Brittle Books Reformatting Policy and Workflow
Brittle Books Reformatting Policy
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is committed to building and sustaining
collections for the use of students, faculty, visiting scholars, and the public. The UIUC
Preservation Department reformats brittle and damaged books to ensure the preservation of the
intellectual content of its collections. The UIUC Library shall maintain and preserve the original
book scanned to create the electronic text, regardless of condition.
This policy is predicated by the following beliefs.
Increasingly, library users prefer to access information through online sources.
U.S. Copyright law provides special rights for libraries to preserve and provide access to
information sources, provided the institution owns a copy of the original information source, e.g.
book or journal.
- As the Library converts more intellectual content into digital formats it must renew it’s
commitment to preserve and provide long term access to this material via a trusted digital
repository and digital access management system.
Methods for Identifying Brittle Books
- Circulation or Use: Selecting books returned after use ensures that they are valued by current
researchers. However, this method of referral can result in an uneven work flow since it relies on
the number of books in use at varied points of the academic year and the ability of library units
to process them. Other methods of identification will be used to supplement the workflow, such
- Mass digitization projects: books rejected due to condition.
- Collections of significance: collections identified as nationally important by collection
- Online catalog queries based on such criteria as:
- the number of times circulated,
- publication dates prior to 1923 (in public domain),
- publication dates after 1923 (copyright protected),
- single copies held at UIUC,
- books unique to UIUC within the CARLI consortium or CIC libraries or OCLC/Worldcat.
Criteria for Selecting Brittle Books for Reformatting
Reformatting brittle and broken materials by digitally scanning them and providing online access
will allow greater numbers to use these searchable texts. Brittle Books will reformat a book
if all three of the following conditions are true.
will reformat, if a suitable replacement reprint
cannot be purchased.
will reformat, if a free full-text copy is
not found on the Internet Archive or Hathi Trust web sites.
will reformat monographs or serials in sets of 10 volumes or less. In order to
preserve as many titles as possible with finite funds, we limit the size of the sets to be
Criteria for Creating Only a Digital Format for a Title
- The book was published before 1923, is in the public domain and can be made available to the
- Selected volumes of a monographic or serial set referred by a mass digitization project. The
referral to BB is usually made because the condition of these volumes is too fragile to be
reformatted within the mass digitization project.
Criteria for Creating Digital and Printed Formats for a Title
The book was published in 1923 or after and is copyright protected. The Library can provide
online access to its community of users. Students, faculty and staff can authenticate their status
by entering their login and password when prompted after selecting a 'Full text' hyper link in the
Voyager online catalog. Those unaffiliated with the University may borrow the printed facsimile
through Interlibrary Loan or access digital formats by visiting the campus and using a publicly
Disposition of the Brittle Book
The cost for scanning unbound materials is less than bound materials. Since the paper in the
books we are scanning is brittle and the bindings are often broken, we allow the vendor to cut the
pages from the binding.* When these loose pages are returned from the vendor they are boxed and
transferred to the Oak Street Storage Facility. The Voyager record is set to non-circulating to
reduce the risk of losing pages. The copy used for scanning will be preserved for the following
- In order to correct problems with the digital scan discovered after the quality control
- In order to scan the book again if the digital file is corrupted or lost.
- If a researcher needs to consult the original book.
*Occasionally, exceptions are made and the vendor is instructed
not to disbind a book. This may be due to the condition or significance of the
Brittle Books Reformatting Workflow
Materials Referred to Brittle Books
Damaged books are identified by Departmental Libraries and the Main Library’s Bookstacks staff
when returned by a patron. They are referred to the Preservation Dept., Main Library, Room 44 for
Monographs and serials, in sets of 10 volumes or less, are referred to Brittle Books when they
are too brittle to be repaired by Conservation or bound by the Library’s commercial binder.
Searching and Decision Making
Brittle Books (BB) searches the following sources to gather information on which to base the
- Voyager - Determine the number of copies held by UIUC of this edition and other editions of the
title. Is there already a link to an e-text version?
- Internet Archive – Is there a free full-text version available?
- Hathi Trust – Is there a free full-text version available?
- WorldCat – How many copies are held in U.S. and non-U.S. libraries? Are there any records for
online full-text versions? Are the links active and do they connect to free full-text
- Amazon.com – Is a good quality reprint available for purchase?
If the book is selected to be treated by BB, it is entered into the Preservation &
Conservation Access database.
Brittle Books Decision Options:
- purchase a recent reprint of this edition,
- reformat the damaged copy,
- withdraw the damaged copy.
BB searches Amazon.com for a recent reprint of the damaged edition.
The Acquisitions Dept.’s monograph request form is completed for the direct order. Acquisitions
staff places the order.
When the order is received, BB will review the book to ensure that it is a good replacement for
our damaged edition. All pages must be clearly printed. It should contain the same text,
commentary, and illustrations as the original. It is taken to Content Access Management – Copy
Cataloging to be added to the collection. If it is not a good replacement and Acquisitions cannot
return the book, it is added to the collection but BB will reformat the damaged book.
The damaged book is examined page-by-page to ensure that no material is missing from the book.
Underlining and marginalia are removed from the pages or replaced with photocopies of clean pages.
Missing and damaged pages are replaced with photocopies. The vendor scans each page and produces
digital files and a printed, bound facsimile, when requested.
If UIUC owns several copies of the damaged edition, BB may process the damaged book for
withdrawal. The Voyager item and holdings records are changed to show that the copy has been
withdrawn. A withdraw routing form is completed and the book is forwarded to the Office of
Collections for review and disposal.
Processing Vendor E-Text Files
The vendor scans each page and produces JPEG or TIFF files, and a searchable PDF for each
- BB examines the files for quality and accuracy.
- All vendor files are copied to a secure archival server space.
- Files required to serve the e-texts online are produced and copied to a secure server
- A persistent URL is created to allow access to the files from Voyager and the IL Harvest
- BB staff add an 856 field, containing the URL, to the appropriate bibliographic and holdings
Vendor files and files created to provide online access are permanently stored in a secure
archival server space and backed up periodically.
Vendor dvds are stored in Intercept brand sleeves and acid-free boxes in the Preservation Dept.,
Main Library, Room 44.
Processing Facsimile Copies
BB may request a facsimile copy from the vendor. It is printed on permanent acid-free paper and
bound according to Library Binding Institute standards.
BB examines the facsimile page-by-page to ensure that no material is missing and that all pages
are bound correctly. If errors are found, BB checks the digital files for the same error. BB will
return the book and digital files to the vendor for correction, when necessary.
BB prepares the facsimile for the shelf and takes them to the Content Access Management
Department to be added to Voyager.
Processing Brittle Books for Oak St. Storage
The original brittle books, which usually have been dis-bound by the vendor, are measured for a
custom-sized acid-free box.
The boxed book is transferred to the Oak St. Shelving facility for permanent storage and marked