The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 23, Number 1


Specifications for New "Charters" Enclosures

The Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights (referred to as the "Charters of Freedom") have been displayed at the National Archives since 1951 in helium-filled, hermetically-sealed glass containers designed by the National Bureau of Standards (now NIST). Although the best technology of the time went into these enclosures, small surface cracks, crystals and droplets have appeared in or on the glass, threatening the visibility and safety of the documents. New cases are being designed jointly by NIST, the National Archives and Records Administration, NASA and Heery International, according to NARA's February 1999 press release on its Web page, Its features will include nine openable enclosures in two sizes, each with a frame of pure titanium, a finely finished seal, metal base, O-rings of coated metal, laminated tempered float glass, and ports in the base to permit monitoring and regulation of temperature, pressure and spectroscopic analysis of the interior gas, argon. Temperature will be 67°F ±2°; RH, 45% ±5%.

"The Broad Spectrum" in Chicago

At least five of the 41 papers planned for the conference "The Broad Spectrum: The Art and Science of Conserving Colored Media on Paper" will be of interest to library and archive conservators:

Barbara Rosenberg, "Assessing the Impact of Storage Environments on the Color Transfer of Felt-Tipped Pen Medium on Paper"

Vincent Daniels, "Aging of Paper and Pigments Containing Iron and Copper"

Debbie Glynn, "The Preservation and Conservation of Ink Jet and Electrophotographic Printed Materials"

Peter Bower, "All the Colors of White: The Changing Nature of White Papers"

Elmer Eusman,"Treatment Effects on Iron Gall Ink: The Significance of Iron Migration"

At the Canadian conference, "Looking at Paper," it was said that people from at least 15 countries were coming. (See the entry for October 6-9 in the Events column.)

ANSI Now Delivers Standards Electronically

ANSI, the American National Standards Institute, has entered into an agreement with the Global Engineering Documents Division of Information Handling Services, who will fulfill all orders for paper copies of ANSI publications (tel. 800/854-7179; see below). This will allow ANSI to focus on electronic delivery of standards.

Orders should be sent to ANSI, by phone, fax, e-mail, website order or mail: 212/642-4931; fax 212/398-1123;;,, or; or American National Standards Institute, 11 West 42nd St., New York, NY 10036. Individual sales go to ANSI's Electronic Standards Store (, and site license access can be had by networking agreements.

For hard (paper) copies of standards, contact Global (tel. 800/854-7179 or 303/397-7956; fax 303/397-2740; e-mail; website; or by mail: Global Engineering Documents, 15 Inverness Way East, Englewood, CO 80112).

New Address for Ken Grabowski & Field Museum

The Field Museum has a new address: 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60605.

Ken Grabowski, who works there, has new streamlined e-mail ( and a direct telephone line (312/665-7888) and fax number (312/665-7932).

Papers for the Reversibility Conference

"Reversibility: Does it Exist?" is a conference to be given at the British Museum next September. The thirty papers in the provisional schedule include the following, which may be of interest to library and archive conservators:

Vincent Daniels - Paper and imperfect reversibility

Jane Down - Swelling as an indicator of removability

Magdalena Kozera - Treating photographic mounts - Survey of current practices

Elissa O'Loughlin/Ann Witty - Treatment of previously deacidified paper

Karen Pavelka - Reversibility and selection for conservation treatment in libraries and archives

Richard D. Smith - Reversibility: A questionable philosophy

Details of the conference are in the Events column.

Morgan Library gets Endowment and New Lab

The Morgan Library received a $10 million gift from the Thaw Charitable Trust to support conservation there. This will include a new facility, expanded staff and activities, and a program of study and training. The Library will also be able to develop an exhibition planning department to handle responsibilities currently carried out by its Conservation Department. This will all take place in the Thaw Conservation Center, which will occupy the entire 5,600-square-foot fourth floor of the Morgan House, doubling the size of the current conservation facilities.

Margaret Holben Ellis has been appointed Director of Conservation Planning. She will continue at her usual job at NYU while she oversees the creation of the Center. She will also be responsible for the design and implementation of a graduate-level educational program, an international exchange, and an analytical research network.

A New List: AV Media Matters

Jim Lindner, whose company, Vidipax, calls itself "The Full Service Magnetic Media Restoration Company," is the host and moderator of a new list called AV Media Matters. He announced it in the Conservation DistList in March as:

"...A moderated discussion list about Audio Visual Media (i.e. Audio Tape, Video Tape, DVD). From new trends in media types, to how to care for your older media, to specific problems you may be having, the AV Media Matters list is the place to learn about media.

"To subscribe to this list you may send a message directly to the address:AV-Media-Matters-subscribe@ . No subject or body is necessary."

Etherington Conservation Center Moves

In April 1999, the Etherington Conservation Center moved to 7609 Business Park Drive, Greensboro, NC 27409 (336/665-1317; toll free #: 877/391-1317; fax: 336/665-1319;

$30 Million for Preservation Shared 62 Ways

As part of the Save America's Treasures campaign, 30 million dollars of federal money was distributed in May to 62 qualifying organizations. The biggest winner was the Smithsonian, which received $3 milliion to complete the restoration of the Star Spangled Banner. (The background information on this unusual project was printed on p. 72-73 of the 1998 Abbey Newsletter.)

The only library or archival materials mentioned in the whole list of grants, which was sent out in May by Heritage Preservation, are "documents discovered onsite" at the Experimental Breeder Reactor 1 in Idaho. $320,000 was given to restore the guardhouse and conserve the documents.

Barcham Green & Co. Moves

In March, Simon Green announced that his family's hand papermaking business was moving. Paper has not been made there for a while, but Simon has been distributing paper from the mill's stores, so the company continues.

"After 186 years Barcham Green & Company Limited are moving from Hayle Mill to:

Hill Farm
Kent ME17 4AL
+44 1622 749797

Fax: +44 1622 749797 (the same as our phone number)

"Those who really know our papers will realise that our mediaeval laid demy 25 lb paper carried the name "Linton" as a synonym for "Tovil" (where Hayle Mill is located). Linton is a small village about 3 miles from Tovil so we have not gone far.

"We have also changed our web address because it proved impossible to update the old one."

New Law Permits Preservation of Digital Records

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (PL105-304), passed last fall, does permit preservation and storage of a copyrighted work in digital form, according to an ARL assessment of the Act ("In the Curl of the Wave: What the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and Term Extension Act Mean for the Library and Education Community," by Arnold Lutzker, Apr. 1999, p. 1-5). However, a number of issues remain unresolved, and some gains for the library world may be reversed in future legislation, because of pressure on Congress by copyright holders (publishers), who are afraid of losing income when their publications (including simple lists or databases, and government publications) are transmitted on the Internet.

Author Lutzker says, "Perhaps the wiser course for most non-research libraries that do not host websites or sponsor chat rooms is to wait for the dust to settle and see how implementation of the new rules proceeds." He urges research library and educational institutions to "make a persuasive record that justifies appropriate relief," and says that "maintaining a strong library and education community presence on this issue is vital lest databases of facts, information, and government works become the next body of material removed from the public domain."

Cooperative Storage for 3 Big Research Libraries

The New York Public Library, Columbia University, and Princeton University announced in May that they had agreed to build and share a climate-controlled, automated book storage facility in Plainsboro, New Jersey, on some of Princeton University's land, using Princeton's 15 "build-as-needed" modules, each of which can store two million volumes.

To start with, they will build a joint processing facility and three modules. A shuttle will deliver requested materials to each location within 24 hours. The books will be barcoded and shelved by size.

ISO Votes Not to Revise Permanence Standard

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) TC46/SC10 (Technical Committee 46/Subcommittee 10) held a ballot recently on whether to revise its permanent paper standard, ISO 9706. The big issue was whether to revise it before the ASTM/ISR accelerated-aging research project is finished. Fourteen of the 17 committee members voted; ten of the 14 were in favor of approving the present standard 9706 without change; three voted in favor of a technical revision, and one member abstained.

The ten member countries voting to keep the standard as it was were Australia, Denmark, Czech Republic, France, Italy, Japan, Norway, South Africa and USA. The three who wanted revision were Canada, Finland, and Germany; Netherlands abstained.

US News & World Report Ranks Library Schools

US News & World Report published its ranking of U.S. library schools March 19. The magazine itself carried most of the rankings, but the web site carried the full list, including schools with preservation and archive programs. The University of Texas at Austin's library school was given top ranking because of its archives and preservation programs.

The magazine meticulously reports the method of ranking it used for the whole survey and for each part of it.

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