18th Annual Preservation Conference

Preservation Reformatting—
Use, Sustainability and Affordability
Stephen Chapman
Weissman Preservation Center
Harvard University Library

March 27, 2003

Harvard Practices:
Multiple Technologies and Services

  • Film
    • 35mm microfilm, film negatives, slides, photographic prints
  • Digital
    • b/w, grayscale, color images; full text (OCR); metadata
  • Hybrid (microfilm + digital) (film/print surrogate + digital)
    • text: 35mm microfilm, 1-bit digital images (and OCR)
    • pictorial: film or print surrogate, 24-bit digital images
  • Hybrid (microfilm + digital) + Direct Digital
    • 35mm microfilm and 1-bit (b/w) digital images: all pages,
      + grayscale or color (direct) digital images: selected pages

Preservation & Access Mission

Perpetuate use.

“Preservation … shall not come at the expense of usability.”

… goal is to perpetuate access to that portion of source materials identified as essential to continued usefulness for stated purposes.
Weissman Preservation Center

Reformatting Infrastructure:
Time Capsule

To preserve information content...

  • Production
    • Make copies
  • Acquisition
    • Move copies from production to storage
  • Storage
    • Maintain copies and environments

Film Reel and Box

Web page for HD-Rosetta Archival Preservation Services

Reformatting Infrastructure:
[No] Time Capsule

To preserve information content...

  • Production
    • Make copies
  • Acquisition
    • Move copies from production to storage
  • Storage
    • Maintain copies and environments

Reformatting Infrastructure:

To preserve use of information content...

  • Production
  • Acquisition
  • Storage
  • Discovery
    • Catalogs
  • Delivery
    • Reader/printers, slide projectors, networked PCs

Two Contexts of Usability

  • Usable by machines
    • film duplicators, enlargers, reader/printers
    • image processing software, web browsers
  • Usable by people
    • preservation managers and technical specialists
    • scholars and other users

Analog, Digital or Hybrid?

Users and use requirements

  • Owner, to manage risk of loss
    • copy mss for preservation backup, not distribution
  • Librarian, to build collection
    • 491 reels duped in FY02, including 63 titles by NLM to fill gaps
  • Users, to “access” and “study” item(s)
    • definitions dictate delivery format

Affordability: Pragmatic Solutions

  • Production
  • Acquisition and storage
  • Discovery
  • Delivery
  • Standards and quality metrics
  • Centralized repositories
  • Scalable delivery services that meet user needs
  • Maximum intervals between interventions
    • When obsolete, you must repeat (reformatting).
  • Considered uses of production technology(ies)
    • Masters
    • Deliverables


  • Industry-created
    • Product discontinuation (mfrg and/or support)
      • Example: KODAK EKTAPAN Film
      • Example: color-matched printing from transparency film
    • User-created
      • Change in expectation: abandonment of format (service model) or device
      • Example: shift from reserves (photocopies) to e-reserves (digital) to distribute course materials
      • Example: shift from PCs to PDAs

Role of Analog or Digital

Meet requirements for production, storage and delivery in most affordable way

  • Production
    • Once-per-? costs for masters: optimize for automated production of range of deliverables
    • Periodic costs for delivery
  • Storage
    • Annual costs, regardless of use
  • Delivery
    • Costs largely determined by market factors: users/user needs, availability of technology

Harvard Infrastructure

Library Preservation Web Page

Imaging Equipment Photographs
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

Harvard Depository Web Page

Digital Repository Service Web Page

Harvard Libraries: Other Catalogs Web Page

Harvard University Library Office for Information Services

Infrastructure Systems and Services Diagram

Harvard Products

Product Specifications Tailored to Project

  • Formats and versions
    • Analog and digital
      • Standards, best practices, funding & repository policies
      • Required output(s) [for use] in near-term
  • Technical specifications and quality control
    • Analog
      • Conventions for “preservation”: standards, best practices, funding policies, quality requirements
    • Digital
      • No conventions for “preservation”: informed by extent of vendor services, empirical review of samples, price

Production Strategies: Text

  • Filming of bound and unbound materials
    • Use requirements satisfied with analog copies
  • Filming of bound volumes: scanning of film
    • Retain bindings, 1-bit output, direct bound scanning not yet viable for high production
  • Direct digitization of print
    • 8-bit, 24-bit output
  • Autofeed scanning of brittle pages (or photocopies)
    • Multiples, 1-bit output, film quality not uniform
  • Legacy microfilm scanning -- exploring
    • Depends upon quality of film

Production Strategies: Photographs

  • Direct digitization of prints, film, plates
    • HUAM exclusively digital
  • Photographic services
    • Film masters
    • Darkroom (chemical) b/w prints
  • Digitization of legacy film
    • Post processing varies according to budget
    • File sizes range from 15-200 MB for color work…

Scanned Transparency Sample Image

Harvard Prices
repository storage, (some) delivery

Repository Storage Annual Charges, by Size

  • Harvard Depository
    • $3.91 per Billable Square Foot (standard)
    • $9.85 per Billable Square Foot (film vault)
  • Harvard Digital Repository Service
    • $5.00 per GB (1,024 MB)

Text Storage (Masters):
Harvard Repository Costs Compared

Bar Chart of HD and  DRS Annual Storage Costs (2002)

Scanned Images of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's Hyperion

Title Page of Longfellow's Hyperion
Click to Enlarge
First Page of Longfellow's Hyperion
Click to Enlarge
Black and White Images

Text Storage (Masters):
Harvard Repository Costs Compared

Chart of HD and DRS Annual Storage Costs (2002)

Photographs Storage (Masters):
Harvard Repository Costs Compared

HD and DRS Annual Storage Costs (2002) for 3,000 Photographs

Delivery Services: Newspapers


  • Periodic cost
    • $7,800 per reader/printer
  • Annual cost
    • $ 950 per reader/printer


  • Periodic cost
    • $ 49,000 per license (min.) or $ .218 per page + $1,000
  • Annual cost
    • $ 7,412 per license (min.) or $ .218 per page + $1,000

Analog, Digital or Both?


  • Production + storage + discovery + delivery
    • Factoring use requirements
    • Factoring volume
    • Factoring infrastructure
    • Factoring business models
    • Factoring time (between interventions)

Thank you

Stephen Chapman
Preservation Librarian for Digital Initiatives
Weissman Preservation Center

Preservation Conference 2003 Main Page