The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 23, Number 7


Removable Self-Stick Stamps Developed

The U.S. Postal Service announced in the April issue of its newsletter, Memo to Mailers, that a "revolutionary and environmentally friendly pressure-sensitive adhesive" had been developed for use on postage stamps and for other purposes outside the Postal Service as well.

Adhesives on paper make recycling difficult and sometimes impossible. The Post Office expects the removable adhesive to make recycling more economical and to divert tons of waste paper from landfills.

The research was sponsored and funded by a government/industry research partnership. The new adhesive will be recommended for all federal agencies, according to Federal Environment Executive Fran McPoland.

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. Most documents (87%) are in English. (Source:

Grants for Preservation & Access of "Hard Sciences"

The American Institute of Physics has a Center for the History of Physics, which has announced its 2000 Program of "Grants to Archives." These are intended to make accessible the records, papers, and other primary sources which document the history of modern physics and allied fields such as astronomy, geophysics, and optics.

The grants can be used only to cover direct expenses (up to $10,000) connected with preserving, inventorying, arranging, describing or cataloging appropriate collections. Expenses may include acid-free storage materials and staff salary/benefits but not overhead; the emphasis will be on original sources. Apply by July 1, 2000. For instructions, see p. 23 in Archival Outlook, March/April 2000, or send e-mail to Joe Anderson at janderso@aip .org.

A New AMIA-L (Forum for Moving Image Archivists)

The Board of Directors of the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) suspended activity on its discussion list last November because some postings had been "outside the bounds of common acceptability for a professional forum such as AMIA-L." It established rules and guidelines, which are posted on pages 21, 26-27 and 31 of the Winter 2000 AMIA Newsletter. It also decided to implement a Web interface for the list so that subscribers could have a choice of ways to manage their AMIA-L subscription. List archives prior to November 1999 will be accessible only to subscribers.

Postings made after Nov. 16, 1999 will be made accessible to the public through a similar Web interface at <>. The new archives will be available on the Conservation OnLine website, <>Subscriptions are open to the public and appropriate postings from nonmembers are welcome.

(The AMIA office has a new e-mail address, <>.)

A Guide for Identifying Video Formats

The AIC Electronic Media Group has a new website that is a "picture history of videotape" and also a guide for identification of video formats: It was developed jointly through the support of Vidipax and the Smithsonian Center for Materials Research and Education, by Sarah Stauderman and Paul Messier. For more information, contact Sarah Stauderman at, or see p. 29 of the Summer 1999 AMIA Newsletter.

Silk Purses (Fine Paper) Out of Sows' Ears (Trash)

A patent has been issued to International Paper Co. for the use of waste cellulosic material, such as discarded paper and paperboard, added to wood chips during chemical pulping. Bleachable grades of pulp are produced by the same processes used for chip-only production.

There is no indication that the process has been used on a commercial scale yet. When and if it is used, the resulting product will still be recycled paper, although the recycled and raw materials are joined far earlier in the process, that is, in the pulp mill rather than in the paper mill.

The patent was announced on p. 32 of the April 2000 Tappi Journal.

Forthcoming ASTM Standards on Ink Jet Permanence

If no negative votes are turned in by May 8 (or at least no unresolvable negative votes), two ASTM draft standards on the permanence of ink jet prints may become official standards before long. They appear to be in the last stages of revision and balloting. Their current titles are:

Standard Practice for Predicting the Lifetime of Ink Jet Prints Stored in Dark Keeping Conditions in Typical Office Environments, and
Standard Practice for Measuring the Dark Stability of Ink Jet Prints.

Both are under the jurisdiction of Committee F-05, and are the direct responsibility of Subcommittee F5.07.

Rutgers' Preservation Management Institute

The Preservation Management Institute is designed to give both collections managers and others with a special interest in preservation a grounding in the range of preservation issues and technologies. It consists of three 5-day sessions which will be held at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ, over a one-year period, starting next November 13-17. The remaining two sessions will be held April 23-27 and August 13-17, 2001. A list and description of all the topics covered, with registration information, is available from Karen Novick, Director of Professional Development Studies, Rutgers University's School of Communication, Information and Library Studies, 4 Huntington St., New Brunswick, NJ 08901-1071 (ph.: 732/932-7169; fax: 732/932-9314; e-mail:; website: <>?.

In the months between class sessions, participants will create preservation surveys and disaster plans for their own library or archives. Registration fee: $3995. Some scholarship money is available. Faculty: Evelyn Frangakis, Meg Bellinger, Janet Gertz, William Lull, Debra Hess Norris, Thomas Parker, Virgilia Rawnsley, William Saffady, Millie Suter and Christine Ward.

Archival Products Has New Fax Number

Archival Products, a division of Library Binding service in Des Moines, Iowa, has a new fax number: 888/220-2397, not 800/220-2397 as previously announced.

Tappi Journal to Publish Papers Only on Web

The executive director of Tappi Journal, in which submitted papers have been published in full, with abstracts, announced in the current TJ that only an extended abstract would be printed hereafter; the full text of submitted papers will be posted on the Web as soon as they have completed peer review. Downloading will be free for members of TAPPI for one year. The new policy started with the very issue in which this announcement was made. This issue had 116 pages, as opposed to 140-150 pages in previous issues. (The printed issues will still carry ads and features.)

The librarians in the paper companies' special libraries are objecting to the loss of the paper version of the literature that always had appeared in Tappi Journal. They are concerned about long-term access to the electronic version, and those who subscribe to the microfilm version wonder whether they will be getting the long form of the papers, or the abstract. They wonder whether the electronic version will be copyrighted, and if so, how they will work through the Copyright Clearance Center; they also wonder how the electronic documents will be referenced, and whether they will be able to handle the additional workload. Since TJ seems to be the pioneer in this new way of publishing, its experiment will be worth watching.

Kress Fellowship Recipients Chosen

Julie Biggs and Elizabeth Goins were chosen to receive Kress Publication Fellowships this year. Julie Biggs, a senior paper conservator at the Folger Shakespeare Library, will work on a manuscript currently entitled The Conservation of Iron-Gall Ink on Paper. It will cover the chemistry of iron-gall ink and its interaction with paper, as well as conservation methods. She was invited to take part in the European Union-sponsored Iron-Gall Ink Corrosion Workshop in Rotterdam in 1997, one of only two representatives from the U.S. She has a degree from the University of Aberdeen and a diploma from the Instituto per l'Arte e il Restauro in Florence.

Elizabeth Goins, a conservation scientist, will work on a topic unrelated to book and paper conservation.

Pmg Catalog Is Making Progress

The Photographic Materials Group reported in AIC News for March 2000 that the chapter on Exhibition was in the final stages of completion. Work on the Silver Mirroring chapter has just begun. Debbie Hess Norris is the coordinator for Surface Cleaning.

Bach Manuscripts in Dire Condition

Eighty percent of Bach's original scores, 300 or so of them, are held by the German State Library in Berlin, and like all the rest, are disintegrating because they were written with iron-gall ink. About a quarter of them are in an advanced state of decay.

A story in the March American Libraries says that the curators are looking for two or three million DM (about $1 to 1.5 million) to deacidify them, but have been unsuccessful because no one wants to give money for a procedure that will leave them looking the same as before.

The news story says nothing about more advanced procedures that will stop the oxidation as well as the acid hydrolysis, and does not mention the procedure of paper splitting, which would make the sheets strong enough to handle.

Campbell Center Courses for Summer/Fall 2000

Courses that may be useful to people caring for library and archival collections are:

Care of Photographic Collections - Aug.10-12 - Gary Albright
Care of Works of Art on Paper - July 12-15 - Harriet Stratis
Preservation of Archival Collections - Aug. 23-26 - Hilary Kaplan
Care of Book Collections - Sept. 21-23 - Betsy Eldridge
Book Collections Maintenance & Repair Workshop - July 26-29 - Gary Frost
Care of Oversize Paper Artifacts - Sept. 21-23 - Mary Todd Glaser
Pulp Repairs of Tears & Losses in Paper - Sept. 20-23 - Bill Crusius & Christina Marusich

Course fees are about $560 and include accommodation. The online catalog can be consulted at <>. The Center's phone number is 815/244-1173; fax is 815/244-1619.

Alkaline Paper Production to Rise in Brazil

Minerals Technologies announced recently that it will construct a satellite plant to supply precipitated calcium carbonate (PCC) to a paper mill on Brazil's east coast owned by Bahia Sul Celulose S.A. The PCC will be used as a filler material for printing and writing papers. The satellite plant is expected to begin operation in the third quarter of 2000.

Mills that contract for a PCC plant are planning to convert from acidic to alkaline paper production, and are confidently expected never to go back to the old way, because of the financial and legal commitment they have to the plant.

PCC plants planned or built in China, Japan, the U.S. and Portugal were announced on p. 68 of this volume of the Abbey Newsletter.

The Improved Vienna Method of Deacidification

At the Austrian National Library's Institut für Restaurierung (A-1015 Wien, Josefsplatz 1; ph: [+49-341] 534 10-347) an improved aqueous deacidification method is in use, to which methyl cellulose is added to strengthen the paper. For deacidification, they use a solution of boric acid (or borate?) and sodium hydroxide, which has a pH of 10.0.

This process was announced (but not described very completely) in Tappi Journal for November 1999, on p. 28. Dr. Joachim Liers was helpful in providing information needed for this report. The process is also described in English, with photographs, at <> and <>. Henkel is the applied chemistry company that helped to optimize the existing Vienna Method.

After testing alternatives to calcium hydroxide as the deacidification solution, Henkel chose sodium hydroxide. They also tested a number of methyl celluloses and other strengthening agents, and looked into their role in mold prevention. They chose the best viscosity for penetration.

The covers are removed from bound books before treatment. After treatment the books are placed in a vacuum chamber to drive the viscous mixture into the paper, then freeze-dried. Finally, the covers are reattached.

Mr. Walter Ruhm is the supervisor of the deacidification equipment (Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Institut für Restaurierung, A-1015 Wien, Josefsplatz 1, Austria ([+431] 534 10-347).

E-Books Popular in Libraries & at Publishing Houses

A recent article in the New York Times, "Racing to Convert Books to Bytes" (Dec. 9) is summarized in the February issue of the Guild of BookWorker's Newsletter. It reads, in part:

Dennis Dillon, a librarian and head of The University of Texas at Austin's collections and information resources, "is shocked when he examines the latest reports about reading patterns of students" at his university. With a minimum of promotion, the electronic books in their collection are circulating at a much higher rate than books on paper ever did. So although initially skeptical, he says the university is planning to increase its 6,000-title collection of digital books.

Furthermore, it seems that many traditional publishers, both in the U.S. and Europe, are getting ready for the expected surge in demand for electronic books. For example, "Random House has embarked on a 2-year project to digitize all of the books on its entire backlist of 20,000 titles, with 5,000 already converted. Simon & Schuster is formatting all of its new books in digital form," and plans to digitize thousands of its backlist titles.

Safe Mass Disinfection of Documents

Svetlana Dobrusina and Tatiana Velikova (National Library of Russia, St. Petersburg) gave a paper at an August meeting in Thailand of IFLA's Section on Preservation and Conservation. It was entitled "Mass Disinfection of Documents Affected by Microorganisms: One Practical Experience." It discussed the results of disinfecting 200,000 documents using a preparation called Metatin GT, made by a Swedish firm called ACIMA. It met three basic requirements: minimum toxicity for people, ability to be kept for a long period of time in paper without adverse effects, and effectiveness of 99.4% on bacteria and 97.7% on micromycetes (mold). [This was reported in the Newsletter of the IFLA Section on Preservation and Conservation in the April 2000 issue.]

Sonja Jordan, John Dean, Gabriel Alegbeleye, Galina Kislovskaya, Debra McKern, Helen Shenton and Olga Perminova were also there and gave papers.

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