The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 19, Number 3
Aug 1995


ICI's Prize for a Plan is Offered Again This Year

The Conservation Division of Information Conservation Inc. (ICI) will award over $5,000 in library conservation and preservation services to the three institutions that submit the best plans for preserving portions of their collections. Libraries, museums, archives, and other institutions with valuable materials are invited to submit their plans by Nov. 15, 1995 for using ICI conservation services to restore, repair, deacidify or create enclosures for collection materials. To receive a price list and guidelines for submitting a plan to the 1995 contest, call Jackie Dabbs at 800/444-7534 or 910/ 375-1202 (fax 375-1726). Harry Campbell, Chief Conservator, can be reached by e-mail at 70304.3023@ (1D2)

A Business Management Course for Conservators

The Institute of Paper Conservation put together a series of ten short courses, running from June to next January in Worcester, England. The series is called "The Professional Conservator in the Business World: Up-to-date Management Skills," and it covers all kinds of conservation, not just paper conservation. Support came from the Conservation Unit of the Museums and Galleries Commission and the Conservation Forum. The conservators who attended the first course in June were enthusiastic about it, according to a description by Frances Hinchcliffe in the June Paper Conservation News. The ten courses and their dates are given below. Cost is £50 a day, and participants are limited to 8-12. For more information contact IPC at Leigh Lodge.

Conference on Science/Conservation Interface

A three-day conference will be held at the British Museum April 3-5, 1997. The conference will explore: the role of the scientist in conservation; the role of a knowledge of collections and conservation in the work of the scientist; the effects of internationally funded research projects in conservation on the work of the scientist; the role of science training in the work of the conservator; the point at which the work of the scientist finishes and the work of the conservator begins; and the effect of the work of the scientist on the perceived value of the work of the conservator.

Papers on any of these aspects are requested from scientists, technologists, conservators, curators, project managers and managers of research funds. Case studies which illustrate the benefits, or otherwise, of scientist and conservators working together on a project will be welcomed.

Abstracts of up to 500 words should be sent to arrive by December 1, 1995, to Sara Carroll, Department of Conservation, British Museum, Great Russell St., London WC1B 3DG, England (fax 44 171 323 8636). Full manuscripts will be required for preprints by November 1996. More information will be available in July 1996. (1J)

NHPRC Announces Grant Application Deadlines

The National Historical Publications and Records Commission announced its grant application submission deadlines for fiscal year 1996 in June, 1995. There are four priority levels and three deadlines.

For the October 1, 1995, deadline, eligible projects include those to help local organizations preserve records and make them accessible by providing grants to state historical records coordinators and boards for state regrants (priority level 2).

For the February 1 deadline, eligible projects include those that help carry out the national agendas of SAA and NAGARA, with particular attention to needs for preservation, planning, training and institutional self-evaluation (priority levels 3 and 4).

For the June 1 deadline, eligible projects include those for creating and updating state strategic plans for meeting records needs, based on the previous state assessments, and encompassing both documentary preservation and publication. For guidelines and application assistance, contact NHPRC, Room 607 (Arch I), National Archives Building, Washington, DC 20408. (1M)

NY State Awards $500,000 to Preserve Collections

The 39 grants awarded to libraries and other organizationsin New York state will preserve collections of unique photographs, architectural drawings, brittle newspapers and archives, among others. They were described in some detail by Barbara Lilley in the Conservation DistList, July 18. One grant provides $12,525 to the Southeastern NY Library Resources Council for a course on basic conservation techniques, which will be given in five 3-hour sessions in two locations for 30 participants. (1M)

ARL Salary Survey Results for 1994 Announced

The Association of Research Libraries summarized the main results of its recent survey of librarians' salaries in the Conservation DistList on April 10, 1995. This summary contains nothing about preservation and conservation positions, but it is interesting to learn that the median salary for academic librarians is $41,000 and that the beginning professional salary is $26,000. The 88-page book containing all the survey results costs $65 + $5 shipping and handling, prepaid, to nonmembers of ARL (less to members). Its title is ARL Annual Salary Survey 1994, and the ISSN is 0361 5669. Send orders to ARL Publications, Dept. #0692, Washington, DC 20073-0692. (1S)

ICI Conservation Acquires Brittle Book Replacement Service

Information Conservation, Inc. (ICI) has acquired the Brittle Book Replacement Service (BBRS) from Archival Products, a division of Library Binding Service. BBRS photocopies and binds brittle library books. ICI plans to expand this service to include scanning, digitizing and storing information that can be printed and bound on demand. While complying fully with copyright laws, ICI plans to build a computerized, full-text library of titles that can be printed and bound as needed without rephotocopying or storing paper copies. The company already has a division called Trion Technologies which specializes in scanning and digitizing.

The BBRS will be part of ICI's Conservation Division, in Brown Summit, NC. For more information, contact Harry Cambell, ICI Conservation's Chief Conservator, at 910/375-1202 or (email) (2E2)

National Digital Library Agreement Signed

On May 1, 1995, leaders of 15 of the nation's largest libraries, the National Archives and the Commission on Preservation and Access (CPA) signed an agreement to collaborate in establishing a National Digital Library Federation. The Federation's mission is "to bring together--from across the nation and beyond--digitized materials that will be made accessible to students, scholars, and citizens everywhere, and that document the building and dynamics of America's heritage and cultures." A final plan for accomplishing this is to be produced by November 1.

The Federation's statement of mission and goals, and the list of signatories, was distributed as an insert to the CPA Newsletter for June. It says that the library will be created "from the conversion to digital form of documents contained in our and other libraries and archives, and from the incorporation of holdings already in electronic form."

None of the listed goals pertains to preservation, with the possible exception of the fourth one: "The adoption of common standards and best practices to ensure full informational capture; to guarantee universal accessibility and interchangeability; to simplify retrieval and navigation; and to facilitate archivability and enduring access." (Emphasis supplied.) Presumably no preservation funds will be used for this project. The founding institutions are Yale, Library of Congress, Pennsylvania State, Harvard, Emory, University of Tennessee, Stanford, Princeton, New York Public Library, UC Berkeley, CPA, NARA, University of Michigan, Cornell, USC and Columbia. (2E4)

Columbia will Evaluate Electronic Texts vs. Books

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded a $700,000 grant last spring to Columbia University, for use over three years to evaluate the potential for electronic books to supplement or replace traditional printed works in research libraries. The goal of the study is to assess the economic impact on libraries and publishers and the usefulness to students and scholars in providing access from workstations to reference works now available only in print form. (2E4)

Disaster Management in British Libraries Studied

Graham Matthews, a lecturer in the Department of Information and Library Studies, Loughborough University in England, has been awarded a grant of £31,700 by the British Library Research and Development Department to investigate disaster management in British libraries. The research, to be undertaken from March 1995 to February 1996, will:

Computer-based resources and systems as well as print and other formats will be covered. Practice and procedure from other fields such as archives and museums will be considered and advice sought from specialist disaster prevention and salvage services. Details from Paul Eden, Dept. of Information and Library Studies, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire LE11 3TU, UK (tel. 44 1509 223098). (2F)

ASTM Paper Permanence Standards Revised

ASTM has revised and published its four paper permanence standards:

In addition, it now has a Guide for the Selection of Permanent and Durable Offset and Book Papers, which has been given the number D 5634-94. This is a standard too, even though it is called a guide. (Other kinds of ASTM standards are: test methods, classifications, practices, terminology or definitions, reference radiographs and photographs, tables and charts.)

In another subcommittee, D 6.30 on Fine Papers, last February a member called for the development of a clear and definitive test method for the determination of lignin content in paper, since kappa number, fiber analysis and spot tests are not exact enough. Another member agreed to work on it.

ISO published its basic standard for paper permanence in 1994, ISO 9706, Paper for Documents. The Canadian delegation want to revise it soon, but have agreed to wait until the results of the ISR research program are in, which will be over a year from now. ISO CD 11108, Archival Papers, is like ISO 9706 but calls for cotton fiber and has higher strength requirements. It has been approved and awaits translation into French.

Although another working group in the same subcommittee is drafting a permanent binders board specification, the working group that developed the above two standards is also working on two standards for archival boards. One is a migration test, and one is a description of board that is to be used in direct contact with documents in long term storage, or that carry information, or that will be exposed to light.

Another working group is just getting started with a standard for permanence of images on paper. It will cover printed, written, drawn, photocopied and all other kinds of images, because it will include tests for resistance to water, wear, light and high temperature, among other things. [From the June Alkaline Paper Advocate] (3A9.6)

Paper Companies Identify Paper as Acid-Free, Groundwood-Free, Permanent...

A Distinguished Alkaline Mill Changes Owners

James River Corp. is planning to spin off most of its printing and writing paper operations to shareholders, so that it can concentrate on making consumer tissue and paperboard. At the time of writing (Aug. 5), the company hopes to complete the process by the end of summer. All the mills being divested will be offered as a package.

One of the mills to be sold is the Guard Bridge mill, which is immortalized in Verner Clapp's "Story of Permanent/Durable Book Paper, 1115-1970," published in Restaurator Suppl. 3, 1972. William J. Barrow (whose own standard for paper permanence, based on years of research, was well known at the time) was asked in 1967 to find a mill that could supply paper tht met this standard, for a 610-volume catalog of all the books in American libraries. It would be used heavily in libraries all over the world. The set was too expensive to replace if it wore out, so its pages had to be both permanent and durable. The set was to be printed by Balding & Mansell, the London printers.

Verner Clapp describes on p. 48 of his historical narrative how the Guard Bridge Paper Company came through.

In [1967] the American Library Association (ALA) wished to take advantage of Mansell's abstracting camera for the printing of the 610-volume National Union Catalog: Pre-1956 Imprints. The use of a Barrow-type paper was written into the printing contract. In order to widen the sources of supply for such paper (which was expected to be needed at the rate of 26 tons a month for 10 years) and to lay a basis for choice through testing, Barrow went to England at ALA's request in May-June 1967 to visit a number of paper mills and testing laboratories.

Visits to the first were very rewarding, but to the second less so, and he had to agree to do the testing himself. On August 15 he reported to ALA and Mansell that a paper made by the Guard Bridge Paper Company of Fife, Scotland, had tested at the high values of 1701 folds, 93 grams tear, and pH 8.9, initial, with excellent retention. (It was his last completed job. He died of a heart attack ten days later.) This paper was adopted for the Catalog and is… described in a colophon in each volume as meeting or exceeding 1200 folds, 73 grams tear, and pH 9.4, initial values. [From the June Alkaline Paper Advocate] (3A9.9)

BookLab to Hold Open House Before ALA Midwinter

A general invitation to BookLab's open house has been issued to anyone who plans to attend the Midwinter meeting of the American Library Association in San Antonio. The last time ALA met in San Antonio, the invitation says, "BookLab's open house was so successful--and so much fun--that we've decided to do it again." Although BookLab is in Austin, three hours' drive from the conference town, distance is not a problem. Just fly into Austin any time on Thursday, January 18, 1996, and someone from BookLab will pick you up at the airport. After your visit they will drive you to your hotel door in San Antonio in the early evening on a chartered bus, with refreshments.

BookLab is at 1606 Headway Circle, Austin, TX 78754 (tel.: 512/837-0479, email: Contact them for more details. (4B)

AIC Pre-Session on "Bags, Boxes and Board Cutters" Next Year

Next June, AIC meets in Norfolk, Virginia, and there will be a pre-session organized around the theme of collections conservation: risk assessment, environmental controls, pollutants in new and old buildings, and storage and housings. The housings portion of the program will encourage the active exchange of designs, techniques and production experience among practitioners in all specialties.

This was announced in some detail on the Conservation DistList July 26.

Designs and solutions are invited before October 1. Contact Miranda Martin at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, Paper Conservation Laboratory, PO Drawer 7219, Austin, TX 78713-7219 (512/471-9117; email:

New State Preservation Plans: Delaware & North Carolina

On June 30, the NHPRC announced ten records projects that had been completed with NHPRC funding. Two of them were statewide preservation projects. Both involved archives rather than libraries, and both resulted in published reports.

  1. Delaware Historical Records Advisory Board. The Future of Historical Records in the First State: Action Plan to Serve our Documentary Heritage. Dover, DE: Delaware Historical Records Advisory Board, December 1994. Inquiries regarding this plan should be directed to Howard P. Lowell, State Archivist & Records Administrator, Delaware State Archives, Hall of Records, Dover, DE 19901; or call 302/739-6711.
  2. North Carolina State Historical Records Advisory Board. To Secure Our Legacy: The Future of North Carolina's Documentary Heritage. Raleigh, NC: North Carolina State Historical Records Advisory Board and the Division of Archives and History, North Carolina Dept. of Cultural Resources, Oct. 1993. For information or copies of the report, contact David J. Olson, State Archivist and Deputy Coordinator, State Archives & Records Administration, Division of Archives and History, 109 E. Jones St., Raleigh, NC 27601-2807 (919/733-3952). (4C4)

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