The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 17, Number 7
Dec 1993

Top Priority Research Projects Chosen by CPA Group

Six preservation science projects that involve vital research and the development of management tools for libraries and archives have been recommended by a group of 20 preservation administrators and scientists convened by the Commission on Preservation and Access. The six projects have the full endorsement of the Commission and unanimous support of the 20-member Preservation Science Council, which represents a broad sampling of North American research libraries and archives.

The Commission sponsored the work of the Council over two and one-half years, first to study, analyze, and set priorities for research possibilities, and then to select and develop a finite number of manageable projects of primary value. The Commission's fundamental mandate was to generate new and vital research that would produce management tools to assist administrators in making decisions regarding the care and storage of ever-growing collections.

The recommended projects focus on the chemical deterioration of specific materials and address urgent questions that relate to the environmental conditions and storage of collections of paper, film, and magnetic media. The research agen-da represents a national consensus on the needs of academic libraries and archives as these institutions approach the next millennium.

The Commission encourages laboratories, research institutions, individual researchers, and funding agencies to consider undertaking these projects. While the Commission is not in a position to fund the projects directly, it will help support submission of for funding. For more information, contact Maxine Sitts, Program Officer at the Commission (1400 16th St. NW, Suite 740, Washington, DC 20036-2217, 202/939-3400, fax 939-2407).

Criteria for selection of the projects included:

Preservation Science Projects Selected

Two contact persons are listed for each pair of projects.

Paper: Lignin. Assess the influences of lignin in a paper on its permanence, including such factors as color changes upon aging and possible deleterious effects upon non-lignin papers coming into contact with lignin-containing papers.

Paper: Microclimate Effects on Materials. Evaluate the role of the moisture reservoir in paper and book collections under fluctuating RH and temperature conditions. Tests to include a broad range of materials and microclimate storage conditions, e.g., single isolated books, books and documents in various boxes, shelves of boxes.


Don Sebera
81 West Commerce Street
Bridgeton, NJ 08302
Malloy-Rabinowitz Preservation Librarian
Harvard University Library
25 Mount Auburn Street
Cambridge, MA 02318

Paper: Temperature and RH Dependence of Deterioration. Use of accelerated aging experiments to yield specific predictions concerning the life expectancy under different temperatures and RH conditions of five types of paper found most commonly in libraries and archives.

Film. Research to yield recommendations for the types of storage enclosures that are best for microfilm, movie film, and sheet film, so as to minimize acetate base degradation.


James M. Reilly, Director
Image Permanence Institute
Rochester Inst. of Technology
Gannett Memorial Bldg.
P.O. Box 9887
Rochester, NY 14623-0887

Margaret Byrnes
Head, Preservation Section
National Library of Medicine
Building 38, Room B1E21
8600 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, MD 20894

Magnetic Media. Phase I: Review the status of current research on the longevity and durability of magnetic media, identify tools useful to librarians and archivists in managing these collections, and identify the research necessary to develop the tools, leading to Phase II.

Binding Adhesives. Design a laboratory process to accelerate the natural aging process of polyvinyl acetate adhesives (PVA) films and to test the relative performance of several widely used PVA formulations.


James R. Druzik
Conservation Scientist
Getty Conservtion Institute
4503 Glencoe Avenue
Marina del Rey, CA 90292-6537
Christine Ward [Chief, Bureau of Archival Services, New York State Archives & Records Administration]
55 Colehamer Avenue
Troy, NY 12180

An eight-page report on Phase I of the Magnetic Media Project was completed in January 1994, and is being distributed widely by the Commission on Preservation and Access. It was developed by Chris Ward, James Druzik, Wes Boomgaarden, Barclay Ogden, Janet Gertz, Jan Merrill-Oldham and Peter Sparks, in conjunction with the CPA. Copies will be sent on request.

The 20 members of the Preservation Science Council listed by the CPA in its January 5 announcement are: Wes Boomgaarden, Connie Brooks, Sherry Byrne, Margaret Byrnes, Paul Conway, Ellen Cunningham-Kruppa, James Druzik, Richard Frieder, Janet Gertz, Diane Nester Kresh, Jan Merrill-Oldham, Carla Montori, Carolyn Morrow, Barclay Ogden, James Reilly, Don Sebera, Peter Sparks, James Stroud, Karen Turko, and Chris Ward.

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