Here at Iowa State University Library, we reformat four newsprint publications from paper to microfilm.  Each publication has a connection to the university, which helped determine why it should be retained on microfilm.  The Iowa State Daily, the student run newspaper; Ames Tribune, the local newspaper; Toons, a publication published in the area by an ISU alum; and Spokesman, the Iowa Farm Bureau publication, are all sent to our vendor once a year for filming.


Staff here at the University Library prepare and ship the Iowa State Daily, Toons and Spokesman to the vendor.  The Ames Tribune follows a bit of a different path from the other three.  The local newspaper staff prepares and ships the paper to our vendor, who then films the paper according to our specifications.  We receive, pay for, and store the microfilm for all four publications.

The preparation of the papers begins with the collection of a complete volume.  The Iowa State Daily mails one copy to us and our University Library Special Collections department picks up one copy of each paper at a campus drop-off point.  This step allows us to have copies from two different areas of the printing run.  When it is time to prepare the papers for filming, we use the copy picked up by the Special Collections department unless it is torn, has pages with ink starvation, or has blurred type.  If the mailed copy is in better condition than the other, then we will use it instead.  For Toons, we use the only copy which has been mailed to us and shelved in a pam box in the general collection.  If a copy is missing or not in good shape for filming, we are able to contact the publisher and make arrangements to borrow the copy he has saved for his collection.  This procedure is also used for Spokesman;  The Iowa Farm Bureau publisher has been helpful in letting us borrow their copy when needed.

Once the papers are gathered, student workers go through them and note the beginning and ending volumes, numbers and dates.  They watch for discrepancies in the numbering and dates, which are noted for the preparation of targets.  They also note if there are any issues missing which we have not been able to replace.  If there are tears that can be repaired, this is done by competent student workers or staff, using paper mending tape and a bone folder.


Upon the completion of the review and necessary mending, targets are made for the paper.  We created and saved a set of targets in MS Word for each of the publications.  We can print and use these repeatedly by updating volumes, numbers, years, and reel numbers.  Once the targets are printed, they are inserted in the appropriate order and placed within the newsprint issues.  We used ALA Target Packet for use in Preservation Microfilming by Debra McKern and Sherry Byrne as our guide in creating our targets.


The papers are secured between two pieces of board and then packed into tubs.  Included in the tub is an envelope with specific instructions to the vendor and to the person doing the filming.  The tubs are then shipped to the vendor for processing.  We request that the original negative and the duplicating master for the film be stored at our vendor’s facility in a secure vault with controlled temperature and humidity.  They provide us with one positive service copy on silver-base film.

Upon completion and return of the microfilm and paper copies of the newspapers, a student or staff member scans through the microfilm to check for proper placement of targets, clear and legible film, and a complete run of the paper.  The film is then stored and made available to patrons in our Media Center.