The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 16, Number 1
Feb 1992


Conferences & Professional Publications


The GCI Newsletter underwent a startling change with Volume VI #1, and not for the better. Its new name Conservation is OK, but the size (12.5" x 12.5") is not. It cannot be held comfortably for reading, or piled in a stack of stuff to read, or easily read at the dining table, or put in a file even if it is folded, or reduced on a photocopier (because the type is already almost too small), or even displayed on a wall like a calendar with a different opening every month. Artistic design and layout have prevailed. It is very attractive, but it is a nuisance, and may be thrown out after it is read, if it is read. This volume will have only this one issue, and then Volume VII will begin, with three issues per year. (3.4)


Preservation and the Management of Library Collections by John Feather. Published by the Library Association London, and distributed exclusively in the U.S. by ALA Publishing Services. $37 cloth; ALA member price $33.30. ISBN 0-85365-769-6. 128 p. ALA Order Code L7696-0010. (2.2)


Sauvegarde et Conservation des Photographies, Dessins, Imprimes et Manuscrits; Actes des Journeés Internationales d'Etudes de L'ARSAG. Preprints/Proceedings from the 1991 ARSAG Conference. Available from: Association pour la Recherche Scientifique sur les Arts Graphiques, 36, rue Geoffroy St. Hilaire, 75005 Paris, France. (2.3)


Overexposure: Health Hazards in Photography, by Susan D. Shaw and Monona Rossol. Rev. ed. Allworth Press 10 E. 23rd St., New York, NY 10010. $18.95 + $3 shipping and handling. First published in 1983. This edition covers new materials, processes, research, laws and regulations. (6F2)


The New Bookbinder, v.11, 1991. Selected contents:

A Limp Vellum Binding Sewn on Alum-tawed Thongs - Jen Lindsay. p. 3-19
Rebacking-An Alternative Approach - James Brockman
A Tribute to Roger Powell - Contributions by Peter Waters, Bernard Middleton and Dorothy Smith
[Nine useful and informed book reviews] (3A1)


The Bookbinder, published annually by the Society of Bookbinders and Book Restorers, was moribund at last report, though the SOBBR National Newsletter is doing fine. A description of the newsletter is in the December issue of the Abbey Newsletter. (3A1)


International Preservation News has not been published for a while, and will no longer be published by the Library of Congress. The Bibliotheque Nationale plans to pick it up. (2)


"A Stand-Alone Imaging System to Assist in Leafcasting Developed at the Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC," by J. Franklin Mowery. Restaurator v.12 #2. 1991. D. 110-115. This is a well-written description of an imaging system using a video camera, a video digitizer and a small computer to calculate the total amount of pulp needed to fill the losses in a given page or document. (3B2.7)

Bibliographies and Other Lists


Guild of Book Workers. "Geographical Listing of Study Opportunities." Revised March 1991. About 70 places are listed, mostly in the U.S. About 13 are in other countries. The main listing is by state, and there is an alphabetical index. (1D)


"Restoration Company Survey Results." Disaster Recovery Journal, Oct-Dec. 1991, p. 51-52, 54. Seventeen data retrieval, drying, and cleanup services are listed and described. All serve primarily businesses rather than nonprofits. (2F3.4)


Society of American Archivists. 1992 Directory of Consultants. One page of this 12-page booklet is devoted to Conservators and Preservation Administrators. Eleven are listed. This is rather like a Yellow Pages, in that the consultants all pay a fee to be listed, and listing by the SAA does not constitute an endorsement. (1S)


The Systems and Procedures Exchange Center (SPEC) of the Association of Research Libraries Office of Management Services has published the following SPEC Kits (bound compilations of photocopied documents). Until December 31, 1991, they cost $30 each ($20 to ARL members). The current price is not known. For pricing information call 202/232-8656. Order from OMS Publications, Association of Research Libraries, Dept. #0692, 1527 New Hampshire Ave., NW, Washington, DC 200730692. (2)

SP #




Insuring Library Collections & Bldgs



Expert Systems



Remote Storage



Preservation Organization & Staff



Brittle Books



Building Security & Personal Safety



Organizing the Preservation Function



Binding Operations



Collection Security



Building Renovation



Preservation Procedures



"Audiovisual Programs Related to Preservation: A Mediagraphy," by Joseph W. Palmer. A 26-page annotated list, 70 items, under eight headings:

The Preservation Challenge
Conservation of Library Materials: Books and Manuscripts
Conservation of Library Materials: Non-books
Exhibit Conservation
Repair of Books and Other Materials: Simple Techniques
Repair of Books and Other Materials: Advanced Techniques
Disaster Planning

The compiler does not seem to have omitted much. This has been much needed. The "mediagraphy" has been submitted to Collection Building for publication.

Until it appears (if it has not done so already), copies may be ordered by sending a 10" x 13" stamped self-addressed envelope with $1.25 postage on it to Joseph Palmer, State University of New York at Buffalo, School of Information and Library Studies, 303 Baldy Hall, Buffalo, NY 14260.

The last such compilation was published ten years ago: The Conservation of Archival and Library Materials: A Resource Guide to Audiovisual Aids, by Alice W. Harrison et al. (2A1)

Nonbook Materials


Slow Fires is still available, in one-hour and half-hour videotape versions, for sale or on loan. To borrow it, contact the Commission on Preservation and Access(202/939-3400); to buy it, contact the American Film Foundation, Santa Monica, CA, 213/459-2116. It may also be available as a movie. It is the best statement yet of the brittle book problem, and has been purchased or is being imitated by major institutions around the world. (3A9)


"From Microfilm to Digital Imagery: On the feasibility of a project to study the means, costs and benefits of converting large quantities of preserved library materials from microfilm to digital images. A report of the Yale University Library to the Commission on Preservation and Access," by Donald J. Waters. CPA, 1991. 41 pp. The plan described seems realistic though expensive, and will probably be carried out first at Yale. The plan proposes to work only from microfilm, but once there is a digital record, books can be printed on demand. (2E)


"Update on Digital Techniques," by Anne R. Kenney and Lynne K. Personius. A six-page newsletter insert in the CPA Newsletter for Nov.-Dec. 1991, it describes the Cornell/Xerox digital scanning project in some detail. (2E)


"Building a Medieval Papermill," videotape showing the preparation and construction of a mill site, and the erection and operation of a three-hammer stamp mill powered by an overshot waterwheel for the production of paper pulp from rags. This is the mill described on p. 126 in the December issue. Approx. 10 minutes. $14.95 from Istor Productions, 7549 N. Fenwick, Portland, OR 97217. (3B4)

For a Wider Public


"Preservation of Scrapbooks and Albums." Leaflet No. 1, Nov. 1991, in the Preservation Basics series, published by the National Cooperative Information Project. 4 pp, on heavy paper. These leaflets are designed to be distributed through state and regional preservation centers. This one was originally written by Barbara Fleisher Zucker for the Congress of Illinois Historical Societies and Museums. Three supply sources and ten reference sources are listed. (3F2)


"The Quiet Crisis in the Arts," by Nello McDaniel and George Thorn. First of a two-part report. Western Museums Conference Newsletter, Winter 1991192 (4), p. 1-8. Reprinted from the 1989/90 Annual Report of a now defunct organization called FEDAPT, which for years provided organizational assistance to performing artists and their organizations. As the Newsletter editor says, it is extraordinary and articulate, and it clearly has relevance outside the field of the performing arts.

Brief excerpts will give the tone and focus of the report: "Recently, we have observed the stress within arts organizations manifested in severe organizational dysfunction and financial debt.... While each organization's stress, dysfunction, financial difficulty and 'trauma' were different, we were beginning to discern certain patterns.... We observe all arts organizations attempting to function at a level which is 30 to 50% above the floor of available human and financial resources. We believe this gap results not only from eroding human and financial resources but from inappropriate growth." The authors list the major symptoms and stages of decline into chaos and bankruptcy, and the effect on the people involved. The second installment of this report will be entitled "A Process Leading to Recovery, Including Reconceptualization and Redesign."

The Western Museums Conference has moved to 700 State Drive, Room 130, Los Angeles, CA 90037. Fax: 213/744-2034. Temporary telephone number in January was 213/744-2013. (1G)


RLIN Preservation Masterfile is a CD-ROM publication listing half a million citations of books and journals that have been microfilmed. It will save time for people who have to search lists and catalogs to see if the title in hand has already been microfilmed. It was compiled from the RLIN database of filmed titles from the past eight years; citations from LC, the American Theological Library Association, the British Library, and commercial publishers; and titles queued for filming. It is available from Chadwick-Healey, Inc., for $750 a year and will be brought up to date twice a year. (2D1)


The September/October 1991 issue of Contingency Journal was its last. It had begun in January 1989. (2F)


An attractive fund-raising leaflet has been published by the National Manuscripts Conservation Trust at the British Library, founded in 1989. It uses visual images (an illustrated manuscript page and a severely deteriorated early book), striking facts ("20 miles of archives are too fragile to handle"), elementary preservation realities statistics, and other persuasive elements of a fund-raising campaign. The government will match funds donated it says, and donors are assured that no donated funds will be used for administration. The Trust makes grants to local, university and specialist record offices and libraries not directly funded by the government. For information write the Trust c/o the British Library Research and Development Department, 2 Sheraton St., London WlV 4BH. (1M)


The first issue of Logos, the Professional Journal for the Book World, came out in 1990 and carried a dreadfully inaccurate article on permanent paper by an English book designer named John Trevitt. According to him, alkaline paper has a pH above 7.5 (7.0 is the real cut-off point) "acid-free" also means "lignin-free," "acid-free" can be taken as synonymous with "permanent," china clay is acidic, alum is an alkaline compound, and so on. But his heart is in the right place. He is in favor of acid-free paper. He reports that STM, the international group of scientific, technical and medical publishers, adopted a resolution in 1989 urging it members "to use wherever possible acid-free papers...and to note in all publications (books and journals) that acid-free paper is being used." He also says that an "Acid-Free Forum" was organized in London in December 1989 by the Publishers Association, with speakers from paper mills and merchants, printers, publishers and librarians.

Logos is available in the U.S. from Whurr Publishers, Thomas Slatner & Co., 401 Baldwin Ave., Jersey City, NJ 07306. (3A9.4)

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