The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 19, Number 8
Dec 1995



Matboard & Glazing Standard Terminology. Ed: Laura Caiaccia and Kristin Anderson. Published in 1995 by the Guild of Fine Art Care & Treatment Standards Inc., 95 Mitchell Blvd., San Rafael, CA 94903. 62 pp.

The contents of this book were developed by FACTS Institute for Research, Standards & Terminology through the consensus process by the 1995 Master Framing Research Project Committee. Represented on the project committee are framers, suppliers, TAPPI, ASTM and art and framing magazines, all of which have adopted the terms in this glossary. The purpose of this publication is to establish an industry standard terminology. Readers are invited to submit changes for the next edition.

The definitions, on the first 35 pages, are easy to understand (which means that they are not as precise and detailed as some would wish) and generally give a good reflection of the way each word or phrase is used. Chemical terms are defined in chemical terms. There is an informational appendix in back, with fuller descriptions of pH, light and glazing, then a list of trademarks of members.

Here is how certain problematical terms have been handled:

Acid-Free Paper/Neutral pH. Paper manufactured such that active acids are not included or are eliminated. A paper that has a neutral pH factor of 6.5 to 7.5 at the time of manufacture. The term is sometimes used incorrectly [as a synonym] for alkaline or buffered....

Archival. Originally meaning "of or pertaining to archives," the term is now loosely used (as is the term "permanent") to refer to a material that can be used without deleterious effects in the conservation or care of important artifacts, or in the production of new items designed to have very good aging properties.

Buffer. Chemical solutions that resist change in pH when acids or alkalis are added. (a) Buffering action: Ability to neutralize acids and bases as they are formed during a chemical reaction and thus resist a change in pH. (b) Buffering agent: Chemical added to regulate the pH. The most common buffering agent is calcium carbonate (CaCO3).

Preservation (Conservation). As used with framing for display: work done using methods and materials designed to maintain conditions and longevity of the item. (1C2, 3B2.59)


Preservation of Library Materials No. 13, Nov. 1995, a 32-page issue of the Australian newsletter, is almost entirely on the topic of education in preservation and conservation. This is a concern for Australians now, especially since the country's only full-time conservation school, the Conservation of Cultural Materials program in Canberra, has been told to double its enrollment in order to make it economically more self-sustaining. There is some worry that the quality of instruction will suffer as the ratio of instructors to students falls, and that there will not be enough jobs for 30 new grads each year. The first 14 pages are devoted to an article by Colin Pearson and Wendy Smith on the school and this crisis.

Paul Wilson, a lecturer at the library school of the University of New South Wales, has a 10-page article on "An Overview of the Columbia/Texas Programs in Preservation & Conservation Studies." He is a graduate of the Texas program. Each course is described, and the history of the program is given. (1D)


The December 1995 Paper Conservation News is full of workshop and conference reports. On the front page is a report by Elizabeth Sobczynski and Krystyna Koscia of the IPC paper-splitting seminar at the Tate Gallery in September--the first one on this subject to take place in England. The presenter was Professor Józef Charytoniuk of the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts. The method was tested, and possibly used, in London and Paris around 1850. It was not modified, except for the adhesives, until the 1970s, when the gelatin and glycerin method was perfected. Prof. Charytoniuk explained that because it is a drastic method, one should use it only as a last resort.

Other reports:

"'Piecing Together the Jigsaw: The Framework for a National Preservation Strategy in Libraries and Archives', Report on the 1995 National Preservation Office Conference," by Toby Kirtley

"Assessing and Managing Risks to Your Collections: Report on the Leicester Workshop," by Vanessa Marshall

"IPC Disaster 'Hands-on' Day: Report," by Annie Winther

"Montefiascone Summer '95," by Cheryl Porter. This is an annual international volunteer project, working with a medieval collection in Italy for four weeks every summer.

"Aspects of the Conservation of Fragile Paint Layers," by Cheryl Porter. A report of a conference in a German castle, now a conservation center, in April 1995. (1D4)


The Upper Midwest Collections Care Network, v. 1 #6 (Winter 1996) is an overview of current thoughts on artifact numbering, based on the literature, ad hoc testing and discussions with conservators, curators and registrars. Among the 24 people mentioned in the acknowledgements paragraph are Julia Fenn, Kathy Ludwig, Velson Horie, and Richard Wolbers. Subjects covered in its eight pages are: labeling, tags, associating, tying, sewing, adhering, barrier coats, paints/inks, pens, writing on surfaces, and suppliers. This newsletter is published by the Upper Midwest Conservation Association, 2400 3rd Ave. South, Minneapolis, MN 55404 (612/870-3120, fax 870-3118). (1F)


Library Conservation News, Issue 48, Autumn 1995. Contents:

The Flood and Afterwards: A New Beginning for the Fawcett Library, by Christine Wise. Heavy rains and backed-up storm drains in August 1994 flooded the basement of this research library to a depth of 2-3 inches, affecting material on bottom shelves. Prompt action saved all but a few books, but the building needed major repairs.

Disaster Management in British Libraries, by Paul Eden. About 500 libraries were surveyed, of which 157 had disaster plans and 61 had plans in preparation.

The Mellon Microfilming Project: The James Beart Simonds Collection, by Jane Kingsley and Linda Warden. The Simonds collection is in the Royal Veterinary College. The large scrapbooks and the tract volumes (mini-scrapbooks, in effect) were filmed.

A favorable, brief review of Susan Swartzburg's "Preserving Library Materials" by E.M.B. King is on p. 6-7. (2)


Museums, Environment, Energy. May Cassar, Editor. A publication of the Museums & Galleries Commission with the support of the Energy Efficiency Office. London: HMSO (tel. 44 171-873 9090, fax 44 171-873 8200), 1994. 130 pp. £15 net. Visa/MasterCard accepted.

Case histories, practical considerations, and specific cost and savings figures on the subject of efficient environmental control are presented in seven chapters by diverse experts. "Energy efficiency" is more than saving money on energy use, however; it means saving money on energy use without sacrificing the welfare of the collections. (The range of daily variations in temperature and RH, a big issue in the U.S., is not even mentioned in the book.)

Although daily variations are not among the variables considered by the authors, fairly wide seasonal variations in temperature are accepted as very economical and not harmful, as William T. Bordass explains in his chapter, "Museum Environments and Energy Efficiency: Are Our Current Priorities Right?" The energy-efficient practice of keeping RH steady year-round by adjusting the temperature has been adopted by the National Trust for buildings which are closed in the winter. They call it "conservation heating." If RH is kept steady and temperature allowed to vary, the temperature, in that climate at least, will vary only over a range of about 13°C, whereas if temperature is fixed and RH left to vary, it will swing over a range of about 30%.

The second chapter, "A Survey of Energy Use in Museums and Galleries," by Tadj Oreszczyn, Tim Mallany and Caitriona Ni Riain, explores factors that might be associated with energy efficiency in 43 museums responding to a survey questionnaire. These factors are: the building's rating on the Normalized Performance Indicator (NPI), which ranks energy performance; fuel cost; space heating cost per square meter; age of the museum; type of collection; opening hours; whether the building was air-conditioned wholly or partially or not at all; thermostat settings; boiler efficiency; whether walls were insulated; and low- vs. high-energy light bulbs. The 43 museums differed widely on all these variables, few of which correlated with energy cost per square meter of floor space, except for the use of air conditioning and the age of the building (the older buildings were more energy-efficient). Yet the annual fuel cost per square meter varied by a factor of eleven between the most and least economical buildings.

The last paper is a case history of a bootstrap operation in a photography museum, which had 17 upgrades in environmental control over five years, each paid for out of the savings effected by its predecessors. Payback periods ranged between 0.4 to 3 years. It is heartening to read about the impressive savings that can be had by concentrating first on the most urgent and appropriate improvements.

Editor May Cassar gives some rules of thumb at the back of the book. Briefly, these are: 1. Do simple things first. 2. Adapt the appropriate Standards, Codes and Guidelines to your particular situation; do not adopt published recommendations wholesale. 3. Carry out energy-efficiency improvements thoroughly. 4. Consider the various uses of space within the building; by moving different functions around, advantage can be taken of the natural environmental characteristics of the building and reduce lighting, heating/ cooling and ventilation loads. 5. Use appropriate technology to service the building (for example, excess heat should be exhausted or redistributed rather than fighting it with refrigeration). 6. Operate and control environmental equipment effectively. She concludes: "However, none of these measures will make a significant impact on the operating costs of a building if they are carried out in isolation, outside a management framework. For cost-effective improvements, determination to carry these measures through must exist within the senior management structure of the museum." (2C1)


Environmental Guidelines for the Storage of Paper Records, by William K. Wilson. A technical report sponsored by the National Information Standards Organization. NISO-TR01-1995. ISSN: 1081-8006. 21 pp. Available for $35 from NISO Press Fulfillment (301/567-9522, fax 567-9553).

NISO had a committee working on a standard for storage of paper records, but it was disbanded in 1994 after ten years during which they failed to reach agreement. This report, by the chair of that committee, is not a standard, but it does offer guidance to librarians, archivists, engineers, architects, and others involved with design, construction and maintenance of storage repositories (note: not libraries and archives as a whole). It reviews the research literature on the effect of temperature, relative humidity, light, gaseous contaminants and particulates on paper-based records, and recommends practices based on this research. At the same time, as the author explains in the preface, it is not possible to set rigid requirements for a variety of reasons having to do with the nature and use of the materials, limitations of the existing building, cost, location and so on.

The guidelines are on the first three pages. A nine-page appendix discusses and presents data supporting the guidelines, and the rest of the booklet is taken up with a glossary and lists of references.

The guidelines and appendix will be very valuable because they will be a unique source of information that is much in demand, and because it can serve as a reference point for future research or practice, being revised as needed.

The figures and references, however, could have used more attention by author and editor before publication, because some references are full of errors. In the bibliography following the appendix, in the reference for a publication by David Erhardt and Marion Mecklenburg, the Conservation Analytical Laboratory is cited as the Central Conservation Laboratory. Three of the author's own publications are cited incorrectly, the worst being the following:

Wilson, W.K. and C.J. Wessel. 1984. Standards for Environmental Conditions in Archives and Libraries. Unpublished report to the Library and Archives Committee, National Institute of Paper Conservation.

Since there is no organization called the National Institute of Paper Conservation, this reference may have been confused with one of two other references:

Wilson, W.K. and C.J. Wessel. 1984. Guidelines for Environmental Conditions in Archives and Libraries. [A background paper produced at the request of Committee Z39, never published]

Wilson, W.K. and C.J. Wessel. 1986. "Guidelines for Environmental Conditions in Archives and Libraries," paper presented at the Institute of Paper Conservation conference, Oxford, England, April 1986. Abstract is on p. D56-D59 of the preprints. A copy of the author's text and slides is in the Abbey Publications library. It says on the first page that the paper is "a summary of a report that was submitted to the National Institute for Conservation in Washington, D.C. from the National Archives and Records Administration.... Its preparation was prompted by a recommendation of the [NIC] Study Committee on Archives and Libraries, which was chaired by Paul Banks, Columbia University."

Here are some excerpts from the guidelines:

From Table 1: For combined stack and user areas, suggested values are 70°F maximum and 30-50% RH; for stack areas where people are excluded except for access and retrieval, 65°F maximum and 30-50% RH, with a maximum daily fluctuation of ±2°F and ±3% RH. (This temperature range is equivalent to ±1°C, which would be almost impossible to achieve; perhaps ±2°C was intended.)

From the section on light, conclusions drawn from a review of the literature: Cellulose is degraded principally by photooxidation. Photooxidation is enhanced by sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide, and increases with increasing relative humidity.

Suggested maximum levels of each of the major gaseous contaminants are 5-10 parts per billion by volume for sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and ozone. The specification of maximum levels of gaseous contaminants depends on (a) the detection limits of instruments and (b) the capacity of filters to remove contaminants. (2C1)


"Exposure of Objects of Art and Science to Light from Electronic Flash-guns and Photocopiers," by Johan G. Neevel. In Contributions of the Central Research Laboratory to the Field of Conservation and Restoration, 1994, p.77-87. Central Research Lab, Amsterdam, 1994. Light from flashguns (which can reach 48 times the intensity of summer sunlight at noon) may cause unusual photochemical reactions, of which little is known. Most flashbulbs have a UV-absorbent coating, which blocks up to 91% of the UV emitted; but some do not, so these should be prohibited in rooms with valuable objects. To monitor UV and visible light exposure during an exhibition, the author recommends the use of the photochromic dyes Aberchrome 540 and Aberchrome 999P in film dosimeters, which are fairly cheap.

Photocopiers gave a UV dose of 0.12 to 3.80 J/m2 for each photocopy made; in other words, the equivalent of UV generated by a tungsten lamp in one hour at a 50 lux light level. Small photocopiers produce the highest UV exposures, and should not be used for valuable documents. Neither should copiers with xenon flashbulbs, which produce high levels of both UV and light intensities in lux, up to 120 times the intensity of sunlight at noon during summer. The number of copies made of a valuable document should be kept as low as possible. (2C1.4)


"Cornell Workshop on Digital Imaging," by Shawne Diaz Cressman. CAN, Summer/Fall 1995, p. 9-12. The workshop was held in June 1995, and covered the Cornell University Library's brittle book program as well as digitizing in general. The Cornell program involves producing computer output microfilm (the preservation master), a paper facsimile, and a digital file for each volume scanned. The paper copies may be phased out at some point.

The author believes that the technology for producing high-quality digital images at low cost from archival and other problematic material is probably ten years away. Some important questions, she says, need to be answered: When should production or fidelity to the original be the primary goal? How will quality benchmarks be determined and who will make those decisions? ...How will the "little guy" keep up with the cost of upgrading hardware every few years? (2E3)


"Desorption of Residual Ethylene Oxide from Fumigated Library Materials," by Frank H. Hengemihle, Norman Weberg and Chandru Shahani. (Preservation Research and Testing Series No. 9502) Preservation Directorate, Library of Congress, Washington, DC, Nov. 1995. 14 pp. Originally presented at the first meeting of the Pan-American Biodeterioration Society, Washington, DC, July 1986. Copies are available from Carrie Beyer at 202/707-0236; or fax the Preservation Office at 202/707-3434.

In 1984, OSHA lowered the Permissible Exposure Level for ethylene oxide from 50 ppm to 1 ppm. This study addresses the hazards for library personnel and readers, who would be exposed to high levels of ethylene oxide from fumigated materials, at times as high as 38 ppm after 25 post-treatment air changes in the chamber, depending on the kind of material. Motion-picture film desorbed the gas most slowly, leather scraps most quickly, chemical pulp paper next most quickly (9 air changes), and vinyl audio records next (about 12 air changes). The authors conclude that vigilance needs to be exercised by confining fumigated materials to a restricted but well-ventilated area where the ehtylene oxide concentration can be monitored, until the concentration is well under 1 ppm. Desorption can be accelerated by raising the temperature and RH, but this study did not go into this process. (2H2.3)


IADA Preprints 1995, edited by Mogens S. Koch and K. Jonas Palm. 8th International Congress of IADA, Tübingen, Sept. 19-23, 1995. Published by the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Conservation, Esplanaden 34, DK-1263 Copenhagen K, Denmark. There are many significant, useful and interesting papers in this volume, even if you count only the ones that are in English. There is a total of about 56 papers, counting the 14 student papers. Three papers on minimal intervention were well received by the audience. The one by Jiri Vnoucek was heartfelt and eloquent, and received extended applause, the most applause of any paper that I heard.

In addition to a good number of papers on treatment of individual items, there were several papers on preservation programs (in Switzerland and the Netherlands) and on aspects of preservation (climate control and hygiene, cold storage, containers, disaster planning, curator/conservator cooperation, permanent and recycled paper, and exhibition of photographs). Günter Müller described a newspaper conservation project that used paper splitting as the strengthening method. There is only a German abstract of the paper, but it includes a number of details. The last sentence is "Das Bessere is immer noch das Original" (The original is always the best).

J.G. Neevel described the ongoing development of his promising treatment for iron-gall ink corrosion of paper, using phytate together with magnesium bicarbonate. Iron-gall ink degrades paper by both hydrolysis and iron-(II)-catalyzed oxidation, which is why simply deacidifying the ink-damaged page does not stop the ink corrosion. (3.3)


"Library Preservation and Conservation in the 90s," by Jean Whiffin, in the IFLA Section on Conservation Newsletter, Issue 3, Nov. 1995, p. 1-4. A report of the joint meeting of the IFLA Section on Conservation and the IFLA Core Program on Preservation and Conservation in Budapest, prior to the IFLA General Conference in Istanbul, August 15-17, 1995.

Another report of the same Budapest meeting, by Marie-Thérèse Varlamoff, is in the December 1995 International Preservation News, the newsletter of the IFLA Core Program on Preservation and Conservation (called PAC for short). She reports that there is a growing concern for preservation matters among most librarians and library directors, and it has become one of the most important topics in librarianship. Permanent paper was much discussed too. And ICA and IFLA have agreed to create a joint ICA/IFLA Committee on Preservation in Africa, as recommended at the 1993 Nairobi meeting.

Yet another report of the Budapest meeting of IFLA is in The New Library Scene for February 1996: "IFLA 1995: Budapest/Istanbul, Conservation and Preservation," by Susan Swartzburg (p. 5-6, 8, 10-13). The author reports something of what each speaker said, in enough detail to tell the reader something about the ideas presented and exchanged there. Among the speakers were Galina Kislovskaya, Ralph Manning, Abdelaziz Abid, Colin Smith, Ulrich Behrens, Richard Spatz, John Havermans, Astrid-Christiane Brandt, Jozef Hanus, John Feather, Susan Swartzburg, and Carlo Federici. (3.3)


"Educational Videos Available to CBBAG Members as of Dec. 15, 1995," by Brian A. Roberts. CBBAG Newsletter, Spring 1996, p. 13-18. Annotated. These are the videos in the library of the Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild library, available to members for a $7 fee for three weeks, plus a $35 deposit. The list should be useful to nonmembers too, as a bibliography. The items are all on bookbinding and related topics. (3A)


"Accelerated Aging of Paper: Can it Really Foretell the Permanence of Paper?" by Chandru J. Shahani. On p. 120-134 in Proceedings of the ASTM/ISR Workshop on the Effects of Aging of Printing and Writing Papers, July 6-8, 1994, Philadelphia. Preservation Directorate, Library of Congress, Washington, DC, Nov. 1995. 20 pp. Copies are available from Carrie Beyer at 202/707-0236; or fax the Preservation Office at 202/707-3434.

Shahani weighs the advantages and disadvantages of standards based upon composition against those based on accelerated aging results, and reviews some objections to accelerated aging in the literature (Bansa/Hofer, Stroefer-Hua). For permanence studies, he says there is no better choice. But whether an accelerated aging requirement in a permanence standard would be practical is doubtful: Would vendors withdraw a product if it is shown not to meet permanence specs several weeks after delivery?

He reviews current research on the topic, then describes some of the unexpected effects of oven aging that have illuminated our understanding: how paper aged in stacks ages faster than paper in single sheets, because degradation products accumulate in the stacks, much as they do in natural aging of pages within a book; but how the opposite effect is produced when the relative humidity was cycled between 40 and 60%, because the stack protects the papers within it from the more radical changes experienced by the single sheets hanging in the oven. He also describes the effect of encapsulation on paper as it is aged (the enclosure traps the degradation products and accelerates the process), and the effects of different aging conditions. Table 1 is an enlightening comparison of the relative lifetimes of the same paper (Springhill Offset), aged singly, in a stack, encapsulated singly and encapsulated 10 sheets to a package, with different temperatures and relative humidities. The relative lifetimes (time to three half-lives) varied from 0.25 to 17. (3B1.21)


"Effect of Some Deacidification Agents on Copper-Catalyzed Degradation of Paper," by C.J. Shahani and F.H. Hengemihle. (Preservation Research and Testing Series No. 9501) Preservation Directorate, Library of Congress, Washington, DC, Nov. 1995. Originally given at a conference organized by the Canadian Conservation Institute, Oct. 3-7, 1988, and is in the program (but not in the postprints) under the title "The Effect of Deacidification on the Aging of Paper Contaminated with Copper." 13 pp. Copies are available from Carrie Beyer at 202/707-0236; or from the Preservation Office, fax 202/707-3434. This is part of a new series, which can be expected to address the demand for preservation and conservation publications from the Library of Congress Preservation Research and Testing Office.

By doping paper with copper, then deacidifying it with different magnesium, zinc and calcium salts by spray or immersion, then aging the samples at 90°C and 50% RH (plus conditioning, analyzing and testing them as necessary), they discovered that magnesium bicarbonate worked best not because of the magnesium but because of the bicarbonate. Complexation of the adsorbed copper with the bicarbonate ions is the key to its removal from the paper. But spraying the solutions had little effect; the paper had to be immersed. (3B1.5)


Picture Framing Magazine, February 1996. This issue is entitled "The Frame: A Complete Preservation Package." It includes an article by Daniel M. Burge on the Photographic Activity Test; an illustrated guide by Jeff Wanee, "Make Your Own Conservation Materials Storage Box"; Hugh Phibbs' column, this time on "The Importance of Condition Reports"; Britt Birdwell's column, with one question about Japanese papers, and answers by Jared Bark and Sidney Pink; Chris Paschke's column, this time on the best possible materials for mounting, if that's what you are going to do; and a 38-page supplement by Hugh Phibbs. The supplement is a complete matting and framing manual, incorporating conservation methods and materials. The last two pages of the manual are a glazing appendix by Jared Bark, reprinted from a 1993 issue of PFM. (3B2.59)


"Conservaplan: Traducciones del Centro de Conservación de la Biblioteca Nacional de Venezuela, IFLA-PAC de America Latina y el Caribe." This is a single sheet, listing five translations from English to Spanish that are available from the National Library of Venezuela (Calle Soledad, Edificio Rogi, Piso 1, Zona Industrial, La Trinidad, Caracas).

  1. Principios para la Preservación y Conservación de Materiales de Bibliotecas: Informes Profesionales de IFLA, No. 8 - Dureau & Clement.
  2. Longevidad del Libro - Council on Library Resources.
  3. Conservación de Obras de Arte en Papel - Perkinson.
  4. El Libro y su Estructura en el Tiempo: Cuatro Ensayos. - G. Frost.
  5. Métodos de Conservación de Libros en la Biblioteca Nacional de Venezuela - Frost & Briceño. (5F)


The abstracts submitted to the interim meeting of the ICOM Committee for Conservation, Working Group "Graphic Documents," April 3-5, 1995, in Amsterdam, were published in 1995 by the Central Research Laboratory for Objects of Art and Science (fax 31 20-675 16 61). There are 26 abstracts in its 41 pages. (In citing the papers here, only the first author will be mentioned.) Four of the papers (by Regelio Areal Guerra, Agnes Blüher, John Havermans, and Jozef Hanus) have since appeared in Restaurator. Four papers, or revisions thereof, by Manfred Anders, Agnes Blüher, Judith Hofenk de Graaff and J.G. Neevel were also given at the IADA meeting in September, and they appear in complete form in the IADA preprints volume.

Susan Herion describes on p. 26-28 the joint project of the Swiss national library and archives to test existing deacidification systems. Five systems were tested in 1991. In 1993 and 1994 they conducted 12 test runs with the Battelle process, and found unacceptable side effects: burn marks from high temperatures during pretreatment drying, odor, uneven deposit of the buffering compound, white surface deposit, effects on adhesives, and slight loss of strength of the paper. The burn marks and strength loss are probably caused by the microwave drying process. Battelle was asked to optimize the process, and the construction of a new building to house the equipment was postponed till 1996.

Jan Wouters and two colleagues gave a paper on the Codex Eyckensis, an eighth century manuscript that was laminated with polyvinyl chloride film in 1957, trimmed and rebound. Treatment lasted from 1986 to 1993. Besides delamination, it included parchment leafcasting, a technique invented for this case. (3.3)


Conservation Environment Guidelines for Libraries and Archives, by William P. Lull with the assistance of Paul N. Banks, 1995. Canadian Council of Archives, 344 Wellington St., Room 1009, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1A 0N3. 102 pp. Soft cover, spiral-bound. Available in English or French for $17.50 prepaid.

It is sometimes hard to decide where to draw the line between environmental control and other aspects of preservation like security, fire suppression, enclosures, exhibitions, and disasters, all of which are considered in the current draft of ISO Committee Document 11799 (not yet a document), "Storage Requirements for Library and Archive Materials." The ISO document covers only storage facilities, however, not entire libraries and archives. In effect, it is a guide to construction of new repositories or renovation of an existing building for this purpose.

At the other end of the scale is William K. Wilson's Environmental Guidelines for the Storage of Paper Records, which focuses on the central aspects of environmental control: temperature, relative humidity, light, gaseous contaminants, and particulates, along with closely related subjects like monitoring of conditions and factors in the deterioration of paper.

The scope of the Lull/Banks book lies between the ISO document and the Wilson guidelines. It covers fewer peripheral topics like enclosures and disasters, and it covers entire libraries and archives, including public areas, not just storage buildings. However, for institutions that are seriously considering new construction, there is a reader-friendly and enlightening chapter on the design and construction process. Since both authors have first-hand experience with this subject, and most decision-makers in cultural institutions are out of their depth on it, this chapter is worth the price of the book.

The main virtue of this book is its real-world orientation. There are no counsels of perfection here: One chapter deals with compromises and priority-setting in matters relating to each aspect of environmental control, and one describes "interim and low-cost environmental improvements." Cost is given specific attention in many places.

There is no reflection in any of these three documents of the "anything-goes" recommendations publicized by the Smithsonian Institution in August 1994. (The press release said that millions of dollars could be saved by museums if they would give up trying to minimize swings of temperature and relative humidity, and allow both to vary as much as 15% or 10°C on either side of a set point.) Lull and Banks say plainly, "The humidity of a conservation environment should not fluctuate, but should be as stable as possible.... However, stable temperature should generally be subordinated to stable relative humidity, since a stable humidity is more important than stable temperature." Most paper-based collections, they say, need a stable relative humidity of around 40%, and even lower levels may be appropriate, but not below 20%. (2C1)


During the 1992 move of the Abbey office to Texas, and for a year or two after that, a literature backlog accumulated. As time permits, they are being sorted out, to be either filed away or (if they are still valuable and relevant), announced in the newsletter.


Preserving Archives and Manuscripts, by Mary Lynn Ritzenthaler. (SAA Archival Fundamentals) Society of American Archivists, Chicago, 1993. Hardcover, 225 pp., permanent paper, sewn signatures. ISBN 0-931828-94-5. About $30.

This book has such interesting photographs (some of them illustrating incredibly poor storage conditions or delapidated books and papers), and is so well constructed and clearly laid out that it is hard to put down. The writing style is clear, calm, and thorough. For the most part it is well-informed and supported by research findings. (One statement which is hard to believe is that fluctuations in relative humidity degrade paper by causing it to swell and shrink, thus abrading fibers as they rub against one another. If this is true, then why do paper conservators use so many treatments that involve immersion or humidification? And why not consider the possibility that a fluctuating moisture content in the paper permits alternating dominance of different degradation mechanisms, like the alternating oxidation and reduction that build the redox blemishes on film?) There is a wealth of information in the text and the 75 pages of appendices; the index is superior; and the glossary is good (this is unusual). The book would be a good textbook; in fact, it was planned to make this possible. It would also be a good candidate for translation to other languages. (2.4)


"Deciding What is Worth Saving--New Directions in Archival Selection and Appraisal," by Ann Pederson. Preservation of Library Materials (Australia), 11 (Nov. 1993), p. 3-12. Originally presented at the Australian Library and Information Association's Preservation Special Interest Group meeting on 18 May 1993. The author contrasts the practices of libraries and archives in deciding their preservation priorities--which materials to keep and preserve. The presentation is well thought out and clearly written, and it concerns a topic that has gotten scant attention in the library preservation literature--the ways in which archives are different from libraries. (2D)


"Archival Flotsam and Jetsam," by Bruce H. Bruemmer. MAC Newsletter (Midwest Archives Conference), v. 20 #2 (77), June 1992. This is about how archives get rid of their discarded records. Like libraries, they have to watch out for dumpster divers who accuse the institution of throwing out valuable records and wasting taxpayers' money, but archives also have to be careful not to make personal records or sensitive information accessible to the public. Eight institutions describe the methods they use. (2D8)


"James Brockman Masterclass: Rebacking of Leather Bindings Incorporating a Concealed Linen Joint Which does not Alter the Handling Characteristics of the Binding," by Jill Gurney and William Horton. Morocco Bound, Journal of Craft Bookbinders, v. 13 #4, Nov. 1992, p. 35-43. (Guild of Craft Bookbinders Inc., PO Box 111, Glebe, NSW 2037, Australia).

This very thorough documentation of a basic but complex procedure was compiled from tape recordings and notes taken by the authors as taught in Brockman's masterclass in New South Wales in March 1992. The procedure was also documented in the 1991 New Bookbinder, in 60 briefly captioned photographs, nine of which are used here. The books had hollow backs, not tight backs. (3A1)


The New Bookbinder, v. 13, 1993. Selected contents:

Sally Lou Smith - Onlays: Some Suggested Techniques, p. 22-26
Robert Espinosa - The Limp Vellum Binding: A Modification, p. 27-38
Philip Smith - Alternative Book-Structures, p. 39-42
James Brockman - A Vellum Over Boards Binding, p. 43-53


Dorothy A. Harrop - Frederick Bearman et al.'s Fine and Historic Bookbindings from the Folger Shakespeare Library (see separate entry)
Philip Smith - John Mitchell's The Craftman's Guide to Edge Decoration. Smith recommends this straightforward textbook by a master craftsman, with its many trade tips. About the only thing he doesn't like about it are its misplaced commas. (The book is self-published.) (3A1)


Fine and Historic Bookbindings from the Folger Shakespeare Library, by Frederick A. Bearman, Nati H. Krivatsy and J. Franklin Mowery; ed. by Rachel Doggett. The Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington DC, 1992. ISBN 0-9629254-1-1. 272 pp., 150 plates (13 col.),. $49.50 from Harry N. Abrams Inc., 100 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10011 (212/206-7715). An exhibition catalog, reviewed favorably by Dorothy Harrop and Pam Spitzmueller in separate publications.

Dorothy A. Harrop, on p. 85-86 in The New Bookbinder (v. 13, 1993), says, "The Folger catalogue [as opposed to a comparable one in Baltimore in 1957] is produced to a very high standard, and each entry is illustrated in monochrome--except for the section on English fabric bindings where they are illustrated in color." The exhibition featured 152 of the most valuable books in the Folger's collection of 115,000 rare books. (Only 15 of the books on exhibit were actually Shakespeare items.) Harrop was a bit put off by the arrangement of entries, which was mostly chronological, but which inexplicably departed from that principle in several places. Two 19th century forgeries were included in the exhibition, and six miniature works, including a 500-page Divina Commedia set in 2-point type, which took five years to print.

Pam Spitzmueller, on p. 8-9 of the Guild of BookWorkers Newsletter (No. 90, Oct. 1993), calls it a very special catalog and is especially grateful for the wealth of information it provides about the structure of the books: "After a descriptive heading (e.g., 'An Augsburg Binding by Hans Leitz, c. 1570,' or 'A London Binding with Colored Inlays, c. 1680'), each binding is described in five areas: 'general' includes covering material, board material, brief summary of decoration, repairs and their dates; 'technical' covers sewing and supports, endpapers, spine shaping, endbands, edge treatment, and furniture; 'decorative' describes cover designs and tooling; 'provenance' lists previous owners and Folger acquisition information; and, finally 'literature' cites sources for further reading." She hopes these technical descriptions represent a trend which continues. Ideally, she would like to see additional features, such as paper type, number and size of sections, endpaper construction, type of marbled paper, cap formation, and qualities of flexibility or stiffness in covers or text-block. (3A5.3)


"Lignin Determination by FT-IR," by M.A. Friese and S. Banerjee. Applied Spectroscopy, 46, #2, pp. 246-248, Feb. 1992. (AATA Abstract #29-2016, 1992)

The lignin content of pulp is determined from its diffuse reflectance infrared spectrum by an algorithm that calculates the degree of overlap between two spectra. The lignin-to-cellulose fraction correlates with kappa number. Essentially, no sample preparation is required, and the procedure is insensitive to variations in the moisture content. The algorithm is able to detect changes induced by exposure of pulp to NO2. (3B1.7)


UNESCO's RAMP studies are available through the West Virginia Library Commission (1900 Kanawha Boulevard East, Charleston, WV 25305-0620, 304/558-2045, fax 558-2044). It is not known whether all RAMP studies on preservation are available there for distribution, but the Library Commission will send them in paper or microfiche format on request, either on loan, as a gift (if there are extra copies available), or as a purchase, if they have them. They do have the following study, as well as four others on archival procedures, which they can send in paper copy or microfiche:

The Education of Staff and Users for the Proper Handling and Care of Archival Materials: A RAMP Study with Guidelines. 39 pp. (PGI.91/WS/17) 92 S 0139.

Many more have been published. The 1984-91 supplement to the list of publications, from which the Library Commission forwarded two pages to the Abbey office in 1993, included 51 studies under the heading "RAMP: Records and Archives Management Programme." Nineteen of these were on preservation topics. The list does not give the author or date of publication:

Conservación y restauración de mapas y planos, y sus reproducciones: un estudio del RAMP.
Disaster planning, preparedness and recovery for libraries and archives: A RAMP study with guidelines
Guidelines for the care and preservation of microforms in tropical countries

Guidelines on preservation and conservation policies in the archives and libraries heritage
Impact of environmental pollution on the preservation of archives and records: a RAMP study
Methods of evaluation to determine the preservation needs in libraries and archives: a RAMP study with guidelines
A model curriculum for the training of specialists in document preservation and restoration: a RAMP study with guidelines
Planning, equipping and staffing an archival preservation and conservation service: a RAMP study with guidelines
The preservation and administration of private archives: a RAMP study
The preservation and restoration of paper records and books: a RAMP study with guidelines
The preservation and restoration of photographic materials in archives and libraries: a RAMP study with guidelines
Prevention and treatment of mold in library collections with an emphasis on tropical climates: a RAMP study
Review of training needs in preservation and conservation
Study on control of security and storage of holdings: a RAMP study with guidelines
Study on integrated pest management for libraries and archives
Study on mass conservation techniques for treatment of library and archives material
Survey on national standards on paper and ink to be used by the administration for records creation: a RAMP study with guidelines
Traditional restoration techniques: a RAMP study
Vacuum freeze-drying, a method used to salvage water-damaged archival and library materials: a RAMP study (5B5)


Adhesive Testing at the Canadian Conservation Institute--An Evaluation of Selected Poly(vinyl acetate) and Acrylic Adhesives. Environment and Deterioration Report No. 1603. By Jane L. Down, Maureen A. MacDonald, Jean Tétrault and R. Scott Williams. CCI, Ottawa, 1992. 30 + [34] pp. (To inquire about ordering a copy, call 613/998-3721, or fax 998-4721, and ask for the latest available report.)

Since adhesives are used in every field of conservation, CCI in 1983 began an Adhesives Testing Program, focussing on the two most popular types of adhesives, acrylics and PVACs (polyvinyl acetates). The following properties were chosen for testing: pH, emission of dangerous degradation products, flexibility or brittleness, and discoloration. (Shrinkage and solubility or removability had to be dropped due to time constraints.) Results were reported in 1984. The list of candidates for full testing was reduced by winnowing out those too similar to others chosen, and those not used much by conservators. This brought it down to 27 PVAC and 25 acrylic products (only a few of which are used in book and paper conservation). Samples were then dark-aged at 22°C and 45% RH; and under high-UV fluorescent lights at 700-800 lux, 22°C and 45% RH. Emulsion adhesives were aged in vials; others were aged dry, and had to be ground or cut up, then soaked in water for up to a week in order to measure the pH, which was done yearly.

Most PVAC adhesives were acidic, and homopolymers were more acidic than copolymers; additives tend to decrease the pH. Two of those that were the most neutral, and stayed neutral over time, were Mowilith DMC2 and Jade No. 403. In general, acrylics fell into a more neutral range than PVACs.

Acrylic emulsions were very alkaline while wet, went to neutral as they dried, and went acidic as they aged under light. Acryloid B-72 became quite acidic after three years' light aging, then recovered, no one knows why.

Acetic acid was emitted in significant quantities by six PVACs. None of the acrylics emitted volatile organic compounds.

PVAC copolymers were more flexible than homopolymers, and kept more of their flexibility after aging. Jade 403, Elvace 1874, Promacto A-1023 and Gaylord Magic Mend were among the most flexible PVACs. Most acrylic adhesives, with four exceptions, were flexible.

PVACs yellowed about twice as quickly as the acrylics.

In any long-term program like this, by the time the aging and testing are complete, some of the products will have been taken off the market or had their formulas changed. This is an unavoidable drawback. It has been possible, though, for the researchers to make some general observations on types of adhesives and additives, which should be useful in the future: for instance, that copolymers yellow less and stay more flexible than homopolymers. For the present, it would be wise for conservation labs to have a copy of the most recent report to help them make informed choices of adhesives, before they all become obsolete. (3.73)


"A Chemical Investigation of PVA Based Adhesives in Book Binding," by Karen Caldwell [spelled Cardwell in the table of contents and on the first page of the paper, but Caldwell in the bibliography and in the 1991-92 membership directory of the AICCM]. AICCM Bulletin [Australia] v. 17, #1-2, 1991, p. 21-29.

The author investigated PVA and EVA adhesives currently used in commercial bookbinding and book conservation, for an undergraduate paper at Canberra University. She gives something of the history, chemistry, characteristics and uses of each. EVA is used both as a hot melt and a cold emulsion adhesive. (3.73)


"Plastics Additives," by Susan J. Ainsworth. Chemical & Engineering News, Aug. 31, 1992, p. 34-55.

The plastics that rely most heavily on additives are PVC, polyolefins, polystyrene and polyester resins. A sidebar on p. 38-39, entitled "How do Additives Work?" explains something about the chemistry of the processes the additives are put there to retard (yellowing, oxidation, etc.) or the nature of the additives (antiblocking and antislip agents, biocides, peroxide and polyurethane catalysts, colorants, coupling agents, defoamers, fillers and reinforcements, plasticizers, thickeners, compatibilizers, flame retardants, impact modifiers, lubricants, UV stabilizers, heat stabilizers and wetting agents). An 11 x 14 grid on p. 42 shows which additives are usually added to which polymers.

This article is essentially a business report for the additives industry, which at the time was climbing up out of the recession and complaining about environmental regulations. On p. 54-55, there is another sidebar, this one on recycling of plastics and how it may increase demand for additives. (3.72)

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