The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 26, Number 2
Aug 2002

John Dean's Work in Southeast Asia

John Dean has been travelling to Southeast Asia to consult and teach preservation for years. His work is often described in American Libraries and elsewhere. The August American Libraries has an article, "Mission Possible: Two U.S. Libraries Reach Out to Muslims in Asia," by Ron Chepesiuk. They show John conducting a workshop at the palace library in Jakarta, Java, and examining a copy of the Koran. The necessity of this kind of preservation outreach was first pointed out in 1979 by William Tuchrello, now field director for the Library of Congress at the American Embassy in Jakarta.

The books that are the focus of concern in both countries are ancient, valuable, consulted by researchers in the U.S. and elsewhere, and in bad condition as a result of storage in hot and humid conditions.

John has been involved, through Cornell, with preservation projects in Islamic Asia (Laos, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, Java, and Cambodia) since 1989. Last year he started up a distance-learning preservation tutorial that will eventually be implemented in all developing countries.

Cornell University has begun a major research project to test the feasibility of hermetic sealing technology to preserve Southeast Asia's microfilm negatives, which have a very short life in the tropics.

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