The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 11, Number 8
Dec 1987


40 Lb. Alkaline Light Weight Coated Paper Produced By Warren

Publishers of medical journals please take note: There is now available an alkaline coated paper that is even lighter in weight than the 45 lb. Somerset Gloss announced in the October issue (p. 101). It is S. D. Warren's 40 lb. Somerset Matte.

Alkaline Paper Urged For Printed Government Publications

At its meeting October 14-16, the Depository Library Council unanimously passed the following recommendation:

The Depository Library Council recommends that the Public Printer convey to the Joint Committee on Printing [the Congressional body responsible for government paper standards] Council's concern for the archival value of government publications. Once a specification for paper permanence is formally adopted by the Joint Committee on Printing, the Depository Library Council recommends that the Public Printer notify government publishers of the availability of permanent paper and the benefits of using it. The Depository Library Council recommends that the Government Printing Office encourage the use of permanent paper for publications with enduring research value.

Rationale: The library community has expressed to Council a concern about the deterioration of older government documents printed on acidic paper. Council shares this concern and believes that the Joint Committee on Printing should include considerations of archival life in paper specifications in order to minimize this problem in the future.

Bookbinding & Preservation In Astrology

Jim Dast spotted the following passage in the Astrological Forecast for Saturday October 31, in the Madison Capital Tines for the same date:

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Art of bookbinding comes to your attention for purpose of preserving documents, manuscripts. Focus on permanency, responsibility, deadline.

Local Library Consortiums Have Big Preservation Plans

Binding School Graduates Available In July

The first graduates of the two-year Bookbinding training program at the North Bennet Street School in Boston will receive their diplomas as Craftsman Binder next July 1, 1988. They will then be available for full-time employment as bench workers for self-employed binders, small binderies, both custom and production shops, and libraries. The Office of Student Services at the North Bennet Street School is actively developing job leads for the graduates of the program and looks forward to developing long-term relationships with employers in the trade. In order to list their employment needs with the School, employers should write Sally Miller, Director of Student Services, NBSS, 30 North Bennet St., Boston, MA 02113, or call her at 617/227-0155 ext. 15, M-F 8:30-4:30.

There are currently five second-year students and six first-year students enrolled in the Bookbinding program, which is headed by Mark Esser, who apprenticed with Bill Anthony.

Earthquakes Damage L.A. Libraries

At 7:42 a.m. on October 1, an earthquake of 6.1 magnitude on the Richter scale hit the Los Angeles area, especially the town of Whittier, damaging 450 buildings and leaving thousands homeless (a full weak after the quake, almost 2,000 were still homeless). Aftershocks continued into October, bringing the number of dead to seven. Library stacks collapsed and books were strewn on the floor, except in libraries where the stacks were properly braced; 50 of 300 public libraries closed on the day of the quake, and 20 were still closed October 5.

Randall Butler, Archivist and Conservation Officer at Loma Linda University, has written a detailed report which will appear in CAN. It describes the factors that seemed to make a difference between stacks that collapsed and those that did not. Sturdy bracing at close intervals at the Wardman Library at Whittier College minimized damage despite the fact that it was at the epicenter, and that its stacks were oriented so as to take the full force of the north-south motion of the quake.

The main concerns about the effects of earthquakes in libraries are deaths that could be caused by collapsing stacks, replacement of damaged stacks, and reshelving or repair of books damaged by the fall.

Another Quick Test Of 415 Tape Under Water

At the urging of a friend, the Editor made a more careful test of the solubility of 3M's 415 tape (used for encapsulation) under water. This time the small test encapsulation, even with a half-inch section left unsealed, kept the paper inside dry for three days under water. It got white around the edges but did not get gooey. Scotch Double-stick Tape, used in a control piece, got white and lost its grip over a two-inch-long segment but did not get gooey either. Three-M 415 tape between two pieces of paper, submerged for the same period of tine, got white but did not lose its grip or spread. Magic Transparent Tape on a piece of paper separated after 24 hours into two parts: the carrier and the adhesive. More research is needed if the solubility reported by Helene Donnelly (July issue, p. 72) is to be reconciled with these results.

Archives Advisors Consider Preservation Of Sound Recordings

An Ad Hoc Subcommittee on the Preservation of Sound Recordings of the NARA Advisory Committee on Preservation met July 29-30 in Washington. Among the audio recordings experts attending the meeting, in addition to members of the Advisory Committee were technicians, scientists, and archivists from Belfer Audio Laboratory at Syracuse University; Department of Radio, TV, and Film at Morehead State University; Center for Magnetic Recording Research at the University of California; National Museums of Canada; National Bureau of Standards; NYU Institute of Fine Arts; Library of Congress; National Endowment for the Humanities; and the Association for Recorded Sound Collections. After a briefing on the types of problems confronting NARA, the panel responded to specific questions about the best environmental conditions for the storage of audio tapes, whether or not to seal storage containers, how to re-record recordings produced by unique technologies, and whether or not to convert analog sound to digital sound. A summation of the discussion is being prepared by Alan Calmes (NSZ), who serves as Executive Secretary of the Committee. Call (202) 523-5496 for more information.

One of the techniques they may have discussed at that meeting is a procedure described in "Sounds of Science," a series on public radio, November 10. It seems someone named Bill Storm (?) in Syracuse, New York, has a process of reading old cylinder recordings with a laser and digitally processing the sound to remove the noise picked up by the laser, which literally reads every single irregularity in the groove, far more faithfully than a needle would. There is absolutely no wear on the cylinder when it is played, and there is no need to find or maintain an old-fashioned player to hear what is on the recordings.

A Society Devoted To Globes

The international Coronelli Society (founded 1952) is devoted to the scientific investigation of questions relating to old and antique terrestrial and celestial globes, armillary spheres and planetaria, and the publication of the results of these investigations. Included in its activities are matters such as drawing up of inventories, conservation and restoration work, research into the producers, and questions relating to the use, of globes. In the serial Der Globusfreund (published in German and English), 32 numbers have appeared so far; five international symposia have been held. The Coronelli Society is the only one of its kind and one of the oldest societies in the field of historical cartography. Annual subscriptions are welcome: the 1986 rate was 180 Austrian Schillings (about $15.00). Write the Society at Dominikanerbastel 21/28, A-101 Wien, Austria. [From Paper Conservation News for March.]

Ridding Books Of Moldy Smell

Ann Swartzell sent in a page from Family Circle's "Readers' Idea Exchange" that had this item on it:

Place musty-smelling books--those great old ones that you have found in the attic or bought at a garage sale--in a paper bag filled with cat-box litter. Close the bag and leave it for about a week. When you take the books out, no odor will remain!

Odor removers that have been suggested or used by others include California sunshine (for the UV, which kills mold), one-drop odor remover from the grocery store, bicarbonate of soda, and ordinary barbecue-style charcoal. No research comparing different methods is known to have been done.

Archives And Records Information Coalition Formed

On June 19 and 20, at a meeting at the National Archives in Washington, DC. representatives of more than 15 Federal agencies and national organizations recommended launching a new forum for the promotion of information exchange in the archives and records field, the Archives and Records Information Coalition (ARIC). Plans were also made to implement key recommendations in the recently published Information Resources for Archivists and Records Administrators. The document is the final report of a two-year NAGARA study aimed at improving the exchange of information about professional practices and procedures within the records community The National Archives and Records Administration intends to serve as the central information repository, enlarging its library and providing an automated database of literature. Preservation information will be a major component of this service. [From The Primary Source, Fall 1987.]

Preservation Department Also Provides Access

It is sometimes said that preservation and access are different sides of the same coin, but the same department rarely handles both functions. In the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, however, the division of Archives and Records Preservation (1350 New Court House, Boston, 02108) does both. This year it published A Research Guide to the Massachusetts Courts and their Records, by Catherine S. Menand, with 135 pages and a microfiche inventory supplement, with the aid of an NHPRC grant. It also does a fairly full range of archival conservation treatments, and concerns itself as well with storage enclosures, handling, environmental control and disaster contingency planning. The staff includes both archivists and conservators, who work cooperatively, consulting often to assure that the needs to preserve and use or display are balanced.

This integrated program is not a holdover from colonial days, before the age of specialization, although the state s judicial system dates from 1630. It is the result of a 1976 decision to bring together all the judicial records from around the state so they can be given proper care. They are housed at the Supreme Judicial Court, and the Preservation division there not only cares for them, but carries out all other archival functions.

MAPS Gets New Address; Jones Elected President

Effective November 1, the mew address and phone number of the Mid-Atlantic Preservation Service is: Lehigh University Mountaintop Campus, 118 Research Drive, Building J, Rm. 120, Bethlehem, PA 18015 (215/758-5390).

At its recent annual meeting, the Board elected C. Lee Jones President and Berry Richards Treasurer. Donald W. Koepp and David Stam were re-elected Chairman and Secretary, respectively. Koepp, Princeton University Librarian, has been Chairman of the Board of both MAPS and its predecessor organizing groups and has been responsible for getting MAPS into operation.

MAPS is a not-for-profit corporation, funded for initial capital costs by the Exxon Education Foundation and established for the purpose of providing archival quality microfilming services to the scholarly community, including libraries, archives and museums.

Health Hazards In Negatives And Copiers

Staff members at the Arizona State Museum working on a photo duplication project discovered that exposure to deteriorating nitrate and diacetate negatives can result in skin and eye irritations, vertigo, nausea, and respiratory difficulty. The health of the workers and improvements to the work environment were the subject of a long investigation by industrial hygienists, whose recommendations for safe handling of aging photographs focus on proper workspace ventilation, and include limitations on handling time and the use of vinyl or latex gloves. For details on the findings, contact Patricia W. Hollinshead, Assistant Photo Collections Curator, Arizona State Museum, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721. [From the October Aviso.]

Canadian researchers recently studied 20 library, school, hospital and business buildings suspected of harboring agents that give their occupants headaches, irritated eyes and other maladies. Thirteen were found to contain air tamed with a group of paraffinic hydrocarbons emitted by wet-process copiers.

According to study leader Yoshio Tsuchiya of the National Research Council of Canada (NRCC) in Ottawa, these paraffinic hydrocarbons are members of a larger class of compounds called volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are among the major components of indoor air pollution and are believed to contribute to "sick building syndrome." Tsuchiya presented his findings last weak at the American Chemical Society's 194th national meeting in New Orleans. [From the Sept. 12 Science News.]

NHPRC Grants Approved In June

The National Historical Publications and Records Commission met in June and recommended over a million dollars' worth of grants, of which $125,696 were for preservation. One grant was for preserving audio tapes of Pacifica Radio Archive in Los Angeles, and the rest was for photographic preservation at the Utah Museum of Natural History, the Puget Sound Maritime Historical Society and the Wyoming State Museum. It recommended half a million dollars for documentary editions, and subvention grants totalling $41,833 to help defray costs for publishing documentary editions. (The December 1978 issue of this Newsletter describes these subvention grants, and the archival standards the publishers must meet: Minimum pH of 7.5, minimum alkaline reserve of 2%, CD folding endurance of 30, no acidic or chloride-containing inks, Smyth-sewn, no synthetic or pyroxylin fabrics, etc.) In addition, it endorsed nine projects, among them three with a preservation component:

New York City Archives' work with the records of the Depart-mend of Parks, work on historical records of two families in Cedar Rapids, Iowa (probably microfilming, because the news release says "preserve and make available"), and work on the archives and manuscript materials of the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

Railroad Foundation Supports Preservation At Washington U.

The Olin Library System of Washington University in St. Louis has received a $200,000 grant from the Burlington Northern Foundation to support preservation efforts. The Burlington Northern Foundation represents the Burlington Northern Railroad Company. The grant covers a three-year period and is earmarked for a) preventive preservation, b) restoration, c) replacement of brittle materials in original or alternative formats (i.e., photocopying or microfilming them), d) staff development for preservation and general patron/staff awareness of proper care and handling procedures, and e) equipment and supplies for use with alternative media and education in preservation.

Basic preservation efforts have been underway in the central library system since 1983. Washington University has made a strong commitment to support the libraries' preservation efforts by establishing a preservation unit and staffing it with two preservation librarians.

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