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NPO Microfilming Group

The NPO has had a strong focus on preservation microfilming since the 1990s, when the office managed the Mellon Microfilming Project, accomplishing both the creation of a large body of film, and the formulation of appropriate procedures and standards to ensure the longevity of film. The NPO Guide to Preservation Microfilming (2000) updated the Mellon Manual, and is still available free of charge. The update of the Guide was steered by the NPO Working Group on Preservation Microfilming. The Group was also concerned to ensure appropriate training for microfilm operators, and investigated the possibility of a recognised qualification for their skills. The Working Group was recently reconstituted and has redefined its remit and membership. At a recent meeting it was agreed that its objectives would be:

  • to promote and develop standards and best practice
  • to provide advocacy for microfilming as a preservation medium
  • to develop quality assurance criteria and procedures
  • to share experience and materials for the training of microfilm operators.

The current membership includes representatives from the British Library, the National Archives, Cambridge University Library, Oxford University Library Services, the National Library of Scotland, the National Library of Wales, the National Archives of Scotland, London Metropolitan Archives, Trinity College Dublin, the National Library of Ireland, and the National Archives of Ireland. The Group will be chaired in rotation by the member institutions. The current Chair is Brian Richards, National Library of Wales. The Preservation Advisory Centre provides the Group's secretariat.

A report commissioned by the NPO from consultant Jonathan Rhys-Lewis examining the current range of activities in this field, and making suggestions for the way forward on the Group's identified objectives was published in September 2005: A report on a recent review of preservation microfilming carried out by libraries and archives across the UK and Ireland (PDF format) 249KB

Meanwhile, the NPO would be very interested to hear from institutions which undertake preservation microfilming (especially in-house filming) in order to involve the widest possible range of participants in the development of best practice and standards.