The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 13, Number 6
Oct 1989


NEH Gives $2 Million To Preserve A Columbia Collection

Big preservation grants are usually for microfilming projects (AN, Feb. 1989, P. 10), but a precedent for another approach has been set by a recent NEH grant.

The largest grant for book preservation in Columbia University's history has been awarded to preserve 31,000 books in its famed Western civilization collection. The National Endowment for the Humanities grant will fund a three-year effort for repair, microfilming, and replacement by reprint, of titles in European philosophy and religion, and ancient, medieval, and modern history. This is the broadest and largest preservation program Columbia has undertaken to date; previous efforts have been narrower in focus and have used fewer preservation options. [From the Sept. 1 Library Journal]

NYPL Gets Record-Setting Grant

The largest grant ever awarded to a library and the largest preservation grant ever given by the National Endowment for the Humanities has been given to the New York Public Library. The three-year grant for $2.5 million will be used to preserve 40,000 volumes in American history and culture from NYPL' s research collections. A combination of microfilming, rebinding, and reboxing will be used to preserve this material. NYPL' s American studies ] are particularly distinguished in the areas of colonial history, the Civil War, immigration and ethnicity, family history, and Native American studies. [From the Sept. 1 Library Journal]

Other grant recipients benefiting from NEH' s recently-enlarged budget include Harvard University ($1,848,360), Columbia University (see story above), and the Research Libraries Group ($2,029,845, for microfilming 34,406 volumes in 10 collections). These are only the big grants. There were also grants for projects at 25 other institutions for a variety of preservation-related purposes.

How to Refill Rolling Ball and Felt-Tip Pens

You shell out a dollar or two for a single pen, use it for a month, and then it starts acting dry. You shake it, press harder, and nothing works, so you throw it away and go buy another. Maybe you have to buy ten or twelve of then a year. This is just what the pen manufacturers want, so they are not going to tell you they're refillable.

In the process of assembling about 4,000 pH pens at the Abbey Publications office, the staff have discovered that they can be disassembled as well, and a filling station for the 15 office pens has been set up, with a pair of pliers, a tweezer, a medicine dropper and a bottle of Osmiroid Free Flowing Black Ink. Perhaps other kinds of ink work just as well. You use the pliers to pull off the plug or cap at the top end of the pen, pull out the reservoir with the tweezers and drop ink into one end of it until it starts coming out the other end and squeeze out the excess so it won't leak on your clothes. Replace everything. If the tip isn't plugged up, it should work.

Midyear Index Available

A four-page index to 1989 issues of this Newsletter published to date (#1-5) is available from the office for a self-addressed envelope with 25� postage.

Page numbers 77-78 were accidentally used twice, at the end of #4 and the beginning of #5. This was not taken into account when the index was made, so all references to p. 77 and 78 will be ambiguous.

A Preservation/Permanent-Paper Law For Connecticut

Public Act No. 89-167 took effect in Connecticut in July. It is remarkably thorough and well worked out, and is notable especially for its emphasis on preservation and the use of paper for state and local records that conforms to national standards for permanence.

In brief, the state librarian is responsible for providing photoduplication and microfilming services and document repair and restoration service for state and local records; for approving storage facilities; carrying out a program for identification and preservation of essential records of the state and its political subdivisions; regulating creation and preservation of local records; and carrying out a program of inventorying, repairing and micro-copying for records of permanent value. Anyone who has custody of any permanent records for the state and its subdivisions has to use alkaline papers that conform to the ANSI standard for permanence. The public records administrator is responsible for furnishing a list of permanent papers to the people with custody of permanent records.

Copies of this law are available from the Abbey Publications office for a stamped self-addressed envelope.

North Carolina Takes Steps To Require Acid-Free Paper

The General Assembly of North Carolina has just passed "An Act ... to Require Reports Concerning the Use of Acid-free Paper in State Publications and Concerning Agency Noncompliance." It is basically a law (Chapter 715, Senate Bill 62) to require State publication procedures and administrative procedures. Under the section on reports and audits, it says:

(c) The State Librarian and the University Librarian of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill shall identify the types of publications for which the use of acid-free paper is desirable and, with the assistance of the Department of Administration, shall study the availability of acid-free paper and the costs associated with purchasing and using acid-free paper. The State Librarian and the University Librarian of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill shall report to the Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations no later than November 1, 1990 the information required by this subsection.

Beware Bad Microfiche Envelopes

There are two ways (at least) that microfiche envelopes can damage the films they enclose: by having a hygroscopic adhesive seam, which causes locally high relative humidity along the seam and leaves a streak of oxidized image next to it; and by not being made of archival paper that passes the Photographic Activity Test.

At the ALA meeting, someone reported $100,000 worth of damage to a fiche collection from the glue in the microfiche envelopes. This report has not been confirmed.

C. Lee Jones, President of the Mid-Atlantic Preservation Service (MAPS) reported the following disturbing findings to the Commission on Preservation and Access, in connection with a project to consider fiche as an archival medium:

We are especially concerned that the Photographic Activity Test has received so little attention from either preservation people or vendors. This is a test that indicates whether or not a particular enclosure is likely to have a negative effect on the film enclosed. As it turns out, very few of the fiche envelope enclosures we had tested passed this test. The manufacturer's response ranged from concern about how to make the required corrections to a cavalier "Librarians don't pay attention to such standards."

To find out whether a particular type of envelope will pass the test, send one or more with a written request to the Image Permanence Institute, BIT City Center, 50 W. Main St., Rochester, NY 14614-1274 (716/475-5199). There is a fee.

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