The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 19, Number 5
Nov 1995


Campbell Center Courses for 1996

Eight or more of the 32 courses in the Center's preliminary course announcement are potentially interesting to book and paper conservators or preservation personnel. Most courses are 4-5 days long, and end on a Saturday. The fees average $500-$600, including housing and two meals a day. Workshops and refresher courses may have higher fees. For more information contact Campbell Center, 203 E. Seminary, Mount Carroll, IL 61053 (815/244-1173).


Care of Works of Art on Paper - May
Matting Workshop - May
Care of Photographic Collections I - July
Care of Photographic Collections II - August
Care of Maps, Posters & Oversize Paper Artifacts - July

Conservation Refresher Courses (all in October):

Treatment of Pressure Sensitive Tapes and Tape Stains
Treatment of Japanese Prints
Inpainting Works of Art on Paper

Australia's National Preservation Policy Endorsed

On July 6, the Cultural Minister's Council endorsed Australia's national preservation and conservation policy for movable cultural heritage. The new policy covers all forms of movable heritage, and includes works of art, film, photographs, books, manuscripts, and digital documents as well as museum artifacts. It is available on the World Wide Web by entering the following URN:

Copies can be ordered from the Heritage Collections Committee Secretariat, Dept. of Communications and the Arts, GPO Box 2154, Canberra, ACT 2601 (fax 61 0 279 1684).

NEDCC Seminar on Museum Environment

The Northeast Document Conservation Center, in conjunction with the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, will present a two-day conference entitled "The New Museum Climate: Standards and Technologies." It will take place on April 25-26, 1996, at the Museum. The program is designed to provide information on new research and technologies to museum directors and administrators, museum facilities managers, conservators, curators, and architects engaged in museum projects.

The emphasis of the program will be practical. Topics will include balancing the needs of different media; micro-vs. macro-environments; building-wide systems vs. stand-alone systems; rethinking climate targets; cost/benefit analysis and compromises imposed by budget constraints; climate control in historic structures; establishing monitoring programs; working effectively with facilities management staff; and finding funds for environmental improvements.

Faculty will include Stefan Michalski, Research Scientist, CCI; Arthur Beale, Director of Objects Conservation and Scientific Research, Museum of Fine Arts; James Reilly, Director, Image Permanence Institute; Richard Kerschner, Conservator, Shelburne Museum; Anne Hawley, Director, and Barbara Mangum, Chief Conservator, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum; Brigid Sullivan, Chief Conservator Collections Conservation Branch, New England Cultural Resources Center, National Park Service; and others.

The fee is $150; enrollment will be limited. Registration materials will be available in February 1996. To receive registration information send, fax or e-mail your name and address to Gay Tracy, 100 Brickstone Square, Andover, MA 01810; fax 508/475-6021; e-mail <>.

Paprican/CCI Seminar on Deacidification and Permanence

This seminar is scheduled for December 1, and will be over by the time this newsletter issue is in the hands of readers, but a report will be made available later on.

The announcement is headed, Canadian Perspectives on Paper Permanence: A Discussion of Current Issues and Progress in Mass-Deacidification." This event is hosted jointly by the Pulp and Paper Research Institute of Canada (Paprican) and the Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI). It will be in Ottawa, at CCI, with papers in the morning and tours of CCI in the afternoon.

The announcement continues, "The Seminar is intended to present to the library and archive communities a new technique of deacidification developed at Paprican. The seminar is also an opportunity to review an extensive study conducted by Helen Burgess and her colleagues at CCI. This study, which was funded by the Chairman's Committee for the Preservation of Documentary Heritage, was an evaluation of commercial methods of mass-deacidification including the Akzo (diethyl zinc), FMC (magnesium butoxy-triglycolate or MG3) and Wei T'o (methoxy magnesium methyl carbonate) methods. The effects of the treatments on the permanence and condition of new and aged papers as well as bindings, labels and media were examined."

Last Copy Policies

The September and October issues of American Libraries, in their "Action Exchange" column, have carried discussions of what three public and high school libraries do (or wish they could do, or tried once) when they discover that they have the last copy in their county, city or library consortium. Three successful policies are briefly described. They show attention to preservation based on the scarcity or availability of single copies, a factor which is rarely mentioned in larger libraries' preservation programs.

FEMA Helps Rescue Records

After the Virgin Islands were devastated by a major hurricane September 15, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) broke precedent and sent a team to specifically rescue historical and cultural records as part of an emergency response effort. FEMA did not take part directly; actual recovery was performed by staff of the National Archives (for paper and film records) and the National Media Lab (for electronic records). This effort is supported by the National Task Force on Emergency Response, a 28-member consortium recently formed by NIC, FEMA and the GCI, which works to preserve cultural property by quickly putting affected institutions in touch with expert help and resources.

NML staff found when they examined the electronic records that salt water was the worst contaminant, corroding optical disk drives and other equipment. But the optical disks were retrievable with careful cleaning, because the metallic reflective layers were protected by the glass outer layers. (This is the cover story in NML Bits for November 1995. It does not describe the paper and film part of the recovery effort.) (2F5)

Flood in New York State Archives

In July, torrential rains flooded a state armory where SARA was temporarily storing some of its records. (The Archives' main storage facility in the Cultural Education Center is at capacity.) Staff and volunteers put in an extraordinary effort to evacuate 8,000 cubic feet of records. By September 21, the wet records were frozen at a regional food bank, and the dry records were in a warehouse. The state archives need suitable storage space for 20,000 cubic feet of records between now and 1998.

Virgin Islands Disaster Report

The Fall NAGARA Clearinghouse printed the appeal for help posted on the Internet by Jeanette Bastien, Director of Libraries, Archives and Museums: "One of my concerns is the fact that we will not have nay electricity for quite a while, possibly several months (it took three months after Hurricane Hugo to get all electricity back). We have a significant collection of archival microfilms and photo negatives and I am very concerned about their deterioration if they are not kept in a climate-controlled environment.... Does anyone on the list know of any such accommodation that can be made?" She later told the Clearinghouse that her request yielded an overwhelming response. A full report of the damage will appear in the Winter 1996 issue of Clearinghouse. Contact Jeanette Bastien, Director of Libraries, Archives and Museums, 23 Dronningens Gade, St. Thomas, VI 00802 (809/774-5715).

Preservation Interest Group is Formed in Switzerland

A 46-member group called "Schweizer Interessengemeinschaft zu Erhaltung von Grafik und Schriftgut" (SIGEGS) has been formed in Switzerland. Its name means "Swiss Interest Group for Preservation of Printed and Manuscript Materials," or something close to that. Members come from different parts of the Swiss confederation, from libraries, archives and museums large and small, and from national, regional and municipal institutions. The president is J. Harald Wäber, director of the Municipal Library of Bern. (Information from Restauro, Sept.-Oct. 1995.)

Lists and Web Pages

To Avoid New Computer Virus, Shun "Good Times"

See Vol 19, No. 6-7 for a correction

Brian E. O'Connell, of the Billy Rose Theatre Collection of NYPL at Lincoln Center, sent the following warning to the Abbey Publications office on October 27. He had received it that same day from the administrator at LIONSHUB, who did not know if it was a real virus or not, but told their users about it, advising them to immediately delete any messages with the subject "Good Times."

...Some miscreant is sending email under the title "Good Times" nationwide. If you get anything like this, DON'T DOWNLOAD THE FILE! It has a virus that rewrites your hard drive, obliterating anything on it.... The FCC released a warning last Wednesday [Oct. 24 about a new virus] engineered by a user of America Online.... What makes this virus so terrifying, said the FCC, is the fact that no program needs to be exchanged for a new computer to be infected. It can be spread through the existing email systems of the Internet.... It will send copies of itself to everyone whose email address is contained in a received-mail file or a send-mail file, if it can find one. It will then trash the computer it is running on.

If any readers have had experience with this, or any information about whether it is real, please tell a) Walter Henry (...., and b) the Abbey Publications editor (; fax 512/929-3995), so that we can get to the bottom of this. The story has some of the characteristics of a myth or rumor: almost too bad to be true, origin unknown, facts unverifiable (so far). But it is best to treat it as true until we know differently.

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