The Hague, May 27th, 2005 – OCLC PICA announces it has acquired a majority share in Strata Preservation in The Hague. This step marks OCLC PICA's determination to become a key player in the micro filming and digitization field. Strata Preservation specializes in high-end preservation services, for fragile and unique materials that cultural heritage institutions want to preserve and make more easily accessible to the public.
The acquisition of a majority share in Strata Preservation makes perfect sense in the OCLC PICA strategy to further complete its product and services portfolio. Considering its strong content management software products, archiving services and products, metadata and cataloguing services and experience, the Strata Preservation digitization and filming services are clearly the next step in enhancing the OCLC PICA offerings to libraries and cultural institutions, that traditionally are its customers. OCLC PICA will further integrate digitization and scanning services into the DPR (Digital Preservation Resources) lifecycle and provide the customers with a total package to set up and manage such projects in their institution. Apart from its alliance with the other shareholder Koninklijke Bibliotheek (National Library of the Netherlands), Strata Preservation will now also be able to further profit from synergies with OCLC PICA and its professional, international and customer oriented approach.
Changes in technology, funding and uses
OCLC PICA new supplier digitization with share in Strata Preservation The digitization market is currently mainly driven by funding grants and awards. "We see this practice changing, however," says Rein van Charldorp, managing director of OCLC PICA. "Libraries and cultural institutions are beginning to think about the provision of information in the electronic library, not the hybrid library that they are presently in. In the United States the larger research libraries are now beginning to add line items into their budgets to digitize their collections and not rely on grants. Third party initiatives to digitize whole libraries show that this is what the new generation of researcher requires. It is felt that as the network catches up with the power of PC's, researchers will only wish to use material that is in electronic format. For research this means making the existing print information available in this way."
High quality projects expertise
Among others, Strata Preservation has specialized in ensuring future preservation of fragile archive and library materials, that are at risk to vanish or fall apart due to acidification of the paper. The original is converted to microfilm, so at least the contents will remain secured for the longest period of time. Microfilms made in the context of the national 'Metamorfoze' programme will last for at least 200 years and can be used for digitization in the future. They are of better quality than the traditional microfiche variant. Digitization of these filmed materials is especially suitable for enabling direct and fast access to stored materials in an electronic environment.
Digitization from original source materials (scanning) allows for top of the mark quality that is required for reproduction en presentation purposes (in print, on slides or on screen/online). The digitization department of Strata Preservation consists of a group of highly experienced photographers. They have the most advanced equipment at their disposal and are able to produce top-quality scans. Materials can vary from microfilm, slides and transparencies to paper maps at all varieties and sizes (as large as 3.0 x 3.0 metres).
Some of the projects that Strata Preservation has proved its expertise with, are:
- Metamorfoze – initiated by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science for the preservation of manuscripts, books, newspapers and periodicals of Dutch origin, from the 1840-1950 period; an example is the preservation of precious documents of the Anne Frank collection.
- Digitization of the Gaudier-Brzeska Collection for the Albert Sloman Library at the University of Essex, United Kingdom.
- The Memory of the Netherlands – joint initiative of the Koninklijke Bibliotheek, with cultural heritage institutions such as museums, archives and libraries, with the objective to prepare a large amount of digital content within a short period of time and to make it suitable for classroom use. Many top pieces of the National Archives collection have been scanned.
Scanning at the client's site – which further diminishes the chance of damaging fragile materials – is another possibility and a unique service for the Netherlands. Besides the two major areas of expertise, Strata Preservation is offering to share its vast knowledge in the digitization field as a consultant, in trainings and workshops. Another activity that makes Strata Preservation stand out, is its research on microfilming, digitizing and new means of preservation. In addition to the high-end scanning jobs, Strata Preservation also accepts bulk scanning orders, an important offering with the current retrospective digitization programmes that certain publishers have.
Strata Preservation N.V. was established in 2002 as a joint venture of American-based OCLC Inc (60 %) and the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (40 %). OCLC PICA B.V., also a Dutch company and itself owned by OCLC Inc (60 %) and Stichting Pica (40 %), has now taken over the share that OCLC Inc had in Strata Preservation. On top of the synergy advantages mentioned earlier, this means that Strata Preservation can now be managed more directly in a time that national and international microfilming and digitization are expected to take off. Strata Preservation currently employs a staff of almost 20.
As the latest addition to the OCLC PICA product and service portfolio, Strata Preservation's services specifically complement OCLC PICA offerings like CONTENTdm, Olive Active Paper Archive, PiCarta, FirstSearch, Open WorldCat, and hosting services.