The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 9, Number 5
Sep 1985


What's Going on in Biodeterioration

The Sixth International Biodeterioration Symposium was held August 5-10, 1984, in Washington, DC. About 190 people attended, of whom five were senior conservators from museums or administrative conservators from archives, and seven were conservation scientists. the proceedings, titled Biodeterioration 6, are expected to be published in late 1985.

International Biodeterioration Symposia are held only every third year. A new organization, the Pan-American Biodeterioration Society, is being formed to meet each year between the international symposia dates. So far it has at least 36 members, of whom eight are from conservation, though again, mostly from museum conservation. Membership is $15; write to Gerald C. Llewellyn, Director, Bureau of Toxic Substances Information, 109 Governor St., Rm. 918, James Madison Bldg., Richmond, VA 23219, or to Charles O'Rear, Dept. of Forensic Sciences, George Washington University, Washington, DC 20052. They are co-chairmen of PABS. People who apply before October 1 become charter members.

PABS meetings will probably be held somewhere on the East Coast of North America. The next one is planned for the summer of 1986, possibly in August.

Optronics Prepares to Market Digitizer in U.S.

Lanshaw & Co. (710 Salmon Creek Road, Bodega, CA 94922, 707/829-2650) is an export marketing company that is acting as the U.S. marketing consultant for Optronics. It is in the process of evaluating the best marketing and support organization for the company in this country.

The "Image Digitiser" makes a high speed linescan copy of text, graphics and drawings at approximately six seconds per page. Since the copy is stored digitally, it can be reproduced on a high resolution printer-plotter, or transmitted over telephone lines for remote printing.

AASLH Has New Address

The American Association for State and Local History is at 172 Second Ave. N., Nashville, TN 37201-1902 and their telephone number is 615/255-2971.

The Spelling of Disc/Disk

It appears that the version ending in "c" is now used to denote analogue discs, usually concerned with entertainment or education, while videodisk (or perhaps more accurately, digital optical disk) refers to computer data. [From Reprographics Quarterly 17(2) Spring 1984, as quoted in Library Conservation News #4, Sept. 1984]

Computer Network Useful for Counseling

A clinical psychologist is counseling people who subscribe to a network based in Virginia, according to an AP news release that ran on August 15. If it can work for psychology, why can't it work for conservation?

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- . . .Shuster, 40, who has practiced for 10 years and also teaches at Pepperdine University, delivers advice and counsel nightly to computer buffs who seek his guidance through a telecommunication information network called the Source. ...

He started his computer counseling about two months ago, after making arrangements with officials of the Source, one of a number of such networks that computer users can reach by use of a device called a modem that transmits data across telephone lines.

"I wrote to the Source and told them I would be in their area on business in April," Shuster said. "I told them my profession and suggested they might want having a psychologist on line who could talk via computer to other members."

Jo Anne Montgomery, a spokeswoman for the Source, which is based in McLean, Va., said 62,000 computer users subscribe to the service. It offers access to such things as weather reports, sports scores and other information as well as a message service for other users on the system.

Shuster is paid for his services, but members pay no other fee than normal charges for using the system, Ms. Montgomery said.


English and American Preservation Compared

The September 1984 issue of Library Conservation News had an article describing a visit to North American institutions by Alex Wilson, Director General of the British Library's Reference Division and Dr. David Clements, Director of the British Library's Preservation Service. Their purpose was to study preservation planning and organization, and to see the latest technical developments here. Excerpts from the LCN article follow:

The relative proportion of early and modern books in libraries differs between the UK and North America and this is reflected in the higher proportion of resources devoted to early book conservation in the UK compared with the greater emphasis placed on dealing with the problem of brittle books in North America. Despite this, and despite the greater awareness of the preservation task in the USA, it is striking to note that both countries share the same basic problem: an avalanche of material in need of treatment and inadequate facilities and resources with which to tackle it.

The severity of the brittle book problem in North America, where a quarter of the collections will often fail a single fold test, is as yet unparalleled in the UK and it is likely that the major factors accounting for this are the higher storage temperatures in American libraries combined with the greater extremes of humidity suffered by many American cities. The British Library has recently commenced a conservation survey of its collections and will be including a fold test to collect comparative data on brittleness of paper. This emphasis on brittle paper has been a major factor in the programs for bulk deacidification and experimental use of optical disk technology in North America and accounts for the widescale use of preservation microfilming in the USA and Canada as well as the interest in the use of computer systems to record the microfilm masters.

There is generally a tendency in North America to aim for the minimal treatment of items with much wider use of mylar encapsulation and less use of lamination compared with the UK. Mylar encapsulation, though useful, has noticeable limitations due to the resulting increase in bulk and weight, while there is a difference in views on the degree of reversibility of lamination between the USA and the UK.

The need for greater selectivity in identifying material in need of treatment and the problems of effectively operating large microfilming programs has tended to lead to a greater involvement of academic and curatorial staff in the USA in selecting areas for treatment or filming, in identifying priorities and in trying to prevent unnecessary loss of bibliographic evidence.

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