Volume 26, Number 3
Good News Department
- An encrypted Norwegian database holding a catalog of 11,000
books and manuscripts that had been inaccessible for nine years was
opened June 10 within five hours of a cyber-Mayday issued by the
repository library. The Ivar Aasen Center for Language and Culture
posted a request for hacker assistance in accessing the catalog of
the materials obtained from the family of Reidar Djupedal, an expert
on Ivar Aasen.
Nine years ago, an unidentified archivist transferred the catalog
to dBase-formatted files and sent them to the center, together with
the analog collection. Before they arrived, however, the archivist
died without telling anyone the password.
The librarians consulted computer experts for a while without
success. Finally they sent out their Mayday message, which brought
them 100 replies to their online appeal. Apparently they were all
identical and correct. It was ladepujd, which is
Djupedal spelled backwards. [Story condensed from American
Libraries, Aug. 2002, p. 34.]
- Last year, BBC News Online announced that the British
Library was coordinating a pan-European project that would allow
Internet users to access digital and other collections from
institutions across the continent. A 30-month project involving
eight European libraries will provide the basis of the service.
Libraries in Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal,
Slovenia, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom are all collaborating
on the initiative. The ultimate aim is to create a virtual European
library that can be accessed across the world. Funding for the
European Library (TEL) project will be boosted by £740,000
from the European Commission's Information Societies Technology
(IST) research program. [Announced in the AMIA
Newsletter #54, Fall 2001, p.22.]
- David B. Gracy II, Director of the Center for the Cultural
Record at the University of Texas at Austin, announced September 30
that the Preservation and Conservation Studies Program was
celebrating 20 years of educating preservation administrators and
conservators for libraries and archives (counting the first years at
In addition to book and paper conservation and preservation
administration, a series of courses have been developed on digital
preservation, audio preservation, and digital reformatting; and the
National Endowment for the Humanities recently and generously has
continued its support of the program.
For current information on staffing and curriculum, visit the
program's website, <http://www.gslis.utexas.edu/programs/pcs>.
- Marshall University Library plans to set up West Virginia's
first preservation lab. Thanks to a combination of grants and a tax
on hotels and motels, Marshall University Library, Huntington, WV,
will soon have what no one else in the state can claim: a
preservation lab. Officials at Marshall say the lab could be used
to preserve historical documents, photos, books and other artifacts
belonging to the library.
The lab came a step closer to reality recently after a Cabell
County Commission moved to give the libraries additional funds for
training, which will be combined with existing grants to send
Marshall's special collections librarian Kathleen Bledsoe to Rutgers
University for training sessions. According to Barbara Winters, the
dean of libraries, they want to be a resource for the whole
- The House of Representatives' Administrative Committee has
approved a proposal by Clerk of the House Jeff Trandahl to create an
Office of History and Preservation. The establishment of the office
is another step in Trandahl's quiet yet persistent effort to rebuild
the Clerk of the House's capabilities in historical and archival
activities that were abolished in 1995 by Speaker Newt Gingrich.
Under the reorganization, an eight-person office will provide
archival services and courtesy consultations for members of the
House, and attend to public inquiries. In addition, Trandahl
envisions that the revamped office will provide curatorial services
in support of the Clerk's responsibilities to the House Fine Arts
Board, which oversees the House art collection. With the creation
of the Capitol Visitor Center, it is also anticipated that demands
on the maintenance of the House collections of historical records
- Two years of research in Europe on Development of Archival
Quality Leather were completed last year. Tanners,
bookbinders and research groups from Europe worked together to reach
their major objectives:
- Evaluation of leathers currently used for
bookbinding across Europe.
- To develop leather quality tests that define
binders' requirements in an objective manner understood by both the
tanner and the binder.
- Optimization of semi-metal tannage, whereby a
leather with all the required properties could be produced with a
life expectancy of twice the normal life of the vegetable tanned
leather stored in polluted atmospheres.
- To investigate the applicability of innovative
"metal-free" tannery processes to consistently produce archival
Seventy-two modern European bookbinding leathers were graded from
zero to four on feel and handle, and on their physical and chemical
properties. Full details can be seen at <http://www.hewit.com/sd12-leat.htm>.