The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 22, Number 1


Camberwell Offers BA & MA Courses

Camberwell College of Arts (The London Institute) is recruiting for its three-year BA (Hons) and one- or two-year MA programs in the conservation of paper and organic materials. Courses are administered by the Conservation Centre.

The MA is designed for those who already have a degree in conservation or a related subject. It provides high-level education in specialist areas of conservation including fine art on paper, library and archive materials, books, and photographs. For further information contact Frederick Bearman, Director, The Conservation Centre, Camberwell College of Arts, Wilson Road, London SE5 8UL, UK. Fax is +44 171 514 6425; e-mail is

CCI's New Tracking System for Client Data

Like most multifunctional conservation services in an institutional setting, the Canadian Conservation Institute uses a computerized system to keep track of business processes as well as treatments of artifacts and other services performed for clients. Last December the Institute replaced its aging ICARUS system, which ran on the CHIN mainframe, with a local area network and Lotus Notes. A new project tracking system, named PROTEUS, was designed with the aid of consultants from Progestic, with CCI staff input. It runs on a server at CCI. The transition to the new system was managed by continuing to use ICARUS (now reformatted for access as a Lotus Notes Database), in addition to PROTEUS and the CCI Client Database. These three databases are accessible to staff at all times. (For a more detailed description, see CCI Newsletter No. 21, March 1998, p. 11.)

RBMS Group Wants Finding Aids Encoded

At ALA Midwinter, 35 members of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section met in the Manuscripts and Other Formats Discussion Group to discuss "Data Conversion Issues" for manuscript collections. After considering a large number of topics, including encoding documents in SGML, converting typewritten documents to machine-readable format and digitizing primary source material, they agreed on a top conversion priority: encoding of finding aids into SGML in order to make them more accessible to scholars.

Outreach Courses as a Commercial Venture

The State Library of New South Wales in Australia is giving eight courses open to the public in 1998. This is part of Conservation Access, a commercial venture of the State Library of NSW, which addresses the problems of preserving collections and making things last through information-filled seminars and hands-on workshops. The 1998 seminars and workshops are:

Preserving your family history collections
Displaying works of art on paper
Archival storage of your collection
Bound to last
Battered books made better
Defending documents
Enduring images
De-dramatizing disasters.

For more information contact Audrey Wilson (fax 61 2 9273 1269; e-mail

Regional Alliance for Preservation Gets New Member, New Website

The Upper Midwest Conservation Association has joined AMIGOS Preservation Service, CCAHA, NEDCC and SOLINET in an NEH-funded joint outreach group founded in February 1997, the Regional Alliance for Preservation. The Alliance has a new URL for its web site, <>, which has lists of training materials and upcoming training events.

NCPTT Invites Applications for Grants

The National Park Service's National Center for Preservation Technology and Training would like to sponsor innovative work in research, training and information management projects, as it does every year. Its focus is on historical sites rather than books and paper, but records materials are not ruled out. Grants are available in eight categories: 1) information management, 2) training and education, 3) applied/fundamental research, 4) environmental effects of outdoor pollutants, 5) technology transfer, 6) analytical facility support, 7) conference support, and 8) publications support.

Application deadlines are mid-December 1998. The Call for Proposals is available by fax-on-demand (call 318/357-3214 and follow directions), on the Web (visit and click on "Preservation Technology and Training Grants"), or by calling 318/357-6464 for a brochure.

In NY State, Big Grants for Local Govt Records

Over $5.7 million in grants for records projects has been awarded to local governments and community organizations around the State, according to a June 26 news release from the State Archives and Records Administration (SARA).

The local government projects involved records management (which can be seen as the prelude to preservation). A third of a million dollars went for the Court Records Initiative, a partnership between SARA, the State Office of Court Administration and the Local Government Records Advisory Council. Under this initiative, County Clerks acting as the Clerks of County and Supreme Courts could apply for grants to purge certain series of court records, create and implement files management plans, and automate relevant finding aids.

Some counties have been able to destroy as much as 50% of the designated court records, thereby freeing up expensive floor space and filing equipment. A second initiative, for counties, towns and villages performing the same work, is now underway.

A small part of the $5.7 million ($100,000) went to community organizations for Documentary Heritage Program grants. Their needs are addressed in a long-term plan for identification, preservation and use of New York's historical materials, Ensuring a Future for our Past, published in April 1998.

NY Research Libraries win Preservation Grants

Eight grants, totaling over a third of a million dollars for the first year, went to New York State research libraries to preserve endangered materials, as part of a Coordinated Preservation Program enacted in 1984. The eight funded projects are, briefly:

A state music re-recording project, carried out by Columbia University, Cornell University and the Eastman School of Music. Phase II, $77,358.

Phase II of the USAIN Agricultural Literature Project, reported separately in this column.

Six one-day workshops on care and management of sound recordings, provided by Syracuse University. $16,741.

Preservation photocopying of 550 brittle oversized music scores, by Columbia University and the University of Rochester. $46,545.

Microfilming of 900 brittle monographs from South Asia, 1850-1950, by Columbia University, with Cornell University and the New York Public Library. $72,237.

Microfilming of 136 brittle business serial volumes, by Columbia University and the New York Public Library. The libraries will try to get complete runs of each title by pooling their holdings. $95,224 for two years.

Preservation photocopying of 625 archaeological reports from Greece, Rome and the Near East, by Columbia, Cornell and NYPL. $37,044.

A technician training program for eight libraries in central New York State, to provide a basis for preservation programs. Cornell will provide the training in a series of two-week training sessions. $93,676 for three years.

For more information contact Barbara Lilley (518/474-6971,

Phase II of Agricultural Lit Preservation Funded

Libraries in 15 states are now working to identify and preserve (i.e., microfilm) state and local historical literature about agricultural development and rural life from 1820 to 1945. (Since most of the country was rural during the 1800s, the scope is broad, including the abolition of slavery, westward migration, sharecropping, migrant workers, and Native Americans overrun by land-hungry pioneers.)

This continues NEH-funded work that began in 1996, when eight states worked with panels of scholars to identify the highest priority literature for preservation about each state. Four states also received funding at that time for microfilming the chosen works.

Phase II, announced in June 1998, made $908,800 available to complete filming begun in Phase I, and lets seven more states begin. Hawaii and Montana will identify and preserve their rural literature, and four states--Arkansas, Arizona, Iowa and Minnesota--will start to identify their publications.

The project, commissioned as part of a national program by the U.S. Agricultural Information Network in 1993, is coordinated by Cornell University's Albert R. Mann Library. For more information contact Wallace C. Olsen there, at 607/255-8939.

40 Library Consortia Protest E-Journal Pricing

Academic journal publishers (e.g., Elsevier and Academic Press) have hiked their prices for the paper versions of their publications so frequently and the increases have been so great each year that many libraries have been canceling subscriptions and going to the electronic versions of the same journals. Generally the e-journals are leased by consortia, for use by all members of the consortium. But now many librarians wonder whether e-journals have also been priced out of their library's range, especially considering the limits the publishers put on copying and distributing of documents.

Last spring, a strongly worded statement issued by 40 members of the International Coalition of Library Consortia protested both the excessive pricing of e-journals and the restrictions placed on libraries' right to distribute documents. Members are afraid the contracts they sign will suck their budgets dry, while limiting readers' access to electronic information. Arnold Hirschon, Vice-President for Information Resources at Lehigh University, was one of the four authors of the statement.

This information came from the Chronicle of Higher Information, April 10, 1998, p. A33. The significance of these moves by publishers, as far as preservation is concerned, is that they may divert funds from preservation programs, and in fact have probably already done so in some libraries.

JSTOR's Production Capacity will Grow

JSTOR [which presumably means "Journal Storage"] began as a Mellon Foundation project to ease libraries' shortage of space to store long runs of back issues of journals. It digitized every issue of ten selected journal titles and OCR'd them so they could be searched--750,000 pages in all, which now reside at the University of Michigan and are mirrored at Princeton University. In August 1995, JSTOR became a not-for-profit organization.

Early this year, JSTOR announced that it would work with the Princeton University Library to establish a production facility for converting paper journals to electronic form. Demand is strong; new material is currently being added at the rate of 100,000 pages a month. Within three years, JSTOR expects to be providing complete runs of at least 100 important journal titles in 10-15 fields.

To contact JSTOR User Services, call 888/388-3574, or fax 734/998-9113, or e-mail them at

Recent Library Disasters

Four disasters were reported in the August American Libraries. A monster tornado in Spencer, South Dakota, on May 30 destroyed nearly every building in town, including the regional library. Only the foundation was left--but the library's Gateway 2000 computer was found under two feet of rubble, and it still worked. Volunteers sorted through the books in the rubble, and salvaged about 25% of them. A disaster fund has been set up for a new building.

The Hot Springs County Library in Malvern, Arkansas, was hit by lightning in April and burned down in the resulting fire. The NEH has awarded it a $19,000 emergency grant to rebuild. (The notice in AL said nothing about the size of the library.)

Another fire damaged the exterior of a library on the grounds of the Department of Veterans Affairs in Milwaukee June 30. It apparently started during a roofing project. The books, however, were not touched by the fire, apparently. About 2,500 of the 15,000 books in the library were "destroyed by water," according to the librarians. (The report said nothing about where the water came from; but it probably came from fire hoses, because sprinklers do not destroy books and would not have wet so many of them.)

The University of Iowa's Special Collections was sprayed with pressurized water for an hour and a half when a rusty pipe in the HVAC system gave way July 1. That was a Saturday. The staff quickly implemented the disaster plan, putting plastic film over the stacks. About 450 volumes were salvaged (not counting student newspapers already on microfilm) and 250 of these were sent out to be freeze-dried.

LC to Build Audio-Visual Conservation Center

In May, the Library of Congress received a grant of $10 million from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation to begin development of a state-of-the-art National AudioVisual Conservation Center on a site near Culpeper, Virginia. The 140,000 square-foot building on the site was originally built in the 1960s as a backup operations center for the Federal Reserve in the event of a Cold War emergency. It is almost completely underground, making it energy-efficient and readily adaptable for low-temperature and RH storage. It will hold all the Library's AV (motion picture, TV, radio and recorded sound) collections, now stored in three states and Washington, DC.

Saving Electronic Records of East Germany

The German Federal Archives, or Bundesarchiv, is struggling to preserve the digital memory of the ousted communist government of East Germany, where data was preserved in an advanced storage system but the technology for reading it and the keys to the software that created it often were not. (From American Libraries, May 1998, p. 33)

GBW Supply Directory is Now Online

The Guild of Book Workers Supply Directory is now on the web at

Oak Knoll Moves to [Slightly] Different Address

Oak Knoll Books is presently busy moving to larger quarters just one block down from their old address They will reopen August 31, at 308 Delaware St. Everything else (phone, zip, etc.) remains the same; phone is 302/328-7232. The new quarters are in a building that used to be a Victorian opera house.

Books currently offered include Middleton's revised edition of Restoration of Leather Bindings ($35 + shipping); Jane Greenfield's ABC of Bookbinding, An Illustrated Glossary of Terms for Collectors and Conservators ($35 + shipping); and Middleton's A History of English Craft Bookbinding Technique (no date or edition number given; $55 + shipping).

Australian Archives Gets New Name & Address

The National Archives of Australia, as it has been known since February, has moved into a prominent new building in Canberra. Its postal address is now PO Box 7425, Canberra Mail Centre, Canberra ACT 2610. ["ACT" means "Australian Capital Territory." It corresponds to "DC" in the United States.]

IFLA Announces Preservation Goals and Plan

The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) has a Section of Preservation and Conservation (PAC), which works to preserve the world's documentary heritage. Its goals for 1998-2001 and action plan for the next year are published on p. 3-4 of the IFLA Newsletter for June. Among its seven goals for the next three years are two that emphasize good management (in the library and in the preservation program) and two that relate to digitization (#6 is "Monitor activities related to the digitization of library materials and ... promote the concept of library preservation as a part of these activities. Promote long-term preservation of original electronic documents and access to them." #7 is "Encourage the expansion of universally accessible registers of preservation reproductions and ... participate in the codification of preservation information").

The Action Plan 1998-1999 includes two items having to do with promotion of the use of permanent paper.

AIC Book & Paper Group is Popular on the Web

The May issue of AIC News reported that the AIC web page gets 2,000 hits a month, and more than half those hits are for the Book and Paper Group. Although the Book and Paper Group with its 800 or so members is the second largest group in AIC, only about one out of four AIC members belongs to it. B/P members may visit the AIC web page frequently because they are more familiar than other specialty group members with electronic communication; or some of those hits may be from members of the public who are concerned about keeping their family documents.

The web page is at

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