Volume 13, Number 8
Recent Meetings with Preservation/Conservation on
- The Paper and Book Intensive, in New Mexico last August, had
twice as many applicants as they could accommodate, and attendees
were inspired both by the program and by the location. Elaine
Schlefer captured the mood in the newsletters she put out for
- The Society of American Archivists (SAA) had seven sessions on
preservation at their October meeting in St. Louis, out of a total
of about 87. (The SAA likes to have a lot of concurrent sessions
with small audiences.) Tapes are available from Convention
Recordings International, P0 Box 1778, Largo, FL 34649-1778
(813/581-2196), for $16 each, except the last one, which is $7.50:
Smoke gets in Your Eyes. Includes V.P. Leonov's and Peter Waters'
description of drying the Leningrad books with sawdust and blankets
and warm air.
Preserve to Serve. Chair: Cathy Henderson Preservation Program
Evaluation: Report on the Findings. Concerns SAA education &
Photographic Conservation Update Preservation Guru or Gadfly. Chair:
Carolyn Harris Preservation Surveys: A Spectrum of Programs and
Progress. Chair: Pat Morris
Holdings Maintenance. Presenters: K. Garlick & M.L. Ritzenthaler
The Conservation Section is now named the Preservation Section,
and Karen Garlick is the new section chair, as well as the liaison
The SAA Council took four preservation-related actions:
- endorsed a Senate resolution on permanent paper; met with
Patricia Battin, President of the Commission on Preservation and
Access, to discuss its activities and relationship with SAA;
- endorsed in concept a statement of objectives and principles on
archival preservation and created a new SAA Task Force on
- approved the request of the Conservation Section to change its
name to the Preservation Section.
The first certification examination was given, and the Academy of
Certified Archivists came into being. In order to pass the exam,
applicants have to know a certain amount of preservation. This
knowledge, outlined in the January 1989 SAA Newsletter,
includes five "tasks" that the applicant should be able to perform,
such as "Analyze the current physical condition of documents and
determine appropriate preservation actions and priorities." It also
includes five "knowledge statements" or areas of applied expertise,
such as "Supplies, storage equipment, and environment standards."
Preservation is, of course, only one of a number of areas of
expertise in which an applicant is supposed to qualify.
- Law librarians net at the University of Texas at Austin October
18-21, at a conference called "Global Access to Information."
Preservation and conservation made up one of three main issues at
the conference. Pat Battin of the Commission on Preservation and
Access spoke at a plenary session, on preserving knowledge. The next
day there was a panel discussion on "Access to Information Through
Preservation and Conservation: Guidelines, Standards, and
Responsibilities"; panelists were Bryan Garner, Diana Vincent
Daviss, Patti McClung and Harry S. Martin III. This was followed by
another panel on practical issues, with Ellen Cunningham, Don
Etherington, Gary Frost and James Stroud.
- Also in Austin, at the Humanities Research Center, an institute
for Latin American archivists, sponsored by the SAA and the Center,
entirely on preservation and conservation, was held September 11-22.
There were 11 participants. Among the speakers were Paul Banks,
Carolyn Harris and Sally Buchanan, who communicated with the aid of
translators. Paul Banks stated the fundamental laws of preservation,
as he sees them, and Gary Frost typeset them on his computer to
resemble something carved in stone, very impressive. This typed
version is but a pale reflection of the original:
All documents deteriorate all the time.
No one can have access to a document that no longer exists.
Use causes wear.
The physical medium of a document contains information.
Authenticity cannot be restored.
No treatment is reversible.
- At the May 30-June 3 meeting of the Association of Canadian
Archivists, there were a total of 23 presentations on preservation
and conservation. Perhaps some of them will appear later in
Archivaria, the group's biennial journal. The theme of
the conference was "Conservation Issues and Solutions." Toby Murray
has a report in the October CAN.