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Subject: Rubberbands and microfilm

Rubberbands and microfilm

From: Jane Cullinane <jcullinane>
Date: Monday, September 27, 1999
Sue Dunlap asked about the use of rubberbands or alternatives to
keep microfilm rolled tightly.

The sulphur in rubberbands reacts with the silver in the microfilm
and can damage the image. ANSI /AIIM MS 23-1998 specifies no use of
rubberbands on microfilm. See also ANSI/PIMA IT9.2-1998 "for Imaging
Materials- Photographic Processed Films, Plates, and Papers- Filing
Enclosures and Storage Containers." Some microfilm companies do use
acid-free elastic bands for this purpose and claim this type of
elastic band will not harm the film.  Patrons using the collection
will not be able to tell the difference between a rubber band and an
acid-free elastic band. They may feel they are being helpful and put
their own rubberbands on the film. ANSI/AIIM MS111-1994 discourages
the use of any elastic band.

To keep the film from unrolling in the box, button and string tags
are recommended (also called microfilm identification tags). They
are made of acid-free paper and a string winds around the reel and
attaches to a button like some inter-office envelopes. Look in the
microfilm supplies section of archival supply catalogs from
companies such as Gaylord or University Products.

The standards address the storage conditions for the master
negatives, not the use copies. Even so, button and string tags are
not required in the standards. In a heavily used collection, these
tags can be a high maintenance item. If labeled to identify the
reel, you still need to ensure the reel matches the tag and the
label on the box. If using more than one reel of film it is easy to
confuse the tags. If not labeled, then a tag can be used on any reel
as a additional protection against dust and light but it can be
awkward to secure the string on the button. Get a sample and try it

Jane F. Cullinane
Preservation Librarian
Collection Management
Connecticut State Library
231 Capitol Ave.
Hartford,  CT  06106-1537
Fax: 860-566-3991

                  Conservation DistList Instance 13:22
               Distributed: Thursday, September 30, 1999
                       Message Id: cdl-13-22-004
Received on Monday, 27 September, 1999

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