The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 12, Number 3
Mar 1988

RLG Photocopying Guidelines

In the last few years, photocopy machines have gotten cheaper and better, and photocopies have become more important in different parts of preservation programs: to replace missing or damaged pages before microfilming, provide use copies for fragile material, or even to replace entire books. Two related uses for photocopies are to replace pages cut out by readers, and to provide readers with something they can carry hone with them, so they won't he tempted to cut out any more pages.

The Research Libraries Group, in its 1986 Preservation Manual, provides two sets of guidelines for photocopying, one for making copies requested by other libraries through interlibrary loan (reproduced below), and the other for making preservation replacements as an alternative to micro-filming. This manual is very reliable and helpful, well worth its $14 purchase price. It does not go into detail, but the bibliographies for each section are well-chosen and long. Orders should be sent to the Publications Clerk, Research Libraries Group, Jordan Quadrangle, Stanford, CA 94305.

The following passage is reprinted with permission from p. 15-16 of the 1986 RLG Preservation Manual.


Replacement copies are required when parts of original texts have been removed or become lost. These pages will most often be bound or tipped into the original volume. Replacement pages are also requested when a volume queued for microfilming is incomplete. In both cases, it is important that the copies be of highest quality.

The section on "Procedure for Requests" is omitted.] Procedure for copying

  1. All "preservation photocopies for binding" should be copied onto acid-free, buffered, 20-lb. paper. Suitable papers include Xerox XXV Archival Bond, Howard Permalife and University Products Perma/Dur.
  2. The contrast setting should be set to capture all text and illustrations as clearly as possible while minimizing the gray cast or streaking of the background.
  3. All preservation copies, whether for binding or micro-filming, should be made one page per exposure. For binding, double-sided copying should be provided unless otherwise specified.
  4. Every page of the original should be aligned on the platen consistently, straight and parallel to the edge of the paper. Recto and verso of double-sided copying should be lined up so they are in register, i.e., back-to-back. A mask on the platen will help center the image, eliminate dark borders, and allow for consistent alignment.
  5. A minimum border of 3/4-inch should be allowed on the left margin of the recto of photocopies for binding. Copies should also be made so that the recto of the original is also the recto of the photocopy.
  6. Foldouts should be copied in sections if they are larger than the largest available size of photocopy paper. Sections should align well so that they may be reassembled into a single flat sheet. The binding margin of 3/4-inch is required for photocopies for binding.
  7. Everything in the original text should be copied, with the exception of extraneous material laid in or tipped on to the original text.
  8. Photocopy must be of high quality, complete, and in the order of the original. Recopy if necessary.

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