UCB Libraries

Circulation Desk

Microform Scanner Policies / Procedures Outline


Mission Statement


A high speed microform scanner has been acquired by a cluster of libraries in the Colorado Alliance of Research Libraries to provide the opportunity for library-initiated and scanning projects of library materials.  The scanner will be housed at a member facility and can be used for the digitization of microfilm and microfiche for both single items as well as larger scale projects. This shared hardware and service will provide improved patron access to microform materials through digitization. Historically libraries have made substantial investments in various microformats and this service brings new and improved use to these collections, many of which are not available in other formats. The project also opens the door for grant funding as libraries look to digitize important historical materials.


Scope of this Policies Document


This manual will not cover costs and cost distribution which will be detailed in the “Microform Scanner and Cost Split Proposal” and may change on an annual basis pending participants in the program and any project cost adjustments. This document is available from the office of the Colorado Alliance of Research Libraries.




Libraries agree to follow all laws and regulations regarding copying and use of microforms which have been digitized with this project. All digitized items remain the property or under the jurisdiction of the organization for which it was digitized and that library takes responsibility for its proper use, storage and distribution.

Member libraries doing or requesting digitization of a microform are responsible for adhering to the copyright policies of their parent institution, which includes adherence to United States federal copyright law. In general, good faith is assumed on the part of participating libraries and each library will work on broad copyright and intellectual property issues if required. It is the responsibility of each participating library to be aware of their rights and responsibilities with respect to copyright, and act quickly to remedy copyright problems if they come up.

If scanned items are contributed to the Alliance Digital Repository (ADR) or other systems, they will follow the appropriate copyright policies and procedures for that particular system.




Membership in the microform scanner cluster has several benefits:


  • Access to the scanner for digitization projects using their own staff

  • Priority scanning service for single item scanning requests to be done by host library staff

  • Ability to ship single-item or small batches of microforms for scanning by host library staff

  • No charges for requesting scanning of items for interlibrary loan for itself or fulfillments for others

Initial participation cluster (listing of participants)

The initial group of libraries participating in the microform scanner project include:


  • Auraria Library

  • Colorado College Library

  • Colorado State Publications Library

  • Colorado State University Libraries

  • Regis University Libraries

  • University of Colorado at Boulder Libraries

  • University of Denver Penrose Library

After the first year of service, additional libraries may be added to the project by contributing a one-time membership fee of $7500 and paying annual ongoing fees. If the library requires training for an institutional large-scale digitization program, they will pay the training fee from the microform scanner vendor.

Libraries may withdraw from the project through the non-payment of ongoing project costs. In that instance, they will lose the benefits of a member.

Interlibrary Loan Statement

The scanner may be used for the fulfillment of interlibrary loan requests from member libraries following the guidelines outlined elsewhere in this policy.

For non-member libraries requesting items via interlibrary loan from one of the scanner member libraries, fees may be charged pending existing ILL agreements and charging mechanisms.

Non-member libraries may not send in their own microforms for scanning.

Location and Use

The high speed scanner has been been placed at Norlin Library at the University of Colorado at Boulder. It is the responsibility of the library housing the unit to do single item interlibrary loan requests. The machine will not be moved from site-to-site for projects because of its size and fragility. The shared high speed scanner is intended for digitizing materials from the member libraries and therefore should not be used for personal materials or university materials not considered to be part of a library collection.

Single item or small batch requests


  • Member libraries may send small batches of items (<5)  from their collection at any time for scanning

  • Microform reels will be scanned as an entire reel rather than trying to pick out individual frames.

  • The library hosting the shared scanner will be responsible for single item scans. If multiple requests arrive at the same time they will be handled in chronological order – first in, first out. In the unlikely event that materials sent to the host library for scanning are damaged in transit or in the scanning process, the host library will not be held responsible.

  • Onsite users requesting single item scans will be given priority over requests being done for interlibrary loan or other outside users. Once there is a convenient stopping point for the scanning of outside requests, the in-house user will be accommodated.

  • The scanner may be used for libraries to fulfill standard interlibrary loan (ILL) requests. These will be handled on a first come first serve basis.

  • Although disk is available on the scanner for staging and short term storage of scanned item, scanned items will typically be kept for a week before purging. This will provide enough time to determine if the scan was successfully delivered to the requesting site or person. The scanned objects should be moved off the shared device as soon as practical after review. It is recommended that scanned objects be transferred to flash drives or sent via a Web-based delivery utility. The sending of scanned object via email attachments may not be practical in many cases because of file sizes and limitations imposed by email filters and firewalls. The Colorado Alliance maintains a subscription to yousendit.com for Prospector activities and it may be used for sending scanned objects. This particular Web-based application requires that objects be less than 2GB in size and is best suited for handling five objects or less at a time.

Larger scale digitization projects

The shared scanner is ideally suited for large-scale digitization projects. When scheduling these projects they should be booked on the shared Microform Scanner Calendar on Google Calendar to make sure that they do not conflict with other events. Contact Jennifer Gerke (jennifer.gerke@colorado.edu) to be added to this shared calendar.


  • The scanner may be booked in half-day segments for large scale projects.  These half day segments may be done back-to-back to optimize time for visiting outside library staff. However,  staff working on large scale projects agree to take at least a one hour lunch during early afternoon (e.g. 1-2pm) to make room for other single item requests that have arrived.  

  • Large scale projects will have scanning done by the project staff that has been properly trained on the device. This training must be done by the scanner vendor or persons from that library must be trained by someone who has been through proper vendor training. Annual training sessions may be held, if needed, under the auspices of the group and through shared funding. However, if custom training is requested by a new participant at their convenience, it must be funded by that library.

  • If single-item (or small batch) scanning requests arrive during a large-scale digitization program they will typically be accommodated in the early afternoon when staff working on the larger project are at lunch. However, rush requests or requests for an in-house patron may be done immediately, and project staff agree to briefly step back to accommodate these needs at a convenient stopping point in their larger project.

  • When booking a scanning project on the Microform Scanner Calendar on Google Calendar be sure to list your project name, name of person doing scanning, institution name, email and phone number.

Large-scale digitization projects will create large quantities of data which should off-loaded from the scanning device after they have been reviewed for quality and accuracy. It is recommended that a portable disk drive or a USB flash drive of sufficient capacity be used.


Staffing and Training


The scanner may be used by library staff who have been properly trained either by the vendor or by another staff member who has been through vendor training. The device is not intended for use by untrained library staff or end-users.

The library hosting the server agrees to do single item or small batch requests for participating member libraries. These typically will be done in as timely a manner as possible, generally within two working days excepting weekends and holidays.



  • Web tutorials are available from the vendors which are excellent for new staff training or as refresher tutorials for those who need an update.

  • The library hosting the scanner is not responsible for training staff from other libraries on the use of the scanner. If this type of training is needed it must either be done that library’s staff who have been properly  trained by the vendor or a training session with the vendor must arranged, either on-site or at the vendor’s location.

  • The project will support a once-per-year on-site vendor training if needed by member libraries. This will be done by mutual agreement at a mutually agreeable time. Other training sessions may be scheduled at a single library’s convenience but that library must pay for the training session.



The scanner is owned by the Colorado Alliance of Research Libraries. It is placed at a member library for convenience and the need to expedite scanning requests. To accommodate the official “ownership” of the machine and daily support, a balanced approach to technical support is required.


  • Vendor support and maintenance. The hosting library will take the lead in reporting maintenance problems (hardware and software) to the scanner vendor. A maintenance contract has been taken out for the device. The hosting library will determine who reports hardware or software malfunctions. A notebook with contact information as well as an incident log will be kept near the scanner. Each reported incident should be logged since this is a shared device and the next person using the machine should be apprised of any issues.

  • Routine hardware maintenance (e.g. lens cleaning, carrier alignment, etc) will be performed CU staff on an as needed basis. Michael Riberdy at CU/Norlin is the contact in case routine onsite maintenance is needed (michael.riberdy@colorado.edu  303-492-2816).

  • Any extended machine outages should be logged in the Microform Scanner Calendar on Google Calendar so that those who may be doing larger projects are aware of problems.

  • The Colorado Alliance of Research Libraries IT staff agrees to install security software and do major operating system upgrades on an as needed basis. However, this needs to be scheduled ahead of time as IT staff from the consortium office are in Denver and not conveniently located in Boulder. These upgrades will be done in consort with hosting library/IT staff and will follow campus standards and vendor requirements. The microform scanner software must be run in OS administrator mode and any appropriate logins will be supplied to Alliance IT staff in order to perform duties. A VPN login will also need to be supplied to Alliance staff to perform routine template backups and other duties over the net.

  • Unnecessary software will not be loaded on the machine to minimize software conflicts and system overload.

  • Major firmware upgrades from the vendor or smaller software patches will be installed by Alliance staff, hosting library staff or the vendor depending on what is appropriate. Hosting library IT staff will work with Alliance IT staff to determine what is best in each circumstance.

  • System backups will be done for scanner templates over the network. The operating system and vendor software can be restored, if necessary, by the vendor in case of massive failure.

  • Standards for scanning

    • Scanning for interlibrary loan and end-user on-site needs will be done at prevailing standards since these digital objects are intended for one-time use.

    • Scanning for large scale digitization projects where the digital objects are intended for ingestion into digital repositories will be done according to national standards as specified in programs such as the Collaborative Digitization Program (CDP), the Alliance Digital Repository (ADR) or other appropriate national guidelines. It is recognized that these standards may sometimes be lowered due to pragmatic considerations or limitations from this vendor’s solution.  However, best practices will be followed whenever possible.