The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 15, Number 2
Apr 1991


Conferences & Professional Publications


Chemical Abstracts Service publishes a number of biweekly bulletins incorporating references and abstracts on selected subjects, covered in Chemical Abstracts. They cost $180 per year. Two that may of interest are

Air Pollution (Books & Reviews) SVC 02B Indoor
Air Pollution SVC 07T

Write Chemical Abstracts Service, 2540 Olentangy River Road, PO Box 3012, Columbus, OH 43210-0012. Yes, that road name is spelled right: Olentangy.

Medieval Book Production: Assessing the Evidence, ed. by L. Brownrigg. Los Altos Oxford: Anderson-Lovelace, 1990. Price, till May 3: $105.50.


ICOM Committee for Conservation, 9th Triennial Meeting, Dresden, German Democratic Republic, 26-31 Aug. 1990, Preprints. 2 v. Available from ICCROM, ICOM, or the Getty Conservation Institute, for $107. Vol. 2 has 13 papers from the sessions of the working group on Graphic Documents; the other five papers are in Restaurator v.11 #3 (1990). These 13 papers include:

Helen D. Burgess - The Stabilization of Cellulosic Fibers by Borohydride Derivatives

Verena Flamm et al. - Conservation of Tracing Papers

Christa Hofmann et al - Bleaching of Foxing Stains in Art Nouveau Prints

J.P. Nyuksha et al - Mass Processing of Documents for Fungi Contamination Control [Formaldehyde fumigation of books in the USSR Academy of Sciences that were wet by fire hoses]

Jan Wouters et al. - The Codex Eyckensis: An Illuminated Manuscript on Parchment from the 8th Century AD. Laboratory Investigation and Removal of a 30-year-old PVC Lamination

Mariagrazia Plossi Zappalà- Le Propionate de Calcitin:

Agent désacidifiant et stabilisant des papiers anciens?

Significant-looking papers given in other working groups include the following:

Stefan Michalski - An Overall Framework for Preventive Conservation and Remedial Conservation [A wall chart in matrix form, for administrative types who need an overview, & for planning.]

Hideo Arai et al. - Induced Foxing by Components Found in Foxed Areas [Reports main causes of foxing: formation of L-malic acid, glucose & gamma-aminobutyric acid, which might be produced by xerophilic fungi.]


Restaurator 11:4, 1990 includes:

E.E. Carrapella, E.M. Powell, C.A. Rutiser & M.G. Barger Changes in Paper Surface Morphology Caused by Resizing Treatments

V. Daniels - Discoloration of Paper Induced by Pigments Containing Zinc [in the presence of sunlight and high RH]


Journal of the American Institute for Conservation 29:2, Fall 1990, contains four papers on book and paper conservation:

Sylvia Rodgers Albro and Thomas C. Albro II - The Examination and Conservation Treatment of the Library of Congress Harkness 1531 Huejotzingo Codex. Important. Stephanie Watkins - Chemical Watermarking of Paper. A novel and useful investigation.

Helen D. Burgess and Nancy E. Binnie - The Development of a Research Approach to the Scientific Study of Cellulosic and Ligneous Materials. Sound and useful, but why use 25-year-old test methods when up-to-date ones are available?

Ralph A. Gustafson et al. - Fungicidal Efficacy of Selected Chemicals in Thymol Cabinets. None of the chemicals worked on moldy books, though two (thymol and paraformaldehyde) were active against mold cultures.


Recent Advances in the Chemistry of Insect Control II, edited by L. Crombie. 1990. $110 from CRC Press, 2000 Corporate Blvd., NW, Boca Raton, FL 33431. 308 pp., soft-cover, ISBN 0-85186-627-1. Covers future trends in insecticides, the invention and optimization of insecticides, the isolation and synthesis of insecticidal natural products, and biorational approaches to insecticides.


"Studies on the Degradation Products of Paper with and Without Pollutants in a Closed Environment: I. Preliminary Results," by E.J. Parks, C.M. Guttman, K.L. Jewett and F.E. Brinckman. (NISTIR 4456) A report prepared for the National Archives and Records Administration, May 1990. Issued 1990 [by NIST}. 36 pp. $15 from NTIS, Springfield, VA 22161. Order No.: PB 91 143 313. A search for autocatalytic degradation products and those mobile enough to affect adjacent papers. Six surface mobile organic acids were found, of which acetic acid was prominent. This study should eventually help improve the correlation between natural and artificial aging.

Arbeitsblätter des Arbeitskreises Nordrhein-Westfälischer Papierrestauratoren is a twice-yearly book of proceedings of the meetings and-a newly-founded group of paper restorers (established October 1989) in the state of North Rhine Westphalia, just east of The Netherlands. Their group was founded by 11 restorers to facilitate discussion and exchange of information on professional and practical matters; to look into centralized purchase of supplies; to put together travelling exhibits; and to publish proceedings like this.

Each of the 1990 issues has five or six authored papers and a news section in the back for reports of seminars, literature notices, short news items and announcements of coming events; so they are as much like newsletters as proceedings. Address: Archivberatungsstelle Rheinland, Abtei Brauweiler, Postfach 2140, 5024 Pulheim 2, Germany.

Newsletters in Germany have been rare or nonexistent until now. Perhaps this publication is a sign of more to come.


"Taking a Byte out of History: The Archival Preservation of Federal Computer Records" is the 25th report by the Committee on Government Operations (House Report 101-978), and is very well written, besides being on an important topic and full of astounding facts. Present-day computer records, it says, may become just as illegible in the comparatively near future as hieroglyphics were before the Rosetta Stone was discovered. Case in point: The type and format of computer tapes used for census returns in the 1960s became obsolete a few years later. The only two machines in the world that can read them now are in the Smithsonian Institution and Japan. The tapes have since been converted to a more standard format, fortunately, but many other files are lost because there is no way to read them. This report can be ordered from the House Document Room, House Office Building Amex 2, Washington, DC 20515. Enclosed a self-addressed label.


"Limiting the Use of Bookdrops: A Preservation Necessity," by Gregor Trinkaus-Randall and Patience Kenney Jackson. New Library Scene 10:1, Feb. 1991, p. 1, 5. Protection of books from damage and prevention of arson and vandalism are the big reasons given for limiting bookdrop use.


A detailed floor plan of Philip Smith's workshop (a converted 17th century cowbarn) appears on p. 18-19 of the Spring CBBAG Newsletter. Elsewhere in the same issue are a report on Tim Barrett's handmade paper facilities, one page on permanent paper in Canada, a report on a CBBAG marbling workshop given by Eileen Canning, and a remarkable series of five reports of bookbinding techniques taught at workshops, illustrated with diagrams: James Brockman's vellum binding over a split board construction, Brockman's rebacking of leather bindings, Frank Mowery's German bookbinding techniques, Monique Lallier's edge-to-edge doublures, and Tini Miura's French onlay technique and gilding. Other techniques are described toward the end of the issue, which is 36 small pages long.


"Leather Dressing at the BM," by Vincent Daniels. Conservation News No. 44, March 1991, p. 31-32. A history of the various formula modifications used since it was introduced in the mid-1930s, with sources of supply and a summary of health and safety issues.


Obituaries for Roger Powell have appeared in the December 1990 Guild of Book Workers Newsletter (by Don Etherington) and in the Winter 1990 Designer Bookbinders Newsletter (two separate ones, by Bernard Middleton and Philip Smith. He is described as "the last of [Britain's] four greatest and most influential bookbinders of the last hundred years, the others being T.J. Cobden-Sanderson, Douglas Cockerell and Douglas's son Sydney.

Library Buildings and the Loma Prieta Earthquake Experience of October 1989, by David C. Weber. 66 pages. $8.95 + $2 shipping & handling, from California State Library Foundation, PO Box 942837, Sacramento, CA 94237-0001 (916/4454027). An account of the experience at Stanford University and other libraries, including staff reactions and details of actions that worked and didn't work.

"Graduate Education and Training for the Archives Conservator: A Report to the National Endowment for the Humanities," ed. by Cathleen Baker and F. Christopher Tahk. Dec. 1990. $5 from NEH Archives Report, c/o Art Conservation Dept., Rockwell Hall 230, Buffalo State College, 1300 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo, NY 14222-1095. This is a proposed graduate-level curriculum for the training of archives conservators, with an outline of the faculty, facilities and funding requirements that would be needed.

Standards and Practical Guides


"Preserving Library Resources: A Guide for Staff" was published by the Oakland Library Consortium of Libraries in the Pittsburgh area to introduce both full and part-time staff to preservation concepts. Copies available from the Oakland Library Consortium at Hunt Library, Room 302, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890.

"Checklist of Standards Applicable to the Preservation of Archives and Manuscripts," compiled by Victoria Irons Walch for the SAA Task Force on Archival Standards. American Archivist v.53, Spring 1990, p. 144-158. Over 150 standards are listed, by organization and committee (which pretty well sorts them out by subject too), and introductory sections do a good job of explaining each organization's role in the big picture. Archivists are urged to take a more active part in the standards development process. (The American Archivist is behind schedule; this is the newest issue.) Many of the standards deal with storage and reproduction of photographs, microfilm and electronic media, but paper, environmental conditions, f ire, and binding are not neglected. A major article, well done.


Managing Conservation. Suzanne Keene, ed. Papers from a UKIC/Museum of London conference, Oct. 1990. i-'5 from UKIC, 37 Upper Addison Gardens, London, England W14 8AJ.


Guide to the LBI Standard for Library Binding. Available for $17.50 from ALA Publishing Services, 50 E. Huron St., Chicago, 60611. ISBN 8389-33912.


Guidelines for Bibliographic Control for Preservation Microform Masters. Prepared for the ARL Committee on Bibliographic Control by Crystal Graham. Simplified cataloging for monographs and serials. Available from ARL, 1527 New Hampshire Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20036.


"A Checklist of Construction Concerns," by Karen Motylewski. News (Northeast Document Conservation Center), Spring 1990, p. 41. Hazards originating in construction projects relate to fire safety, water hazards, abrasion and chemical damage, and security. Preventive steps are listed. A more detailed handout will soon be available through NEDCC's field service office.


"Mass Deacidification Systems: Planning and Managerial Decision Making," a 24-page report by Karen Turko at the University of Toronto, is now available from the Association of Research Libraries for $15 (1527 New Hampshire Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20036).


Two recent books about management of science labs may be helpful to old or new managers of conservation labs.

The Manager Looks at Research Scientists, by John W. Koning, Jr. Available from TAPPI Press (800/332-8686) or Science Tech Publishers, Inc., Madison, WI. (TAPPI's price is $11 for members.) 1988. 89 pp. This book is almost a sequel to one written before the author was promoted from scientist to manager: "A Scientist Looks at Research Management." It incorporates the previous text, and after each short section, in a different typeface, presents his comments on his earlier observations, with new understandings gained as a supervisor.

Management of Research and Development Organizations: Managing the Unmanageable, by R.K. Jain and H.C. Triandis. John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1990. 268 pp. One of the authors is an engineer/scientist and the other a social and organizational psychologist. The book is hard to summarize, since its scope is broad, but it is well-organized and clearly written. Chapter 10, on technology transfer, will be meaningful to conservation scientists who have learned that lab findings are generally under-implemented by conservators.

Choosing and Working with a Conservator, by Jan Paris. Atlanta, SOLINET, 1990. $10 prepaid. 24 pp. This booklet will be helpful to libraries that feel the need for a conservator's services, but cannot distinguish a competent, trained conservator from a bookbinder or a would-be conservator, and do not know where to start to look. It tells how to recognize conservators who are professionally committed; what kinds of knowledge they have; and where they might have acquired it. Sources of referral are described; information that should be given and received during the negotiation for a treatment contract is discussed; and the basics of the course of treatment are given. At the end are lists of information resources, training programs, regional conservation centers, and references. All the advice in this booklet is for libraries that are jobbing out work rather than hiring an inhouse conservator, but much of it applies to either situation.


Handle with Care: Preserving Your Heirlooms, by Nancy Davis. A publication by the Rochester Museum & Science Center to accompany the exhibition "Handle with Care: Preserving Rochester's Heritage." $2.95 + tax & shipping from the Research Division, Rochester Museum & Science Center, 657 East Avenue, Box 1480, Rochester, NY 14603-1480 (716/2714320). 32 pp. The author is the objects conservator at the Museum and is often asked by members of the public about care of heirlooms. She writes clearly and accurately, covers all the bases, and refers to the standard sources of information, education, and supplies, and to the standard literature. Paper is well covered, but not books.


Ideas for Preservation Fund Raising: A Support Package for Libraries and Archives. $10 from the Commission an Preservation and Access, 1785 Massachusetts Ave., NW, $313, Washington, DC 20036 (202/483-7474). The kit contains examples of materials that libraries have used to gain financial support for preservation, from administrators, alumni, and friends groups.

1991 Federal Grants for Library and Information Services: A Selective Guide. $5 from ALA Washington Office, 110 Maryland Ave., NE, Suite 101, Washington, DC 20002-5675.


Medieval Manuscript Bookmaking: A Bibliographical Guide, by D.H. Banks. Metuchen: Scarecrow, 1990. 282 pp. $32.50 postpaid in US.


Book Arts Collections: A Representative Selection, edited by Edward Ripley-Duggan. Haworth Press. $19.95. 123 pp. A reprint of a 1988 issue of Special Collections, including some irrelevant material.

Nonbook Materials


"Film Conservation Center: A Pioneer in Saving Movies," by David Francis. Library of Congress Information Bulletin, Jan. 14, 1991, p. 3-6. Well written; covers history of film and the Center, description of the restoration process, and current issues. The article following this one is about saving films of the early Arctic.


"Materials at Risk," produced in both slide-tape and video format, is now available from the National Audiovisual Center, 8700 Edgeworth Dr., Capitol Heights, MD 20743-3701 (301/763-1896, Fax 301/763-6025), in either VHS ($45) or 3/4" ($95) video format, but not in slide-tape format. The slide-tape sets have been sent to the state libraries and archives around the country, so they can be lent out to institutions in each state. The National Audiovisual Center says the video can be ordered by phone, using MasterCard or VISA, prepaid with check or money order, or ordered on a purchase order by mail or fax. "Materials at Risk" was designed as a flexible (insert your own slides to increase local appeal), inspirational fund-raising aid for state and cooperative preservation programs. It makes the case for preservation in a simple, direct and effective way.


"Audio Equipment Considerations for Sound Archives," by William Storm. IASA Phonographic Bulletin No. 57, Nov. 1990, p. 38-46. Making preservation copies of sound recordings is an important function in a sound archives, and this involves playing the originals, which (as the author says) is one of the worst things that can be done with a sound recording. So choice of equipment & method are important. Digital tape recorders and compact discs are not appropriate for archival purposes, because the digital tape recorders have problems of compatibility, standardization and life expectancy, while the compact discs have problems of life expectancy, impossibility of recording onsite, and performance quality. Two solutions offered by the author are 1) to wait for stabilization within the industry, and 2) to enter into cooperative research projects with the manufacturers. The author is active on standards committees, one of which is the recently organized ANSI IT 9.5, which focuses on permanence.

Bibliographies & Other Lists


Training in Conservation: A Guide to Full-Time Courses in the United Kingdom. f-2 from The Conservation Unit, Museums & Galleries Commission, 12 Queen Anne-'s Gate, London SW1H 9AA. 1988, with 1990 supplement.

In 1988, there were six colleges where you could study "Bookbinding, Library and Archives" full time; now there are four: Brunei College of Technology Bristol, Camberwell College of Arts, Guildford Technical College and West Dean College. Brunel and Camberwell have revised their names somewhat. There is a course of study in conservation of art on paper at Gateshead Technical College, in association with Newcastle-upon-Tyne Polytechnic. The average annual tuition at these five institutions is L3335 (about $6000), which is five to seven times as much as home and EEC students pay, Except for West Dean College, where the rates are the same for everybody. These tuition differences must reflect state subsidies.


Bibliography of Theses, Dissertations and Research Reports in Conservation, by G. Krist et al. $20 from ICCROM, Publication Sales Dept., Via di San Michele 13, 00153 Rome, Italy. An update of the 1987 volume; includes 3,500 titles from 74 institutions, 1975-1990. ISBN 929077097X.


Preventive Conservation in the Tropics (Sept. 1990) is a 10-page bibliography available from the Administration Office of the Conservation Center, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, 14 E. 78th St., New York, NY 10021. The price of $2.50 per copy also covers handling and mailing costs. Checks should be made payable to New York University. The author, Claire Gerhard, is a student in the Conservation Training Program, currently living in Mozambique.

A comparison of this bibliography's section an buildings and climate control with the bibliography in the RAMP study "Les Moyens de Conservation les plus Economiques dans les Batiments d'Archives des Pays Industriels et Tropicaux" (PGI-87/WS/18, published by Unesco) reveals no overlap at all. This could man that the French and Americans read different sets of literature, or that museum and archive people do not read each other's literature. (Of 13 references in the French publication, five were in English or .German, so the lack of overlap does not seem to be due to language problems, at least with the French authors. But all but six of Gerhard's references were in English.)

The Gerhard bibliography includes only five references to libraries in the tropics.

1991 Book Arts Supplies and Suppliers. Compiled by the Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild. About 150 sources are listed, half of which are Canadian. The types of supplies (about 40 categories) provided by each are listed below the address and phone number. Suppliers, in turn, are listed under the types of supplies they furnish, in a separate list. For price and availability contact the Supplies Committee, CBBAG, 35 McCaul St., Suite 220, Toronto, Ontario M5T lV7, Canada (416/581-1071).

Binder: A Portrait of Bernard Middleton. Videotape, 24 min. Available in VHS for U8 + L3 shipping (about $59) from Alms and the Man Productions, 13 Northcote Rd., Mangotsfield, Bristol BS17 3HF, UK. Filmed in 1988, released summer 1990.

This is an excellent portrait of a widely admired bookbinder and scholar, from many angles: early training, work experience, teachers and associates, philosophy, and current work. We watch his hands working, lifting a spine and tooling (happily, without words, which would only distract). James Brockman and David Sellars, in separate interviews, comment an Middleton's role in promoting craft over trade values, and as a practitioner of restoration at its best. The music is original, and good. For contrast, Andy Sims, who made the video, inserted short scenes of destruction at the beginning and end--buildings being demolished with explosives--which I found distracting, but which can be skipped if one chooses.

Long, thoughtful reviews appeared in 1990 in DB Newsletter, GBW Newsletter and Paper Conservation News.



This implausible creature is said to be a big hit with youngsters (K-6). He appears on two posters available for $5 a set, with a short guide: "Samurai Bookworm Poster Guide: Instruction Aid for School Library Media Specialists" that tells how a book is put together and gives Do's and Don't's. Make check payable to "The University of The State of New York" and send to Tiffany H. Allen, Division of Library Development, New York State Library, 10-C-47 Cultural Education Center, Albany, NY 12230 (518/474-6971).


"History of the Abbey Publications," by Ellen McCrady. Library Resources & Technical Services 35:1, January 1991, p. 104-108.

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