Title: Condition of microfilm in patron-use collections, June 4, 1996
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00089882/00001
 Material Information
Title: Condition of microfilm in patron-use collections, June 4, 1996
Physical Description: Archival
Language: English
Creator: Kesse, Erich J.
Harrell, Bob
Schwartz, Nelda
Publication Date: June 4, 1996
Copyright Date: 1996
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00089882
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Full Text
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UNIIT


The Condition of Microfilm in Patron-Use Collections

Bob Harrell, Erich Kesse, Nelda Schwartz
June 4, 1996.

SUMMARY OF FINDINGS

In summarizing findings of this microform condition survey, two general areas surfaced as points of
concern: acetate film base and storage conditions. Cosmetically the George A. Smathers Libraries
microform collections faired well. While cosmetic defects (i.e. fingerprints, scratches, etc.) are not
desirable, they are inevitable in a collection with such use. The amount identified in this survey is
not alarming. A much more disturbing statistic is the number of microforms which are acetate
based films. The instability of acetate based films is well documented. Off-gassing from these films
creates deterioration problems for other films in the collection while accelerating their own
embrittlement and destruction. As the survey indicates, approximately one-third of the collections
are acetate based films. These films need polyester base replacement to minimize damage to other
films in the collections. This survey also indicates that storage conditions of the collections is not
favorable. Silvering, mold/fungus, swelling/curling, and other indicators imply that microform
deterioration is being accelerated by fluctuations in temperature and relative humidity. A more
stable environment is needed to help maintain good film quality, regardless of film base.

Current data is not sufficient for determining the rate of microform deterioration within the
collections. Data on other factors (i.e. proximity of advanced deteriorating film to other films;
current storage conditions; procedures for handling and shelving films; viewing hardware, etc.) that
contribute to film deterioration must be explored and documented before estimates can be more
accurately projected for deterioration rate.

Another problem was identified while gathering information from survey item catalog records.
Many catalog records were incorrect or incomplete. For example: 17 survey items (10.24% of total
items surveyed) were not on NOTIS; 32 (19.28%) holding records were nonexistent or unclear; 20
(12%) had neither holdings records nor item records; etc. Correct item records and holdings
information is vital to a survey of this type. Reliability of findings and convenience to information
depend on accurate catalog records.

RATIONALE FOR SURVEY

Evidence of microfilm deterioration in our collections has been apparent for years. For more than a
decade, the Microform Center in Library West has maintained a quarantine over select microfilms
whose deterioration threatened other films. At the same time, institutions from Florida to British
Columbia reported the deterioration of microfilms. Studies issued by the Image Permanence
Institute (IPI) confirmed the deterioration and raised questions about the vitality of acetate based
films in particular (1).


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Previous study at the University of Florida surveyed condition of the Libraries master microfilms
and examined the causes of deterioration among these films (2). It was reasonable to assume that
conditions afflicting our master microfilms afflicted our use collections to a greater degree than the
quarantined films indicated. Given IPI's findings, it seemed our acetate based films -- a large part of
the commercial microform supply through the late-1980's, represented a time-bomb of sorts, as
certain as embrittlement among acidic 19th and early 20th century books.

SURVEY METHODOLOGY IN BRIEF

A program of review and replacement upon deterioration, at best, seemed wise and, at worst, crisis
management. A survey of microfilms in use collections began in 1992 as a step toward planned
care. From 1992 October through 1993 June, based upon national standard (3) and previous
experience, the survey collected data on the conditions of 855 microfilm reels and 740 microfiche
-- 1,595 microforms in all -- in each of the Smathers Libraries patron-use microform collections
(e.g., Education Library, Government Documents collections, Humanities/Social Services Library,
Latin American Collection, Marston Science Library, P.K. Yonge Library of Florida History, and
the Price Library of Judaica). Survey design sought to characterize the microform's container and
carrier (i.e., reel or core) as well as the microform itself Surveyors, trained by experienced staff,
looked for evidence of deterioration (e.g., blemishes, efflorescence, scratches, warping, etc.) and
manufacture (e.g., base of film, emulsion, etc.).

Instruction given to and carried out by surveyors and collection curators also allowed for triage
among sampled microforms. Immediate care included additional quarantine and implementation of
a very modest replacement program for the worst cases. Treatments offered included the
replacement of harmful containers and carriers. Acidic microfilm boxes and envelopes were
replaced with neutral or alkaline buffered supply. Metal reels and cores of any type were replaced
with inert plastic reels. Volatile plastic reels and reels with solid walls were also replaced.
Rubberbands and plastic restraints were replaced with alkaline buffered reel ties and broken or torn
films were sent to the Preservation Department for repair.

Sampled microforms were chosen at random using an automated random number generator
modified for each collection. Though the 1,595 microforms surveyed represent less than 1% of the
Libraries microform holdings, survey findings are accurate to within 5% for the
Humanities/Social Sciences Library and 10% for other microform collections. Regardless of
holding collection, in the aggregate, findings are accurate to within 5%.

SURVEY FINDINGS IN DETAIL

Containers, Enclosures, etc.
[] Containers (e.g., boxes, envelopes, etc.)
[1 Retainers (e.g., paper bands, rubberbands, etc.)
U Reels (e.g., metal, plastic, etc.)
Microform characteristics
D Film format (e.g., roll film, microfiche, etc.)
o Film base (e.g., acetate, polyester, etc.)
0 Microform size (e.g., 16 mm, 35 mm, etc.)
O Polarity (e.g., negative, positive, or mixed)
o Emulsion types (e.g., diazo, silver, vesicular, etc.)


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Condition findings
L Fingerprints
U Scratches
l Breaks in film
L Slice types (e.g., glue, tape, weld, etc.)
o Adhesion of layers
O Embrittlement
L Chemical stains (i.e., Inadequate film processing)
o Efflorescence (i.e., Micro-crystaline by-product of acetate film deterioration)
L Mold/Fungus
o Odor
o Redox blemishes (i.e., Oxidation evidence associated with image density and processing)
O Silvering/Mirroring (i.e., Oxidation evidence associated with storage environment)
O Swelling/Curl
Replacement issues
o Availability
L Order Fulfillment
L Projected replacement costs

CONTAINER TYPES

Several types of containers have been used for microform storage. Cardboard and plastic boxes,
metal cans, and paper envelopes were found in the collections.

Roll-film/Microfilm
Cardboard box (98.8% of all microfilms sampled)
Of these, 23% were acidic. Surveyors and collection curators attempted to
replace acidic boxes with alkaline buffered boxes as time permitted. Acidic
boxes will remain in the unsampled microfilm collections and are characterized
by unbuffered, grainy texture and obvious discoloration.
pH neutral or alkaline buffered boxes represented 7.2% of the sample. pH was
not confirmed for the 69.8% of sample remaining.
Plastic box (1.0%)
Metal can (0%, metal cans had been replaced prior to survey)
No container (0.2%)
Surveyors and collection curators provided alkaline buffered boxes in the course
of survey. Roll films lacking containers will still be found in a small portion of
the unsampled collections.
Microfiche
Paper envelope (95.8% of all microfiche sampled)
pH of paper envelopes was not studied. The few examined were shown to be
acid free and lignin free.
Tyvek envelope (0%)
While some tyvek microfiche envelopes are know to exist in the collections,
none were selected by the survey sample.
No container (4.2%)
Surveyors and collection curators provided alkaline buffered envelopes and
dividers in the course of survey. Microfiche lacking containers will still be found
in the unsampled collections.


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The survey did not specifically look at container condition. Microform collection curators have
actively replaced dysfunctional containers as found.

Acid-free/lignin-free cardboard microfilm boxes are considered the most desirable and convenient
to use. Plastic boxes may be used but are not as desirable because off-gassing of the box
plasticizers can negatively affect film base and emulsions. Plastic boxes also do not "breathe" and
create a microenvironment that can be harmful to film base and emulsion if gases are trapped inside
the box. Metal cans are least desirable because of degradation of the paint coatings and metal
decomposition that create environments that are destructive to film base and emulsions.

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RETAINER TYPES

Retainers are used only with roll-films. Several types of retainers, primarily paper-bands and
rubberbands, were identified. Some roll-film was not retained on the reel by any means.

Paper-band (78.5% of all microfilms sampled)
One quarter of these were confirmed to be acid free and lignin free. The quality of the
remaining paper-bands was not established.
Rubberband (6.9%)
Rubberbands, when encountered, were removed and replaced by surveyors or
collection curators with alkaline buffered and lignin free paper-bands. Rubberbands
will still be found in the unsampled microfilm collections.
Other retainer (0.4%)
Other retainers, when encountered, were removed and replaced by surveyors or
collection curators with alkaline buffered and lignin free paper-bands. Other retainers
will still be found in the unsampled microfilm collections.
Other retainer types included: pvc (plastic) strips, adhesive tape, and paper clips.
No retainer (14.2%)

An acid and lignin free paper band, or "tie" is preferred because they do not create hazardous
chemicals or gases. Paper bands also restrict movement of the film on the reel, reducing scratches
caused by movement of overlapping film layers. Rubber bands should not be used because sulfur,
used to produce rubber band elasticity, reacts negatively with silver images and film base.
Plasticizers used to stabilize PVC (plastic) strips release corrosive hydrogen chloride gas which
migrates and concentrates to the surface of the strips, damaging any film base or silver images with
which it might come in contact. Adhesive tape may pull emulsion layers from the film base.
Residual tape adhesive may obstruct viewing equipment film path, causing film damage as it is
viewed.

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REEL TYPE

Both plastic and metal reels were found in the collections. Though no cores, i.e., reels without
walls, were found, several were found and replaced prior to the survey. The existence of cores in
the collections is negligible. Also negligible were the number of roll-films found without reels or
cores.

No core of any type (0% of all roll-film/microfilms sampled)
Plastic reel (97.5%)
Plastic reels, either not inert or without open walls, when encountered, were replaced
by surveyors or collection curators with open-walled, inert plastic reels. Other plastic
reels lacking optimal characteristics will still be found in the unsampled microfilm
collections. The number of such reels was not quantified.
Metal reel (2.2%)
Metal reels, when encountered, were replaced by surveyors or collection curators with
open-walled, inert plastic reels. A concentrated effort to replace metal reels in the
Humanities/Social Sciences Library's Microform Center was completed after survey.
Other metal reels will still be found in the unsampled microfilm collections of the other
libraries.
No reel or core (0.3%)
Roll-films without reels, when encountered, were provided with open-walled, inert
plastic reels by surveyors or collection curators. Other roll-films without reels may still
be found in the unsampled microfilm collections.

Preservation standard requires reel film to be housed on inert plastic reels with open walls. Paint
coatings of metal reels may react negatively with silver images or film base. If metal reels are not
stored properly they will decompose, producing harmful residue (i.e. rust, metal shards, etc.) which
may scratch silver emulsion or create cuts in film base. Open walls of reels allow films to "breathe"
with environmental changes. Film base may swell or contract depending on humidity levels. Open
walls reduce the affect of this change on the film. Solid wall reels do not allow film to flex with
temperature and humidity changes which may cause reels to warp. This, in turn, causes film to
become restricted on the reel, creating greater possibility of tearing of film as it is unspooled for
viewing. Because closed wall reels do not readily allow contraction and expansion, the possibility
of film adhesion (i.e. emulsion sticking to the previous wrap of film) is greatly increased.

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FILM FORMAT

Both roll-film (53.6% of sample) and microfiche (46.4%) were found in the collections. One hybrid
microfiche made of roll film cut into strips and placed into channeled polyester jackets was also
found.


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Approximately 10.3% of the Libraries' microforms are roll-films. Though roll-films are over
represented in this survey, information about both roll-films and microfiche, individually and in the
aggregate, are accurate to a confidence level of + 5%.

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FILM BASE

Two types of film base, acetate and polyester, were identified. The percentage of each was
relatively consistent among film formats, roll-film/microfilm and microfiche.

ROLL-FILM/MICROFILM
Acetate based film (33.7% of all microfilms sampled)
HSSL
69.8% of acetate base roll-film/microfilm sample
70.4% of all roll-fill/microfilm
LAC
28.8% of acetate base roll-film/microfilm sample
26.4% of all roll-film/microfilm
MSL
1.3% of acetate base roll-film/microfilm sample
1.8% of all roll-film/microfilm
JUD
0% of acetate base roll-film/microfilm sample
.7% of all roll-film/microfilm
EDU
0% of acetate base roll-film/microfilm sample
.6% of all roll-film/microfilm
Polyester based film (66.3% of all microfilm sampled)
HSSL
70.7% of polyester base roll-film/microfilm sample
70.4% of all roll-fill/microfilm
LAC
25.1% of polyester baseroll-film/microfilm sample
26.4% of all roll-film/microfilm
MSL
2.1% of polyester base roll-film/microfilm sample
1.8% of all roll-film/microfilm
JUD
1.1% of polyester base roll-film/microfilm sample
.7% of all roll-film/microfilm
EDU
.9% of polyester base roll-film/microfilm sample
.6% of all roll-film/microfilm


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MICROFICHE
Acetate based film
28.8% of all microfiche sampled
HSSL
54.1% of sample
LAC
0% of sample
MSL
45.9% of sample
JUD
0% of sample
EDU
0% of sample

Polyester based film
71.2% of all microfiche sampled
HSSL
54.1% of sample
LAC
0% of sample
MSL
45.9% of sample
JUD
0% of sample
EDU
0% of sample

While we feel certain some acetate based films are contained in the Judaica and Education
collections, their survey sample, based on percentages of the entire collections, showed none.

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MICROFORM SIZE

Roll-film/Microfilm
The nominal size was 35 mm throughout the sample. From experience, we know that
there are 16 mm roll-films in the collections, but their number is clearly negligible.
Microfiche
The nominal sheet size was 105 x 148 mm throughout the sample.

Preservation guidelines suggest acquisition of 35 mm film whenever available. Microfilming for
preservation guidelines require 35 mm film. 35 mm film allows for lower reduction, is more
tollerant of resolution errors than 16 mm film and is the defacto standard among microfilm reader
manufacturers. 16mm microfiche contents is determined by the reduction ratio at which the camera


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is set at filming. 105mm x 148mm is the defacto standard. Microfiche collections should adhere to
a uniform size to prevent leaning and bending. Leaning and bending result in scratched and curled
fiche and can lead to nicks or tears that may accelerate necessity of replacement.

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FILM POLARITY

Positive and negative microforms as well as one roll-film composed of both negative and positive
microfilm were identified.

Roll-film/Microfilm
Positive (97% of all microfilms sampled)
Negative (3%)
Silver (94.1% of microfilms sampled)
Mixed polarity (i.e., positive and negative) (a negligible percentage)
Microfiche
Positive (1% of all microfiche sampled)
Negative (99%)
Silver (19.1% of microfiche sampled)
Mixed polarity (i.e., positive and negative) (a negligible percentage)
All Microforms
Positive (52.3% of all microforms sampled)
Negative (47.7%)
Mixed polarity (i.e., positive and negative) (a negligible percentage)

Polarity was surveyed to help determine duplication and replacement costs. Silver negative films in
the use collections is more susceptible to all forms of degradation (i.e. scratches, improper storage
and handling, etc.). This means shorter shelf life and more frequent replacement. It is known that
some negatives in the use collection are the only existing negatives. A separate survey is being
conducted to identify and replace these negatives.

While negative microfiche sample seemed extremely high, these numbers were found to be
representative of the collection. Images in microfiche format filmed at high reduction ratios (i.e.
1:32) create a very small image. Negative images give higher contrast, making smaller images
easier to read. Government documents make up a majority of the microfiche collection. The
collection staff indicated that government documents on microfiche are almost exclusively negative
format.

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EMULSION TYPE

Each of the three emulsion types, diazo, silver and vesicular, used in microfilm production exists in
the collection. Although some vesicular film is known to exist in the collections, only silver and
diazo emulsion types were evident in the survey sample.

Roll-film/Microfilm
Diazo (5.9% of all microfilms sampled)
Silver/Silver-halide (94.1%)
Vesicular (0%)
Microfiche
Diazo (80.9% of all microfiche sampled)
Silver/Silver-halide (19.1%)
Vesicular (0%)

Emulsion is the light sensitive coating suspended in a gelatin layer and fixed to the film base layer.
Silver emulsion films, of all emulsion types, have the greatest potential life expectancy in storage.
Diazo film contains photosensitive diazonium salts suspended in the film. Diazo film is more
durable that silver film but has a life expectancy shorter than silver films. Vesicular film contains
photosensitive dies suspended in the film. Vesicular film, like diazo, is very durable but has a life
expectancy shorter than either diazo or silver films.

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FINGERPRINTS

Fingerprints are an inevitable signature of use. While not all fingerprints are visible, surveyors noted
that 16.6% of all microforms sampled carried visible fingerprints.

Fingerprints contain oils, acids and other contaminants that can be harmful to film emulsions. Oils,
in particular, may provide fertile anchor to mold spores and may migrate successfully through silver
gelatin emulsions. Fingerprints also deposit particulates which, to some degree, are responsible for
scratching.

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SCRATCHES

Scratching microfilm during storage and usage seems inevitable, and the survey found just under
one quarter of all microforms to be scratched so as to obliterate images/text. (Other scratches were
discounted.)


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Roll-film/Microfilm
Scratches were noted on 15.9% (136 of 855) of roll-films.
Of scratched roll-films, 94.85% (129 of 136) had silver emulsion (i.e., 16.02%, or 129
of 855) of silver emulsion roll-films were scratched).
Microfiche
Scratches were noted on 32.61% (241 of 739) of microfiche.
Of scratched microfiche, 14.93% (36 of 241) had silver emulsion (i.e., 25.53% (36 of
141) of silver emulsion microfiche were scratched).

It was suspected that fingerprints, indicative of poor handling, could be associated with scratches,
but this seems unlikely as only 5.7% of scratched film had evidence of fingerprints -- not even half
the microforms showing fingerprint evidence.

Improperly handled film or film used on equipment that is in need of repair or adjustment causes
scratches to the emulsion layer. Silver film is particularly succeptable to scratches because the
emulsion rides on the surface of the film rather than within a film layer as do diazo and vesicular
emulsions. Scratches can destroy images/text, as well as provide havens for microbiological growth
by exposing the films' gelatin layer. Cross-tabulation of survey data found no significant correlation
of mold to scratches in the sample.

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BREAKS IN FILM

The survey found no instances of unrepaired film breaks. Microform collection curators have
always sought to repair broken or torn films immediately upon discovery.

Breaks and tears occur when microfilm is mishandled by the user, when equipment for viewing
films is in need of adjustment or repair, or when the film itself is inherently weak or weakened as a
result of embrittlement or weak prior splicing.

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SPLICE TYPES

The majority of roll-films sampled (98.48%) had never been spliced. Adhesive- and tape-splices
and ultrasonic welds were noted among the remaining 1.5% of the sample.

Adhesive/Glue splice (0.47% of all microfilms sampled)
Tape splice (0.35%)
Ultrasonic weld (0.35%)


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Other splice (e.g., heat weld) (0.35%)

The most desirable method of joining two pieces of film is by ultrasonic weld. Ultrasonic welds are
stronger and more durable than heat welds or any of the various splicing methods. However, their
strength and durability can only be guaranteed with polyester films. The Preservation Department
now uses ultrasonic welding exclusively, even though they may have to be repeatedly used on
acetate films over time. Tape splicing adhesive migrates, causing sticking, and may pull silver
emulsions and the images they carry with them from their film base. Residual adhesive may cause
the film path of viewing equipment to become obstructed, increasing chances of film damage. Glue
and other adhesives which chemically bonds films together contain plasticizers which volatilize
(i.e., become embrittled) with age and re-break, but the detrimental effects on human health of
these adhesives is the greatest reason for their non-use.

NUMBER OF SPLICES
Preservation standard suggests that no more than 6 splices be made to any film; the greater number
of splices the more likely scratching, tearing and breaking will occur when equipment encounters
the splice. No sampled film had been spliced more than twice.

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ADHESION OF LAYERS/STICKING

Survey did not find adhesion or sticking of silver emulsion microforms to be a significant problem
(0.3%). Adhesion among silver emulsion roll-films sampled was slightly more prevalent (0.5%)
than it was among silver emulsion microfiche sampled (0.3%).

Adhesion is indicative of high humidity storage climates affecting silver emulsion films. As silver
emulsion film is wound onto reels, moisture can become trapped between the film base of one loop
and the gelatin emulsion layer of the next loop. Adhesion can also affect silver emulsion microfiche
stored without envelopes or dividers. When adhesion occurs, images carried by the emulsion may
be stripped from the supporting film base during use.

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EMBRITTLEMENT

Survey did not find embrittlement of microforms to be a significant problem (0.4%) overall. None
of the polyester based films were brittle. However, 1.1% of acetate base films were embrittled.

Embrittlement is a natural result of aging, exaggerated or advanced by certain climate conditions.
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known to be less stable than polyester film in this regard. Embrittled films tend to curl and are
prone to breaking with use.

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CHEMICAL STAINS

Chemical residue or "stain" was evident in 5% of the total sample and 7.6% of the silver emulsion
microforms sampled. Identification of chemical stains was not possible but should be assumed as
detrimental to silver emulsion films.

Residues "stain" microfilm as a result of inadequate processing. Water, fixer and developers are the
frequent sources of stains and are threats to the gelatin emulsion of silver films. They may soften or
"eat" into a gelatin emulsion, causing adhesion or separation, image distortion or fading, etc.

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EFFLORESCENCE

Evidence of efflorescence among the sample as a whole was insignificant (0.2%). Polyester base
films are not known to effloresce, and no polyester base films were identified among microforms
efflorescing. Acetate base films were efflorescing at a rate of 0.6% of the acetate base film sample.
Evidence of chemical staining could not be associated with efflorescence; the correlation was
negligible.

Efflorescense, manifest as a white or gray, powdery substance, is a by-product of film
deterioration, usually advanced and most commonly associated with acetate based films.

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MOLD/FUNGUS

Surveyors identified 5.2% of the total sample (5.81% of the silver emulsion sample) as having signs
of mold, mildew or other fungal infection. Of these in the total sample, 28% had visible
fingerprints. Cross-tabulation correlated 1.57% of microforms (1% silver emulsion) with visible
fingerprints to an infection. Cross-tabulation arising from concern that efflorescence was
misreported as mold, found no correlation or misreporting of efflorescence.


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Mold and other microbiological agents may soften or "eat" into a gelatin emulsion, causing
adhesion or separation, image distortion or fading, etc. Humid conditions, either in the storage
area, drawers or containers, promote infection. Microforms are ideally stored at or below 40%
Relative Humdity.

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ODOR

A chemical ("vinegar") odor from microforms was reported in 3.6% of the total sample. Odor
could not be associated with polyester base films, but was associated with 10.6% of the acetate
base film sample. Associations with chemical residue (0.4%), and mold (0.5%) were insignificant.
No association with efflorescence, another symptom of acetate base film decomposition, could be
established.

When film base deteriorates to critical levels, odorous off-gassing occurs. Once off-gassing occurs,
a microenvironment is created within microform containers and drawers that accelerates the
deterioration of adjacent microforms. Odor or off-gassing is the most often considered factor in
quarantine decision making among the Libraries' microform collection curators.

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REDOX BLEMISHES

Evidence of Redox blemish among silver emulsion films was 3.0%. Of affected silver emulsion
roll-films, 95% were found contained within acidic cardboard boxes.

Redox, red oxidized blemishes often referred to as "measles", is an indication of silver oxidation
resulting from a combination of image density, inadequate film processing (i.e., developing and
washing), and inadequate storage climate. Non acid-free/lignin-free containers may contain
peroxides and other industrial agents known to accelerate silver oxidation. Redox damages silver
emulsion films and obliterated the images carried by the emulsion.

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SILVERING/MIRRORING


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Silvering (i.e., mirroring/tarnishing) of silver emulsion films was reported at a rate of 9.1%.

As silver particles of film emulsion are exposed to oxidants in poor storage and use environments,
the black silver image turns a bluish color, making it reflective. This is referred to as "silvering".
Advanced silvering makes this blue color even more pronounced, giving a metallic or mirrored
sheen. This condition eventually renders images carried by the emulsion unreadable.

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SWELLING/CURL

Swelling or curls were reported at a rate of 12.3% in the total sample. Swelling/curl is not known
to be associated with polyester base film and no association could be made by the survey. Among
acetate base films, swelling/curl was reported at a rate of 36.6%. The Latin American Collection
contains 59.18% (116 of 196) of the items identified with swelling/curl. Humanities and Social
Sciences Collection contains 40.3% (79 of 196) of the surveyed items and Marston Science Library
Collection indicated .52% (1 of 196). Judaica and Education samples did not show swelling/curl.

Swelling occurs when relative humidity (RH) in the storage environment is too high. Ideally, RH
should be 35% 5% (American standard previously allowed for a range of 40% 5%). High RH
may allow moisture to be absorbed into the film -- this is most probable with silver emulsions.
Swelling is symptomatic of films subjected to high RH.

Curl occurs when plasticizers in the film have escaped (i.e., the film has become embrittled).
Climate "cycling", (i.e., temperature fluctuation which dries then re-hydrates film) advances curl
and embrittlement.

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AVAILABILITY

(Insert statements here.)

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ORDER FULFILLMENT


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The survey did not study order fulfillment issues outside of current availability study. Availability
does not imply successful order fulfillment or continuing availability.

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PROJECT REPLACEMENT COSTS

Vendors were identified for titles selected for the survey which were acetate based films to
determine replacement costs. Much confusion arose trying to determine replacement costs because
targeting of many films did not include specific information concerning production. Many of the
vendors who produced these microfilms have gone out of business, merged with other companies,
moved offshore, etc. Some vendors were unaware that they held negatives for specific survey titles
while others were unaware that they duplicated microforms for sale. Some were unaware whom to
contact within their own organization to find duplication prices. Some refused to give a specific
price even though the title and year requested was given. Very large organizations are very general
in their organization description, making identification of survey titles producers extremely difficult
to contact. However, some vendors of survey titles (approximately 40%) were able to respond
with general pricing information (i.e. some vendors who own multiple survey title negatives charge
different prices for different titles based on royalty fees, etc.). Replacement costs derived from this
survey are, therefore, an average cost given by the vendors that were able to establish a general
duplication cost. The average cost of duplication for 35mm polyester based microfilm is $50.00 per
reel. Microfiche prices were not determined because the University Libraries owns a microfiche
duplicator and can readily duplicate deteriorated fiche. The cost of microfiche duplication film
stock is currently $0.18 per fiche.

Using percentages of acetate base film in the microform collection sample, the Libraries collection
of approximately 135,000 reels yields approximately 45,000 acetate based microfilms. Estimated
cost of 35mm acetate base replacement by vendor is $2,250,000 (45,000 x $50). Using percentages
of acetate base microfiche in the microform collection sample, the Libraries collection of
approximately 1,450,00 fiche yields approximately 417,000 acetate based microfiche. Estimated
cost of 16mm acetate base microfiche replacement is approximately $75,000 (417,000 x $0.18) for
raw film stock only. Additional costs will be incurred for labor to operate microfiche duplication
equipment, quality control and fiche containers.

Since current copyright laws allow duplication for replacement of existing microfilm copies, the
Libraries could consider contracting a vendor for duplication purposes. The price for duplication
under the Libraries current processing/duplication contract is $16.96 per 35mm polyester base reel,
far less than the average vendor price of $50 per reel. Using the Libraries current contract,
replacement cost of acetate base microfilm with polyester base microfilm would be approximately
$750,000 (45,000 x $16.96), a savings of approximately $1,500,000. Under the current University
microfilm services contract, duplication of microfiche costs $0.45 each, or an estimated
expenditure for replacement of approximately $187,500. While microfiche costs are well above
estimated in-house costs, this firm price includes raw fiche stock, duplication equipment and labor,
inspection and storage containers. With such large quantities, duplication contract negotiation
should decrease current prices for both microform formats.


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REFERENCES

1. Image Permanence Institute studies.
O Image Permanence Institute. Final report to the Office of Preservation, National
Endowment for the Humanities, grant # PS-20159-88, preservation of safety film.
Rochester, NY : IPI, Rochester Institute of Technology, 1991.
D Image Permanence Institute. IPI storage guide for acetate film. Rochester, NY : IPI,
Rochester Institute of Technology, 1993.
D Reilly, James M., et al. Stability of black-and-white photographic images, with special
reference to microfilm. [Conference paper: National Archives Canada. Conservation in
Archives. May, 1988.]
Re-edited and published as: When clouds obscure silver film's lining. INFORM. 2 : 8
(Sept. 1988), pp. 16-20, 37-38.
Back.

2. Kesse, Erich J. Condition survey of master microfilm negatives, University of Florida Libraries.
ABBEY NEWSLETTER. 15 : 3 (May 1991), pp. 47-51.
Back.

3. Association for Information and Image Management. Standard for information and image
management : recommended practice for inspection of stored silver-gelatin microforms for
evidence of deterioration. New York, NY : American National Standards Institute, 1990.
(Standard number: ANSI/AIIM MS45-1990.)
Back.

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For additional information about this survey, contact Bob Harrell at bobharr@nervm.nerdc.ufl.edu.


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