The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 19, Number 1
Mar 1996


A Cooperative Photocopying Program

Brian Baird announced at the Midwinter meeting of the American Library Association, in a meeting of preservation librarians, that he had started a cooperative preservation photocopying program at the University of Kansas where he works.

Most libraries have been making their preservation photocopies of brittle books individually from their own originals. It is more economical, however, to select the best copy from several collections, or to piece together a complete volume from several incomplete volumes, and to run off multiple copies from it after it has been processed for photocopying. The University of Kansas has set up a moderated listserv called "Brittle" (, to which interested libraries can subscribe. Libraries post titles they would like to have photocopied, and other libraries sign up for a preservation copy. Bibliographical information and the estimated cost of obtaining a copy are posted. Titles remain on the list for one month. At the end of the month, the best copy is sent to BookLab for preservation quality photo-copying and binding. When the copies are ready (in six to eight weeks, generally), they are sent with a bill directly to the libraries that signed up for them. More than 90 volumes were ordered between July 1995 and January 1996, by over 40 libraries around the country.

For more information, contact Brian Baird, the owner and editor of Brittle, at 502 Watson Library, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66045-2800 (913/864-3568, fax 864-5311, e-mail

Fungi Found to Emit Solvent Vapors

Fungus samples collected from "sick buildings" in the southeast were cultured in a lab by Dr. Charlene Bayer and Sidney Crowe at Georgia State University, who identified and measured the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that the fungus cultures gave off. These included hexane, methylene chloride, benzene, and acetone. VOCs are usually assumed to come from paints, cleaning products and adhesives rather than mold. Dr. Bayer pointed to ductwork as a likely location for a "mold garden" under moist conditions. She advised using more efficient filters in the air conditioner and not lining ductwork with fiberglass, which traps dirt for the fungus to grow on. This was originally reported in Occupational Health & Safety, January, 1996, p. 13-14, and is summarized in ACTS FACTS for March 1996.

An Organization for the Self-Employed

NASE, the National Association for the Self-Employed, is described (not necessarily endorsed) on the front page of the February Guild of Book Workers Newsletter by the GBW's president, Karen Crisalli. Membership costs $72 a year and provides a number of benefits and services, plus a bimonthly newsletter. The benefits include a travel service, software discounts, reduced Airborne Express rates, and special life, health, eyecare and prescription benefit plans. The services include an 800 number information service where you can find answers to business-related questions. For more information call Ray Starego of NASE (800/407-2324) or NASE headquarters (800/232-NASE).

Museum of the Book Opens in Madrid

On the 24th of October 1995, the National Library in Madrid opened a new museum of the book on its premises, which will have a permanent high-tech display intended to show the cultural treasures of the library in a didactic, interactive mode while the original items remain inaccessible. Five hundred documents (manuscripts, incunables, engravings, drawings, maps and so on) will be displayed by various methods, from CD-ROM to holographic simulation, to tell the history of communication techniques. There will also be a section on the history of sound in communication: the voices of poets, painters and musicians. Address: Museo del libro, Biblioteca nacional, Paso de Recoletos 20, E-28071 Madrid (tel. 91-580 77 59). Open M-Sa 10-9, Sundays and holidays 10-2; no admission charge. (From the Gazette du Livre Médiéval)

Archiving of Digital Information gets Attention

Directors and representatives from 105 research libraries in 17 countries attended the 14th Annual Conference of Research Library Directors held at OCLC in Dublin, Ohio, March 12-13. The theme of the conference, which was sponsored by OCLC and the OCLC Research Libraries Advisory Committee (RLAC), was "Tomorrow's Access--Today's Decisions: Ensuring Access to Today's Electronic Resources Tomorrow." K. Wayne Smith, OCLC president, described pilot projects in electronic archiving that OCLC will undertake in the near future to test models, technologies and capabilities. Deanna Marcum (CLR) and Donald Waters (Yale) commented on a draft report on "Preserving Digital Information" from the Task Force on Archiving of Digital Information that was commissioned by the Commission on Preservation and Access and the Research Libraries Group. Marcum emphasized that "preservation can not be sequestered to a small microfilming operation any longer. The issues surrounding digital preservation are large, complex, urgently important and costly."

Preservation Departments and Home Pages

Most of the preservation administrators present at the ALCTS/PARS Preservation Education and Outreach Discussion Group at ALA Midwinter had either established a home page or were planning to do so. Normandy Helmer of the University of Oregon spoke on her own experience in setting up a home page, and a lively discussion followed, concerning not only the type of material to include and the intended audience, but who plans and actually composes the page, and standards for what can or must be included. The University of Wisconsin-Madison's User Documentation Working Group established standards of content, design and procedure or technique, which are widely used. A copy of these standards can be sent on request; contact Margit J. Smith, Head of Cataloging, University of San Diego, Copley Library (619/ 260-2365).

Machine Translation is Coming on Fast

The Association for Machine Translation in the Americas was founded in 1992. It will hold its second regular conference, AMTA-96, in Montreal on October 2-5. Then in 1997, it is cooperating with the International Association for Machine Translation in organizing MT Summit VI, in San Diego from October 29 to November 1.

The AMTA has a "newsmagazine," MT News International, which comes out three times a year, and a directory, the MT Yellow Book, that lists people, institutions, and commercial companies involved in, or interested in, machine translation. It has five special interest groups, and makes available a number of bibliographies, proceedings, cassette tapes, lists of suppliers and guidelines. Membership is $60 a year for individuals, $200 for institutions and $400 for corporations. For information write Association for Machine Translation in the Americas, 655 Fifteenth St., NW, Suite 310, Washington, DC 20005.

EPA Proposes to Cancel Most Uses of Vapona

On September 29, 1995, the EPA issued the following statement: "To eliminate unacceptable health risks to the public and workers, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to cancel most uses of the pesticide dichlorvos including all home uses. The Agency is also proposing that most retained uses be restricted to specially trained certified applicators." Dichlorvos has been classified as a possible human carcinogen, and it also inhibits the enzyme cholinerestase, which is important to the proper functioning of the nervous system. (Information from Fumigants & Pheromones, Issue 40, Fall 1995, as reported in the AICCM National Newsletter, December 1995.)

Dichlorvos, in the form of Vapona Pest Strips, has been used in museums, especially in natural history museums where insect infestations are a problem. It was one of the few fumigants still permitted.

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