack rat, and even I have gladly been able to let go of the older
items for something that will be more enduring.  But you have to
make that decision for yourself.  In the long run, the only reason I
can think of to save an original would be if it were to enhance an
exhibition or used for possible photography--something where an
original with its lovely yellow color would add to the "historical"
look that people like to see.

Does this help any?  I hope it has at least relieved your mind that
others face the same decisions you are facing.  Good luck, and if
you have any related questions, just let me know. Sincerely,

Eric L. Mundell
Head, Reference Services
Indiana Historical Society

                  Conservation DistList Instance 12:50
                 Distributed: Tuesday, December 8, 1998
                       Message Id: cdl-12-50-016
Received on Thursday, 3 December, 1998

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