Working Group 25 on Control of Biodeterioration (part of the Committee for Conservation of ICOM the International Council of Museums) decided during their September 1987 meeting in Sydney to establish a registry of pest control actions. This follows the suggestion of Dr. Garry Alpert of Harvard University at the 1986 Washington meeting of the Pan-American Biodeterioration Society. He said then that it was important to collect case histories, since museums use pesticides and fumigants under unusually critical conditions, and for insect species not usually tested for in commercial settings.
The records will be maintained using a relational database that will allow separation of the file with incidences coded by geographic location from a second file, with limited access, relating the location code to the specific institution. Amy published results would give the geographic region rather than the specific institution. Contributors to the database are requested to indicate whether or not their name could be used, particularly in the referral of like experiences. This information, when correlated with other work on the topic, will help indicate specific areas requiring further research.
Working Group 25 is also maintaining a file on all aspects of museum-related biodeterioration research, worldwide. Anyone who would like to add their own museum's pest control actions to the file should contact Fred Greene at The Glenbow Museum, 9th Ave. and First St. SE, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, T2G 0P3. He can also arrange for formal participation in the Working Group; membership in ICOM although desirable, is not required.
Although ICOM is a museum organization, it is open to people from libraries and archives too, and many people (e.g. Garry Alpert) find that their work brings them into contact with all collection-holding institutions.
The April 1988 Library Conservation News features an article on preservation of herbarium specimens, by archive conservator Susie Clark, which discusses control of mold and insect infestation; and on the back page the editor invites readers to contribute accounts of their experiences in disinfestation (with or without a happy ending) for publication. No computerized register of actions has yet been proposed for libraries, however.