Preservation Copying Endangered Historic Negative Collections

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    This article discusses preservation copying of unstable B&W nitrate and acetate still photographic negatives. It focuses on evaluating two different strategies for preserving the copies from a point of view of quality and cost-effectiveness. The evaluated strategies are preservation of the master files in a digital repository and outputting the copies on film, which is preserved in a traditional storage facility. The issues are put into perspective by a case study completed at the Royal Library, where endangered nitrate negatives of unique national value have been digitized. The paper starts by describing essential characteristics of negatives, which must be passed on to the copies, and the required metadata and technical imaging specifications. Next the paper discusses strategies for preservation and makes an analysis with the LIFE2 Costing Model. The paper concludes that the most beneficial and cost-effective preservation solution for large format negatives is to keep the preservation copies as digital files. However, it also acknowledges that it is important to revisit such strategies regularly to monitor changes in user expectations, technologies and costs.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalArchiving Conference
    Pages (from-to)177-182
    Number of pages6
    Publication statusPublished - 2008


    • preservation imaging
    • preservation digitization
    • costs
    • cost effectiveness

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