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The International Project 1992 Update

Including “Microfilming Projects Abroad”

by Hans Rütimann
International Project Director
January 1993

This update draws and expands upon the International Project section of The Commission on Preservation and Access Annual Report, July 1, 1991-Jun3 30, 1992.

Commission on Preservation and Access
1400 16th Street, NW, Suite 740
Washington, DC 20036-2217

A private, nonprofit organization acting on behalf of the nation’s libraries, archives, and universities to develop and encourage collaborative strategies for preserving and providing access to the accumulated human record.

Reports issued by the Commission on Preservation and Access are intended to stimulate thought and discussion. They do not necessarily reflect the views of Commission members.

Additional copies of this update are available for $10.00 while supplies last. Orders for publications must be prepaid, with checks made payable to “The Commission on Preservation and Access” (U.S. funds only).

This paper has been submitted to the ERIC Clearinghouse on Information Resources.

The paper in this publication meets the minimum requirements of the American National Standard for Information Sciences–Permanence of paper for Printed Library Materials ANSI Z39.48-1984.

COPYRIGHT 1993 by The Commission on Preservation and Access. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transcribed in any form without permission of the publisher. Requests for reproduction for noncommercial purposes, including educational advancement, private study, or research will be granted. Full credit must be given to the author(s) and The Commission on Preservation and Access.

The past two years of the Commission’s International Project has been marked by collaborative efforts moving closer to fruition and by new opportunities. In many countries, shifting political ground opened new possibilities for shared preservation projects. It takes time to nurture and establish international collaboration–a new concept for many countries. After long periods of sharing information and discussing possibilities, an institution’s readiness to actually embark upon a project is often signalled unexpectedly. Flexibility in responding to these signals continues to be one of the International Project’s important assets.

Initial explorations in a few Western European nations have captured attention in other parts of the world. In the past year, nearly 50 countries requested Commission publications, information, and visits to explore possible joint ventures. The extent of preservation problems varies from country to country, as do opinions regarding their solutions. However, there is strong consensus that the problems are serious and that we must work together to solve them.

A publication of the German Academic Exchange Service describes the situation:

There is much talk about dying forests–no one talks about dying books. And yet, the pages between bookcovers are as sick as the leaves on trees. However, acidic ink, mold, and the acid contained in the paper do their damage unobserved, in the stacks of archives and libraries. More than a fourth of all books in Germany have deteriorated so badly that they will turn to dust in a few years if the process is not stopped.[1]

Whether in a simple exchange of information or in a sustained effort to develop a shared database capacity for information about filmed collections, the International Project has consistently emphasized one important goal: to avoid duplication of effort–a crucial element in saving decaying collections with limited funds.

Cooperative Programs

In early June 1992, the Bibliothèque Nationale (BN), acting on behalf of the European Register of Microform Master’s (EROMM) Management Committee, welcomed the Commission on Preservation and Access as a partner of EROMM’s preparatory phase. EROMM, established by the Commission of the European Communities (CEC) as part of Europe’s library program, will make bibliographic information about preservation microfilm available in a common database. The BN’s acknowledgement of the Commission’s involvement capped a two-and-one-half-year effort to involve the U.S. scholarly and library communities in the creation of this important node for information on microform masters. A BN official noted that “partnerships between European and North American libraries [are] a historical landmark that will contribute greatly to the concept of [a united] Europe.”[2] The reciprocal agreement also allows the U.S. to share information accumulated by EROMM. The Commission is providing supplemental funds for the project.

Participating in EROMM’s first phase are the British Library (England), the Bibliothèque Nationale (France,), the Biblioteca Nacional (Portugal), and the Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Gottingen (Germany). Phase I is near completion: the EROMM partners have begun to build registers, merging tests proved successful, and a test database of 50,000 records is nearly ready for demonstration at the Bibliothèque Nationale. Phase II will see the integration of all records accumulated by the initial four countries, and EROMM will extend invitations to other countries for participation. Ready to be merged into EROMM are 4,000 records from Germany, 90,000 from England, 50,000 from France, and 2,500 from Portugal. If the additional 120,000 records of the Bibliothèque Nationale’s retrospective conversion project are added, an impressive database with almost 265,000 records of European microforms will be available, perhaps as early as the end of 1993.

Additional activities contributing toward an internationally shared database capacity for information about microform masters include:

  • A substantial effort to convert the Bibliothèque Nationale’s bibliographic records of preservation microforms–more than 120,000 records on filmed monographs of nineteenth-century French literature; the records will be shared with U.S. bibliographic utilities.
  • Continued exchange arrangements between the British Library and the Bibliothèque Nationale and between these two institutions and the U.S. bibliographic utilities.
  • Plans for conversion to a UNIMARC-based file of Poland’s register of microform masters. This project could serve as a model for other Central and Eastern European libraries, enabling them to participate in and through EROMM in a gradually emerging international register of microform masters.
  • Discussions with the China National Microfilming Center for Library Resources on ways to share with scholars and libraries outside China knowledge about the rich depositories that have been filmed by sixteen regional centers in the People’s Republic (four to five million images per year).
  • The development of the document International Register of Microform Masters: Minimum Data Element Requirements in October 1991. This marked the successful conclusion of a two-year effort to develop such an understanding, which began with a Commission-sponsored meeting in May 1990 with representatives of a dozen countries.[3]

One of the recent key events in the European preservation movement took place in December 1991 in The Hague.[4] Organized by the Dutch Presidency and the CEC and billed as an “Expert Meeting on Conservation of Acid Paper Material and the Use of Permanent Paper,” the meeting brought together selected experts from all member states. Also invited were guests from Sweden and the International Project.

The meeting confirmed the common belief that there is a substantial problem in the European community, but responses to the crisis vary considerably depending on each country’s economic situation. Understandably, it is difficult to obtain adequate funding for efforts addressing the future at a time of pressing immediate need.

National Programs: Overview

In Germany, 70 to 80 percent of the collections are threatened and 12 to 16 percent are already brittle. Germany is undertaking an all-out effort to address the problem: large-scale microfilming projects are underway, the German Library Institute is conducting studies on cold storage, and the German Research Council is financing work toward a national preservation strategy. The German Library Institute published the results of a two-year study, Microforms in Research Libraries, a thorough taking-stock of what has been and what should be done in microfilming.[5]

Greek librarians and archivists are looking to the CEC for guidance, since they have not yet undertaken surveys of collection damage or research programs. In Danish library collections there are lower levels of acidity than in U.S. libraries; however, many books printed as late as 1975 are already brittle.

Considering that 120 million volumes in France’s libraries need to be treated, it is no surprise that preservation activities there are flourishing. A half-million books are to be filmed by the Bibliothèque de France (the new national library), and mass deacidification is anticipated to continue at the rate of 20-30,000 volumes annually in Sable, the site of the French preservation center. French representatives at The Hague confirmed that research is being conducted on a new mass deacidification method by Hoechst, a German chemical company; USSI, a French agency for atomic energy; and the Bibliothèque de France. More details of this method are promised soon, and the French expect that treatment will be ready for use by 1995.

In Ireland, Trinity College of Dublin undertook a survey of books published between 1840 and 1939; only 16% of the collections were judged to need treatment. Trinity College is participating with the British Library in the preservation microfilming program funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Bibliographic records from this project will be contributed to EROMM. In Italy, several institutions are evaluating available deacidification methods, but there is no nationwide survey of library collections nor are there plans to conduct one.

The Ministry of Welfare, Health and Cultural Affairs has taken a leading role in the Netherlands in raising public consciousness concerning paper permanence. Holland has a national plan (called DELTA) for the preservation of its cultural heritage, including printed and written materials, buildings, sculptures, paintings and other artifacts. A survey of library collections revealed a remarkably low 2.2 of brittle books. In Portugal, where all paper is imported, developments abroad are followed with great interest. No formal surveys of library collections have been done, though the Portuguese believe that they have a serious problem. They place much hope in the CEC’s leadership and possibilities for financial assistance.

The British Library is optimistic about a new method of mass deacidification and paper strengthening (polymerization using low intensity gamma rays). Funds are being sought for the construction of a pilot plant. A large-scale collaborative microfilming program is underway at the British Library, Cambridge University, and the Bodleian Library. At the Bodleian, materials to be filmed have been chosen from the library’s collections of modern manuscript papers and from holdings of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century trade journals.

In Sweden, several libraries have conducted random sampling surveys. The number of books in bad condition is roughly the same in all participating libraries–20 percent. The Swedes advocate the use of virgin fibers for books and recycled fibers for packaging. They also stress the problems of de-inking in the recycling process.

Countries on other continents are also on the alert. A professor from Waseda University acknowledges: “…many of the imprints [of the Meiji period] show the modernization of Japan and are therefore very important social documents, but they may lost due to deterioration.” According to an investigation of the deterioration of paper by the National Diet Library and others, “the deterioration of imprints published since 1880 is severe and it is clear that we have to take action urgently.”[6] It is noteworthy that the Meiji period coincides almost precisely with what is widely referred to as the acidic period.

In China, librarians and archivists especially in the provinces have been fighting their primary enemies, humidity, fungi, and insects for so long that their concerns over acidic paper are secondary. And yet, Chinese libraries are full of brittle materials which are circulated to the point of destruction. At the first meeting of the Library Resources Panel of the Committee on Scholarly Communication with the People’s Republic of China (CSCPRC), held in May 1991, it was agreed to explore the feasibility of a project to enhance the quality of and access to select materials in libraries in China.

The Library Resources Panel appointed a group to visit institutions in China and to discuss the proposal further. The International Project’s participation in the fact-finding mission was sponsored by the Commission, not only to facilitate discussion of preservation aspects of the CSCPRC’s proposal, but to establish contact between the Commission and institutions in China and to assess the possibility of linking activities in China with similar efforts in other countries. For example, the China National Microfilming Center has indicated an interest in making bibliographic records of microforms created by its sixteen regional centers to an international shared database capacity. A report published by the Commission summarizes the visits to libraries, archives, and other institutions.[7] During a trip through several provinces, the documentary film Slow Fires attracted much attention and created so much interest that efforts are underway to secure funding for a Chinese version of the film, to be distributed to more than one hundred libraries and archives in China (Spanish and French versions already exist).[8]

In Central American countries, the expected threats to collections (high heat and humidity, insects) are exacerbated by neglect during years of civil strife as well as by devastating earthquakes. Many libraries possess substantial historical holdings, but most do not have plans or the means for preserving them. Few librarians are knowledgeable about preservation concepts or procedures. As in China’s provinces, the threat posed by acidic paper is practically unknown in Central America. Where there is awareness, more pressing threats–heavy use, lack of air conditioning–take precedence. Deacidification techniques are virtually unknown. Several libraries possess microfilming equipment, or have possessed it in the past, but there do not appear to be any Central American libraries that are sustaining current microfilming programs at this time. Libraries that have filmed materials in the past indicate that they are unaware of current standards for production and storage. A few maintain in-house binderies or preservation workshops, but most appear to be inactive, except for some in Costa Rica. In sum, the significant historical holdings of Central American libraries are in substantial danger of loss, and the means for preserving these materials remain in doubt.

Mass Deacidification

As mentioned earlier, several countries are investigating ways to halt the further deterioration of large number of acidic books by using a mass deacidification process. Although some libraries have been deacidifying books for years (for example, the National Library of Canada and the Bibliothèque Nationale of France) the process cannot truly be called a “mass” treatment and there is continued concern abroad about mass deacidification’s effectiveness.

However, there are some promising efforts, including those cited in France and England. In addition, the German National Library has commissioned the Battelle Institute to build a second deacidification pilot plant which it hopes will become a cornerstone of its plan to create a national preservation center in Leipzig for all of unified Germany. In a Commission-sponsored program, three staff members of the Deutsche Bücherei in Leipzig are undergoing an intensive training in the operation of microfilm cameras and microfilm facilities management at MAPS, the MicrogrAphics Preservation Service, Bethlehem, PA.

Libraries abroad were keenly interested when the Library of Congress rejected for adoption all three processes it held under final consideration, and the Swiss Federal Archive is working together with the Library of Congress in pursuing an Action Plan submitted to Congress in May 1992.

The plan consists of three phases, with phases A and B to run concurrently. The goal is to perfect development of what the Library of Congress considers the most promising deacidification technology–DEZ, or diethyl zinc process. Phase A is an effort to resolve odor, discoloration, and other problems, resulting in a “competitive contract for demonstrating and testing small scale DEZ operations.” Phase B consists of an evaluation of other deacidification processes to foster competition for deacidification services. Phase C will be implementation: “When the Library determines that a process or processes can meet all deacidification requirements, [it will] competitively contract for mass deacidification services initially at 300,000 books a year for five years.” In its proposal to Congress, the Library points out that at least 16 libraries to date have evaluated deacidification processes and have reached similar conclusions about the DEZ process.[9]

New Technologies

For books that are beyond help–brittle to the point of falling apart at the touch–even a safe and effective deacidification treatment is too late; the only remedy is to save the content by transferring it to another medium. A project in Seville, Spain, received substantial foundation support to employ image scanning technology to reformat and make accessible the contents of 45 million documents and 7,000 maps and blueprints from the Archivo General de Indias, many of them badly deteriorated due to water damage and acidic ink. Another approach to reformatting is taking hold in some institutions: production of a high-quality microform for archival purposes, to be copied onto digital media as the need for high-speed retrieval arises.

The new information technology, with its flood of new kinds of media such as audio and video tape and computer tapes and disks, has raised major additional problems for librarians around the world. These new media were never designed to be permanent and, in the words of one German librarian, “they may get us into even deeper water than acidic paper.” Librarians and archivists everywhere are concerned about these new challenges, and several of the Commission’s reports addressing these issues have been reprinted in full in European journals. There is broad consensus on what a series of demonstration projects in the U.S. made plain: digital preservation depends on copying and not on the survival of the physical media. The “management” of preserved information will therefore need to become an integral part of the librarian’s and archivist’s duties.

One demonstration project that is watched with particular interest in many countries is the Commission’s cooperative effort with Cornell University and the Xerox Corporation to digitize brittle books and print them on demand. The project is of interest abroad not just for the technology involved, but for the information it yields regarding finance and management, essential aspects in the transition to electronic storage and dissemination of scholarly information. As with other issues in preservation, the economic aspects dominate the discussions abroad, particularly in countries with an immediate and pressing social agenda.

Another project of interest abroad is Yale University’s effort to establish a system for digitizing existing collections of preservation microfilms so as to enhance both technical and scholarly access to these materials. There is a lively debate concerning the future system of scholarly communication, but a consensus seems to be forming that information services in the foreseeable future will depend upon the judicious use of hybrid systems with their varying functions and requirements. Thus, and this is a view shared particularly in many Western European countries, our objective should be to develop convertibility from medium to medium. That microfilm continues to flourish several years after it was supposedly doomed by the optical and compact disks will come as a surprise only to those who confidently predict the demise of every old technology the minute a new one comes along.

Microfilming Projects Abroad

The most prevalent reformatting remains with microfilm; small, medium, and large-scale projects are underway in many countries and the need for an informational infrastructure–bibliographic control–is overwhelming. As noted earlier, Progress is being made toward an internationally shared database capacity for bibliographic information about microform masters, nodes for the collection of such data are being developed, and arrangements are being made for the exchange of information among nodes. The European Register of Microform Masters is an example of such a node but the ideal still eludes our grasp: A world-wide, totally integrated bibliographic register of microform masters, providing easy access to information as to who has reformatted what and thereby avoiding duplication of effort.

While working toward this goal, the International Project is collecting information about microfilming projects at the collection level. A list at the conclusion of this report, to be updated periodically, includes information from the 30 national libraries that responded to a Commission questionnaire sent to 120 countries. The results confirm the varied conditions throughout the world. For example, the Helsinki University Library reported extensive microfilming not only of Finnish literature, but also of many special collections of Russian and Latvian newspapers. Large-scale filming of newspapers continues in Helsinki and it is expected that during the next ten years, approximately one million pages of Russian newspapers will be filmed.

In addition to the project descriptions and contacts listed in this update, detailed information about contact persons and exact titles and addresses is available in most cases. Many institutions also answered the following questions: Does your institutions have a list of microfilm masters? Does your institution report bibliographic information about these masters to a central source (if yes, which one)? Indicate the predominant nature of bibliographic control for your institution’s microform masters (e.g., full, automated catalog record, full manual catalog, etc.). As can be expected, the answers to these questions vary greatly from country to country. Further information about microfilming projects abroad can be obtained from and sent to Hans Rütimann at 312 West 77th Street, #G, New York City, New York 10024.

But not every country’s libraries can afford microfilming. The response from the Western African Republic of Benin was quite different:

Unfortunately, we do not presently have any unit likely to help us microfilm our collections. Nevertheless, we would appreciate if you could continue sending us your newsletter, which is an appreciable source of information for us.

This response is typical of many less advantaged countries and suggests that we cannot presume that each country will be able to take responsibility for preserving its own imprints.

Future Priorities

This overview reflects the worldwide concern over deteriorating collections, illustrating how variable the situation is from country to country. However, less advantaged countries such as Spain, Portugal, and Greece, as well as areas of Latin America, Asia, Africa, and Eastern Europe, simply cannot afford to place preservation concerns at the top of their agenda. In a welcome new development, wealthier nations are extending a helping hand. The German state government of Niedersachsen, for example, helps fund preservation projects in Morocco’s libraries; the Australian National Library has informally taken on the responsibility of preserving the collections of poorer countries in the region (e.g., Indonesia); and UNESCO is funding preservation assessments in Eastern Europe.

The CEC, which was urged to continue and strengthen existing initiatives aimed at the preservation of the European cultural heritage, has established several priorities for urgent action in the year ahead:

  • to promote the collection and the exchange of information, using national focal points and the existing international specialized organizations;
  • to carry out a comprehensive study considering the different subjects put forward in this meeting of experts and taking into account the priorities identified by the experts;
  • to stimulate training initiatives in conservation for archives and library staff;
  • to organize a second meeting of experts within the next year;
  • to present a comprehensive report to the Committee of Cultural Affairs and to the Council of Ministers responsible for Cultural Affairs and to publicize as widely as possible the results of this meeting. [see note 4].

Other recommendations urge that “specifications for permanent paper be laid down in a CEN [Centre Europeen de Normalisation] standard adopting the relevant ISO standard” and in an effort to promote the use of permanent paper, the different CEC institutions are urged to “adopt the use of permanent paper for defined purposes in record-keeping within their own administration” and to encourage the government of member states to do likewise. The final recommendation is a rousing call to increase public awareness of the problem: “The CEC should work with associations of publishers, authors and other interested parties to find ways of promoting the wider adoption of permanent paper and that the CEC should stimulate the public awareness of the conservation problem by all appropriate means. [see note 4]. These recommendations have already formed the basis for follow-up actions within a number of European countries.

Another indication of the growing international preservation movement is UNESCO’s recent announcement:

Known and unknown library and archival treasures which constitute a unique memory for the world have been and continue to be lost through natural calamities, war devastations and from the ravages of climate and weather. The magnitude of the problem of safeguarding this memory is such that it defeats the resources of any single country. An international programme is urgently needed to develop a collective plan of action that would set up institutional mechanisms and determine priorities worldwide.[10]

Unfortunately, acidic paper is not listed by UNESCO among the threats to collections.

Work continues on establishing an international permanent paper standard. The international community deemed the standard used by the U.S. paper manufacturers as not precise enough and initiated work on a separate standard, with the International Standards Organization (ISO) taking the leading role. Rolf Dahl~, Chairman of the ISO Committee for Physical Keeping of Documents, which is responsible for development of the international permanent paper standard (ISO/TC 46/SC 10), reported in a letter to the Commission that a “clear majoAty” approved the circulation of the committee draft of the standard as a “Draft International Standard,” the last stage before publication of the International Standard. As of May 1992, there were thirteen countries approving the draft, with only one against.

Even more encouraging is the comment made by the Secretary of SC 10, Ivar A.L. Hoel, in a May 4, 1992 letter to the Commission on Preservation and Access:

The ISO draft is very similar to the revised ANSI [U.S.] standard presently under ballot and the two, if they remain unchanged, will be virtually interchangeable and will make use of the same well-known infinity symbol.

Hoel also reported that the ISO draft will be sent to the European Standardization Organization (CEN), which will vote on its acceptance as a European Standard. The International Standards Organization (ISO sub-committee 23 of TC97 and TC171), CEN, the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC), and several other standards groups are working on standards for scanning, optical discs, and digital images.

During the past four years, the International Project has visited more than a hundred libraries, archives, and other institutions in many countries on several continents, and each visit provided daunting spectacles of tens of thousands of books, journals, and newspapers falling apart. However, those entrusted with the guardianship of the printed and written heritage throughout the world–from Chengdu to Warsaw, from Moscow to Caracas–are eager to share information and work together. This is a formidable force in our fight to preserve as much of the human record as possible. The ultimate beneficiary of this record is not only the librarian, the archivist, and the scholar. Professor Bernhard Fabian at the Westfalische Wilhelms-Universität in Munster and author of Handbuch der Historischen Buchbestände reminded us in a conversation that the ultimate user is society–in other words, we all benefit.[11]


1. DAAD Letter. Hochschule und Ausland; 2/89 (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst).

2. Letter of May 29, 1992, from Jean-Marie Arnoult to the Commission on Preservation and Access.

3. The International Register of Microfilm Masters: Minimum Data Element Requirements can be obtained from the Commission for a $15.00 fee for photocopying and mailing.

4. Expert Meeting on Conservation of Acid Paper Material and the Use of Permanent Paper. Proceedings edited by the National Preservation Office, The Hague, the Netherlands, 1992.

5. Deutsches Bibliotheksinstitut. Mikroformen in Wissenschaftlichen Bibliotheken (Eine Studie im Auftrag der Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft; Berlin, 1991).

6. Yamamoto, Nobuo. The Meiji Imprints Microform Project (JMSTC). Paper delivered at the Colloquium on Resources for Japanese Studies, London. September 1988.

7. Rütimann, Hans. Preservation and Access in China: Possibilities for Cooperation (Washington, DC: Commission on Preservation and Access. 1992).

8. Slow Fires; On the preservation of the human record. The Spanish and French versions (voice-over) are available in VHS in either NTSC or PAL formats from the American Film Foundation, Box 2000, Santa Monica, CA 90406, for the same price as the English version.

9. Library of Congress. Action Plan for the Mass Deacidification Program, Washington, DC, May 1992.

10. Memory of the World. Safeguarding Rare and Unique Library and Archives Collections. Planning Document. UNESCO, Paris 1992.

11. Fabian, Bernhard. Handbuch der Historischen Buchbestände (Hildesheim: Georg Olms Verlag AG 1992).

Microfilming Projects Abroad
At the Collection Level, as of August 1, 1992

Project description: Plans are being made to embark on ambitious Algerian newspapers filming project.
Contact: Bibliothèque Nationale d’Algerie, Algiers.
Project description: 1) Commonwealth of Australia: State of Victoria electoral rolls 1903-1989 (joint project between the National Library of Australia and the State Library of Victoria to commence in 1991); 2) National Library of Asutralia: Pamphlet collection; includes twentieth century pamphlets published in Australia or relating to Australia; 3) Joint filming project for material relating to Australia which was held by the Public Record Office in London (Public Library of New South Wales and the Commonwealth National Library); Joint project to copy New South Wales provincial newspapers onto microfilm as they are published (Country Press Association and State Library of New South Wales). Two microform projects are under consideration: 1) Commonwealth of Australia: Electoral rolls 1903-1989, South Australia, Western Australia, Queensland, Tasmania, Northern Territory, and Australian Capital Territory; 2) Pre-1900 material listed in Ferguson’s Bibliography of Australia (includes all pre-1900 monographs, serials and pamphlets published in Australia or relating to Australia).
Contact: Director of Preservation, National Library of Australia. Please note that a listing of master negatives held by the National Library of Australia is available; each State Library in Australia also maintains similar listings.
Project description: A filming project for German-language newspapers is underway.
Contact: Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Wien.
Project description: National Plan for Microfilming Brazilian Periodicals: More than 15,000 master negatives are made so far and a joint project with six Latin American National libraries is planned.
Contact: Biblioteca Nacional, Rio de Janeiro.
Project description: Microfilms of mainly Bruneian newspapers: The Borneo Bulletin (1967-1979); Pelita Brunei (1974-1978)
Contact: National Library of Brunei, Brunei Darussalan.
Project description: National program for preservation microfilming of the Canadian imprint: 56,000 monographs and 3,000 annuals originally published in Canada prior to 1900. The current phase of filming is expected to be completed by 1993, by which time an additional 1,500 periodicals will have been filmed.
Contact: Canadian Institute for Historical Microreproduction, supported by the National Library of Canada).
Project description: Decentralized program for Canadian newspapers under which each province and territory assumes reponsibility for identifying, filming, and preserving (both on film and in the newsprint original) all the newspapers published within its jurisdiction. To date 3,800 newspapers have been filmed.
Contact: National Library of Canada, Ottawa (Sandra Burrows).
Project description: Canadian Thesis Service Collection: Masters thesis and doctoral dissertations of 44 Canadian university, produced from 1965 to 1974 on microfilm and from 1974 on microfiche; collection features more than 112,000 theses to which 7,000 to 8,000 theses are added annually.
Contact: Canadian Thesis Service, administered by the National Library of Canada, Ottawa (Patrice Landry).Note: The National Library is currently setting up a Canadian Register of Microform Masters. The minimum data elements for records in the Register as well as the procedures for reporting to the Register have been established by the Canadian Cooperative Preservation Project funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. A feasibility study for a machine link between the Canadian Register and RLIN will begin shortly.
Project description: “An important filming project” is underway.
Contact: National Library of Chile, Santiago.
Project description: Ancient Chinese books, mostly Chinese local history; Chinese genealogy materials; “South Manchurian Railway Company” collections.
Contact: The Library of Academia Sinica, Beijing.
Project description: 2,000 titles of Chinese rare books: Qian Long, Qing Dynasty and Sung to Ming Dynasty, 960-1644 AD; doctoral dissertations.
Contact: Peking University Library, Beijing.
Project description: Chinese ancient materials (14 subcenters of the Center of National Libraries Document Microforming). Note: The China National Microfilming Center for Library Resources in Beijing coordinates the filming at 14 centers throughout China. These centers generate between 45 million microfilm images per year.
Project description: Systematic filming of old manuscripts and books is taking place with an emphasis on manuscripts and books published before 1900 in the Royal Librarys collections. The main objective of the project is to protect endangered material from excessive handling.
Contact: The Royal Library, Copenhagen. Egypt
Project description: “The microfilming of collections has become a priority.” (Details will follow).
Contact: Egyptian National Library, Cairo.
Project description:

1) Finnish newspapers: All newspapers published in Finland or in the Finnish language abroad will be microfilmed (about 95% have already been filmed on 25,000 reels of 35mm film. All main newspapers are microfilmed continuously. An index of the contents of newspapers published during 1771-1890 is available on 320 microfiche.

2) The collection of older Finnish literature 1488-1809 and academic prints until 1827: The collection contains 7,200 books or pamphlets, 4,200 dissertations of the Academy of Turku, and 6,000 official publications–a total of 17,400 prints published in Latin, Swedish and Finnish. The most central material of the collection (2,250 publications and 5,500 booklets and pamphlets is available on 5,000 microfiche; Bibles in folio size have been filmed on 35 mm film).

3) The collection of Finnish literature 1810-1944: The major materials from 1810-1944 written by Finnish authors in Finnish and Swedish have been filmed. The literature during the period 1810-1944 available on film contains the history of Finland, old devotional literature, geographical and travelling books, address- and shipping registers, printing of political parties, literature and pamphlets of the women’s rights movement, the temperance movement, and youth associations. Some 2,500 printings have been microfilmed annually (today, there are about 16,500 titles on microfiche).

4) Russian newspapers: Helsinki University Library owns many special collections that originate from legal deposit copies of the literature of the various Russian nationalities and language groups between 1828-1917. Under the Russian Law of Censorship of 1828 the printers in the Russian Empire were required to send one copy of every publication to Helsinki University Library. Of the special collections created in this way, the Slavonic Collection is the largest. The microfilming of Russian newspapers started in 1986 and filming is expected to be completed in about 10 years. During this time about one million pages of newspapers will be microfilmed.

5) Latvian newspapers: The Latvian collection contains approximately 10,000 booktitles, 130 periodicals and 82 newspapers. The newspapers are from the period 1867-1919 and the majority are printed in Riga, St. Petersburg, Libau, and Jelgawa. From this collection, 29 of the major newspapers and their supplements have been filmed (funded by the Latvian Foundation in the United States). Microfilming is complete and 301 reels of film are available.

6) Finnish-American newspapers: Finnish-American newspapers have been microfilmed in cooperation with the Immigration History Research Center at the University of Minnesota. 669 negative reels of Finnish-American newspapers are available at the Helsinki University Library.

7) Manuscripts: The Prof. J.V Snellman Collection has been filmed on fiche (202 fiche); there are plans to microfilm other special collections in the near future.
Contact: Helsinki University Library, Helsinki.

Project description: By 1989 about 130,000 monographs were reproduced (mainly l9th-century French literature); in addition, some 5 million pages of French-language newspapers were filmed.
Contact: Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris.
Project description: At least a million books of the mid-nineteenth and twentieth centuries are scheduled for reproduction. By 1995, the Bibliothèque Nationale expects to have filmed 500,000 monographs and 18 million pages of newspapers.
Contact: Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris.Note: The bibliographic records of the Biblioteque Nationale’s register of microform masters are being converted to machine-readable form with support of the Commission on Preservation and Access. The converted records will be made available through U.S. bibliographic utilities.
Project description: Large collections of Hebrew manuscripts and dissertations have been filmed.
Contact: University Library, Rostock.
Project description: Newspapers published in the five former East German states.
Contact: Deutsche Bücherei, Leipzig.Note: With the merging of the two “national libraries”–East and West–to form Die Deutsche Bibliothek, microfilming and other tasks will be divided between Leipzig and Frankfurt. For example, Leipzig will concentrate on filming newspapers and periodicals before 1945, and Frankfurt’s emphasis will be on the period 1946 to present.
Project description: Exile literature (German Exile Archive 1933-1945) with more than 7,000 monographs and 110 serials titles filmed; West German newspapers from 1988: 345 titles have already been filmed, with the goal of collecting and filming all of Germany’s 1,225 newspapers.
Contact: Die Deutsche Bibliothek, Frankfurt/Main.
Project description: Corvey library, unique collection of German, French, and English books from the 18th and l9th centuries, 10,000 titles in about 27,000 volumes, with approximately six million pages.
Contact: Universität Gesamthochschule Paderborn, Paderborn.
Project description: German-language dissertations.
Contact: Humboldt University, Berlin.
Project description: Microfilm archive of German-language newspapers. The director of the “Institut der Deutschsprachigen Presse” estimates that the archive’s catalogues list approximately 80% of all German-language newspapers published in Germany (not including former East Germany).
Contact: Institut der Deutschsprachigen Presse, Dortmund.
Project description: The German Microform Project (funded by the Volkswagen Foundation). The responsibility for filming among the six major participants (and six additional institutions) has been assigned as follows:

University Library Frankfurt: German Literature from 1850 to 1900;
Staatsbibliothek Berlin: German dissertations published between World Wars I and II;
University Library Freiburg: Regional newspapers and “valuable collections;”
University Library Marburg: 16th century German literature, dissertations, and handbills from the reformation;
Library of Württemberg: “Inkunabeln” (early printed books);
University Library Wolfenbüttel: Theological literature from the 15th century to 1830.

Contact: Stadt- und Universitätsbibliothek Frankfurt am Main.

Great Britain
Project description: Selective filming of important scholarly collections held in the UK and Ireland, which have not previously been filmed (supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation).
Contact: British Library, London.
Project description: Materials selected from the modern manuscript papers and from holdings of late nineteenth and early twentieth century trade journals.
Contact: Bodleian Library, Oxford.
Project description: A national program of microfilming all Hungarian newspapers began in 1969. Between 1 and 1.5 million pages of newspapers are filmed annually. Hungarian newspapers from libraries in Slovakia and Yugoslavia have also been filmed under this program. Filming is now being extended to include journals and individual collections (manuscripts, theatrical materials, etc.).
Contact: National Library of Hungary, Budapest.
Project description: Trinity College Library (Dublin) is participating with the British Library in the preservation microfilming project funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and it is possible that this project will be extended to cover the National Library and other libraries in Ireland. Libraries and newspaper offices are participating in the Newsplan Project which aims to survey and microfilm local newspapers throughout the UK and Ireland. The Newsplan for Ireland will be published in spring 1992.
Project description: Judaica Archival Project: Filming of the variant readings of the Babylonian Talmud; 40-volume Koosevski concordance; Eastern European Manuscript collections (i.e., the Saltykov-Schedrin Library in Leningrad permitted the filming of 17,000 Hebrew manuscripts and fragments). Other microfilmed collections include almost all Isreali dailies, many Israeli weeklies, retrospective and current, Jewish press in all languages, Israeli doctoral dissertations, and Hebrew manuscripts.
Contact: The Jewish National and University Library, Jerusalem.
Project description: Microfilming of the following materials is in progress: Old and rare books; Japanese periodicals (100 titles); Japanese newspapers (304 titles published in Japan from Meiji Era to 1945); Official publications in Japan; GHQ documents; Modern Japanese Political History materials.
The following filming projects are completed: Books printed in the Meiji Era (all books contained in the National Diet Library Catalog of Books Printed in the Meiji Era were microfilmed; Proceedings of the committee in the House of Representatives (covering sessions from 1947-1955).
Contact: The National Diet Library, Tokyo.
Project description: Major Liechtenstein newspapers are available on microfilm. Examples: Liechtensteiner Landeszeitung (1863-1866); Liechtensteiner Vaterland (1936-); Oberrheinische Nachrichten (1924-1935).
Contact: Liechtensteinische Landesbibliothek, Vaduz.
Project description: 1) Historical data of different provinces in the Philippines (includes history, origin, culture and tradition–49 provinces are involved and filming is accomplished); 2) Rare Philippine periodicals (676 titles from 1821-1945); 3) Manuel Luis Quezon Papers (general correspondence of the Past President of the Philippines–1935-1944); 4) Philippine Literature (92 titles on 177 microfiche).
Contact: The National Library, Ermita, Manila.
Project description: Plans for an extensive filming program for Jewish newspapers.

Note: The National Library of Poland maintains a series of printed catalogues of microfilm holdings by major Polish libraries. Some 72,000 items have been filmed and 21 volumes of bibliographies list about a third of these items. Priority is given to manuscripts, old monographs, musical scores, maps, and Polish newspapers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. A plan–to convert the bibliographic descriptions of microform masters to machine-readable form–is being discussed.
Contact: National Library of Poland, Warsaw. Singapore

Project description: The National Library of Singapore microfilms depository library materials for preservation which includes books, journals, monographs, and local newspapers. Microfilming of these materials is an on-going process and there are about 11,000 titles that have been microfilmed by the library. Examples of filmed newspaper collections: 1) Almost complete holdings of Singapore newspapers including early titles such as Singapore Free Press (1887-1962), the Singapore Daily Times (1869-1882), and the Syonan Shinbun (1942-1945); 2) Major pre-war Malaysian newspapers such as the Pinang Gazette and Straits chronicle (1838-1941) and the Malay Mail (1896-1940, 1942, 1942-); 3) Major British newspapers such as The Times (1928-1941, 1949-) and the Financial Times (1946-); 4) Current Singapore newspapers.

Books and periodicals published in Singapore on or before 1975, rare and out of print books, theses, and dissertations on Southeast Asia are available on microfilm.
Contact: National Library, Singapore.

South Africa
Project description: 1) Complete holdings of medieval manuscripts and Ethiopian manuscripts have been filmed in cooperation with the Hill Monastic Manuscript Library; 2) Newspaper collections: In a South African cooperative microfilming program, Cape newspapers are being filmed. Retrospective filming concentrates of the brittle paper era 1880s to 1920s and the project is ongoing; 3) Government Publications Collections: The “Cape of Good Hope Official Publications” (OFFIPUBS) program is in progress. Documents relating to the Parliament of the Cape Colony (1854-1910) are being copied onto microfiche. Completed are Parliamentary reports 1882-1903; work is in progress.
Contact: South African Library, Cape Town.
Project description: “Archivo General de Indias in Seville:” Not a microfilming project per se but an enormous reformatting effort on optical discs): 45 million documents and 7,000 maps and blueprints comprising the “Archivo,” the printed heritage of Spain’s four hundred years in power in the Americas.
Contact: Ministry of Culture, Madrid.
Project description:

1) Newspapers: Since 1979, the Royal Library has a government commission to microfilm all newspapers published in Sweden. All Swedish newspapers have been filmed continously since 1979 (180 titles, including periodical supplements and newsbills, with some 90 editions with a total of more than 1 million exposures a year).

2) Newspaper prior to 1979 are being microfilmed as a separate retrospective project. The yearly production is about half a million exposures. Newspaper microfilming was performed before 1979 by a private company (Rekolid-Cefab). The masters are now with the Royal Library.

3) Posters: Political posters from the Royal Library collections have been microfilmed in a pilot project.

4) Other microfilming: The Royal Library Swedish chapbook collection (old popular songs) has largely been filmed. A private microform publisher is filming Sweden’s literature before 1700. The 15th and 16th centuries are ready for filming.

Contact: The Royal Library, Stockholm.

Project description: Major Swiss newspapers are available on microfilm. Examples: Neue Zürcher Zeitung (1780-1989, 1990-); Der Bund (1871-1965, 1966-); Journal de Genève (1890-1915).
Contact: Schweizerische Landesbibliothek, Bern.Note: Hill Monastic Manuscript Library is planning to film medieval and Renaissance manuscripts in the monasteries of Einsiedeln, Engelberg, and Sarnen. Hill Monastic also filmed extensive medieval and Renaissance manuscript collections in Austria, England, Germany, Portugal, Malta, and other countries.
Project description: “Microfilming of collections has become a priority” (more details are promised).
Contact: National Library, Damascus.
Project description: The National Library is undertaking a large microfilming program of newspapers and other parts of its collections.
Contact: National Library, Taipei.
Project description: Several microfilming projects are ongoing.
Contact: Bibliothèque Nationale de Tunisie, Tunis.
Project description: Newspapers and periodicals are filmed systematically; rare books and brittle items are filmed as needed; Filming of a collection of l9th century periodicals and imprints is underway (the emphasis in filming is on Venezuelan materials).

Project description: As part of the fifth centennial project, the National Library is coordinating the ABINIA microfilm collection which includes about 300 titles (16th to 18th centuries) from Argentina, Brasil, Colombia, Cuba, Chile, Ecuador, Spain, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Uruguay, and Venezuela. These countries selected the 20 most important title from their rare collections.
Contact: Biblioteca Nacional, Caracas.

Please send comments about this listing and information about additional microfilming projects abroad to Hans Rütimann, International Project Consultant, Commission on Preservation and Access, 312 West 77th St., #G, New York, N.Y. 10024, Tel. and Fax (212) 721-5173, Bitnet: BB.HXR@RLG.

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