The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 10, Number 3
Jun 1986


Documentary Film on Preservation Planned

The Council on Library Resources (CLR), the Library of Congress (LC) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) are sponsoring the production of a documentary film on preservation for television broadcast. Terry Sanders of the American Film Foundation will produce the film, which is expected to be completed in a year. It will be addressed to the educated library users who do not yet know that the record of human endeavor is in jeopardy. It will inform them that a preservation problem exists, that it deserves wider attention, and that it has identifiable solutions.

How to Reduce Time Spent Exercising Tapes

One of many helpful hints buried in 128 pages of technical details in the National Bureau of Standard's "Care and Handling of Computer Magnetic Storage Media" (Sidney B. Geller, ed.; NBS Special Publication 500-101, 1983; $5.50) is the following, from p. 86:

Imbed friction tabs on a semimonthly basis into a chosen group of unrecorded test tapes of the same type and size as the actual recorded archival tapes. These tapes must be wound with the same tensions and tension-patterns as the recorded stored tapes. Store these tapes in archives and perform a tab pull test also on a semimonthly basis in order to determine when the critical layer-to-layer pressure has been reached and rewinding is necessary.

Rewind each tape in archives after it has been stored for 3.5 years, providing that:

1. The storage area temperature and humidity has remained at its optimal value [62-68°F and 35-45% RH] for the entire period, and

2. The friction tabs' pull forces have not yet reached their critical values. Rewind each tape immediately after the critical value has been reached, regardless of its time in storage.

These recommendations are from a research report summarized in the NBS publication: N. Bertram and A. Eshel. "Recording media archival attributes (Magnetic)." Rome Air Development Center. RADC-TR80-123; April 1980. 112 p. The RADC report does not give quantitative information relative to critical tab pull forces for computer tapes, but it does offer background information which can be used to set up individual test programs by interested organizations.

If friction tabs are not used, the Bureau recommends exercising tapes by winding and rewinding them on an annual or semiannual basis at normal operating tape speeds to remove some of the stresses that build up in the tape pack during the storage interval.

Separating Coated Paper After Drying

Photographs and color reproductions print better on coated paper, which is often used for art books or publications with colored advertisements and illustrations. It has several disadvantages from a preservation point of view, the worst of which is its tendency to form a solid block if the publication is wet and then allowed to dry. This may happen to hundreds or thousands of books on coated paper if the collection they are in has a flood, and the books are not very carefully dried by hand, or dried en masse by freeze drying. Freeze or vacuum drying keeps the pages from bonding together.

If they do bond together, they are usually considered lost.

Now it appears (according to a brief article in Library Conservation News # 10) that Oystein Wendelbo, Deputy Librarian of the University Library in Bergen, Norway, has known at least since 1977 how to separate coated paper. He uses an enzyme, trypsin, to digest the casein in the coating.

"Casein glue, as well as animal glue, is readily split by trypsin as it contains the amino acids argine and lysine. The explanation for this is that trypsin hydrolyses peptides, amides, etc., at bonds involving the carboxyl group of argine and lysine. As crystalline trypsin is quite expensive, a technical preparation, Pancreas Trypsin NOVO is used. This enzymatic preparation is dissolved in a Sørensens phosphate buffer solution, pH 8, and the solution (1%) is kept at +40°C by using a water bath.... the restorer may halt the enzymatic action by putting the material in cold water."

The method is described in an article published in Research in Norway 1977, distributed by the Norwegian Research Council for Science and the Humanities, Munthesgt. 29, Oslo 2, Norway.

Directory of Decorative Papermakers

Don Guyot and Katherine Loeffler will he publishing a Directory of Decorative Papermakers in the Fall or Winter of 1987, to include names and addresses of individuals, schools, writers, museums, suppliers and organizations involved in the field. For a free listing, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: Peregrine Arts, P.O. Box 1691, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 87504, to receive a prospectus and questionnaire.

$40 Swatch Book

Sanpho America A. Inc., 81 Newbury St., Boston, MA 02116, imports Japanese handmade papers for printing, bookbinding, framing, painting and other uses. For $40 they will send you a 413-page swatchbook, catalog and price lists.

Clove Oil and Cold Leaf

Under "Hints and Wrinkles" in the Spring SOBBR Wales & West Newsletter, a reader reports experiments confirming a traditional use of clove oil, to remove gold leaf from leather: a) a cloth dipped in the oil makes an excellent gold rubber. b) Gold tooling can easily he removed by dipping a cocktail stick in the oil and carefully abrading the gold.

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