The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 13, Number 7
Nov 1989


Brief But Significant Notices

A Western New York Conservation Guild has been formed. ... There was a gala hall for preservation at the Sibley Library in Rochester--$45 a head (see related article, this issue).... The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CRC) is preparing a program on permanent paper for their series "The Nature of Things," which is scheduled tentatively for release on January 3, a Wednesday. Copies of the script will be made available, probably through CBC Enterprises (Box 500, Sta. A, Toronto, Ont.) or CBC Transcripts (PO Box 4039, Sta. A, Toronto, Ont. M5W 2P6).... Separating coated paper that has dried and stuck together is not as simple as it used to be, because latex rather than starch is more likely to he used than it was earlier, for holding the coating together and onto the paper. In Europe they use even more latex than we do. It is used more for high quality papers.

The NIC (National Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Property) has moved its principal offices to: The Papermill, Suite 403, 3299 K St., NW, Washington, DC 20007 (202/625-1495, fax 202/625-1485).... Choice, Library Journal, and the American Archivist are now including information on the use of acid-free paper in their bibliographic citations in book reviews.... The International Publishers Association passed a resolution on use of permanent papers in published works recently, which is much like other resolutions passed in the last two or three years, except that it also gives the full and correct citations for the ANSI standard and the four ASTM standards.... The masterclasses scheduled for August 1989 at Soundwell Technical College had to be cancelled due to inadequate enrollment.... Congress tripled the NEH budget for 1989 over that of 1988 so that it could adequately address the preservation crisis. Now it has a five-year plan to gear the country's facilities up to a sustainable level of activity that could microfilm three million volumes by 2007 AD. This would mean 175,000 volumes a year. Since there are 1.3 volumes per title (in the experience of the New York Public Library and two other research libraries), that would be 134,615 titles.... There has been no progress in Congress on either the Williams resolution or the Walgren amendment, which both would require or encourage the use of permanent paper. Now Congress is in a two-month recess, but fortunately it will not be necessary this time to round up sponsors all over again when they return, since this is just the gap between the first and the second session.

California Historical Society Closes

Perhaps there is something about a historical society that invites fiscal mismanagement. It was only July 1988 that the director of the New-York Historical Society resigned and the chief financial officer was fired for spending the endowment and letting the collections deteriorate. Now one of the historical mansions housing the California Historical Society has been put on the market, and 11 employees were laid off when the library was closed in April. The summer Ampersand says fiscal mismanagement is blamed for the rocketing deficit which has plagued the society for years.

Early Coptic Psalm Book Not So Early After All

In 1984 a book of 490 parchment pages and bound in leather with wooden boards was found buried under the head of a 12-year-old girl near Cairo, and was thought to be the oldest surviving copy of the psalms in Coptic or perhaps any language. At the time, it was placed in the second half of the fourth century AD (350-400 AD), about the same time as the Nag Hammadi Codices. Since then, experts have examined it and now agree that it is from the sixth century. John L. Sharpe, Curator of Rare Books at Duke University, reported in September to the Book Arts Group of Greensboro, NC, that he had just been to Egypt to see the famous book. He was disappointed to see that the sewing had all been removed.

Gawdat Gabra, Director of Cairo's Coptic Museum, is writing a book about the book, and said, when he was contacted recently, that he expected it to be ready in about two years.

Progress Report On Standards From NISO And ISO

As of September 1, 1989, according to Information Standards Quarterly, four new subcommittees were being formed:

MM - Environmental Conditions for the Exhibition of Library and Archival Materials
QQ - Physical Preparation of Theses and Dissertations in Printed Form for Long-term Retention by Libraries and Archives
RR - Adhesives used to Affix Libels to Library Materials
SS - Information to be Included in Ads [etc.] for Products Used for the Storage, Binding or Repair of Library Materials


The standard for Environmental Conditions for Storage of Paper-based Library and Archival Materials is under development in Subcommittee R. The standard for Durable Hard Cover Binding for Books (Z39.66-198x) is being voted on by NISO members. Z39.48 is undergoing revision and comment is being solicited (see related article, this issue).

The progress of events in ISO, the International Organization for Standards, is harder to follow because all communication from that organization is thick with acronyms and secret codes: TC 46/SC 10, N16E, WI 114.1, DIS 2789, P-member bodies, O-member bodies, L-members, DP 9706-1, WG 12, and so on. But a fairly understandable summary of ISO's recent work on a new standard for permanent paper is in the October Information Standards Quarterly, p. 10-11. Most of the work so far has been procedural or preliminary, but eventually the subcommittee (SC 10) will have not only a standard for permanent paper, both coated and uncoated, but standards for environmental controls and durable binding, and probably all of then will be based on work done in NISO. U.S. delegates and observers are: Carolyn Morrow, Betsy Humphreys, Merrily Smith and Robert Frase.

Library Of Congress Reorganized

After almost two years of planning, soliciting feedback from everyone affected or served, and working with management consultants at Arthur Young & Co., the Library of Congress began its phased program of reorganization October 1. Although the organization chart looks different now, and some units have different names, the biggest changes will no doubt be the more subtle effects of instituting modern, more democratic, management policy for the hierarchical, regulated one they had before.

Some new goals and priorities have been set: for instance, there will be new emphasis on a "coordinated, multi-medial preservation effort." Some titles have changed:

Preservation Office is now Preservation Directorate.
Binding Office is now Commercial Binding Office.
National Preservation Program Office is now Preservation Information and Education Office.
Preservation Microfilming Office is now Preservation Reprographic Programs.

The Preservation Directorate is now under the Associate Librarian for Collections Services (Henriette Avram) instead of in Research Services.

AIC To Preserve Treatment Records

The American Institute for Conservation has completed a study funded by the NHPRC and the Getty Trust, on the feasibility of establishing an archives for treatment records of conservators. A task force composed of conservators, archivists, and a lawyer found that the treatment records of conservators nearing retirement are in jeopardy and need to be preserved because they document, both visually and in written form, the methods and materials used to create and conserve unique artifacts. Such information is important to historians dating, authenticating, and documenting objects; to conservators treating similar works; and to scientists studying the long-term stability of specific treatments and materials.

The task force recommended that treatment records be placed in established archives staffed by qualified archivists rather than placing them in AIC Headquarters or regional conservation centers where staff lack expertise in archival practice. A number of repositories willing to accept conservation treatment records were identified....

The AIC Board appointed Nancy Schrock as Conservation Archives Placement Coordinator to serve as liaison between conservators or other potential donors of records and appropriate archival repositories. Readers may contact her at 15 Cabot St., Winchester, MA 01890.... (From the Mid-Atlantic Archivist, Fall 1989.)

Alkaline Recycled Paper

There are at least ten paper companies that make alkaline recycled paper right now, and the number will certainly grow in the near future. These ten were the easiest to find in the directories.

Call the companies and ask for the names of distributors nearest you.

Consolidated - 715/422-3111
Cross Pointe - 612/644-3644. A major producer.
French - 616/683-1100
Glatfelter - 717/225-4711. A major producer.
Grays Harbor - 206/532-9600
Lyons Falls - 203/782-0847 (Beware: they make high-yield fine paper, which contains lignin. Test before using.)
Miami (part of Cross Pointe)
Parsons Paper - 413/532-3222
Simpson-Plainwell - 800/253-1895
Ward - 715/536-5591
Whiting - 800/558-5055

Colored Alkaline Papers

More mills making alkaline paper nowadays are venturing into color, as technical problems are addressed and solved. Bookbinders use this type of paper for dividers and covers for paperbound books, and to meet various needs of their customers; librarians and archivists need it for flags and bookmarks, and their own publications. Four companies that make colored alkaline papers are Hammermill, Miami, Ward and Mohawk. Dark and rich, as well as pale or medium, colors are available. The variety is too great to list here, but more information is available from the companies and in the Alkaline Paper Advocate for October, issued from this office.

Hammermill Papers - 901/763-7800
Miami (part of Cross Pointe) - 513/865-6018
Ward Paper Co. - 312/588-6130
Mohawk Paper Mills - 518/237-1740

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