The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 18, Number 4-5
Aug-Sep 1994


[Note: Following each item is a subject classification number, to help in compiling the annual subject index.]

BookLab Training Center

BookLab, Inc., is opening the BookLab Training Center, adjacent to their main quarters in Austin, in September 1994. It will offer evening classes, weekend workshops, one-week intensive classes, and other related events. Needs of the library conservation technician and practicing book artist will receive special attention.

Evening classes, with their instructors, are:

Bookbinding from the Beginning (Priscilla Spitler and Linda Anderson)
Historical Structures for Bookbinding (Gary Frost)
Boxing the Basics (P. Spitler)
A Book is a Book, or is it? -Non-traditional Binding (P. Spitler)

Weekend workshops & instructors are:
Bookbinding in the Classroom (Linda Anderson)
The Painted Book (Tim Ely)
Sewn Boards Binding (G. Frost)
Conservation Technician Book Repair (G. Frost)
With This Pen: An Introduction to Calligraphy (Jace Graf)
Paste Paper--Wild and Woolly (J. Graf)

Tuition for evening classes is $225, and for the weekend workshops, $135. The Tim Ely workshop is $150.

For a description of the 1994/95 program, contact: BookLab Training Center, Att: Cecilia Frost, 1606 Headway Circle, Austin, TX 78754-5109 (512/837-0479, fax -9794). E-mail: (1D4)

Non-Destructive Testing Conference

The 4th International Conference on Non-Destructive Testing of Works of Art will be in Berlin, Oct. 3-8, 1994. (All three previous conferences were held in Italy.) It has a pretty technical program and focuses on museum objects and works of art, but one poster looks like it might have a wider appeal: "Age Determination, Proof of Forgery, Material Analysis of Paper," by B. Werthmann of Berlin.

The session on radiology has four papers that may be relevant to paper analysis; elsewhere, there is one paper on "New X-ray Diffraction of Paper and Pigments," and one on "The Respiration Bell-Jar--A Rapid, Non-destructive Technique for the Measurement of the Microbial Activity of Micro-organisms on and in Objects of Cultural Value."

A special topic at the conference will be the investigation of environmental and climatic effects on works of art. Fee for nonmembers: DM 590. Until Sept. 16, write Deutsche Gesellschaft für Zerstörungsfreie Prüfung e.V., Unter den Eichen 87, D-12205 Berlin; tel. (030) 811 40 01, Fax (030) 811 40 03. (1E3)

Minimizing Damage to Circulating Brittle Books

In July Regina Sinclair (Johns Hopkins University) summarized on the DistList the replies she received from a query about how people coped with circulating brittle books. They included:

State-of-the-Art Film Preservation Vault is Open to All

FPC, a Kodak subsidiary, has opened a state-of-the-art film preservation facility in Hollywood that includes three Pro-Tek film preservation vaults, as well as a film inspection and repair facility. It is available to anyone, from the largest studio to the individual filmmaker, according to the article by Richard Utley in the July AMIA Newsletter.

Each of the vaults (two for medium-term storage of black-and-white and other film, one for serious storage of color film) has specially designed concrete floors that incorporate a moisture barrier and four inches of insulation. A prefabricated interior shell within the vaults incorporates equivalent insulation and moisture barriers in the walls and ceilings.

This careful and costly design construction and installation process was necessary in order to maintain the critical temperature and humidity specifications recommended by ANSI IT9.11. The extended-term vault maintains a temperature of 34°F ± 2° and the medium-term storage vaults a temperature of 45°F ± 2°. The RH of all three vaults is kept at RH 25% ± 5%. (2C2.3)

Mass Deacidification is not Dead in Germany

The largest mass deacidification plant in the world, developed by Battelle Ingenieurtechnik GmbH, was opened this summer at the Book Preservation Center of the Deutsche Bücherei in Leipzig. It has an annual capacity of 200,000 books. This means it can treat about 800 books a day if it is not operated on weekends and holidays. If it runs every day of the year, that works out to about 550 books a day.

The Deutsche Bibliothek and Battelle started a research program on mass deacidification in Germany in 1987, with the support of the German Federal Ministry for Research and Technology. The liquid-phase impregnation process works with a neutralization agent containing magnesium-titanium-ethoxides which deacidify and provide an alkaline buffer of magnesium carbonate. A non-polluting, nontoxic, silicon-organic solvent replaces the environmentally harmful CFCs used by former processes. Because it is compatible with most common materials, the process can be used with both library and archival materials.

For more information contact Battelle Ingenieurtechnik GmbH, Düsseldorfer Str. 9, D-65760 Eschborn, Germany. (2D5.9)

Big Color Maps Preserved at Columbia University

The Commission on Preservation and Access has given a grant to Columbia University Libraries to look into ways of preserving large color maps associated with printed text. Since maps cannot be integrated into the microfilm record of the text, the project will explore ways of capturing the image digitally by scanning the original maps with a flatbed scanner and a digital camera, scanning from full-frame Ilfochrome color microfiche produced in a previous project, and by scanning from 4"x5" E-6 transparencies produced as an intermediate format by Columbia's reprography lab.

Files will be stored on digital tape and optical disk using a variety of compression and indexing methods. Display will include computer monitors of varying resolutions and outputs to large format color printers. Then a panel will critically review the technical feasibility of each process and the acceptability of surrogate images for various user groups. The method they settle upon will be used to preserve a large geoscience collection, including deteriorating material from the U.S. Geological Survey. Results will be made widely available. Others involved in similar projects were invited via E-mail in June to contact Janet Gertz at gertz@columbia. edu. (2E1)

Explosion and Sprinkler Leak Trigger Disaster Response

Overloaded electrical cables during a summer heat wave caused an explosion in the basement of the Joint Free Public Library of Morristown, NJ. It blew manhole covers off on nearby streets, but damage was confined to the basement and there were no injuries. The report in the July Library Journal says that "irreplaceable collections... that have passed through the library preservation lab" were stored there, but that they were "left remarkably secure while under glass and collapsed ceilings." There was a disaster plan, which facilitated rapid evacuation of patrons.

The National Archives at College Park (Archives II) had a flood from accidental discharge of the sprinkler system in a cold storage vault on the evening of March 29, 1994. It went on for an hour before the source of the water could be identified, because the security guards did not know there was a sprinkler inside the vault and there were carts in front of the vault door. The report in News from the Archives, Spring 1994, says the discharge was due to "a malfunction of one of the components" within the vault.

The water seeped down from the fourth floor to the first floor through the cartographic stack areas to the Nixon Project area on the first floor. Damage to records was minimal and staff gave the materials prompt attention. The largest single group of affected records, rolled ship plans and drawings in map drawers, were damp. All records have now been dried, and several steps have been taken to avoid this type of incident in the future, including providing security guards with a better orientation to the fire system and building layout. (2F5)

Mold Condition is Being Corrected

Mold outbreaks in the South Carolina Archives were described in NAGARA Clearinghouse and reported in the July issue of the Abbey Newsletter on p. 39. Progress in dealing with this problem was reported in the Spring 1994 NAGARA Clearinghouse on p. 17:

Archives closes for HVAC cleaning. The building was closed to clean out the system and thereby avoid a major outbreak of mold.... Once the system is cleaned, the building air handlers will be replaced and the stacks and collections will be thoroughly cleaned as well. (2H1.1)

IIC Congress Program, September 1994

The program for the International Institute for Conservation's 15th International Congress (Ottawa, 12-16 Sept.) was published in the August issue of the IIC Bulletin. The meeting bears the title, "Preventive Conservation: Practice, Theory & Research." A few of the papers to be presented there are:

"Relative Humidity Re-examined," by D. Erhardt and M. Mecklenburg

"Moisture, Ventilation and Mould Growth," by G. Scott

"Air Pollution Effects on Library Microforms," by E. Zinn, J. Reilly, P. Adelstein and D. Nishimura

"Insect Trapping in Museums and Historic Houses," by R. Child and D. Pinniger

"Study of the Homogeneity of Mass Deacidification Treatments using Atomic Absorption Spectrometry," by F. Daniel, F. Flieder, J. Juchauld and C. Yver

"Oxygen-free Storage using Ageless Oxygen Absorber," by M. Gilberg and D. Grattan

"A Video Series on Preventive Conservation" (poster), by C. Dignard, J. Bussiere and L. Lacroix

"Maximizing Minimum Resources for Paper-based Archives, Library and Research Collections" (poster), by Dianne van der Reyden (3.3)

EC's "European Conference" Focuses on Paper & Leather

The European Commission (EC) held its first European Conference June 27-28, in Delft: "Conservation of the European Cultural Heritage: Research and Policy Issues Related to the Conservation of Paper and Leather." It was not the EC as a whole that held the conference, but two of its directorates (divisions): Directorate General XII (STEP and Environment Programmes, which has a policy of disseminating information from research activities) and Directorate X (Culture Unit, which works to raise European public awareness of books and reading).

The results of two research projects were presented, among other things: 1) analyses of the effects of air pollutants on paper (STEP CT-90-0100) and 2) on leather (STEP CT-90-0105). For more information contact Norbert Baer, who was on the organizing committee, or the Secretariat of the European Conference: John B.G.A. Havermans, TNO Centre for Paper and Board Research, PO Box 6034, NL-2600 JA Delft, The Netherlands (Fax +31 15 696511). (3.3)

Preservation Resources Will put Photos onto CDs for You

MAPS, now a division of OCLC called Preservation Resources, not only makes low cost duplicate negatives but can convert images to Kodak Photo CD format and index them. This should be a big help to libraries trying to get their photograph collections under control. They are at Nine S. Commerce Way, Bethlehem, PA 18017-8916 (610/758-8700 or 800/773-7222, fax 758-9700). (3F1)

Electronic Records are Acceptable in Court

A 35-page booklet issued by the New York State Archives and Record Administration (SARA) advises state agencies what to do to enhance the likelihood that its electronic records will be accepted by the court. According to a press release dated August 24, SARA does not mention preserving them, but advises the agencies that courts will generally admit electronic records into evidence if they are "reliable, complete, accurate, and created in the normal course of business." (3G)

Two Libraries Undergo Name Change

Microfilming Company Undergoes Name Change

AA Survival has joined with Berhan Industries, a successful microfilming concern, and CCM Computers, a growing computer hardware and accessories business, to form Archival Systems, Inc. This will enable it to produce microfilm at a high enough resolution to permit easy inhouse (within Archival Systems) scanning for conversion to CD-ROM and other digital record forms. For more information, contact Marc Zeitschik at Archival Systems, Inc., 593 Acorn St., Deer Park, NY 11729, 914/793-7842; fax 516/586-1273. (4B)

Paper Technologies has Moved

Ralph Roessler announced on the Conservation Distribution List in July that Paper Technologies' new address is 929 Calle Negocio, Unit D, San Clemente, CA 92673 (800/727-3716). They have an e-mail address too: (4B)

Preservation Program for Agricultural Literature Gets into Motion

The National Preservation Program for Agricultural Literature was adopted by the Executive Council in 1993. Currently the National Preservation Program Steering Committee is being appointed. The Steering Committee will conduct a fundraising campaign among land-grant institutions and other agencies to fund the position of the U.S. Agricultural Information Network (USAIN) National Preservation Program Coordinator. Copies of the program have been distributed to USAIN members and are available from Martha Alexander, Director of Libraries, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65201-5149. (4C4.3)

$600,000 to Preserve the History of Physics

The American Institute of Physics has a Center for History of Physics, which is the oldest and best-known institution responsible for the history of a particular scientific discipline. Its purpose is to preserve and make known the historical record of modern physics and allied sciences, through projects that include a repository of the papers of eminent physicists, a visual archives, and an online database for locating physicists' papers. Elmer Hutchisson, physicist and former directer of the Institute, has left it $600,000 for an endowment to help it pursue these ends. (2.6)

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