The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 19, Number 8
Dec 1995


PRLC Merges with PALINET

Last October 16, the memberships of the Pittsburgh Regional Library Center (PRLC) and PALINET approved, by a vote of 159 to 7, the merger of PRLC into PALINET. As of November 30, 1995, PRLC ceased to exist.

PALINET (a multitype library organization with members in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Eastern Pennsylvania), will retain all of the current, non-redundant programs of both networks. Some policies and procedures will change, and new staff and board members will be added to serve the expanded membership. Regional offices, including one in Pittsburgh, will be opened up, in addition to PALINET'S two offices in Philadelphia and Silver Spring, to bring network services closer to the members.

The merger with PRLC will expand PALINET'S service area to include western Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Yale's Sterling Library to get a $35M Renovation

As part of a larger $48 million project, the Sterling Library at Yale University will undergo a $35 million renovation, to include the installation of a climate control system in the book-stack tower to protect the tower's 4,000,000 books from heat, humidity and ultraviolet light. The money came from several foundations and individuals.

Yale Library is the second-largest university library and the seventh-largest research library in the world.

NEDCC Conference on Museum Climate

The program for NEDCC's April 25-26 conference on environmental conditions has been published:

April 25:
Stefan Michalski - Changing Standards for Environmental Control
Barbara Mangum - What do Collections REALLY Need?
James Reilly - Research Applied to Planning: Isoperm Diagrams and IPI Environmental Research
Richard Kerschner - Managing Climate Control in Historic Structures: The Shelburne Museum
Arthur Beale - Evaluating and Improving the Existing Environment: The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Arthur Beale and Warren Young - Tour of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston: Environmental Renovations

April 26:
Ernest Conrad - Large or Small, New or Old: Systems Options for Environmental Control
Brigid Sullivan - Environmental Monitoring for Operating Efficiency
Warren Young - Getting the Best from Facilities Staff and Systems
Anne Hawley - Juggling Priorities: Making a Commitment to Environmental Control
Patricia Jacoby - Finding Funds for Environmental Improvements
For more information, see the Events column, or contact the Northeast Document Conservation Center, Attn: Gay Tracy, 100 Brickstone Sq., Andover, MA 01810-1494.

Preservation in Brazil

A cooperative effort to publish and disseminate preservation knowledge in Brazil was announced in January. It will involve the Brazilian National Library, National Archives, and National Foundation of Arts; also the Commission on Preservation and Access (CPA) and the Getúlio Vargas Foundation of Rio de Janeiro. Funding is from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The CPA will help identify and make available relevant preservation literature, and formulate the curriculum for preservation workshops. Its first step is to get permission to translate selected U.S.-developed preservation materials into Portuguese. It expects to translate more than 1,000 pages of materials and make them available to about 1500 public and academic archives and libraries.

In addition, 70 "monitors" will be trained in preventive conservation, to cover all five regions and 27 states in Brazil. (This information is from a January press release from the CPA.)

OCLC Will Digitize NYPL's Printed Catalog

OCLC (Online Computer Library Center), which has been working to computerize Harvard's card catalog (AN, May 1995, p. 39b), has also contracted to convert the New York Public Library's 800-volume printed dictionary catalog to MARC (MAchine-Readable Cataloging) format. This will make the entries available not only in the online catalog of the NYPL Research Libraries, but also worldwide through the OCLC ONLINE Union Catalog (OLUC) and OCLC WorldCat on FirstSearch. Funding was supplied in part by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

IIC Congress Program for August 1996, Copenhagen

The program for the August 25-30 congress of the International Institute for Conservation was recently published. None of the papers to be given or included in the preprints deals with conservation of library or archival materials of any sort. Among the 35 posters, however, will be one on paper: "The World's Oldest Surviving Paper Manuscripts," by Anna-Grethe Rischel.

Successor to Slow Fires Planned by CPA and ACLS

The Commission on Preservation and Access and the American Council of Learned Societies are developing a film and video focusing on the preservation of and access to information in a digital environment. A one-hour broadcast film and a 30-minute video version will be created to alert broad audiences to the urgent need to ensure continuing access to knowledge that is created, stored and distributed electronically. Research on this film began in January 1993, when the Commission engaged Terry Sanders of the American Film Foundation, who produced Slow Fires, to develop an outline during an initial conceptual phase. (More information is in the January 1996 Newsletterof the Commission.)

Ways to Mark Circulating Compact Disks

Librarians often wonder about the best way to identify compact disks without damaging them or interfering with the way they play. American Libraries ran a question on this topic recently, and two replies appeared in the February issue. Both were from Canada.

The Edmonton Public Library engraves its ownership mark on the central "hub" area. They used to use an electric engraving pen, but now they use a pressure die (Identadisc) that is, incidentally, no longer available. To identify the specific CD, they use a doughnut label (available from University Products, catalog # 387-0730) and put it on the printed side, with the barcode digits written on it.

The Regina Public Library uses a black or silver permanent marker to write the initials of the library, followed by the code for the branch, on the disc in the space between the center hole and the area where the sound is stored. They also stamp the front of the insert with the name of the branch location, for two reasons: 1) it allows staff to forward a returned disc to the proper location, without having to open the case; and 2) it deters theft of the inserts.

Government Documents Free to All from the GPO

The Government Printing Office has made the Congressional Record, the Federal Register, congressional bills, and a growing list of government documents available online, free of charge. Until December 1, its GPO Access online services were free only to onsite users at some 600 or the nation's nearly 1,400 Federal Depository Libraries or to remote users connected through the libraries' gateways.

GPO Access can be reached via the Internet or by dial-in through a modem. Access methods are:

For a list of the libraries and gateways, visit the Superintendent of Documents home page at HTTP://

Translating Activities Increase

There seems to be a trend toward internationalism in preservation and related fields. In Canada, the IIC-CG and the Canadian Conservation Institute print their publications in both English and French. TAPPI, the Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry, now provides Chinese and Japanese abstracts of each major article in the Tappi Journal. The abstracts are printed in ideographs, not English transliteration. The Commission on Preservation and Access will be finding and getting permission to translate 1,000 pages of preservation material from English into Portuguese. IADA has decided to provide full simultaneoous translation to and from English at its next meeting, and to communicate in both English and German.

In January, the American Institute for Conservation announced that its Journal would soon begin publishing article abstracts in French and Spanish as well as in English. In January it had some volunteer translators, but was looking for more.

Comment: It is understandable that there is a strong demand for translations of conservation material from English into other languages, because conservators in most countries are not linguists, yet most conservation publications appear in English. English-speaking countries also need better access to the literature in other languages.

Center for Safety in Arts Shuts Down Info Services

At the end of December, the Center for Safety in the Arts closed its Art Hazards Information Center and its consultation, lecture, and other educational services. Art Hazards News will continue, as a project of the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), published four times a year instead of five. The NYFA (155 6th Ave., 14th Fl., New York, NY 10013) will distribute other CSA publications as well.

A similar health & information service, though, is offered by ACTS (Arts, Crafts and Theater Safety) from 181 Thompson St., #23, New York, NY 10012-2586 (212/777-0062).

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