Newspaper & Microfilm

Preservation Reformatting oversees the preservation of the Library’s newspaper and microformat collections.


Although often thought of as an outdated medium, microfilm still remains the most permanent method of preserving the intellectual content of a print item today. Properly produced and stored, microfilm can preserve access to a document for hundreds of years. The microfilm itself is often considered to be the best preservation copy, whereas a digital file is generally considered to be an access copy, even if it has a robust system of digital preservation behind it.


                                                                                           Photos Displaying Microfilm

Preservation Reformatting staff works with a variety of microformats, most commonly microfilm and microfiche. Services for microfilm and microfiche are as follows:

  • Conservation treatments, including cleaning, repairs, and mold remediation
  • Re-housing to ensure longevity of preservation
  • Outsourced digitization
  • Microfilm-to-microfilm reformatting
  • Long-term preservation storage
  • Patron access to positive copies (or “service copies”) at the History, Philosophy, & Newspaper Library

                        Three Copies of Microfilm are Created As Part of a Robust Preservation Policy


The Library is home to many newspaper collections, a number of which UIUC holds unique access to. Because newspapers have inherent vices in their chemical and physical makeups that lead to degradation, many newspapers will experience discoloration, brittleness, and text loss over time. To minimize physical handling that can exacerbate degradation, Preservation Reformatting places at-risk newspapers in archival housing and long-term storage units.


                                                                                                      Newspaper Repair


However, the preservation of these newspapers does not come at the expense of access. We are able to simultaneously protect the materials from damage while maintaining access to the content through the following reformatting services:

  • Conservation treatment, including repairs and mold remediation
  • Re-housing
  • In-house and outsourced digitization
  • Newspaper-to-microfilm reformatting
  • Long-term physical storage

Timeframe for Newspaper and Microfilm Reformatting

Newspaper and microformat services can span several days to several years, as they are often unique items with specific preservation needs. Consult with Preservation Reformatting staff to discuss and determine project timeframes.

Transferring Brittle Materials to Preservation Reformatting

Deliver materials to room 425 in Main Library. If unsure how to transport items, contact us at for assistance. If necessary, campus pick-up and shipping delivery may be arranged.




                      Microfilm Densitometer


For further inquiries about our newspaper and microformat services email us at