The Reformatting Section processes brittle books for replacement or reformatting. Books with acidic paper become brittle and too fragile to handle. Weak, brittle paper cannot be repaired or strengthened using conservation treatment techniques. Instead, a print replacement must be found, or reformatting is necessary to retain the intellectual content of the original. Reformatting is generally restricted to circulating collections with no artifactual value. Special collection materials are reformatted for access purposes and to reduce stress on fragile materials and brittle originals are placed in protective housing.
Staff in the Reformatting Section search a variety of sources for books still available in print. When found, replacement information is forwarded to the Acquisitions Department. Books not available in print are further searched for existing preservation microfilm. If microfilm is found, the appropriate subject specialist makes a decision to purchase a copy. However, if no replacement is found, the title is reformatted, i.e., a preservation photocopy or preservation microfilm is produced. The decision to reformat is made by the appropriate subject specialist using the bibliographic information provided by the Reformatting Unit. When materials are reformatted, they are prepared by the unit staff and sent to an outside vendor for reproduction. Three generations of microfilm are produced according to nationally recognized standards for archival processing and storage including, ANSI, AIIM and RLG standards, to ensure high quality and longevity of the microfilm. Preservation photocopies are produced on paper that adheres to the standard for acid-free, lignin-free paper (ANSI Z39.48) and bound according to LBI specifications.
The Reformatting Unit is located in the Preservation Department, Lower Level 2, in the Bobst Library. Contact Paula De Stefano, Head, Preservation Department, for further information: 212/998-2518.