The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 13, Number 1
Feb 1989


Commission On P & A Approves Contracts

The November 1988 Newsletter of the Commission on Preservation and Access reports that the Commission has approved several contracts related to the nation-wide preservation microfilming program. Contracts were approved with the Mid-Atlantic Preservation Service (MAPS) in Bethlehem, Pa., to 1) develop archival standards for the processing of microfiche; 2) develop a high-speed density checking capacity for roll film processing; and 3) support development of specifications with the Xerox Corporation for a special composing reducing camera capable of digitizing 35 mm film, producing film in difference reductions (roll and fiche), paper, and creating CD-ROM products. The Commission also approved a contract with the Research Libraries Group (RLG) to study technical capabilities for scanning and converting existing bibliographic records of preserved materials to machine-readable format, and approved a contract with Barclay Ogden, preservation administrator at the University of California-Berkeley, for a research paper on the intellectual rational for conservation of the book as artifact.

Two Microform Surveys

As the first step in an effort to persuade publishers of microfilm for libraries to use permanent and durable boxes and other storage containers, the Micropublishing Committee of the ALA RTSD Resources Section is surveying libraries about their policies and preferences on containers received from publishers. The survey, it is hoped, will also raise librarians' consciousnesses and inform them about the effect of low-quality boxes and the availability of standards.

A survey of micropublishers, covering not only storage containers but a variety of other topics relating to preservation and quality of master negatives, will be carried out as a joint project of the Preservation Committees of the Research Libraries Group and the American Association of Law Libraries. Erich Kesse of the University of Florida Libraries is coordinating it.

Compact Disc Deterioration

A short compilation of problems that have been reported for compact discs by record companies appears on p. 20 of CAN No. 36. A British manufacturer said the ink printed on the lacquer surface was eating its way through to the aluminum disc; Mobile Fidelity of California has found that the music fades within five to eight years, sooner if the discs were stored in high heat or humidity; and several other companies are experimenting with gold and silver instead of aluminum, which oxidizes and loses its ability to reflect the laser bean that plays the disc.

Preservation Administration Teachers Organize

A special interest group (SIG) has been formed within the Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE). Its mission statement, drafted January 5th and 13th, was submitted by Michele V. Cloonan:

The Preservation SIG of ALISE is primarily concerned with the preservation and conservation activities that are being conducted in schools of library and information science. These activities include, but are not limited to, curricula development, continuing education, and research. The SIG will serve as a forum for these activities with the following additional goals:

To be a member of the Preservation SIG, one must be a member of ALISE. For ALISE membership information, contact Ilse Moon, Executive Secretary, ALISE, 5623 Palm Aire Drive, Sarasota, FL 34243-3702.

New York State Scores Again

The New York Documentary Heritage Act was signed into law by Governor Mario Cuomo on September 1. The new law provides support both for historical records programs and for organizations that offer services to these programs. The origins of the Act can be traced to Toward a Usable Past, the State Historical Records Advisory Board's 1984 report to the Governor. The report motes that many of New York' a historical records programs are undersupported and underdeveloped, and makes recommendations for action. The law implements some of those recommendations.

The Documentary Heritage Program will be administered by the State Archives and Records Administration. For information contact Office of Cultural Education, New York State Education Department, 10A46 Cultural Education Center, Albany, NY 12230 (518/474-1195).

Dc Library Consortium Plans Superlibrary, Preservation

The Washington Research Library Consortium, a recently formed organization with eight member universities, has big plans that are news in themselves, even though the consortium still has to raise most of the money to fund them. It wants to merge all their catalogs using NOTIS into an online public access catalog, implement a cooperative collection development program, construct a central storage facility for little-used materials, organize a fast delivery system for library materials, and--last but not least--implement a preservation program to preserve members' materials. It is a development that resembles the European Economic Community because of the thoroughgoing changes it will make in the way its members operate, and the large-scale benefits it can bring.

Conservation Is Taught In New Delhi

The National Museum in New Delhi, India, has recently begun postgraduate programs in the History of Art, Conservation and Museology. They would like to hear from any conservators, museologists or related professionals who are intending to visit New Delhi, and who may be available to give lectures to the students. A small honorarium will be offered for the lecture. Anyone who can assist should contact Dr. G. N. Pant, Keeper (Education), National Museum, 3019272 Janpath, New Delhi 110011, India. Telephone: 301 8415 or 301 9538. [From the September AICCM National Newsletter.]

Virginia Commonwealth To Close Down Program

Laurence A. Pace regrets to announce that the administration of Virginia Commonwealth University has made the decision to terminate the Pre-Conservation Curriculum at the end of this current school year (May 1989). He is referring people to the University of Delaware Pre-Conservation Curriculum, directed by Hilton Brown, at Mayer Center for Artists' Techniques, 303 Old College, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716.

State Conservation Alliance Formed In Michigan

The Michigan Council for the Humanities announces that on October 20 and December 15, 1988, individuals from archives, art agencies, historical societies, libraries and museums from around the state met in East Lansing to form the Michigan Alliance for the Conservation of Cultural Heritage. The next meeting is scheduled for late February 1989.

John W. Eadie, Dean of the College of Arts and Letters at Michigan State University, is serving as Interim Chairman of the Michigan Alliance as it establishes its bylaws and defines its program activities.

The Michigan Alliance will address the following needs:

The Michigan Alliance plans to publish a newsletter in March 1989, to survey constituencies, and to develop a public education program. [There are 28 members of the Board, at least four of whom are long-term subscribers to the Abbey Newsletter. -Ed.]

Half Of HMSO Publications On Permanent Paper

Her Majesty's Stationery Office in Great Britain corresponds to the U.S. Government Printing Office, as the main publisher for the government. The HMSO Publications Division has started putting out an occasional newsletter, edited by Bob Barnard, Deputy Director of Publications, St Crispins, Duke St., Norwich, NR3 1PD (tel: Norwich (0603) 695559). The October 1987 issue had a story on permanent paper, which said, in part:

HMSO now uses such papers not just for the obvious Parliamentary and Statutory publications, such as the Journals of the House of Lords and House of Commons, the annual volume of Public General Acts and Measures, and the annual edition of Statutory Instruments, but also for other publications, such as the Inventory series for the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments, the Kew Gardens Record series, and the Cabinet Office Historical Volume series.

Indeed, HMSO has taken a positive lead in this area to the extent that nowadays over 50 per cent of HMSO' s purchases of standard printing paper are non-acidic.

Dard Hunter Museum Closes In Preparation For Move

The Dard Hunter Paper Museum, which is part of the Institute of Paper Chemistry, will go along with IPC when it relocates from Appleton, Wisconsin, to Atlanta, probably in the summer of 1989. The Museum was closed in January 1989. It will be inventoried, boxed archivally and readied for shipment to Atlanta, Georgia, sometime after June 1989. Packing will be undertaken with the assistance of various members of the Friends of the Museum, and a grant from the Institute of Museum Services.

The Museum is not expected to open again till after 1992, when the new building is ready.

Big Money

NEDCC has been awarded a grant of $400,000 from the Office of Preservation of NEH to continue and strengthen its field service program. The grant must be matched in part from other sources. Funded activities in the program include onsite surveys of preservation needs, workshops and seminars, courses and lectures at library schools, informal consultation, distribution of technical information, and disaster assistance.

The Research Libraries Group has been awarded $1 M by the National Endowment for the Humanities to support the Great Collections Microfilming Project, which will involve key scholarly collections in the libraries of seven RLG member institutions. These collections are in subject areas that include American history, German literature, Chinese history, and other humanities disciplines. (There are no big programs to film science books, even though they get just as brittle, and even though much of the literature in science never becomes obsolete. Think of botany, zoology, paleontology....)

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation of New York has given the British Library $1,500,000 in support of a coordinated program of preservation microfilming among major research libraries in the UK.

The Mid-Atlantic Preservation Service, headquartered on the Lehigh University campus in Bethlehem, Pa., has received a $1.58 million grant from The Pew Charitable Trusts for construction of a microfilm production and research laboratory. MAPS expects demand for its preservation microfilming service to triple in the next year.

Art Hazards Act Becomes Law

On November 18, 1988, President Reagan signed H.R. 4847 into law. The Art Materials Labeling Act amends the Federal Hazardous Substances Act to require chronic (as well as acute) hazard labelling of art materials, many of which are used in conservation as well as in art. It is closely based on ASTM D-4236, a voluntary standard, and it takes effect in October of 1990.

Electronic Bulletin Board For Conservation

Murray M. Mattenson announces a new computerized bulletin board system for those involved in conservation and preservation. The system is available 24 hours a day by dialing 312/262-6173 with a standard telecommunications package. Follow the instructions on line, or call 3l2/262-8282 for details.

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