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Use Policy for 16 mm film at the Media Center

Film does NOT circulate.

Established Cinema Studies Programs at Rutgers are provided with routine delivery of 16mm films to their classroom buildings.

Other faculty can arrange to use the films through the Reference Librarian, Jane Sloan, jsloan@rulmail.rutgers.edu. We require assurance that the borrower has access to a projector in good working order and a trained projectionist.

Policy Rationale

The founding core of the Media Center's audio-visual collection is an archive of approximately 1,100 titles on 16 millimeter film. Until 15 years ago, showing a movie in class meant setting up a projector and loading the heavy reels of film. So it's not surprising that the 16 mm collection includes a wide variety of titles used for classroom instruction – everything from documentaries on acid rain and Alvin Ailey to Zero de conduite.

The advent of VHS videotape sidelined 16 mm as a teaching tool. For the past decade virtually all purchases of new titles have been made in this medium, although DVD is now a competitor.

As 16 mm has become an archival format, it has also been increasingly susceptible to damage. A particular problem is acetate film deterioration, or "vinegar syndrome, " the tendency of chemicals in the film to react, causing shrinking and buckling along with a noticeable vinegar odor.

Film does not circulate nor do we currently have a way for film to be projected here at the Media Center. For that reason, most titles either have been or will be transferred to video. However, we do recognize the importance of the 16 mm medium for certain faculty, particularly those teaching cinema studies. The collection is maintained primarily to support their work.