The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 20, Number 8
Dec 1996


New Museum of the Book Opens in Madrid

A new institution dedicated to the book opened at the National Library in Madrid, Spain, on October 24, 1996. High-tech interactive exhibits display cultural treasures that are housed within the library but inaccessible to the public. CD-ROM, holography and other methods are used to show manuscripts, incunables, engravings, maps etc. and to tell the history of the book. The museum is called Museo del Libro, and its address is: Biblioteca Nacional, Paso de Recoletos 20, E-28071 Madrid (tel. +34 91-580-77-59).

Don Guyot & Colophon Book Arts Are Still There

Don Guyot calls it a nightmare. The Post Office and the telephone company have unilaterally changed the area code, zip code and town of Colophon Book Arts Supply, so that the company appears to have moved to another town with a different zip code, and to have had its telephone disconnected to boot. He had to send out a press release in January, asking for help spreading the word that he was still in business.

These are the new address and telephone:

Colophon Book Arts Supply, Inc. (Contact: Don Guyot)
3046 Hogum Bay Road NE
Lacey, WA 98516
(360/459-2940; fax 459-2945)

Technology & Conservation has New Address

T&C's new address is 76 Highland Ave., Somerville, MA 02143, and its telephone number is 617/623-4488.

Editor Susan Schur announced last September that complimentary subscriptions would no longer be offered. People who have been getting free issues may now subscribe at a reduced rate of $20/year. For others, it will be $28/year.

TALAS's New Address (Since 1995)

Aaron Salik, new proprietor of TALAS, reminded us of the address to which they moved in the summer of 1995: 568 Broadway, New York NY 10012 (212/219-0770; fax 219-0735). This had not been announced in the Abbey Newsletter previously.

Library Associations Pleased with Copyright Treaty Balance

Five national library associations have expressed cautious optimism that the rights of both copyright proprietors and those who use copyrighted materials can be accommodated in the new digital information environment based on agreements reached December 20 after more than two weeks of international negotiations. The associations are the American Association of Law Libraries, American Library Association, Medical Library Association, and Special Libraries Association.

Some 160 governments participated in the diplomatic conference on intellectual property issues convened by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva. The final treaties represent significant progress over earlier proposals in balancing the rights of copyright proprietors with the interests of users of copyrighted materials.

Adam Eisgrau, legislative counsel for the ALA Washington Office, represented the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions at the Geneva conference. He cited as particularly noteworthy the diplomatic consensus in favor of the extension and evolution of limits on copyright, including fair use, into the digital environment.

Like many treaties, the Geneva agreements impose broadly phrased obligations on signatory nations. In many countries, including the U.S., the treaties will require domestic approval and legislative implementation.

Strict limitations on copying of material found on the Internet would hurt the field of preservation as well as libraries and archives, for two reasons: first, transfer of information from one person to another within the field is a necessary and time-honored custom, because we often cannot function without information, and second, document delivery is seen as an important part of the mission of university libraries.

Education & Training Program at CAL Resumes Speed

For more than a year, the educational offerings at the Smithsonian's Conservation Analytical Laboratory have been reduced as a result of organizational restructuring, a major renovation project that closed the labs for several months, and fiscal uncertainties, among other things. A mailing in January listed short courses, training programs, internships and fellowships planned for 1997. (For short courses see Events column; for a complete list that includes fellowships and internships, write CAL Education and Training, MRC 534, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC 20560.)

Spanish-Speakers at AIC to Have Own Translator

At the June meeting of the American Institute for Conservation in San Diego, participants from Latin America will be able to get the full benefit of the papers on the program, because they will have simultaneous translation to Spanish. This has never been provided before. The preconference symposium on lighting for exhibitions will be translated as well.

This was announced in mailings to potential conferees, together with the program of papers to be given in the conference and the symposium.

ICI Division Named Etherington Conservation Center

Harry Campbell sent a notice to the Conservation DistList a few weeks ago, saying:

"On January 1, 1997 the conservation division of Information Conservation, Inc. became the Etherington Conservation Center, a division of ICI [Information Conservation, Inc., a library binding company].

"While the name has changed, we remain committed to offering high quality, economical and timely preservation and conservation services for all paper-based collections. The Document Reproduction Service, for the reformatting of brittle books, will be brought under the umbrella of the Center."

For more information call 910/375-1202. The address, phone and fax have not changed.

CPA and CLR Merge; James M. Morris Named VP

The Commission on Preservation and Access and the Council on Library Resources have merged, after a period of merely sharing office space, and James M. Morris was appointed vice president as of January 2, 1997. Deanna Marcum, president of the Council and Commission, noted that "The mission of the new, merged organization calls for significantly increased collaboration with many other organizations. Jim Morris, with his experience in the scholarly and foundation communities, will be a great asset to the new enterprise."

Morris is currently director of the Division of Historical, Cultural, and Literary Studies at the Woodrow Wilson Center, and associate editor of the Wilson Quarterly. He was formerly secretary of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and its program director for Higher Education.

British Library Begins the Move to New Building

On December 2, the British Library began its three-year move from the British Museum to a controversial new building near the St. Pancras. It will take over two years because there are over 12 million books, to be shelved on 190 miles of new shelving.

The new building, with its six-story glass tower, will be fully open by June 1999, six years behind schedule and costing nearly three times early estimates. It has flooded, and the movable shelving in the basements turned out to be vulnerable to buckling and rust. Two thousand miles of electrical wiring had to be changed, and thousands of ceiling brackets, air conditioning ducts and sprinkler heads.

Watermarked Paper for Theses is Hard to Find

University dissertation offices generally would like to see all masters' and doctoral candidates use a permanent, watermarked paper for their theses and dissertations. The permanence requirement is easy to meet, because so many permanent papers are on the market now that are suitable for photocopying, and they generally sell at a reasonable price. The watermark requirement is not hard to meet either, because there are over 50 papers suitable for photocopying use in The Grade Finder (a paper catalog or directory) that are watermarked, and most of them are also on the list of permanent papers published by Abbey Publications, North American Permanent Papers. However: few of the watermarks identify the paper as permanent. This makes it hard for the dissertation officers to tell whether the student has followed instructions.

This information comes from a survey of the situation made by a student at the University of Maryland Preservation Department last year, Beth Shanabrook. Unfortunate-ly, she was not able to identify any papers that were both permanent and watermarked, though she called 11 paper companies. Half of them are not listed in North American Permanent Papers, at least not for their watermarked papers; one of them had a disconnected telephone number; and five did not return messages.

(In Finland, all permanent papers are watermarked to show that they are permanent and who made them, in which year, and the government issues a list of permanent papers.)

"Interface Between Science & Conservation"-Program

The program of papers to be delivered at the British Museum conference in April has been published. Although most of them relate to museum conservation, some are on topics of more general interest:

Laser Technology in Art Conservation - Castas Fotakis

Risk Analysis - Jonathan Ashley-Smith

The Use of Gaseous Pollution Monitoring in Determining Air Handling System Filtration and Management Requirements: A Case Study - Paul Wilthew

Decision Support Models for Preventive Conservation - Paul Marcon

Leave it to the "Experts"? - Yvonne Shashoua

Some Problems at the Interface between Art Restorers and Conservation Scientists in Japan - Yasunori Matsuda

Can Scientists and Conservators Work Together? - Ellen McCrady

Looking Through Both Ends of the Lens: Why Scientists and Conservators Should Know Each Others' Business - Jerry Podany

NCPTT Preservation Technology & Training Grants

The National Center for Preservation Technology and Training is calling for grant proposals this spring in four project types: conferences, publications, technology transfer and environmental research. Details are available via fax-on-demand (318/357-3214), NCPTT's gopher <gopher://>, and the Web <>. Or order them by return e-mail: send a blank message to, and the full announcement will return automatically.

Brown Univ. Starts Endowment Fund for Preservation

Brown University, in Providence, RI, will receive a challenge grant of $625,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities to start an endowment fund. Three dollars must be added in matching funds from private sources, for every dollar of the NEH challenge grant.

The terms of the grant are very broad, although treatment will be limited to Brown's humanities collections. The news release last December said, "Preservation efforts include deacidification of paper-based documents and books. Other items will be rebound, digitized, microfilmed or put on microfiche. Not only will books and other paper-based items receive treatment, but also recordings on audio tape, vinyl, compact disk, videotape and computer disk." This will include all new acquisitions for the humanities collection, about 4,500 items annually.

The idea of challenge grants for preservation endowments is a new one. This year, 25 other institutions received smaller grants like this one.

UV Filters for Fluorescent Lights

A perennial question in preservation circles has to do with the UV radiation emitted by the fluorescent lamps that light most libraries and archives. UV radiation is known to deteriorate paper; some fluorescent lamps give off large amounts of UV; so people worry about how to control it. Tubular UV filters can be bought through the supply houses, but how can you tell when to replace them? In fact, how can you tell when they are needed in the first place?

Three knowledgeable people from three different countries provided answers to these questions on the Conservation DistList January 8 and 9: Colin Pearson of Australia, who quoted from and confirmed a 1991 article by Murray Frost on museum planning; Helen Alten, Field Services Director for the Upper Midwest Conservation Association; and Andrew Calver, Conservation Manager for Nottingham City. (Hooray for the Internet!)

Murray Frost said that there is no need to worry about UV levels if the lamps are fully enclosed by metal and regular solid acrylic diffusing panels; they always test at less than 75 µwatts per lumen according to a Crawford 760 UV meter. Pearson says to check them at least once every five years. Helen Alten gave similar advice, and said it made sense to exclude visible light too by the use of curtains and shades, since visible light damaged collections.

Andrew Calver measured the light coming through the flat plastic panel below lamps that are installed above a false ceiling, and found they were all low, around 10 µwatts/lumen (except that he wrote µM/lumen by mistake). All the diffusers that actually cover the lamps reduce transmission. All the museums he cares for show 10-40 µW/lumen. He stopped to measure the light fittings above him as he sat at his computer, and found that they emitted only 10 microwatts per lumen, though the diffusers are at least 15 years old. He implied that the end of a diffuser's life might come when they become so brittle that they crack during relamping, rather than when their filtering ability declines.

Phone Numbers for Taylor Made's Successor

Thomas "Tuck" Taylor will continue the part of his business that serves the hobby trade, but the part that serves libraries and other institutions is being carried on by Atlantic Protective Pouches, which has two business phones (908/240-3871 and 908/240-2893) and a fax: 908/240-4306. He is working with them until they get up to speed.

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