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Subject: Discarding acetate microfilm masters

Discarding acetate microfilm masters

From: Jennifer Lloyd <jlloyd>
Date: Monday, September 11, 2006
I am seeking advice or thoughts on a preservation issue relating to
the National Library of Australia's cellulose acetate microform
collections. Surely I am not the only one grappling with the
following scenario.

The National Library of Australia continues the 'Cellulose Acetate
Project' which involves the identification of cellulose acetate
within its collections (including microform, photographic negative,
transparencies, etc). (ANICA - Cellulose Acetate Project
<URL:http://www.nla.gov.au/anica/index.html>). The cellulose acetate
collections, once identified, are either frozen, discarded or put
into cold storage. Those in cold storage are programmed for regular
monitoring to identify the advancement of vinegar syndrome within
the collection.

We have commenced a project to create new polyester microfilm
masters of collections for which we hold prime preservation
responsibility (we own the master). The new polyester master is
created via direct contact copying from the original acetate camera
master. It is not possible to refilm these collections. This means
that the new polyester master is a second-generation film. The issue
I am grappling with is this: Should we discard the original
cellulose acetate camera master?

Issues to consider:

    *   is it a problem to have only a second-generation master if
        the first-generation is discarded?

    *   how can I be confident that the new polyester master is as
        good a copy as can be achieved?

    *   justifying the resources needed for ongoing monitoring of
        vinegar syndrome

    *   rationale for keeping acetate masters when we know they will
        eventually disintegrate from vinegar syndrome

    *   rationale for discarding the acetate masters when they are
        the closest thing to the original that we have

Any thoughts you may have would be appreciated,

Jennifer Lloyd
Manager, Collections Preservation
National Library of Australia
+61 2 6262 1223


                                  ***
                  Conservation DistList Instance 20:15
               Distributed: Saturday, September 23, 2006
                       Message Id: cdl-20-15-014
                                  ***
Received on Monday, 11 September, 2006

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