The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 23, Number 6



Assessing Learning in Universities, by P. Nightingale, I. Te Wiata, S. Toohey, G. Ryan, C. Hughes and D. Magin. 1996. Professional Development Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.

Highly recommended by Colin Pearson at the April 1998 Interim Meeting ("Defining and Measuring Effectiveness in Education and Training") of the ICOM-CC Working Group on Training in Conservation and Restoration, in Vantaa, Finland.

Pearson said he thought the cost was about $48 Australian (about $70 US). The publishers' blurb says, "It offers realistic and accessible advice on assessment, enlivened by many case studies. The studies are drawn from all disciplines, and from universities across Australia. The chapters focus on the abilities teachers want students to develop, and how to assess them." The book is the outcome of a commissioned project, carried out by the Committee for the Advancement of University Teaching. The separately authored chapters are headed:

Thinking critically and making judgements
Solving problems and developing plans
Performing procedures and demonstrating techniques
Managing and developing oneself
Accessing and managing information
Demonstrating knowledge and understanding
Designing, creating, performing


Defining and Measuring Effectiveness in Education and Training, Proceedings of the Interim Meeting of the ICOM-CC Working Group on Training in Conservation and Restoration, April 16-18, 1998, Vantaa, Finland. Edited by Kathleen Dardes. ICOM 1999, 123 pp. £22.50 (about $36) + postage from Archetype Publications (fax +44 207 380 0500; e-mail

There were 11 papers that addressed the convention theme, and six updates on training programs in Europe. Most of the papers either gave case studies or described the situation and practices in a single country, and evaluated what they were describing. Colin Pearson's paper seemed to give the most comprehensive and critical overview. (The title of his paper has been changed, and the paper rewritten after the program was printed, probably to reflect recent changes in organizational standards and practices, or to update his own thinking—so the title cannot be provided here.) The following excerpt is from notes taken at the conference, and may contain inaccuracies.

Pearson said the basic questions to ask are, What do the students and trainees have to learn, and How do we know when they are performing well? In Australia, five levels of competence have been defined, but they are too specific, and only reflect the level of a person's appointment in the institutional hierarchy. They don't address cognitive skills very well, only behavioral. An English model appears to have done better. It identifies the following skills and abilities the conservation student is intended to acquire: effective grasp of professional knowledge, intellectual rigor and flexibility, continuous professional learning, task effectiveness, effective communication, interpersonal awareness, and commitment to professional values. [These must be very hard skills to teach, but they are actually what the world takes as signs of a winner in any professional field.]

Oral exams, he said, are useful in conservation to assess the student's understanding of a problem; they also provide opportunities for feedback, and are helpful for the teacher, though more stressful for the student than written exams.

A point brought out by several speakers was the relationship between certification of conservators, the Document of Pavia, and evaluation of training programs. (1D9)


"Authenticity: Rock of Faith or Quicksand Quagmire?" by David Lowenthal. Conservation, the GCI Newsletter, v.14 #3, 1999, p. 5-8. The article itself, unlike the title, is wonderfully eloquent and a joy to read. The author traces the concept of authenticity from the earliest times to recent years, and shows it to be a concept in continual flux. Here is the opening paragraph:

"The craving for authenticity is widespread, above all in heritage conservation. It denotes the true as opposed to the false, the real rather than the fake, the original, not the copy, the honest against the corrupt, the sacred instead of the profane. These virtues persuade us to treat authenticity as an absolute value, eternal and unshakable. Yet authenticity is, in fact, in continual flux, its defining criteria subject to ceaseless change."

The concept of authenticity embodied in the Venice Charter, for instance, is not shared by the conservation communities in Norway and Japan, where many buildings are made of wood and authenticity is maintained not by preserving the original material, but by rebuilding with a "fidelity of spirit" and "authenticity of thought." Archeological and historic preservation projects no longer define only the earliest layers or parts of a structure as "authentic," because the entire history of a site is valued. After World War II, Europeans had different approaches to historic buildings when the Poles rebuilt Warsaw's historic center (which had been totally destroyed), and Hungarians selectively rebuilt the Buda castle precinct, and when the French left untouched the empty village of Oradour-sur-Glane in western France.


Creating Keepsakes Scrapbook Magazine has a 60-page special issue by Jeanne English and Al Thelin called SOS—Saving Our Scrapbooks, published December 1999 by Porch Swing Publishing, Inc., PO Box 469007, Escondido, CA 92046. ISBN 1-929180-02-0. $8.95 U.S., $13.95 Canada. For information on ordering Creating Keepsakes, call 888/247-5282; for information on permission to reprint or excerpt material from the special issue, call Jessica Stevenson at Creating Keepsakes in Orem, Utah, at 801/224-8235. Website:

This is the best guide to date for scrapbookers who are really interested in keeping their material at least long enough to pass it on to the next generation. The information is sound, attractively presented, and written by people fully aware of the values and priorities of devoted scrapbookers. The sections of the book are entitled

Three Cheers for Safe Scrapbooking!
Test your Knowledge [of best practices]
Picture Perfect [safe handling and storage]
A Passion for Paper [how it can affect photos & memorabilia]
Leaving Your Mark [the right pens and inks]
"Stick" with Safe Adhesives [frequently asked questions]
A Safe Place [good locations, protectors, binders, containers]
Putting the Pieces Together [criteria for safe products]
7 Steps to Making a Scrapbook Page


The Collaboration Challenge: How Nonprofits and Businesses Succeed through Strategic Alliances, by James Austin. Presented by the Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management. ISBN 0-7879-5220-6. Hardcover, 276 pp., $25.00 from Jossey-Bass (800/956-7779;

The publisher's blurb says, "Nonprofits are partnering with businesses to further their missions, develop resources, strengthen programs, and thrive in the competitive world. Companies are also finding significant rewards: increased customer preference, improved employee morale, greater brand identity, stronger corporate culture, and higher innovation.... [The author] offers advice and lessons drawn from the experiences of numerous collaborations, including Timberland and City Year; Starbucks and CARE; Georgia-Pacific and The Nature Conservancy; MCI/WorldCom and the National Geographic Society; Reebok and Amnesty International; and Hewlett-Packard and the National Science Resource Center. Readers will learn how to find and connect with high-potential partners, ensure strategic fit with the partner's mission and values, generate greater value for each partner and society, and manage the partnering relationship effectively."


"Preservation Revisited," by Deanna B. Marcum. CLIR Issues #13, Jan.-Feb. 2000. pp. 1-2.

Fourteen years ago, UCLA's Dean Hayes was asked by the Commission on Preservation and Access to assess the brittle book problem. He reported that there were about 9 million unique volumes at risk because of acidic paper, of which about a third could be saved by a 20-year collaborative microfilming effort, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The program began in 1989 with $12.3 million from NEH and rose to a maximum of $25 million in 1992, but by 1996 it had fallen to $18 million a year, where it has remained ever since. Of the three million books that were to be filmed by the year 2009, only 860,000 have been completed. Marcum comments, "It seems, in hindsight, that preservation of brittle books has been viewed chiefly as an additional activity—one that will be done when external funds are available."

Grant sources have diverted their funds from reformatting to digitizing projects. For a while it looked like "hybrid conversion" projects might save a place for microfilming, but the expense of converting film to digital or vice versa has been higher than originally thought. Preservation of digital objects—an activity that promises to be even more expensive than the original digitization effort—is a popular goal now with funders. It is an important goal, but should not be considered more important than preservation of other formats, including films, sound and videos.

"Perhaps," the author says, "we have to be more realistic about what can be accomplished with external funds; perhaps the time has come to identify—and fund—a few institutions that will assume the responsibility on behalf of all. Perhaps we should work harder to identify—in collaboration with scholars—those titles that are most important to preserve and establish emergency procedures for the most important endangered titles. Perhaps it is time to revisit the original study of brittle books and revise it according to the new understandings and assumptions that inform our current approaches to sound collection management."


Preservation of Library and Archival Materials: A Manual. 3rd ed., revised and expanded. Northeast Document Conservation Center, 100 Brickstone Sq., Andover, MA 01810-1494 ( 978/470-1010; fax: 978/475-6021). 412 pp. $50. ISBN 0-963-4685-2-9.

The 50 chapters in this manual are arranged under six headings: Planning and Prioritizing, The Environment, Emergency Management, Storage and Handling, Reformatting, and Conservation Procedures. Each chapter began as a leaflet, and they are still called leaflets in this book. Six NEDCC staff members and nine people who are not on the staff wrote the leaflets, which vary in length from two to 19 pages. Some of the leaflets are short, clear and simple because they address the inquiries of laymen (e.g., "Repairing Paper Artifacts," by Sherelyn Ogden), while others are longer, also clear, and somewhat technical because they address topics that would only concern a staff member. Three of these longer chapters (it's hard to think of them as "leaflets") are "Getting Function from Design: Making Systems Work," by Rebecca Thatcher Ellis (advice from a building industry professional about construction and renovation projects, and how to make sure workmen don't cut corners); "Protecting Collections During Renovations" by Karen Motylewski; and "An Introduction to Fire Detection, Alarm, and Automatic Fire Sprinklers," by Nick Artim. They are valuable because they are authoritative and well written, and information on these important topics is so hard to find elsewhere.

It's too bad there is no index for this book, because it has so many long lists of publications, websites, consultants and sources of equipment and supplies that when you want to turn back to one of them that you know is in there somewhere, you may find it and you may not. Most of these lists come at the end of chapters, but some are chapters in themselves: an eight-page Emergency Management Bibliography, a 15-page list of "Emergency Management Suppliers and Services," and a 16-page select bibliography on Preservation Concerns in Building Design. All are annotated. Other chapters, including the ones on preservation planning and needs assessment surveys, also have generous bibliographies.

Because of its broad scope and good coverage, it is easy to see why it has been chosen as a textbook for courses and workshops, and translated into Spanish, Portuguese and Russian. The book is well bound: it lies open wherever you open it, and when you turn a page, it stays turned. A heavy permanent paper was chosen for the pages, so it should outlive even its most diligent heavy users. However, if a lighter weight of paper had been chosen, it would have been easier to handle, because the book weighs over four pounds


"Digital Asset Management 101," by Andrea Kalas La Veree. AMIA Newsletter #45, Summer 1999, p. 1, 32-33.

The Association of Moving Image Archivists had a vendor demonstration of digital asset management software at its annual meeting in November. When a file is entered in the software for the first time, a unique identifying number is given to it, and a "proxy" (small-file representation of it) is made. Its location is registered, and machine-generated metadata is collected. Automated vocabulary control for the purpose of cataloging of books and films uses thesauri and semantic networks; security and access are likewise automated, different ways by different vendors.

Preservation is a "compelling challenge," perhaps the biggest that archivists face. File format standards, automatic file migration and data storage hardware availability are important. The software should alert you when it is time to migrate the assets to a new medium. It knows where they are, which formats are still viable, and can suggest a date for automated migration. Or [this may be speculation] it can migrate the assets automatically.

Another publication on this same topic is a two-volume CD-ROM from Cohasset Associates, Inc., "The Best of the First Five Years of the MER [Managing Electronic Records] Conference, 1993-1997." The price is $25 for shipping and handling to anywhere in the world. Contact Cohasset Associates, Inc., 3806 Lake Point Tower, 5005 N. Lake Shore Dr., Chicago, IL 60611 (312/527-1550; fax 312/527-1552;;


"Effects of Different Antifungals on the Control of Paper Biodeterioration Caused by Fungi," by A.A. Fabbri et al. International Biodeterioration & Biodegradation, 39, no. 1 (1997), pp. 61-65. (Ref. from AATA 1997, #34-1994)

In a search for inhibitors of four fungal strains isolated from deteriorated papers (Penicillium chrysogenum Thom, Aspergillus terreus Thom, Stachybotrys atra Corda, and Chaetomium elatum Kunze), the most effective were found to be miconazole and econazole at 10-3 M. Other compounds tested were BHT, BHA, ketoconazole, and three chitin synthase inhibitors.


"Research on Fungicides for Aerial Disinfection by Thermal Fogging in Libraries and Archives," by Malalanirina W. Rakotonirainy, Fabien Fohrer and Françoise Flieder. International Biodeterioration & Biodegradation 44, 1999, p. 133-139.

The practice in France has been to remove the library or archival materials for separate treatment. The empty room is fogged, usually with an alkyl dimethylbenzylammonium chloride solution, which has only a weak action against settled-out spores, and also leaves a fatty film on all surfaces. The authors tested four fungicides against ten fungal strains, in a search for a fungicide that would kill ("inhibit") not only airborne spores, but also those deposited on surfaces in the room.

The four fungicides tested were econazole, orthophenylphenol, imazalil and thiabendazole.

The ten fungal species on which the testing was done were:

Aspergillus niger, ustus and flavus
Paecilomyces variotii
Trichoderma viride
Chaetomium globosum
Myrothecium verrucaria
Stachybotrys atra
Cladosporium herbarum
Penicillium funiculosum

Many variables were measured, including the effect of the compounds on test papers in the room. Thiabendazole did the best job on the fungi, and it did not deposit a fatty film on surfaces. Trained operators must do the fogging, and everyone present must be equipped with overalls (space suit type), masks, goggles and gloves.


Knowing the Score: Preserving Collections of Music. Compiled by Mark Roosa and Jane Gottlieb. (MLA Technical Report 23). ISSN 0094-5099; ISBN 0-914954-48-2. Published 1994 by the Music Library Association, PO Box 487, Canton, MA 02021. 92 p. ($19.80 from the American Library Association)

Although most of the papers in this volume were presented nine years ago, in an ALCTS program at an ALA conference, the only paper that is clearly out of date is the one on DEZ deacidification at the Northwestern University Music Library. Jane Gottlieb of the Julliard School gives a good overview in her paper, "Working Against the Odds: Preservation Approaches in a Conservatory Library," and Gerald Gibson's paper on "Preservation of Moving Images and Sound Recordings in the Music Library" is very good, though the number of typos is distracting. Appendix A is a 6-page select bibliography on sound recordings and magnetic media, and Appendix B lists preservation supplies for sound recordings. There is an index.


"Useful Addresses" is a single-sheet insert to the December 1999 Guild of Book Workers Newsletter. It has about 43 addresses of organizations, 16 of periodicals and publications (not counting cross-references to the institutions that publish them), and 15 of museums, galleries and libraries. Phone, fax, website and some e-mail addresses are provided, in addition to street address.


William James Barrow: A Biographical Study of his Formative Years and his Role in the History of Library and Archives Conservation from 1931 to 1941, by Sally Roggia. Ph.D. Dissertation, Columbia University, 1999. 212 pp. Microfilm copies available from University Microfilms, Ann Arbor, Michigan (734/761-4700).

During the ten-year period covered by this dissertation, Barrow developed and practiced his main contributions: aqueous deacidification and lamination of paper. He studied bookbinding and restoration at a private studio in the winter of 1931-32, and opened his restoration shop in the Virginia State Library in 1932. His first roller laminator was built in 1937, when he was 33. A year or so after that he added Japanese paper to the sandwich, and three years later he started deacidifying the documents first. Lamination by hand with silk or Japanese paper was widely used in paper restoration at the time, and lamination using cellulose acetate was just coming into use at the New York Public Library and elsewhere as Barrow was beginning his career. However, his practice of deacidifying documents was an innovation, based on established knowledge of the role of pH in preservation.

He was interested in chemistry, but attended college for only two years and never became a chemist. He learned what chemistry he knew by reading on his own and asking questions of paper chemists in the National Bureau of Standards and the Government Printing Office, 1935-41. In the beginning he gave credit to them for the things they had taught him, but later in his career began to claim all credit for himself. He liked to promote his business and his own approach to treatment of documents. [Incidentally, this facility at persuasion must have helped him to raise awareness among library administrators and librarians of the brittle paper problem and deacidification as a way to fight it, after the Council on Library Resources found funding for his study of the condition of American library books.]

A long section in the middle of the dissertation traces the growth of knowledge on paper permanence before Barrow entered the picture, and 17 pages of references at the end list a great many of Barrow's family and business letters, newspaper items about him, and professional publications by chemists, librarians and conservators. Historical studies on repair of documents by librarians (Marwick, Minogue, Lydenberg, Higgenbotham) are cited, as well as biographic publications on Barrow by Frazer Poole and Verner Clapp and technical publications by two of Barrow's own information sources, B.W. Scribner and Arthur E. Kimberly. The author also interviewed family members and had access to some of the family papers. This is a unique roundup of information sources.

The last chapter summarizes and defines Barrow's contributions, and emphasizes the wide differences between them and his image in the library world. Sample: "Barrow died in 1967 at the height of his fame, thus guaranteeing the continuation of his myth. It has remained a part of the folklore of library and archives conservation ever since." A paragraph on Barrow in the December 1999 issue of American Libraries ("100 Leaders We Had in the 20th Century," p. 40) is a good example of this myth.

"William J. Barrow (1904-1967): Through his lifelong research and dedication to the question of what caused paper to deteriorate--a passion that began in his 20s when he developed the first practical roller-type laminator for weakened documents--he created the basis for contemporary practice in restoration and preservation."


"The Safe Handling and Display of Medieval Manuscripts and Early Printed Books," by Christopher Clarkson. The New Bookbinder, v. 19, 1999, p. 12-38.

This is a reprint of the paper the author gave in 1997 at the conference on book and paper conservation in Ljubljana, Slovenia. It is 26 pages long, well illustrated and persuasively written.

Books are too often damaged while in transit or on display, Clarkson says, by custodians and exhibition designers who do not understand the stresses placed on books by improper supports, exhibition cases not intended for three-dimensional objects, and extended periods of display in the open position—not to mention the handling before the exhibit opens and the packing and unpacking for shipment to other venues, with or without good environmental control en route. Conservators and curators often find it hard to work together on exhibitions. Clarkson takes pains to explain clearly the conservation aspects of exhibition. One of his photographs shows a book that had lain open for too long in the same position, and as a result could no longer be closed completely. Plexiglass or matboard book supports designed for every shape, structure and condition of books are pictured and discussed.

This paper is published at a time when the subject of exhibition is getting more attention than usual, with the publication of NISO's standard on exhibitions and two recent articles on cooperation between conservators and curators. Perhaps the time is right for some positive change and a rapprochement.


"Use of a Model Fenton System for Studies of Paper Antioxidants," by Matija Strlic and Jana Kolar. ( Both authors are at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. No published source is mentioned in the abstract on the Web, but a selected bibliography of recent works by Jana Kolar is available at

Destruction of paper and parchment by iron-gall ink cannot be prevented by any method now known, although European conservation scientists have been working in recent years on a project to understand and control it. They now know that both hydrolysis and oxidation are involved in the process (which is why deacidification alone doesn't help).

The authors investigated the effect of six chelating agents (EDTA, DTPA, citrate, gallate, desferal and phytate), and found that four of them had an antioxidant effect. This was a variable property in two of them, gallate and DTPA. The abstract says, "Gallate, shown to react with H2O2 in 3 consecutive steps, probably assumes the role of a weak antioxidant in paper, while its degradation products have a strong prooxidative effect. DTPA was shown to have a pronounced prooxidative effect at 80°C, while at 20°C it has a weak antioxidative effect, as calculated from the Ea, obtained from the model system studies. The results of accelerated aging experiments must therefore be interpreted with great caution."


"The Effect of Gamma Ray Irradiation on Optical Properties of Printing and Writing Paper," by Y-C. Su, et al. Taiwan J. Forest Sci., v. 14 #1, Mar. 1999, pp. 37-44 (in Chinese).

FTIR spectrum analysis was used to follow the degradation of paper intended for use in sterile containers. Sterilization was achieved above 2.5 Mrad, but the abstract does not say whether this was considered a "high dose." There were no significant changes in brightness at low and medium doses, but high doses decreased brightness significantly.


"Effects of Gamma Ray Irradiation on the Mechanical and Chemical Properties of Papers," by Y.C. Su, et al. Taiwan J. Forest Sci., v. 14 #2, June 1999, pp. 119-130 (In Chinese) (Ref. from Paperbase Abstracts, 1999, #7855)

Up to 15% decrease in the mechanical properties of the papers (but not the liner board or corrugated board) was shown at low to medium levels of irradiation. At higher dosage the tear and folding strength of the board decreased but compression strength increased. Chemical properties of the tested papers were significantly altered at all levels of irradiation.


"Permanence and Closed Water System," by M. Kassberger et al. DITP--25th International annual symposium, Bled, Slovenia, 18-20 Nov. 1998 pp. 66-74 (Ljubljana, Slovenia: CIP, 1998, 127 pp. (Abstract #8618 in the 1999 Paperboard Abstracts; in German)

At the Austrian University of Graz an accelerated aging test has been developed using increased temperatures and variable RH. They are studying the role of metal ions in natural aging, because of the color reversion and degradation of cellulose. The problem of metal ion concentration is aggravated by the increasing tendency towards the closure of white water systems (inhouse recycling of process water within paper mills) in order to decrease pollution of streams.


"The Broad Spectrum," a conference report by Alison Norton. Paper Conservation News #92, Dec. 1999, p. 10-11.

The conference that was held last October at the Art Institute of Chicago dealt with the topic of color on paper: how it is perceived, the media (pastel, chalk, inks, watercolors), aging caused by metals and iron-gall ink, distemper, "Dayglo" colors, exhibition of light-sensitive media and supports, migration of felt-tip pen inks, and measurement of pigment fading. Paul Whitmore demonstrated his newly developed micro-fading tester for identifying light-sensitive materials. It was well received: the author interpolates "and he should be encouraged to visit Europe as soon as possible."

She was also pleased to see the increasing number of talks reflecting collaboration between conservators, curators and art historians, "a practice which can only be encouraged."


Restauro, Oct. 1998 (#6) is an issue devoted to laser cleaning. It has eight articles on cleaning different types of artifacts. Each is in German, but there are English summaries (about 100 words each) in the back of the issue. One of them is on parchment and paper:

"Using Lasers to Clean Parchment and Paper—Experiments with Model Systems and Historical Originals," by Pascale Rudolph, Simone Pentzien, Jörg Krüger, Wolfgang Kautek, and Eberhard König. The summary says that grime can be removed from historical parchment and paper with the aid of pulsed ultraviolet excimer laser irradiation (308 nm, 17 ns) without destroying the collagen or the cellulose fiber substrate structures or the ferro-gallic ink script.


"Turning Over a New Leaf," by V. Houlder. Financial Times no. 33,990, 19 Aug. 1999, p. 10. Abstract # 7266 in Paperbase Abstracts 1999.

The abstract summarizes the use of new technology in restoration (conservation) of the pages of old books, specifically the use of plasma (electrically charged gas). It is said to remove stains and harmful microorganisms including mold, and to increase the strength of the paper. Research workers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology hope to use plasma to apply thin protective coatings to brittle pages.


The Physical and Chemical Characteristics of Parchment and the Materials Used in its Conservation, by Betty M. Haines. The Leather Conservation Centre, 1999. £12.50 from Archetype Publications, 6 Fitzroy Square, London W1P 6DX (tel. 44 207 380 0800, fax 44 207 380 0500; e-mail <>).

Among the topics covered are variation in structure between animal types, collagen's structure from the molecule up to the fibril bundle, shrinkage temperature, manufacture, and chemical and physical changes in skin protein through processing, and deterioration from temperature, moisture, light and acidic pollutants. Materials used in conservation are covered at the end.

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