The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 12, Number 3
Mar 1988


Longevity Of Floppy Disks

According to the March "Help Screen," a question-and-answer column in PC World, you don't have to worry about a limited shelf life for floppy disks, because they will last for decades if they are not subjected to direct sunlight, extremes of temperature or magnetic fields. (What about those security devices at airports?) However, they do wear. The read/write head actually touches the floppy disk, and wears away the magnetic coating while the disk spins, thus interfering with its ability to produce a magnetic field strong enough to read, and losing the data. The first area to wear out is usually the file allocation table; without it, DOS can't read the data files, though with sophisticated data recovery tools they can be recovered. The best protection is to make security copies of files. [Thanks to Ann Swartzell for this item.]

Magnetic And Videotape In Preservation

NYPL Gets $1M For New Microfilm Lab

In the cellar of the New York Public Library February 11, the new state-of-the-art Goldsmith-Perry Preservation Laboratory was dedicated in honor of author Barbara goldsmith and her husband, filmmaker Frank Perry. Their $1 million gift to build and equip the laboratory was said to be the largest contribution to conservation ever made by individuals.

Replacing a 1930s facility, the lab will preserve books, newspapers, and naps on microfilm at the rate of two million frames a year.

Goldsmith first became aware of the problem when she spent months in the library' a newspaper archive researching material on Gloria Vanderbilt for her best-selling Little Gloria.. .Happy at Last, "It pained me to see that important newspaper clippings were virtually turning to dust under my fingertips, and I knew this material could never be found again, anywhere," she said. [From American Libraries, March 1988]

Barbara Goldsmith is the author of "Making Books that Will Last: A Call for Authors to Join the Campaign for Acid-Free Paper," which appeared in Authors Guild Bulletin, Winter 1988, and in a slightly different form in a recent Publishers' Weekly.

Disaster Workshops Popular Among Regional Programs

The Northeast Document Conservation Center has been hired by the Conservation/Preservation Program of the New York State Library to develop a pilot disaster planning and recovery project for four regional library councils in the state. This will include not only training, but evaluation of cooperative strategies and services available. The goal is full disaster preparedness throughout New York State. Project Director is Sally Buchanan, who will give disaster workshops on April 18-19 and 21-22.

The Los Angeles Preservation Network (LAPNet; story on p. 122 of the December issue) is planning its first program. It will be a workshop on disaster planning and collection recovery, date to be announced.

The Utah Preservation Consortium, organized last fall, plans a disaster workshop/seminar, next September in Provo for museums, archives and libraries.

IELDRIN, the Inland Empire Libraries Disaster Response Network, held a workshop March 21 entitled "A Disaster Primer," which attracted over 70 people. Randall Butler has prepared a six-page report.

Planning Formula To Be Developed For Archives

NAGARA has received a grant of $106,450 from NHPRC to develop an archival preservation planning tool for use in state and local government archives and other archival institutions. Products to be created include self-survey materials for repositories and a preservation planning resource notebook.

In effect, this will give archives a winning formula for getting a preservation program started, after the pattern of the ANL's Preservation Planning Program (AN, Feb. issue, p. 32). [nagara=National Association of Government Archives & Records Administrators. NHPRC National Historical Publications and Records Commission, part of the National Archives. arl=Association of Research Libraries.]

Russell Bookcrafts Lives

Despite the pessimistic rumor, Russell Bookcrafts has not closed down, merely moved. The new address is: Russell Bookcrafts, North House, Great North Road, WYBOSTON, Bedfordshire MK44 3AB, England. Telephone: Huntingdon (0480) 405464.

What has closed down is the Hitchin plant, as John Garner Newton explains in a letter dated January 25. He says, "You will also be interested to know that the long established connection with the Garnar family is being maintained, as I have now purchased the Russell Bookcrafts' business. As a Group Director of Garnar Booth plc, I have many years' experience of working with the bookbinding and allied trades and look forward to meeting you in due course.

Technology And Conservation Wants Your Letters

U.S. postal regulations now require that individuals and organizations receiving complimentary subscriptions to magazines have to request the magazine at least once every three years in order that these no-charge subscriptions be considered valid by the U.S. Postal Service and be eligible for magazine mailing. If you would like to remain on the mailing list for Technology and Conservation and if your mailing label does not include "R-487" in the upper right hand corner, you should send in a renewal request to T&C.

This signed (a written signature is necessary) and dated request should state that you wish to continue receiving Technology & Conservation. Please include a copy of your current mailing label with this request. Send the signed and dated request, with the mailing label information, to:

Technology & Conservation, One Emerson Place, 16M, Boston, MA 02114.

South African Paper Conservators Organize

At the second annual general meeting of paper conservators in South Africa, at Cape Town November 25-27, the South African Paper Conservation Group was formally constituted. It will be concerned with art on paper, library and archival materials and photographs composed of paper and related materials, and its professional goals are similar to those of the AIC Book and Paper Group. There will also be an annual Instructional Meeting having both a theoretical and a practical component. The November meeting included talks on preservation administration, a report of the IADA conference, leafcasting (a video), pH measurement, and sewing styles. Mrs. Dale Peters is Chair; write her at Restoration Unit, J. W. Jagger Library, Univ. of Cape Town, Private Bag, Rondebosch 7700, Republic of South Africa.

Cape Town is about 6,000 miles from London and just as far from Melbourne. Only two people from South Africa made it to the 1986 Oxford conference of the Institute for Paper Conservation, and both were bookbinders; travel to conferences is very expensive. There are six subscribers to the Abbey Newsletter in that country, however, five of which are institutions.

Warren Olde Style Discontinued

Connoisseurs and devotees of beautiful alkaline paper are mourning the passing of Olde Style, which Warren is dropping along with Warren 1854 in order to streamline their operations. The company recommends No. 66 Antique as the paper that most closely resembles Olde Style. It is similar but bulkier. [From Alk. Pap. Advocate, March]

Fine Paper Is A Significant Part Of The Market

For years librarians have been told, and have told each other, that their voice would not be heard if they demanded permanent paper for books and other items that might wind up in libraries and archives, because book paper made up only 1% or 2% of the market. But the figures from the 1988 Lockwood-Post's Directory, p. 2, tell a different story: paper production for all kinds of paper, including newsprint, household products and packaging papers, was about 36 million tons; of this, uncoated free sheet (cover, text, uncovered book; bond and writing; and envelope) made up 10.7 million tons, or 29%.. These are the papers that are referred to as book papers, or fine papers.

If you define "book paper" narrowly, to include only the first of these three categories, the percentage is still large: 9%.. This does not include books printed on coated paper. Production of coated paper is 6.6M tons, most of which goes into periodicals; but if even 57, goes into books, that means that 13% of the paper produced in this country goes into books. And this doesn't even count the groundwood printing paper used for mass market paperbacks, or the dissertations and other books whose pages are bond or photocopy paper. [From the March Alk. Pap. Advocate.]

Eleven Standard Ways to Find the Grain of Paper

Bookbinders and paper conservators, who have their own ways of determining the grain direction of paper and board, may be surprised to learn that papermakers do it too. The Technical Association of Pulp and Paper Manufacturers (TAPPI) even has an official test method for it: "Machine Direction of Paper and Paperboard," T 409 on-82. It describes eleven clever and precise methods, some of which can be done by hand, and even tells you what to do if the sample is not cut exactly along or across the grain. Two methods involve observation through a microscope of fiber orientation or wire marks. The "axis of curl procedure" works with sized papers, and involves floating a specimen on water; the "drying procedure" involves use of an oven or dessicator, with both sides exposed equally to the drying atmosphere; and the "bend procedure" involves holding two strips (with different grain orientations) together, one on top of the other, then the other way around, and observing which bends more.

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