The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 23, Number 6


Web Facts

The Web now has more than one billion unique pages. The server with the biggest market share is Apache (60%), and the most common domain is .com (55%), trailed by .net, .edu, .org, .gov and .mil, in that order (but, inexplicably, they don't add up to more than about 65%). Most documents (87%) are in English. (Source:

Small Grants for Preservation Assistance

The new NEH Preservation Assistance Grant Program awards grants of up to $5,000 on a competitive basis and sponsors projects that support the preservation of materials in libraries, archives, museums, and historical organizations. These projects may be preservation surveys, consultations with professionals to develop a plan, attendance at preservation workshops and courses, and purchase of preservation supplies, equipment and storage furniture.

Institutions from 14 states that have been underserved in the past will be given preference: AL, AK, FL, ID, LA, MO, MO, MT, NV, ND, OH, OK, PR, TX, WA and WY. To apply, go to NEH's website,, or call 202/606-8570. UMCA, NEDCC and other regional conservation centers can give further information.

Mold gets Attention at AIC and CCI

The AIC Health & Safety Committee will sponsor a Mold Remediation Workshop at the 2000 Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, Tuesday June 13 (9-4 pm). Instructors will be Dr. Elliott Horner and Philip Morey. (Morey's name should be familiar to readers of this newsletter.) Fee: $90 AIC members, $140 nonmembers; registration limited to 50 participants.

CCI recently put the topic of mold on their priority list.

Another Use for Zeolite

Recently the New York Times ran a story about how zeolite has been chosen as a possible absorbent for radioactive waste in or near West Valley, New York. As a familiar component in cat litter, zeolite is quite a contrast to the high-tech solutions investigated for containment of radioactive waste in the past.

The idea is to dig a deep trench and bury a wall of zeolite 30 feet across and 26 feet deep, to absorb the radioactive material tainting the ground water. The water will pass through the wall, but not the strontium 90. They want to stop it before it reaches a stream that empties into Lake Erie.

The story explains that zeolite is actually a family of 48 minerals that absorb odors and moisture. The most abundant one, clinoptilolite, has a strong affinity for strontium 90, the radioactive isotope that has been tainting water beneath the plant where it was stored when acid ate through the foundation several decades ago.

Britain Adopts the Metric System

It's not that Britain wanted to give up its 800-year-old imperial weights and measurement system, but it was a condition that members of the European Union set for its partners. So a law was passed January 1 that made it a crime to sell most packaged or loose products in imperial measures. It is now forbidden to say the words "pound" or "foot" during any sale; shopkeepers have to use scales calibrated in kilograms. The penalty for infringements is a maximum fine of $8000 and possible imprisonment. There are exceptions, however: draft beer will be sold in pints and road signs will still read in miles, probably because they are not involved in international trade.

A Page-Turning Apparatus for Books on Display

In the first issue of Restauro for 2000, on p. 12, there is a photograph and story about a gadget that lets visitors turn the pages of books on display. It was put to use in an exhibit of sketchbooks of the artist Thomas Zacharias, in the Neue Pinakothek in Munich, in January. They call it the "Umblättermaschine."

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