The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 16, Number 3
Jun 1992

How AATA Finds all those Conservation References

Art and Archaeology Technical Abstracts is the world's leading annotated bibliography of conservation literature. For about 37 years, members of the International Institute for Conservation have received it as a benefit of membership. For the first 11 of those years, it was called IIC Abstracts, and was published with the aid of grants, institutional support, and volunteers. In 1983, the Getty Trust began publishing it in cooperation with the IIC, and since 1986 the Getty Trust's place has been taken by the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI). It grew increasingly important for book and paper conservators during the 1980s as their field expanded and their publications multiplied. Even preservation publications are now included.

In 1991, over 3000 abstracts were published; 117 of these were in the section entitled "Paper, Books, and Library and Archival Materials." At least that many relevant items were in other sections like photography and environmental control. All items are indexed by keywords in the back of the volume and included in the GCI's online database, where they can be searched by modem from the lab or living room.

Abstracts from the professional literature in about 35 languages are submitted by about 80 volunteers and coordinated by about 20 regional editors around the world. Normally the regional editors coordinate a group of professional volunteers with a variety of subject specializations, but if there are none active in the country or region, they have to identify the literature to be covered and locate potential abstractors or meet with other interested volunteers to make these decisions as a group. Such meetings were held, and regional networks set up recently, in Japan and Czechoslovakia. In Czechoslovakia, individual members chose the periodicals that interested them or those they were reading regularly anyway, and volunteered to scan each number, select the articles relevant to AATA, and prepare an abstract for each article selected. Individuals may send their abstracts directly to the editorial office, or to the regional editor.

The names of all the regional editors are published in the front of each part of the two-part volumes. The most recent list still has East and West Germany and the USSR, but may be accurate anyhow because the editors cover regions, not political entities. Other countries (regions) are Australia Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Czech and Slovak Federative Republic, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, Norway, Sweden and Turkey. Regional editors and volunteer abstractors are needed from Latin American and Asian countries, and at last word from the GCI, the editor from West Germany was planning to retire, and a replacement will probably be needed.

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