Manchester City Library

Manchester, NH's Online Library

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Breathing Space for Aging Materials

October 31st, 2011 · No Comments · Books, City Library, Main Branch, Technology, West Branch

Digitization is a new word in a new century.  Significant amounts of information is stored on microfilm and microfiche cards.  In this format the information can not be shared with multiple groups.  In time microfilm rolls and microfiche cards become damaged, torn, split, etc.  Microfilm and microfiche readers and printers become obsolete and are difficult to repair.  Use of these materials could some day become virtually impossible.  Life expectancy of microfilm and microfiche is 45 to 50 years. So how do we preserve this information?  An early report done in October, 1997, done by the Commission on Preservation and Accessa, concluded that the digitization of materials had:

  • Limitless possibilities
  • Obvious advantages
  • Preservation uses

 Today October, 2011, the chief benefits of digitization are all too evident:

  • Reduce time consuming image retrieval for microfilm/microfiche
  • Eliminate microfilm and microfiche reader machines
  • Store 15,000 images on a CD or DVD
  • Images can be printed, faxed or e-mailed
  • Many patrons can access images at the same time

 Of course the biggest challenge or question is money. How do libraries keep pace to purchase digitization supplies and equipment?  Then how do we find the staff time to complete the project “in-house”.  Another option is to out source the major conversion which again which takes money and time to prep the materials to be shipped out.  Many libraries are facing these decisions and seeking grants to begin digitization projects to preserve and provide greater access to information.   Preserving information and your access to that information is what libraries are all about.

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