Processing and Quality Assurance
The agency must contact the Micrographics Lab to make arrangements for delivery of exposed microfilm and accompanying paperwork. Film may be delivered by courier, state mail, or U.S. mail. It is essential for the agency to:
- Deliver the film to the Archives with the camera and roll number on the outside of the film box.
- Make certain that each roll of film is accompanied by a completed Certificate of Camera Operator. The paper must not be put inside the box of film. The information on the certificate must include names, dates, and information from the work order that is vital for locating an individual roll of film. It will be used to create labels for the film.
The first step in microfilm processing is the development of negatives. During processing, negative film is developed, fixed, washed, and dried. A processed negative must be of high enough quality so that good print copies can be made. Consistency is the key to high quality processing. The State Archives Micrographics Lab always keeps the following things the same:
- The developer and fixer strength
- The depth of the developer and fixer in their respective tanks
- The time taken to develop, fix, and wash film
- The temperature of the developer, fixer, and wash water, and
- The amount of agitation (the movement of the film and/or developer or fixer when the film is being developed/fixed.)
Negative inspection ensures that microforms have been filmed and processed correctly. Inspectors receive processed film from the lab and then evaluate it to determine its overall quality and ensure it is not missing items. When film is substandard or information that should have been filmed is missing, camera operators and lab personnel are informed so they can correct the mistakes. When the film meets the State's standards, duplicate copies are made as needed. The inspectors then send the film to storage and give any necessary feedback to the appropriate people.
If the film does not meet the specified standards, the inspectors request retakes of the substandard portions of the film. A Retake Order is filled out and sent to the camera operator. The operator is also contacted by telephone for any clarification of problems and instructions on how to correct them. Operators then make the retakes and have them processed. The inspectors evaluate the retakes for acceptable quality and splice the retake to the original. After this, the corrected film is sent to storage.
Once they pass inspection, labeled working copies of film delivered to the Preservation Section will be available for pick-up within 48 hours. The master copy of the microform will be labeled and sent to the Archives master vault or the Records Center for storage.