The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 12, Number 4
Jun 1988

Is the Monkeywrench Story True?

Once in a blue moon it is necessary for the Abbey Newsletter to "hold the presses" or even reprint one or more pages before mailing out an issue. This is one of those times. This page, and three others on the same sheet, have been reprinted, and the news item from American Libraries on the front page would have been removed too, if it had not been for the additional expense of reprinting that sheet.

The news item looked all right at first, and a related editorial was written; but now there is reason to doubt it, and the editorial has been pulled. The 'small Pittsburgh outfit marketing the 'Bookkeeper Process'," referred to in the story, is headed by Richard E. Spatz, who denies any involvement in the activities referred to in the news item. In a statement for publication, he says, "If the allegations were intended to suggest that anyone involved with the Bookkeeper Process had contacted legislators to upset Congressional appropriations for the DEZ process, it just isn't true. I am not opposed to privatization; in fact, I am in favor of privatization of all processes."

Tom Gaughan, Managing Editor of American Libraries, was contacted by telephone, and said that "American Libraries' source on this subject has been reliable and credible and we have no reason to doubt them at this time." He declined to name the congressman.

Representatives of Texas Alkyls and the Library of Congress could not be reached for comment

The Literature section of this issue includes a notice of the U.S. Office of Technology Assessment's Book Preservation Technologies, which compares the three leading deacidification processes: DEZ, the Bookkeeper process and Wei T'o. It says, on p. 102, "The Bookkeeper process is the simplest of the three. It has the shortest cycle times, requiring no drying as do the other two processes, and capital investment would probably be low. Because of the chemicals it uses, compatibility with inks, colors, etc. is not expected to be much of a problem, although not enough tests have been conducted to determine what, if any, preselection is necessary.... The primary disadvantage of the Bookkeeper process is that it relies on its alkaline reserve to neutralize the paper over time."

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