The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 7, Number 3
Jul 1983

Editor's Page


Tri-Test Kit

In the May issue, in the Supplies section, it was stated that the Barrow test kit (for estimating the permanence of paper with spot tests for pH, groundwood and alum) had gone downhill since the 1970s. This is not really true. The times have changed, and expectations have risen. The kit described, provided by Applied Science Laboratories, has a new name, "Tri-Test," but otherwise remains essentially the same as Barrow's first model, first made available in 1968 or so, to judge by the introduction to the booklet sent Out with the Tri-Test kit. This booklet appears to be a simple reprint of the booklet that Barrow sent out with his kit, except that the cover is changed. It says, "Tri-Test, A Spot Testing Kit for Unstable Papers. This booklet and the accompanying test kit has been made available by the Professional Picture Framers Association in co-operation with the W.J. Barrow Research Laboratory." The cover stock contains alum and is acidic (less than pH 6.0). The Barrow Lab closed in 1977, ten years after the death of Mr. Barrow.

The booklet does contain instructions for use of the kit, but now as then it tends to become separated from the kit because it is too large to fit inside, or even in a pocket on the outside of the kit, and it is too thick to fold up and attach with a rubber band to the box because it also contains the report of the tests Barrow made on 124 bond and ledger papers with his kit.

It does suggest that the solution for the groundwood test should be kept refrigerated, but gives no idea how often the solution should be replaced, or how one is to do this besides purchasing another entire kit.


Mr. G. Crayfourd, of G. Crayfourd & Sons, which markets the Parish Cupboard, has kindly supplied a copy of the Parochial Registers and Records Measure, 1978, Part 2, along with drawings and five pages of "Notes for Guidance" that are given to purchasers, which make it clear that a more careful evaluation is in order. This will appear in a future issue. On first perusal, the "Notes for Guidance" appear to have much greater potential for preservation of local records in Britain than the 1978 law does. (Refer to the item under "Supplies" in the May issue.)

The Newsletter

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  1983 1984 1983-84 1984-85
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Contributions Wanted

To balance the factual and news-related contributions which are the mainstay of this Newsletter, thoughtful and evaluative pieces by a number of different authors are needed which concern themselves with a larger part of the total picture. They can help us clarify our thinking on matters that involve goals, policy, values, needs, future directions, obstacles and opportunities for the fields of conservation and hand bookbinding, and especially for book and paper conservation.

Book reviews are one type of contribution that serve this purpose. We have had good reviews in the past and they keep on getting better. Generally, the criterion by which a publication is selected for review is whether the field could benefit from a careful evaluation of it. Sometimes, especially in the case of foreign publications, a summary and description can be as useful as an evaluation; but if the reviewer can both describe and evaluate it, that makes the review twice as useful. Reviews not only help the reader decide whether or not to buy a publication, but on occasion may advance the field by timely recognition of the best works, formulation of recent advances (or retrogressions), articulation of salient issues, and so on.

Review articles do not review publications but an entire subject area. They too are evaluative in the sense that they should include only significant work or developments. They will contain many literature references because it is through the literature that most work is reported and referred to. The author of a review article has to be both familiar with the field and in touch with recent developments.

'Introductory summaries" is an ad hoc phrase to describe articles that would introduce readers to a technical aspect of conservation for which no adequate introduction is readily available. A good example would be the concept of solubility parameters. A summary of this concept, if written for the general public, would be called a popularization; if written for Newsletter readers, it would be a true introduction to other publications on the topic, and a preparation for further instruction as opportunities permit.

The Forum is a department or column for contributions broader and freer than the others--for essay-like contributions that deal with concepts too large or unusual for other formats. They can be personal in style, and may include opinions and judgments unsupported by footnotes. The topics need not be global but should have some generality. Because contributions will be only lightly edited before publication, to avoid interfering with the author's style of expression, they should be carefully edited beforehand by the author, as far as possible.

The Abbey Newsletter: Bookbinding and Conservation is issued six times a year and has about 700 subscribers. New subscribers automatically receive all issues published in the current year, unless they request otherwise. All subscriptions expire on the last day of the year. To initiate or renew a subscription, send name, address, and a check for $20 to Abbey Newsletter, c/o School of Library Service, 516 Butler Library, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027. (Note: the Newsletter receives its mail at this address, but is not part of Columbia University.)

No paid advertisements are accepted, but any notice that is appropriate and has news value will be printed if there is room for it. Written contributions and bits of news are welcome. Claims for issues which are defective or damaged in the mail, and for back issues paid for but never received, will be honored without question, within a reasonable period of time after original mailing.

Simple news announcements may be freely reprinted in other newsletters without attribution and without explicit permission. Signed contributions, however, may not be reprinted without permission.

Copyright 1983 Ellen McCrady ISSN 0276-8791

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