The sensitivity of cellulose nitrate (CN) films to degradation has been studied and described since the early 1930s. The traditional efforts for preservation of cellulose nitrate film collections for many institutions included establishing of duplication programmes for the most threatened films.Two fundamental initiatives describing the current situation were initiated at the Danish Film Institute (DFI): Firstly, a systematic survey was conducted in to reveal the chemical and physical signs of decay in the CN film collection. Secondly, analysis of the storage environment using the Climate Notebook software developed by Image Permanence Institute. Combining the results of these two efforts demonstrated that life expectancy varied from 10 years in the actual storage facilities to more than 200 years with improved storage conditions (−5°C, 30% RH).The presentation will discuss the effects of building good storage environment compared with alternative solutions, including copying and digitisation of the film elements, and destruction of the original nitrate materials. The conclusion is that, even from an economical point of view, building good storage environment for the original cellulose nitrate films is to be preferred to other solutions. On the other hand presentation of digitally restored nitrate film titles also gives new opportunities for film archives to present their films to the public.
Jesper Stub Johnsen, Thomas C. Christensen, "Optimizing Preservation and Presentation of Cellulose Nitrate Film Collections" in Proc. IS&T Archiving 2004, 2004, pp 117 - 121, https://doi.org/10.2352/issn.2168-3204.2004.1.1.art00027