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ARCHIVES Home

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ARCHIVES  July 2006, Week 4

ARCHIVES July 2006, Week 4

Subject:

Re: Digitization of microforms

From:

Jeremy Linden <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Wed, 26 Jul 2006 09:02:09 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (67 lines)

Dear all,

Thank you for your responses to my question; for the sake of clarity,
let me offer some further detail about the situation.  The detail was
not provided initially because the question was intended to be related
to the particulars and implications of digitizing material: 1. that is
no longer covered by copyright  2. from a set of microfilm created
through your institution  3.  when your institution is not the owner of
the physical items from which the microfilm was made. 

In the early 1980's, SUNY Fredonia's Holland Land Company Project
secured the funding to microfilm the entirety of the Holland Land
Company records (which pertained to Western New York and Northwestern
Pennsylvania) from the originals, held by the Municipal Archives of
Amsterdam.  The collection consists of 202 reels of microfilm, with the
map collection on over 600 full-frame color microfiche.  The project was
significant not only for gathering the information in a single location,
but also because it had been on the LoC to-do list prior to Fredonia
securing the funding.  

The material in question (that which was microfilmed from Amsterdam)
covers from 1789-1869, and was produced in the United States before
being taken back to Amsterdam -- thus my statement that I didn't feel
copyright was an issue, although I hadn't taken copyright law in the
Netherlands into account.  Essentially, the records were created by a
private Dutch company during the above years, were microfilmed through
our project, and have been made available to researchers here (and
through the ILL of the use copy) for the past 15 or so years.

As I mentioned in my previous email, the goal would be to digitize those
reels of microfilm paid for by SUNY Fredonia through the project in
order to make them more readily available to researchers.  Access to and
use of the collection is extensive, from any number of angles and
fields, and is the single largest challenge we face in terms of
providing service.  SUNY Fredonia, the LoC, and the Libraries of the
Genealogical Society of Utah have the only use copies of this microfilm
that I know of, although the institution has copied certain reels for
researchers over the years.

That is the extent of the situation as I can tell -- I only arrived here
two months ago, and realized immediately the problem of trying to
provide access to this material.  While digitizing obviously doesn't
solve all of the issues, it would help address those regarding ease of
researcher access and our part in directing researchers to the material.
This would be a long-term project, and is obviously still only in the
"thought" stages, but I felt it was appropriate for discussion.

Chris, regarding your point about consultation of legal minds -- I'm
sure that is where this will eventually land.  The key in the asking of
the question was to be able to approach legal counsel with somewhat more
than a question and a confused look!  

Thanks and regards to all,
Jeremy

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