The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 26, Number 4
Feb 2003


Subscription Agencies in Big Trouble

RoweCom was bought by Divine (which prefers not to capitalize its name) about a year ago. Now RoweCom has had to file for bankruptcy because Divine took $73.7 of its money, which was intended to pay the periodical publishers so they could send their publications to subscribers. Divine did not stop at that: it continued to collect payments from thousands of libraries, without notifying the publishers.

RoweCom has sued Divine to recover the money, which includes prepayments made by libraries of the following organizations: National Institutes of Health ($2.4 million), Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University ($1.6 million), the 3M Company ($1.3 million), and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories ($1.2 million).

Another subscription agency, Ebsco Industries, announced in late January that it intends to buy RoweCom's worldwide business, if RoweCom's volunteer steering committee can negotiate a way of fulfilling subscriptions already paid for.

Future bulletins on this development will appear at and/or

Library of Alexandria Opens

A modern version of the ancient Library of Alexandria officially opened to the public in October. The idea of reconstructing it was conceived in 1978; funding was supplied by UNESCO plus Egypt and other countries, and construction began in 1995. Its 8-million-volume collection, plus audiovisual, manuscript, and electronic materials, are expected to serve the needs of the world for knowledge. For more information, see

NCC Reorganizes as National Coalition for History (NCH)

The new organization's purpose is to serve as a central educational/advocacy outreach office for history and archives. This is very much what the NCC had done for the last 25 years, but in order to meet the challenges of the 21st century, it will post weekly electronic updates ("NCH Washington Update"), and will also begin to expand its outreach by targeting special educational programs to the news media and professional staff on Capitol Hill. Its source of income will remain the annual contributions from institutions that are committed to the organization's mission and activities. For information on becoming a supporter, contact Bruce Craig at or call 202/544-2422 ext. 116.

New ASTM Paper Standard is Published

ASTM's Committee D06 on Paper and Paper Products has come out with a standard based on the research funded by ASTM's Institute for Standards Research: "D 6789-02, Test Method for Accelerated Light Aging of Printing and Writing Paper by Xenon-Arc Exposure Apparatus." It is not included in the 2002 book of paper standards, but can be purchased from ASTM (610-832-9585). (This is a standard test method, not a permanence standard—but it is a sign that the research funded by ASTM-ISR on paper permanence has begun to bear fruit.)

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