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Subject: Inhouse microfilming

Inhouse microfilming

From: Patricia Smith-Hunt <smith>
Date: Monday, September 24, 2001
Our Dean has formed a Task Force to compile a set of recommendations
for the future direction of our microfilming unit, and I would
appreciate any wisdom that anyone can share relative to successfully
structuring such a unit.

By way of background, the microfilming operation has been an
integral part of Ohio University Libraries for more than 20 years.
Until recently microfilming was attached to the Libraries' Maps and
Microform department where it was the responsibility of the Head of
that department and various student assistants. Because the unit was
designed as a rotary account and therefore expected to be
self-supporting its financial base (and staffing) is contingent upon
income generated from microfilming projects. The vast majority of
our filming activity is focused on material from the Archives and
Special Collections department (including some University
publications), and publications from countries for which the
Libraries serves as a depository. Two years ago the microfilming
operation was transferred to the Preservation department and I have
assumed the struggle to keep it on a more stable financial footing.

Despite the increasing availability of information in electronic
format, my colleagues have assured me of an ongoing flow of
microfilming candidates, at least from among the foreign
publications that we collect. Currently, our in-house activities
include seven hours of image-capturing per week, which is performed
by an individual whom we hired through a local organization that
trains and places persons with mental and/or physical disabilities.
Processing is outsourced. I should also add that although we have
processing equipment much of it is old and unreliable; however, our
three planetary cameras are in good condition.

While there are compelling reasons for maintaining the in-house
operation (security, quality control, access, etc.), there are
equally good arguments for outsourcing the activities (turn-around
time, strict adherence to preservation standards, etc.). We also
recognize that whatever direction the operation takes, it will still
require an actual person to coordinate projects and complete
post-filming activities. In consideration of this, and given our
current situation, I pose the following questions for your
consideration and feedback:

    *   What criteria are used to identify microfilming candidates,
        and who makes the decisions?

    *   How is the microfilming operation funded and staffed?

    *   To what extent are activities outsourced? If you are both
        filming in-house and outsourcing, how are those decisions
        made and by whom?

    *   Who are your "customers"?

    *   Who are your "customers"?

    *   What, if any, other services are provided by the
        microfilming operation?

    *   Other considerations that I may be overlooking or that you
        would like to share??

Patricia Smith-Hunt
Head, Preservation Department
Vernon R. Alden Library
Ohio University
Athens, OH 45701
Fax: 740-593-2741

                  Conservation DistList Instance 15:26
               Distributed: Wednesday, September 26, 2001
                       Message Id: cdl-15-26-016
Received on Monday, 24 September, 2001

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