The process of reformatting brittle books and publications which we wish to retain long term has grown over the past several years.  When books are determined to be brittle, they are referred to our faculty selectors for decisions on which issues to reformat.  We have a form which is used to relay information to the selectors along with the publication.  This form is a way for us to give basic information to them and for them to respond with their decision.


Once we have been notified of the decision to reformat a publication, the volumes are  checked for pages to be repaired, cleaned or replaced.  Minor repairs are done in Preservation Services, while more complex repairs are sent to our Conservation Laboratory.

If replacement pages are needed, our Interlibrary Loan Department is asked to obtain another copy of the volume and, when it is received, the needed pages are scanned and printed by staff in the Conservation Lab.  Upon completion of the repairs, a price estimate is completed using the pricing list from our vendor.  The volumes are then packed and shipped to the vendor with the required paperwork for the vendor and copies of the necessary records for our files.  When the completed work is returned from the vendor, we do a page-by-page comparison of the old copy and the new copy.


To complete the reformatting process, both the reformatted and original paper copies are forwarded to our Cataloging Department to add the new volume to our holdings and withdraw the old copy.  If the reformatting was paper copy to CD, the CD is forwarded to Digital Initiatives to be processed and added to our web site.

Taking a brittle copy of a volume and reformatting it to an acid-free paper copy is a traditional way of reformatting here at Iowa State University.  We also have been reformatting a select number of newspaper-type publications to microfilm.  Once the process is started for a title, we have microfilmed all available back volumes and continued to convert to film on an annual basis.


More recently, we have been reformatting the paper copy of a publication to a digital copy, either by sending it to our vendors or by having the scanning done in-house.  Recently, there has been an upturn in the number of publications which sometimes publish a single serial issue in digital format.  If it is a title which we bind, we have the digital copy reformatted to a paper copy, allowing us to bind the complete volume.

Available processes and formats have continued to change over the years.  It is important to continue to be aware of the new processes and how the patrons prefer to use the publications.  Knowing your audience makes the decisions for reformatting an easier task.