The third step in our work was to preserve the Illinois newspapers we found throughout the state. During our inventorying and cataloging work, we also made note of Illinois newspapers that had not been preserved on microfilm.
Since, unfortunately, we couldn't film everything, we used a formula based on the following criteria to select newspapers for preservation microfilming:
- What is the scope of coverage? How rare is the material?
- Is there a significant run or only a few scattered issues?
- How complete is the run?
- Has it been microfilmed previously?
- Will these issues supplement previously filmed holdings?
- What is the condition of the original newsprint?
- What is the research value of the newspaper?
After we selected a newspaper for preservation microfilming, the INP sought permission from the holding institution to borrow their copy. We picked up the material and brought it back to UIUC for processing. Before shipping to our microfilm vendor, we performed a page-by-page collation, if the condition of the newsprint permitted. This allowed us to note irregularities, make repairs before filming, and create "targets" with identifying information that would be filmed with the original newsprint. Finally, we made the necessary additions or corrections to our database to reflect any new information we gleaned.
The INP used four different vendors for preservation microfilming. These vendors adhered to USNP standards for preservation microfilming. They conducted additional preparation and repair work before microfilming the newspapers. Before sending the newspapers and the microfilm to us, the vendor inspected the microfilm to ensure quality control. After the newsprint and microfilm were returned to us, we inspected all three generations of microfilm a second time to ensure quality control.
We closely adhered to the preservation microfilming guidelines that are mandated by the USNP and the Library of Congress. (More sources we consulted.) These preservation microfilming guidelines include using a three-generation system. The first generation film, or master negative, is the archival copy used to produce a print-master negative for the generation of service copies. We sent our master negatives to Iron Mountain National Underground Storage in Pennsylvania. The second generation of film, or print-master negative, is used to generate use copies for institutions. The printer-master negatives will generally be stored with the vendor. The third generation film, or service copy, is the film used by patrons. A service copy of all the microfilm created by the INP is available through interlibrary loan at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library. Patrons and institutions also have the opportunity to purchase service copies of the microfilm. Please contact Cherie' Weible at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library. Cherie' can reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 217.244.9907.
At our project's end, the INP had microfilmed 480 titles.
To find out more about preserving newspapers, please see "Preserving Newspapers", an article written by the Preservation Directorate at the Library of Congress. It includes information about the types of paper used for newspapers over the years and different types of preservation practices like microfilming, digitization, and storage. For additional information about preservation microfilming, please see NEDCC's "Microfilm and Microfiche" Preservation Leaflet.