Surrogate media

The Swiss National Library (NL) can create copies of original content on surrogate media. The documents most at risk from paper decomposition are newspapers.

Volume of newspapers and microfilm
© NL

Newspaper microfilming

The lignin present in the wood pulp used for paper breaks down into organic acids. These give the paper a brown discolouration and accelerate its decay.

To preserve these newspapers for future generations, the NL filmed its holdings. A black and white microfilm has an estimated minimum life of 500 years and is therefore a suitable surrogate.

Joint project

  • Between 1997 and 2018 the NL has been working on a coordinated newspaper microfilming project with other interested institutions since 1997. This had advantages for all involved:
  • norms and standards are harmonised
  • institutions can complement their existing collections
  • access is improved
  • titles only have to be microfilmed once
  • costs are saved

A convenience copy of the original microfilms is created. This is available to NL users.

Last modification 30.08.2022

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