The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 26, Number 3
Nov 2002



Pollutants in the Museum Environment. Practical Strategies for Problem Solving in Design, Exhibition and Storage, by Pamela Hatchfield. London: Archetype Publications, 2002. ISBN 1873132964.


"Light Exposure to Sensitive Artworks during Digital Photography," by Ben Blackwell. WAAC Newsletter v.24 #3, Sept. 2002, p. 14-19.

This article first appeared in the Fall 2000 issue of Spectra, the Journal of the Museum Computer Network. Recent developments in lighting and scan-back technology are addressed in an addendum at the end of the article.

Headings of sections in the text are:

Museum Policy for Exhibition Exposure
Types of Digital Cameras
Light Requirements of Digital Scan Backs
Minimizing Exposure
Light Sources and UV
Museum Policy for Photography
Update, August, 2002


Effect of Light on Materials in Collections: Data on Photoflash and Related Sources, by Terry T. Schaeffer. Getty Conservation Institute, 2001. 211 pages, soft cover, $30. ISBN 0-89236-645-1. Available from Getty Trust Publications, 1200 Getty Center Dr., Ste. 500, Los Angeles, CA 90049-1682.

Robert L. Feller reviews this book on p. 185-187 of the Journal of the American Institute for Conservation for Summer 2002. He explains the author's purpose: to search the technical and conservation literature worldwide for information that could clarify the effect of flash bulbs on light-sensitive materials. Finding the material wasn't hard (her annotated bibliography takes up 90 pages), but it took some work to boil it down to the 60 studies whose findings used comparable measurements of exposure. She was looking for the minimum light exposure that would result in 1% of a just perceptible or acceptable color change, involving wavelengths no shorter than 360 nm.

In the future, the author notes, it may be considerably easier to measure the lightfastness of specific materials nondestructively, using equipment that Paul Whitmore of Carnegie Mellon University has developed for measuring a very small area on a surface.

The two most sensitive materials fade at about the same rate as Blue Wool Standard No. 1. Feller summarizes Schaeffer's conclusion: "Consideration of the literature indicates that materials known to be highly sensitive to photochemical damage warrant restriction in the use of flash photography."


"Massenentsäuerung in der Praxis" (Report of the European conference in Bückeburg, 18-19 Oct. 2000), by Marcus Janssens. Published on p. 89-92 in the proceedings of the Arbeitskreis Nordrhein-Westfälischer Papierrestauratoren in Zusammenarbeit mit dem [in cooperation with the] Rheinischen Archiv- und Museumsamt (RAMA), 50529 Pulheim und dem Westfälischen Archivamt (WAA), 4813 Munster. The papers in this volume are from the 15th technical conference of the NRW-Papierrestauratoren, 12-13 March 2001, in Walberberg. It is published as a special issue of the Arbeitsblätter des Arbeitskreises Nordrhein-Westfälischer Papierrestauratoren.

This is a brief summary of the mass deacidification methods used by major institutions. Questions being addressed by research are: weakening of paper fibers as a result of handling; consequences of a high pH in paper; the effect on materials of the binding; and whether the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere will use up the alkaline reserve in the paper.

Eight methods of deacidification that use fluids are used in Europe and the U.S. Three of them originated with Battelle:

1) Battelle Ingenieurtechnik GmbH/Schempp Bestandserhaltung u. Schadensanierung,

2) Papersave Swiss/Nitrochemie Wimmis (in Switzerland), and

3) Zentrum für Bucherhaltung GmbH/ZfB Leipzig.

Another (the Bückeburger method) is used by Neschen AG in Germany.

And four of them are used outside the German-speaking world:

1) Preservation Technologies/Bookkeeper (USA),

2) Archimascon B.V./Bookkeeper (Netherlands),

3) Wei T'o (USA), and

4) CSC (Spain).


"Mass Deacidification of Paper," by Agnes Blüher and Beat Vogelsanger. Chimia: International Journal of Chemistry 55: 981-989, 2001. (ISSN 0009-4293) This is a survey of ten commercial and large-scale methods of deacidification used today, plus two methods under development (CSC Book Saver in Barcelona, and a sol-gel reinforcing system, in Saarbrücken) and three discontinued systems (DEZ, FMC and graft copolymerization).

The main focus of the article is "papersave," a method developed by Battelle, chosen by Switzerland, and provided by Nitrochimie Wimmis AG, a company in the town of Wimmis. There are nine other currently used methods in Table 1, "Mass Deacidification Methods in Use." They are used at facilities in Vienna, Leipzig (ZfB), Neschen/Bückeburg, Neschen/Berlin-Dahlwitz, Ottawa, Sable-sur-Sarthe, Leipzig (Deutsche Bucherei), Frankfurt, Wimmis, Cranberry Twp. (Penn.), Heerhugowaard (Netherlands), and Nürnberg.

The Swiss national library and archives formed a joint venture for deacidification in 1990. The first three years, they evaluated the world's leading systems and rejected all of them. They finally chose the third generation Battelle method, "papersave," because it is efficient and environmentally friendly, and enables treatment not only of books but also of loose documents in boxes. In the summer of 1998, the Swiss parliament decided to invest 13 million Swiss francs in the construction and operation of the Swiss deacidification plant. It became operational in March 2000, and can treat 120 tons per year. Materials have to be dried before treatment. The deacidification agent is magnesium-titanium-alcoholate and the solvent is hexamethyl disiloxane.


Cornell University Library's "Policy on Transfer of General Collection Material to Special Collections" is based on the ACRL's "Guidelines on the Selection of General Collection Materials for Transfer to Special Collections," the second edition of which is available on the Web at Cornell's version is only about half as long, however. Its main headings are:

  1. Identification of Material
  2. Selection Criteria
  3. Age
  4. Artifactual characteristics (15 are listed)
  5. Condition
  6. Bibliographical, research or market value (five factors are listed)

The Cornell policy can be found on the Web at


The Natural Hazards Observer, v. XXVI (6), 2002. ISSN 0737-5425.

This issue is listed in the SPNHC Newsletter for Sept. 2002, with Diana Dicus's comment: "This issue includes natural disasters, terrorism, generous bibliography. May seem obsessive, but this is a publication that has a no-nonsense approach to issues impacting collections, collection institutions, and personnel." And it is free to subscribers within the U.S. Those outside the U.S. have to pay $24/year.

Mailing address: Natural Hazards Research and Applications Information Center, Institute of Behavioral Science #6, University of Colorado at Boulder, 482 UCB, Boulder, CO 80309-0482.



HAZUS™ 99 - SR1 is a natural hazard loss estimation methodology and software program used in planning for earthquake loss mitigaion, emergency preparedness, and response and recovery. HAZUS was developed by the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) under agreements with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The methodology, implemented through a PC-based geographical information system (GIS) software program, is a nationally applicable, standardized tool for estimating earthquake losses on a regional basis. HAZUS99 - SR1 also can rapidly generate loss estimates immediately following earthquakes and update estimates as data is collected during field reconnaissance.

The program is free, and comes on a CD-ROM. Order through FEMA at or 1-800-450-2520. It comes in three editions: Eastern, Central and Western U.S. Multihazard data for each state is also available on CD-ROM.


An Ounce of Prevention: Integrated Disaster Planning for Archives, Libraries, and Record Centres, 2nd ed., by Johanna Wellheiser and Jude Scott. Scarecrow Press, 4720 Boston Way, Lanham, MD 20706 (800/462-6420, Feb. 2002. 304 pp. ISBN 0-8108-4176-2. $30.

The 1985 edition of An Ounce of Prevention was published by the Toronto Area Archivists Group (TAAG) Education Foundation and was widely admired; the Society of American Archivists commended the authors, calling it an "outstanding contribution in the field of archival history, theory or practice."

In the Introduction, the authors say that "today's approaches to disaster planning, preparedness and recovery reflect advancements that have occurred in the field of preservation overall, where 'big picture' preservation management strategies have supplanted the previous emphasis on single item conservation." They call the new approach "integrated disaster planning." Not only must the planning process be perceived as a broad organizational responsibility, but it must recognize the interdependence of all the phases of disaster planning—prevention, protection, preparedness, response, recovery, rehabilitation and post-disaster assessment. (This, by the way, is in line with the way preservation responsibilities are coming to be seen.)

Another big change in the library and archive world since 1988 is the ubiquity of digital information and processes; this is shown in the appearance of digital scanning as an option for recovery and replacement of damaged material. Also, in Chapter 3 on disaster prevention, a page is given over to discussion of security of electronic records, data and information technology. Backups are covered separately in Chapter 5.

Appendix 3 lists sources of information, assistance, facilities, services, supplies and equipment. And there is a detailed index (a necessity for any manual intended for use in emergencies).


"A Security Policy for a Digital Repository," by Ellis Weinberger, Richard Clayton and Ross Anderson. NPO Journal (National Preservation Office, UK) #11, Oct. 2002, p. 12-13.

This suggested "security" policy is more like a preservation policy for the digital object and all the materials connected with it: software, specifications, documentation, help files and the metadata for the object and all the supporting material. "The ideal scheme is to preserve multiple copies of all relevant digital objects at several different sites using varied software and hardware.... Regular testing should take place to ensure that all necessary digital objects exist and function correctly. These tests should include manual and machine procedures, and should cover all copies in all locations."

Other considerations are preserving access restrictions and metadata integrity.

For more information, contact the first author at


Pest Management in Museums, Archives and Historic Houses, by David Pinninger. London: Archetype Publications, 2001. ISBN 1873132867


"Part and Parcel of the Job [Planning, Packing and Transporting Loans for Exhibition], May 2002" (Conference review by Rachel Mustalish) Paper Conservation News, Sept. 2002, No. 103, p. 8-9.

Talks covered the protocol at various institutions, materials (glazing, crates, foam, etc.) used for packing and exhibition, and "war stories." The tales told by exhibition and loan organizers, conservators, and couriers created a spirit of openness and communication that made the event a success.

There has apparently been a tremendous increase in the number of loan exhibitions from country to country. so there will very likely be other conferences on this theme before long. One of the papers given at this conference, "Vetting Display Cases for Exhibition Loans: Is There a Yardstick?" by Dana Josephson, appears in this same issue of PCN. Some of the other talks will be published in The Paper Conservator, Spring 2003.


International Directory of Marblers. 313 listings + bibliography & lists of suppliers, instructors, and periodicals. Booklet or CD-ROM. $15 + shipping. Send to Marie Palowoda, Society of Marbling, 205 W. 19th St. Road, Greeley, CO 80634; e-mail: <>.


The Repair of Cloth Bindings, by Arthur W. Johnson. Oak Knoll Press, 2002. ISBN 158456-789. $35. A new book, not a reprint.

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