The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 24, Number 3



habent sua fata libelli: Integration von Wissenschaft und Praxis in der Buchrestauriereung (Integration of Science and Experience in Book Conservation). Edited by Helmut Bansa. K.G. Saur, Munich, 2000. 143 pp. (In German)

Each of the six graduates of the Staatliche Fachakademie zur Ausbildung von Restauratoren contributed a chapter documenting the work they did on their big final project this year, capping three years of intensive work. Helmut Bansa added a report on their investigation of paper fibers for mending pages of rare books. They refer to the resulting publication, a well-illustrated and well-bound volume printed on permanent paper, as a Festschrift (commemorative volume).


"Abgeschlossene Diplomarbeiten" is the title of a column in the first issue of PapierRestaurierung, on p. 12. It lists the theses or dissertations of six conservation students in conservation programs in Vienna, Stuttgart and Bern. The last one listed, by Chantal Schwendener, is about use of the Bookkeeper process for deacidification of single sheets which required a nonaqueous process. The address, telephone, fax number and website are given for each school.


At the 1999 AIC conference, Maureen Farrow, Director of Economics at Loewen, Ondatje, McCutcheon Ltd. in Toronto, was the lead speaker in the first general session. Her topic was "Doing More with Less: An Economic Perspective." In her wide-ranging summary of world trends and conditions affecting the survivability of cultural institutions, she made favorable mention of partnerships between corporations and nonprofits.

Two books on the topic of such partnerships are listed in Jossey-Bass's June catalog of publications:

  1. The Collaboration Challenge: How Nonprofits and Businesses Succeed through Strategic Alliances, by James Austin. Presented by the Drucker Foundation. Hardcover. 224 pp. ISBN 0-7879-5220-6, Item #G922-JBK. $25.00.

    The publisher's blurb says, "Learn how to develop and manage strategic alliances that are effective and mutually advantageous with this practical framework for understanding how traditional philanthropic relationships can be transformed into powerful collaborations." 15 collaborations are described.

  2. Forging Nonprofit Alliances: A Comprehensive Guide to Enhancing Your Mission through Joint Ventures & Partnerships, Management Service Organizations, Parent Corporations, and Mergers, by Jane Arsenault. July 1998. Hardcover, 224 pp. ISBN 0-7879-1003-1. Item #F080-JBK. $26.95.

    Blurb: "A clear, straightforward road map for pursuing a variety of alliances."

The publisher's telephone number is 800/956-7739, and the fax is 800/605-2665. Their web site is The sale ends Oct. 31, 2000.


HOUSING AND STORAGE STRATEGIES. Six papers presented at the 1996 AIC presession, "Preservation of Collections: Assessment, Evaluation, and Mitigation Strategies." Journal of the American Institute for Conservation v. 36 #3, Fall/Winter 1997, p. 231-272.

Only two of the papers relate directly to book and paper work:

"Construction of Acrylic Book Cradles," by Linda A. Blaser, p. 233-244

"Two Housings: Modifying a Standard Box and Constructing an Oversize Sink Mat," by Patricia Ingram, p. 253-261


"Evaluating Offsite Storage Alternatives," by Geoffrey H. Wold and Tina L. Vick. Disaster Recovery Journal, Spring 2000, p. 20-22. The authors describe types of records and potential approaches for protection of records, and list 12 vendor evaluation criteria. The vendor evaluation criteria are not fully spelled out or well justified, e.g., "The vendor's contract should include proper terms and conditions. It should clearly state the responsibilities of the vendor." Still, it might help someone get started.


"Moisture Relationships of Photographic Film," by P.Z. Adelstein, J.-L. Bigourdan, and J.M. Reilly. JAIC 36 (1997): 193-206

The authors review the basics of moisture equilibrium and moisture content of photographic film, and present their data demonstrating the effect of temperature on moisture equilibrium. They found that a stack of 150 sheet films originally stored at 21°C and 20% RH in a cardboard box took about 12 days to equilibrate to an atmosphere of 50% RH at the same temperature. This time more than tripled, predictably, when the sheet films were in a metal box; but very low temperatures (-16°C) prevented the film from equilibrating with a relative humidity of 50% for an indefinite period of time. (The line ran off the edge of the graph after 1.5 years.) The authors recommend the use of moisture-proof packing for storage in frost-free freezers or cold storage vaults where the RH exceeds 40%. The enclosure only needs to provide physical protection during storage if the RH in a cold storage vault does not exceed 40%. When the package is removed from storage, a polythylene bag is needed to prevent moisture from condensing on the box or film inside during the warm-up period before use.


Five Guides to Quality in Visual Resource Imaging were issued jointly by the Digital Library Federation and the Research Libraries Group in July, and can be found on the Web at (or UK Janet sites). They are:


Mary Ballard's report of the Biodeterioration and Biodegradation Symposium Aug. 1-6, 1999, in Arlington, Virginia, was published on page 9 of the March 2000 AIC News. Four sessions were on biodeterioration of cultural property of all sorts, including books and paper. Speakers included Hanna Szczepanowska, Robert Koestler and Hideo Arai. Ballard describes Dr. Arai's work as a milestone, "superb research"; he isolated, identified, and characterized xerophilic fungi from discolored areas of art work, and proved that their metabolites react with the substrate under certain conditions to produce foxing. This has never been done before.

Some of the papers will appear in future issues of International Biodeterioration and Biodegradation.


"Control of Formosan subterranean termite infestations using baits containing an insect growth regulator," by Nan-Yao Su, Edward Freytag, Edgar S. Bordes and Roman Dycus. Studies in Conservation v. 45 #1, 2000, p. 30-38.

The authors are from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida; New Orleans, Louisiana; and Hawaii.

In just a half-year, above- and below-ground bait stations completely eliminated Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki, which had infested the two buildings of the study for three decades. All of New Orleans has been damaged or threatened by this termite, which has been expected to continue spreading in this country.


Preservation Issues and Planning, edited by Paul N. Banks and Roberta Pilette. American Library Association, Chicago and London, 2000. 360pp., on permanent paper. ISBN 0-8389-0776-8. $78.00.

This book was planned by Carolyn Harris, then the preservation administrator at Columbia University, beginning in 1989, but was interrupted when she died in 1994 at the University of Texas in Austin. She had moved to Texas a few years earlier to head the program in preservation and conservation studies. All the original authors were willing to update their contributions for the publication when Paul Banks and Roberta Pilette undertook to complete and publish it.

Of the 21 authors whose work is compiled here, seven (John F. Dean, Paula de Stefano, Barbara Lilley, Jan Merrill-Oldham, Roberta Pilette, Nancy Carlson Schrock, and Christine Ward) are in senior preservation positions in major institutions; two (Paul Banks and Carolyn Harris) have died; five have retired and/or do consulting (Sally Buchanan, Margaret Child, Jutta Reed-Scott, Eileen Usovicz and Duane Watson); one (Eleanore Stewart) works in digital reformatting; four (Peter S. Graham, Richard Strassberg, Sara R. Williams and Laura J. Word) are in general administrative positions; one (Don C. Skemer, originally a co-editor with Carolyn Harris) is a curator of manuscripts; and one (Carolyn Clark Morrow) has left the field. [Note: If any of this information is out of date or incorrect, Editor McCrady apologizes and would like to publish a correction at the first opportunity.]

This takes us only a third of the way through the book, but we must stop here.


Book and Paper Group Annual, v. 18, 1999. Available from the American Institute for Conservation; authors hold copyright. Published 2000. 97 pp.

Of the 17 papers in this volume, 12 were presented at the AIC meeting in 1999, and the rest were from the poster session, tips session or other sources. Five of the papers presented at the 1999 meeting are represented by abstracts only.

A few of the more interesting papers, regardless of origin or format, are:


Highlights from the Bernard C. Middleton Collection of Books on Bookbinding, Together with Selected Essays by Bernard C. Middleton on the History and Practice of Bookbinding. The Melbert B. Cary, Jr. Graphic Arts Collection, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY, 2000. 124 pp.

The collection includes not only old and rare books about practical aspects of bookbinding from the 18th, 19th and early 20th century, but engraved portraits of binders, binders' tickets and trade cards, and a peep-show of the interior of a bindery. This book devotes one page to a description of each item and the opposing page to a picture of each item (or of a page or opening, in the case of books). Covers of books bound by Cedric Chivers, Edwards of Halifax, William F. Matthews, Marius Michel, Riviere & Son, and Zaehnsdorf are shown on p. 70-85.

Several previously published articles by Middleton are reprinted at the end: "English Bookbinding Literature" (1951), "Ephemeral Bookbinding Literature" (1953), "The Zaehnsdorf Story" (1953-54). and "Early Nineteenth-Century Binding Manuals and Techniques" (1956).


Conservation of Scrapbooks and Albums: Postprints of the Book and Paper Group/Photographic Materials Group Joint Session at the 27th Annual Meeting of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works, June 11, 1999, St. Louis, Missouri. Edited by Shannon Zachary and published jointly by the BPG and PMG. Copies for sale by the AIC. 92 pp. "All rights reserved by the individual authors."

Richard Horton gave two papers, on historical photo album structure and a glossary of terms relating to photo albums; Olivia Primanis, Meg Brown and Barbara Brown, of the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, gave four interim reports on the HRHRC Photograph Album Survey. Four of the remaining six papers (by Laura Downey, Sylvie Pénichon, Mary Schobert and Mary Wootton et al.), described work on individual albums; Gillian Boal spoke on the scrapbooks of Mark Twain and Jesse Cook; and Mary Wootton, Terry Boone and Andrew Robb described problems in repair of 19th century stiff-paged photograph albums. No one spoke on scrapbooks, apparently.


Restaurator, International Journal for the Preservation of Library and Archival Materials, v.21 (2000), No. 2.

This issue contains four papers:

The papers on foxing and ethanol do not seem as impressive as the first two papers, although they do present new information. The paper on foxing presents a new explanation for foxing (light-induced oxidation and soluble iron compounds found in dust) but does not follow up by reconciling or comparing this new approach with previous work by others.

The paper on ethanol as a "fungal sanitizer" is rather inconclusive, admitting that it does not seem to be a good fungicide, but stating that there are few other choices, so it may be all right to use it. However, according to Elliott Horner and Phil Morey of Air Quality Services, presenters at the AIC Mold Workshop in Philadelphia last June, fungicides are only required if sewage backflow is involved.

Bukovsky's paper on the influence of light on the aging of newsprint from the 19th and 20th centuries is a good piece of experimental work, undertaken to build up our knowledge of how groundwood papers age, considering the role of numerous factors affecting the aging process: lignin content, age of the paper, UV and visible light exposure, hydroxyl groups, C-alpha-carbonyl groups, deacidification with MMMC, and pH. It turned out that deacidification did not cause any of the five newsprint samples to retain their folding endurance during the 160 days of light aging (in fact, they aged faster). The Whatman filter control paper, however, retained most of its folding endurance throughout the aging period, as one would expect. Deacidification caused a small but consistent brightness loss at every stage of the aging period for the newsprint samples, and increased the amount of water extractable agents.

Eleven conclusions relating to the groundwood papers, and eight relating to the pure cellulose paper, are stated at the end. This work was done in the Slovak Republic.

The paper by Henry Carter et al. on migration of volatile compounds out of a stack of paper in the aging oven confirms Shahani's work, reported in 1994 at the ASTM workshop on the aging of paper: Paper aged in a stack instead of hanging free in the oven does age faster, especially where the volatile acidic degradation products are constrained from exiting the stack of paper. But this could be caused, they say, by the faster pace at which chemical reactions take place, compared to the physical movement of the degradation products within the stack. The authors conclude, "It may well be that the 'stacking effect' and acid migration are artifacts of accelerated aging."

A relevant study, not cited in the bibliography, was done by Nick Hindhaugh as part of his final project at Camberwell, and published in The Paper Conservator, v. 14, 1990, p. 17-22. He did not work with a stack of paper in an aging oven, but with a folio book printed in Venice in 1508 on "a good quality linen fiber paper of about 80 g/m2."

Ten sheets were selected, including one from each end of the book, and 63 surface pH readings were taken on each sheet. These were averaged and a combined contour plot of the pH readings made, which is reproduced lifesize in the paper. The highest pH, 6.4, was found a few inches up from the tail and a few inches in from the spine. The lowest pH (3.4) was at the top of the spine. The fore edge ranged from 3.6 at the head to 5.9 a few inches up from the tail, then fell to 5.4 at the tail end.

In summary: The highest pH in Hindhaugh's book was found at the center of the book near the tail, whereas the lowest were found at the edges, just the opposite of the pH distribution in the stack studied by Carter et al. So Hindhaugh's results support their statement that the stacking effect and the pattern of acid migration they saw (from the inside to the exterior of the stack) could be artifacts of accelerated aging. The contrasting results of these two studies demonstrate that acidic gases and other destructive influences may come either from within the paper, or from the environment.


Materials Characterization Tests for Objects of Art & Archaeology, by Nancy Odegaard, Scott Carroll and Werner Zimmt. Archetype Publications, 2000. 240 pp., spiralbound. ISBN 1873132123. In June it was being offered for $40 (introductory price) and $35 (prepublication price). The publisher's e-mail address is

Chapters cover chemical safety, scientific methods & techniques of spot testing, spot tests for metals, spot tests for inorganic and ionic materials, spot tests for organic materials, and other tests. This book has been much anticipated.


Recollections: A Life in Bookbinding, by Bernard C. Middleton. Oak Knoll Press, 310 Delaware St., New Castle DE 19720 (302/328-7232 or 800/996-2556; fax 302/328-7274; e-mail, 2000. Hardcover, 7 x 10 inches, 140 pages including 46 color plates of bindings. ISBN: 1-58456-016-9. Order #: 58340-EM. $39.95.

Originally published as a fine press book by Henry Morris at the Bird & Bull Press, the text has been expanded and illustrations of 90 of Middleton's bindings have been added.


"Report on JTS [Joint Technical Symposium] Paris 2000", by Michelle Aubert and Richard Billeaud. AMIA Newsletter #48, Spring 2000, p. 10-11. "The Joint Technical Symposium" is also the name of the international group that organizes the symposiums every three to five years, with support from UNESCO. All the members are international organizations involved in the preservation and restoration of original image and sound materials: FIAF (film archives), FIAT/FTVA (television archives), IASA (sound archives) and the audiovisual subcommittees of ICA (archives), and IFLA (libraries).

There were three sessions: risk assessment in preservation, transfer and restoration of original image and sound, and data management systems and migration strategies. The third session was interesting because of the descriptions of cutting edge research on preservation of digital materials; for instance, the European Broadcasting Union is working on short- and mid-term migration projects, including transfer to a digital tape format that will be automatically managed by robot systems. Also, the Management Council of the Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems has evolved some pragmatic rules on data preservation which are applicable to both data and archival systems, and can be found in the "Reference Model for an Open Archival Information System (OAIS)."

The entire program, plus information on the availability of the proceedings in book and CD format, and abstracts of the presentations, are available at


IADA, the German-language organization of book and paper conservators, is no longer publishing its newsletter as a section of Restauro, a journal published by Callwey-Verlag. It now has its own newsletter, called PapierRestaurierung, the first issue of which was received at Abbey Publications three months ago. It will appear every two months and have about 12 pages per issue. A yearbook will carry "foundation" (more substantial?) articles.

Restauro is still publishing papers and news items on book and paper conservation.

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