The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 21, Number 2
Jul 1997


Note: The classification number that follows each entry is there to help the editor arrange, file and find the citations.

When the publisher's address is not given, it can usually be found in the list of Useful Addresses that is mailed out yearly to subscribers.


The June 1997 issue of ARL, the newsletter of the Association for Research Libraries, is devoted to one topic: copyright and fair use. CONFU was a Conference on Fair Use set up three years ago by the Clinton administration and facilitated by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, to write guidelines for protecting intellectual property on the Internet. Over 100 organizations and institutions representing both copyright owners and information users were represented in debates on interlibrary loan, electronic reserves, distance learning, digital images, and educational multimedia. Consensus could not be reached on the first two issues by participants, but there was initial agreement on the last three. When the draft guidelines were circulated to members of the organizations, however, the ARL board rejected all of them because of the unusual restrictions they put on fair use as defined by the Copyright Act of 1976. The result of the CONFU deliberations is a standoff. The Commissioner of the Patent and Trademark Office will issue a final report.

At the last meeting of CONFU in May, the draft guidelines that ARL rejected were accepted as interim documents, although they had been endorsed by only a minority of participants. The group may meet again May 18, 1998, at the Library of Congress. The Multimedia working group, which had begun organizing multimedia guidelines before the CONFU process started, claimed that they were now settled and would not be re-opened for debate for another three to five years. So, although the group had no official status with respect to Congress or any legal process, its discussions were definitely politicized.

Fourteen organizations that support learning and research have agreed to work together to promote and exercise a set of "Best Practices" concerning fair use and related issues. The Library and Computing Center at Northwestern University have already cooperatively developed and implemented policies and systems on electronic reserves. The University argues that electronic distribution of copyrighted documents offers new income opportunities for publishers interested in the higher education market.

ARL has endorsed, and reprints in this issue, the National Humanities Alliance statement of Basic Principles for Managing Intellectual Property in the Digital Environment. It is over five pages long.

A Diplomatic Conference in December 1996 in Switzerland, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), resulted in two treaties that were more moderate than the CONFU proposals. It is described in a two-and-a-half-page article.

The significance of all this for preservation is twofold: first, there are many documents in different formats that cannot be preserved in the original format, because they are on the verge of decay or will soon be unreadable for other reasons; they must be copied. However, it makes little sense to spend time and money locating the original copyright holder in order to make one copy for educational or research, not commercial, use. Second, there are so few people in conservation and preservation, and the information they need for their professional libraries often comes from such obscure sources, that they have to photocopy much of what they need, rather than buying a few books and subscribing to journals each year as most professionals do. If they had to find the copyright holder, get permission and pay for each article they photocopied, either their work would suffer or they would take to photocopying in secret. There is a third reason, actually: access. A library's whole purpose is to provide access to the material it holds. (1C9.5)


The Georgia Department of Archives and History has a series of new four-page leaflets on preservation topics, funded in part by the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT) of the National Park Service. The series has no title and the individual leaflets are not numbered, but they all use the same easily recognized format, with a large title in white against a black background. They are up-to-date, easy to read, and professional in quality, with brief bibliographies. They can be ordered by calling 404/656-2374.

Disaster Preparedness

Machine Readable Records

Guidelines for Producing Local and Family Histories

Preservation Basics for Paper-Based Records

Reformatting Records

Selecting an Off-Site Records Facility

The Storage Environment (1H)


Preservation of Library and Archival Materials: A Manual, edited by Sherelyn Ogden. 250 pages. $39.50 for AAM members, $54.50 for nonmembers plus postage and handling. Prepayment required. ISBN 0-9634685-1-0. Order # CPL813. Contact AAM, P.O. Box 4002, Washington, DC 20042-4002; 202/289-9127.

This comprehensive guide covers topics from conservation planning to digital imaging preservation, all in nontechnical language. It includes extensive lists of conservation supplies and sources, illustrations of techniques, and charts for measuring temperature and humidity. (2.4)


A special issue of the Association for Preservation Technology (APT) Bulletin, entitled Museums in Historic Buildings, includes a selection of papers presented at two symposiums on this topic, jointly sponsored by AIC and APT, in Montreal and New Orleans, and resulting in the New Orleans Charter for the Joint Preservation of Historic Structures and Artifacts. The issue was guest edited by Thomas H. Taylor, Jr., architectural conservator of Colonial Williamsburg. It includes the following papers:

Paul Himmelstein and Barbara Appelbaum - The Process of Compromise: A Team Approach to Conservation Environments

J.P. Brown and William B. Rose - Humidity and Moisture in Historic Buildings: The Origins of Building and Object Conservation

Stefan Michalski - Quantified Risk Reduction in the Humidity Dilemma

Margaret Westfield and Richard I. Ortega, with Ernest A. Conrad - What Made Lucy Rot: A Case Study of Cyclical Moisture Absorption

Dennis Brown - Alternatives to Modern Air-Conditioning Systems: Natural Ventilation and Other Techniques

Catherine E. Cassidy and K.D. Pressnail - Diagnosis and Suggested Measures for Moisture Control in a Historic Adobe House Museum

The book is 64 pages long and costs $25 prepaid +$5 for shipping and handling. Orders from Canada and overseas will be invoiced. Make check or money order payable in U.S. funds to APT, PO Box 3511, Williamsburg, VA 23187. (2C2.4)


The National Film Preservation Plan: An Implementation Strategy. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, June 1995. 12 pp.

From the "overview" on the first page: "Barely 10 short years ago, film preservation faced what appeared to be a hopeless crisis point. Motion picture studios, with a few exceptions, focused solely on current theatrical releases and saw little benefit in preserving their holdings, assessing their own film libraries as nothing more than 'yesterday's films.' Film archives, on the other hand, made valiant yet often futile efforts to fill the gap, but did not have sufficient funds to preserve their non-commercial holdings, much less their collection of studio product.

"Today, prospects seem much brighter. The cable and videocassette revolutions with their economic vigor, demands and rewards have persuaded studios once more to preserve their own films, or face the prospect of extinction and commercial irrelevance in these expanding markets."

On the first seven pages are a brief history of film preservation, with guiding principles (e.g., saving film on film rather than on other media), and a summary of the proposed national plan, which takes into consideration funding, partnerships, storage costs, repatriation of American films stored in foreign archives, and public access. The last five pages list the 30 projects included in the Plan, together with their purpose or goal, possible participants and implementation strategy or action plan. (3F4)

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