The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 20, Number 3
Aug 1996


Georgia Records Personnel get Preservation Training

The Georgia Department of Archives and History has set up a preservation training program, with the focus on Preservation Training for Local Government Records Personnel. It is funded in part by the Park Service's National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT), and will provide a one-day workshop given at six locations, site visits on request, technical bulletins, and additional information on the Web.

NYU Inaugurates New Preservation Lecture Series

The first lecture in the Barbara Goldsmith Preservation and Conservation Lecture Series will be "New Tools for Preservation: Assessing Long-Term Environmental Effects on Library and Archives Collections," given by James Reilly from IPI on Sept. 19, 1996, at 3:30 in the Fales Library within Bobst Library at New York University. For information, or to be put on the mailing list, call Kate Murray at 212/998-2562 or e-mail,

The Barbara Goldsmith Preservation and Conservation Lecture Series will hold lectures and other events semi-annually for at least two years in the Fales Library. Planned future topics include design binding's influence on conservation techniques, environmental controls and HVAC systems, and theory and practice in modern book conservation.

One-Year Course in Motion Picture Preservation to Open

A new training course in Motion Picture Preservation opens September 10 at George Eastman House, International Museum of Photography and Film, in Rochester, NY. It is directed by Grant Romer, Director of Conservation and Museum Studies, and Paolo Cherchi Usai, Senior Curator of Motion Pictures. Enrollment is limited to 10 qualified students, who attend three or four quarters, the first of which is the Core, with two basic courses. Then come a workshop and an advanced practicum, and a fourth, optional summer quarter of practicum. Tuition is $1200 per quarter. Graduates receive a Certificate of Completion. For information contact Paolo Cherchi Usai, Senior Curator, Motion Picture Department, George Eastman House, 900 East Avenue, Rochester, NY 14607.

Australia gets Book/Paper & Conservation Science Interest Groups

The AICCM (Australian Institute for Conservation of Cultural Materials) recently established a Book and Paper Special Interest Group, which has local sections in ACT and Victoria. The contact person is Johann Alcock (ph: 61 3 9669 9955, fax: 9663 1480, e-mail:

The Conservation Science Special Interest Group is getting established. They want to hear from people who are interested in participating, and will discuss aims and objectives on e-mail. The contact person is David Hallam (ph: 61 7 3840 7681, fax: 3846 1918, e-mail:

A New Kind of Conservator

The Museum of Victoria in Australia announced on the Conservation DistList in July that it was inviting applications for the newly established job of Assistant Conservator, Integrated Pest Management. The position is in the Conservation Department, but will apparently not involve treatment of artifacts, only pest management responsibilities for the existing Museum campuses and for the new Museum which is being built at Carlton Gardens in Melbourne.

[This is an approach that may prove useful to large cultural institutions as they look for ways of carrying out some of the complex functions that are now part of preservation. The functions may simply "bud off" as semi-independent specialties, and eventually gain their own educational program or other accepted form of preparation, just as specialties in other fields have done. -Ed.]

FEMA's Disaster Assistance Program Overhauled

In the last three years, as a result of criticism for its performance after storms and other natural disasters, FEMA has been reorganized to focus on natural disasters rather than nuclear attack, and overhauled its Disaster Assistance program. It cut in half the time it takes to assist disaster victims and reduced annual administrative costs by about $35 million.

Victims can now register for assistance within hours of a Presidential declaration of disaster by calling an 800 number; application forms are computerized; and customer reaction is overwhelmingly positive. (The source of this information, a newsletter from Vice President Al Gore called Reinvention Roundtable, does not say anything about the help FEMA gives to cultural institutions after disasters, but that may have improved too.)

A Hotline for Reporting Missing Manuscripts

The Professional Autograph Dealers Association (PADA) recently established a system for reporting stolen or missing manuscripts to its membership. Libraries and archives can call the toll-free line 888/33-THEFT (338-4338) as soon as they discover that material is stolen or missing; PADA sends the information to all of its members via a fax/phone chain. They would like to have a full description of the missing material; name, address and phone of the contact person at the institution; names of any law enforcement officers working on the case; and any information on the disappearance (time or date of theft, suspects etc.).

In order to compile a database of all manuscripts known to be lost or stolen in the past, PADA would like each library and archives to send them a list, addressed to the head of PADA's security committee: Catherine Barnes, PO Box 30117, Philadelphia, PA 10193. This will give autograph dealers a place to go to see whether an item might be stolen.

Preliminary Program for ARSAG Meeting Announced

ARSAG, L'Association pour la recherche scientifique sur les arts graphiques, will have its third international symposium next April, in the new buildings of the Bibliothèque nationale de France. There will be eight papers sessions:

Buildings and environment
Paper and leather (two sessions)
Photography and digitalization
National policies in conservation (Round table)
Economy of conservation

Forty-two papers are listed in the preliminary program, among them the following:

M. Perrut, E. Français, A. Brandt - Traitement de désacidification et renforcement des papiers anciens au moyen d'un fluide à pression supercritique

P. Begin - Les effets de la lignine sur la permanence du papier

F. Frey and J. Reilly - Imaging systems for the digitalization of photographic collections

J. Hanus - Influence of the ethylene oxide fumigation on some properties of different types of materials

G. Banik - Politics for the development of paper conservation in Germany

D. Tremain - Emergency planning: What really happens

Getty Conservation Institute has New Address

In late July, the Getty Conservation Institute moved from Marina del Rey to: 1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 700, Los Angeles, CA 90049-1684. Telephone and fax numbers are new too: tel. 310/440-7325, fax 440-7702.

NARA Tests Electronic Document Delivery

In order to explore the costs and benefits of electronic delivery of requested documents, the Federal Records Center in Chicago (which is part of NARA, the National Archives and Records Administration) has been sending out court records requested by the U.S. District Court in Detroit in a new way. It scans, then faxes or e-mails them. The court now receives most of its records within 24 hours of a request, so needless to say it is quite pleased. Sometimes the documents are delivered 10 days sooner than they would be if they came by U.S. mail or UPS.

This pilot project has been going on for a year. Data analyzed so far indicate that the new process is not only faster but cheaper for the Federal Records Center, even though more people had to be hired to carry out the scanning and faxing. Another benefit is that the original documents do not have to be removed from the secure records storage.

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