skip to page content | skip to main navigation
SUL/AIR Preservation Department
Disaster Response Special Projects FAQs Contact Us
Technical Services > Preservation > Reformatting Services

Treatment and Repair
Materials Prep and Housing
Disaster Prep and Response
Preventive Preservation
Collection Assessment
Conservation OnLine

Binding & Finishing
Conservation & Book Repair


Reformatting is key to ensuring and enhancing ongoing access to library materials. To reformat a library item means to create a copy of the item in a different format; the copy can then be accessed by users in lieu of the original.

Many types of library materials are well-suited reformatting candidates for a number of reasons. The use of copies as surrogates for fragile originals, such as brittle newspapers, protects the originals from damage caused by handling. Because the materials of which some library resources are made deteriorate inevitably and irreparably as they age, copies of these resources must be made before the information they contain is lost. The use of some original collection materials, such as rare books, may be restricted to the library reading room, yet reformatted copies can be provided to Stanford students and faculty away from campus, or shared with other institutions and research communities via interlibrary loan or over the Internet. Some library resources, such as certain audio-visual materials, are in formats now obsolete, rendering the information they bear inaccessible. Copying this information to a current format enables the resource to be used again.

These four objectives — to limit damage from use, to prevent loss of information due to material degradation, to overcome format obsolescence, and to promote the sharing of information resources unhampered by distance — are the primary reasons for reformatting. Regardless of the motivation, the outcome of a successful reformatting effort is certain: the prolonged life of and enhanced accessed to information.

There are several reformatting techniques: photocopying, microfilming, digitization, and media reformatting. The technique employed depends on the nature and condition of the original and on the purpose and goal of the reformatting project. Laura Cameron (, Head of Binding & Finishing, is responsible for SULAIR microfilming projects. Media Preservation is the unit responsible for other preservation reformatting projects.

Last modified: November 3, 2006
© Stanford University. Stanford, CA 94305. (650) 723-2300. Terms of Use | Copyright Complaints
[an error occurred while processing this directive]