The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 24, Number 1


Plagiarism Discussed in AICCM Ethics Committee

Webster's Collegiate Dictionary defines the verb plagiarize as follows: "To steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own; to use (a created production) without crediting the source...." The committee that is now revising the codes of ethics and practice of the Australian Institute for Conservation of Cultural Material doesn't use that term, but it discusses very similar concepts, e.g., knowingly publishing another member's work without consent, or publishing others' works inaccurately. The wronged party is advised first to take steps to have the situation corrected. If that does not work, and if the Code of Ethics seems to have been breached, it can be taken to the National Council.

Few if any other conservation associations mention plagiarism at all, perhaps because of the difficulty of enforcing injunctions against it.

The Canadians are watching the progress of the Australians, because the CAC too is in the process of revising their codes of ethics and practice.

ICOM to Survey Disasters Worldwide, 1990-2000

The International Council of Museums is planning an international survey of natural and human-caused disasters affecting cultural institutions in the last ten years, so that it can decide how best to intervene in the safeguarding of endangered heritage. The U.S. is being surveyed for ICOM by the Museum of Texas Tech University, which is constructing a database of U.S. institutions damaged by disasters.

The notice in Paper Conservation News, from which this information is taken, urges readers to contact Amy Polley if their institution or another in their area experienced a disaster in the 1990s, and give her their name, phone number, and/or e-mail address. She can be reached by phone (011 44 1806/742 2442) or e-mail (

ICCROM Gives First Course on Library Preservation

Last July and August (1999), ICCROM (The Rome Center) and SCMRE (Smithsonian) collaborated in presenting ICCROM's first course on Preservation Principles for professionals from libraries and archives. Participants from 21 countries gathered in Washington, DC for six weeks to work on the practice and theory of preservation.

The curriculum was put on the Web before the course started at but most teaching followed the more traditional forms of lecture, discussion, demonstration and workshop sessions. There is a one-page summary of the course in the April 2000 NPO Journal, by Helen Lindsay, who attended.

Two months later, the UK's National Preservation Office had a seminar on training for preservation management. This was reported at length by Mirjam Foot in the same April issue. Both articles make the point that interest and activity in preservation have been increasing rapidly in libraries, archives and museums.

Research Goal: Leather that Lasts Twice as Long

The European Commission and bookbinding leather tanneries from five countries are sponsoring an ambitious research project to find out how to produce quality bookbinding leather that not only has all the properties required by the bookbinder, but also lasts twice as long. End-users have been involved from the start in defining those qualities, and leather research centers in three countries will carry out the testing and analysis.

For more information contact

Schedule for Argentine Training Program Clarified

Americo Castilla sent an e-mail message recently, clarifying the differences among three segments of the Fundantorchas preservation programs. He said:

"Elaine Schlefer (NY Academy of Medicine Library) , Consuela Metzger (Huntington Library) and a number of local specialists are teaching the first segment of the seminar in preservation of bibliographic and archival materials. This has taken place since April in our conservation workshop.
"The posting in the Conservation DistList was intended to recruit teachers for the second segment of the same program, which will start in 2001, as well as for other materials conservation training courses that we are organizing in cooperation with the Fulbright Commission.
"The brochure that we sent along refers to a previous training program in preventive conservation of museum collections that took place during 1998-1999. The course was directed by Carolyn Rose and was done in cooperation with other local nonprofit foundations."

European Preventive Conservation Strategy Project

Neal Putt, Project Manager of the European Preventive Conservation Strategy (, described on the Cons DistList from March 20 how five organizations had received funding from the European Commission, Raphael Programme, for this project. It was not clear, however, whether libraries and archives were included.

He clarified this in a message in May, saying, "It is true that the European Preventive Conservation Strategy is intended to deal primarily with museums. We hope to see improvements in training, advisory services and national regulations concerning preservation of museum collections. These improvements would have a benefit for libraries and archives, as well. There will be lots of links to archives via the national ministries and training institutes which govern museums, archives and libraries via the same administration."

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