1. Purpose of the Library’s cooperative microfilming program

The National Library of Australia considers that it has a responsibility to assist in the preservation of library materials of national importance held by institutions and organisations in Australia.  As one of a number of means to that end the Library participates in joint microfilming projects with State and Territory Libraries.

Requests for assistance with joint microfilming projects will be considered on the basis of available funding, forward work plans, and conformity with the criteria and guidelines outlined in this document.

2. Selection of material for cooperative projects

The Library has a primary responsibility to preserve Australian library materials.  Therefore proposals to film overseas material will generally not be considered.  However the Library does have an interest in preserving material from South East Asia and the Pacific region where these materials cannot be preserved in their country of origin.  The Library will consider proposals to cooperate in filming such materials that are uniquely held by Australian institutions.

The Library will consider entering into cooperative projects to film material, or to duplicate existing microform if:

  • a microform preservation standard first generation master and printing master, that meet international microfilming standards, and that are in good condition do not already exist; and
  • state and regional institutions are unable to take appropriate action individually; and
  • material is out of print.

For project proposals satisfying these conditions, the highest priority for assistance will be given to material which is:

  • at risk of damage or loss because of its condition, inadequate storage arrangements, or high levels of use;
  • at risk because it is uniquely held or held only in dispersed incomplete sets; or
  • considered to be of particular significance.

As a partner in the Australian Newspaper Plan (ANplan),  the Library is particularly interested in cooperative projects to microfilm newspaper backsets.  Newspapers will only be filmed on a cooperative basis subject to the terms and conditions of this Policy.  Under ANplan, the Library accepts responsibility to maintain hard copy of select national newspapers listed below.  The Library will ensure filming, production and storage of three generations of microform to the standards outlined in this document.

Proposals  for cooperative projects must address the above criteria.

The National Library of Australia accepts preservation responsibility for the following  newspaper titles:

  • The Australian
  • Australian Financial Review
  • National Times
  • Nation Review
  • The Independent Monthly
  • Newspapers published in the ACT

The Library’s preservation responsibilities under ANplan will be reviewed regularly.

3. Administrative Guidelines

In negotiating cooperative microfilming projects, the Library applies the following guidelines:

  • The Library will not enter into a cooperative microfilming project unless a contract  or written agreement is signed by all participants. The Library has a standard contract which will be used;
  • Each participant contributes to the cost of original filming and ownership of the first generation master negative is shared. Contributions may take the form of funding or labour required for the project;
  • The choice of a supplier of filming services will be negotiated by the partners to the project. The Library reserves the right to veto the use of any bureau which it considers inappropriate to the project;
  • The Library accepts responsibility for all prefilming preparatory work for material from its own collection. Where material from other institutions is concerned,  the institution which owns the material is required to undertake prefilming preparatory work, when the the material is to be filmed locally;
  • Responsibility for quality control checking of the finished microform product may be shared between all partners to the project;
  • Target sheets acknowledging the contribution of all partners to the project will be included on the microcopy;
  • The institution which owns the material accepts responsibility for the creation of a catalogue record for the microform copy on Libraries Australia;
  • Conditions of sale will be negotiated before filming commences. Generally, nett revenue generated through the sale of the film to other institutions will be divided between partners on a pro rata basis, in proportion to their contribution. Administration of revenue will be the responsibility of the partner handling sales;
  • The first generation master negative will be stored under controlled environmental conditions in the Library's Coldstore unless other participants are able to offer storage of equivalent standard. The second generation printing master will be stored by the partner responsible for the sale of the microform.
  • Each participant is entitled to receive one silver halide, diazo, or vesicular service copy without additional charge. Subsequent copies for participants will be generated on a cost recovery basis.

4. Copies Generated

All titles filmed will have the following generations produced:

  • first generation silver-halide master negative;
  • second generation silver-halide printing master
  • third generation diazo or vesicular service copy.

5. Standards

The Library is committed to promoting use of relevant Australian and international standards for preservation microfilming. This is achieved through adherence to the principles contained in the NLA publication, Guidelines for Preservation Microfilming.   In addition, the preparation of specifications for each project, and undertaking quality control assessments of microforms produced is required . 

All micrographic work  will meet the latest version of the following standards, including but not limited to:

  • ISO 1890- 2002
    Imaging materials - Processed silver-gelatin type black-and-white films - Specifications for stability.
    (Cancels and replaces ISO 4332 and ISO 10602)
  • ANSI/NAPM IT9.5
    1996 - Imaging Materials - Ammonia-Processed Diazo Photographic Film - Specifications for Stability (revision and redesignation of NASI IT9.5-1992) (same as ANSI/ISO 8225-1995)
  • AS 2840
    1986 - Microfilming of newspapers for archival purposes. (Unchanged)
  • ANSI/AIIM MS 23
    1998 - Standard for Information and Image Management - Standard recommended practice for production, inspection and quality assurance of first-generation silver microform of documents.
  • ISO 4087-2005
    Micrographics - Microfilming of newspapers for archival purposes on 35mm microfilm.
  • ANSI/AIIM MS23-1998
    Microfilm of Documents, Operational Procedures/Inspection and Quality Control of First-Generation Silver-Gelatin
  • ANSI/NAPM IT9.12-1995
    Imaging Materials - Processed Vesicular Photographic Film - Specifications for Stability
    (revision and redesignation of ANSI/ISO 9718-1991, ANSIIT9.12-1991) (same as ANSI/ISO 9718-1995)

6. Quality control

Quality control assessment of microform produced will be undertaken by the micrographic bureau to ensure compliance with the standards above, and with the project contractual requirements.   In addition, completed microform will be assessed on a risk management basis by Preservation Reformatting Unit staff. The level of checking by the Library will be determined by risk factors including; the experience of working with the bureau, time limits on bureau commitments to correct errors, the feasibility of re-filming at a later time, the likelihood of errors, the significance of the material, and the likely impact of errors on the user.

7. How to propose a cooperative microfilming project

Proposals for cooperative microfilming projects should be made in writing addressing the criteria set out in this policy.  Further information is available from the Manager, Preservation Reformatting Unit, Preservation Services Branch, National Library of Australia (preformatting@nla.gov.au).

This policy statement was prepared by the Preservation Services Branch.

January 2009