Caring for the collection

The work of archivists never ends: they do everything they can to make the materials in the collection available to researchers, curators, dramaturgs - as well as film festivals, broadcasters and online content providers.

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How do we care for the collection?

The care of the collection requires constant study of the literature and lively contact with the international community, as new methods of care are being developed on the basis of modern research. With respect for the materials, we maintain traditional technologies and practices of photochemical film preservation, while developing methods of digital preservation. We are also dedicated to developing methods of cataloguing to make information about our collection open and accessible. High priorities also include ensuring the long-term sustainability of the digital data, which continues to grow in volume. Caring for the collection also means maintaining stable climatic conditions in the depositories, and the overall security of the buildings in which the collection is housed. In all this, we do not forget the environmental impact of our activities.


All archival materials in the collection require specific climatic and security conditions for long-term preservation. Some materials need to be digitized to make them accessible in the future: books and magazines on acid paper, films that are perishable. In the vast majority of cases, however, we preserve materials in their original form, because they still need to be returned to after digitisation and are the basis for any new access. While film materials undergo periodic checks, digital data requires constant attention and maintenance.



Digitisation started first in the Library - thanks to this, a large part of the library's collection is now available online, especially journals. We have also digitised the collection of sound recordings, and the digitisation of documentary archival material, including photographs, posters, etc.

The purpose of digitizing films is primarily to make them accessible to contemporary audiences, whether it is simply digitizing film prints or scanning and then editing negatives and other materials.

The NFA infrastructure includes the Digital Laboratory, which is continuously developing its technological and professional capacities and is also responsible for the care of digital data.



Film restoration is done in two ways: photochemical and digital. Both require a thorough study of all types of sources: film materials, production documentation, literature and others.

Photochemical restoration means working with newly copied film material, which is assembled and edited without the intervention of digital technologies, resulting in a new film print. This process is often applied for the purpose of colour application, so-called tinting and toning in which we cooperate with Jan Ledecky. His method makes it possible to return to cinema screens films that would otherwise be impossible to show today.

Even with digital restoration, the original film materials are preserved, as they will be a source for new methods of accessibility for future generations. For digital restoration, selected materials are scanned and then computer edited to a form that is as close as possible to how the films could have been seen and heard by audiences at the time of their original release.

We are also systematically restoring the poster collection housed in the Department of film-related documents


Protective reformatting

Protective reformatting is the technology of transferring a document to an alternative medium with a view to its permanent archiving. At the NFA Library, we have been applying it for over twenty years to the preservation of modern documents threatened by acidic paper degradation and fading type in the form of a hybrid reformatting technology, where protective micro imaging and digitization of the master are carried out simultaneously. In particular, this involves the preservation of film periodicals and newspapers from the last century or prints on cyclostyles. Microfilm recording guarantees the long-term preservation of their content, and the digital format enables its effective accessibility to the researcher. The result is the NFA Digital Library.