The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 26, Number 6
Oct 2003


This issue of the Abbey Newsletter has been guest-edited by Patricia K. Turpening, Head of Preservation and Archives at the University of Cincinnati Law Library.

Grants for Treatment of 65 Orphan Films

The National Film Preservation Foundation (NFPF) awarded its 2003 federally funded grants to 33 archives for preservation of 65 historically or culturally significant orphan films. The grants support production of new film master elements and public access copies. NFPF was created by Congress in 1996 as a charitable affiliate of the National Film Preservation Board of the Library of Congress. More information about NFPF is available at

Lsta Grant Award: Preservation/Conservation Center Planned

Illinois State University has been awarded $42,900 by the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) through the Illinois State Library's "Dream Again" grant program to establish a Center for Preservation and Conservation. The center will provide services ranging from basic to advanced book repair to full conservation treatment, deacidification, and conservation training. Four workshops on basic book repair and disaster preparedness and recovery will be offered in the state during grant cycle.

Robotic Book Scanning at Stanford

Stanford University Libraries and Academic Information Resources (SUL/AIR) has published "Robotic Book Scanning at the Stanford University Libraries and Academic Information Resources: Report on the Status of Digitization Facilities and Services for Bound Library Materials." The robotic page-turning and scanning device, called the Digitizing Line (DL) and manufactured in Switzerland, was put through a 5-day test in February 2003. The Media Preservation Unit reports that the DL is appropriate for use on a wide range of books structures and materials. The stress that the DL places on most bound structures is less than the stress accumulated by the one-time face down copying of an item.

Explosion at Yale Law Library

On May 21, 2003, an explosion of indeterminate cause in the Yale Law School ripped through flooring and created a water leak, which in turn damaged about 450 volumes in the Paskus-Danziger Rare Book Room in the Yale Law Library. According to Harvey Hull, Rare Book Librarian, the explosion occurred at 4:20 and the entire building was immediately evacuated.

The FBI was called in to investigate but at this point there have been no arrests and there is no known motive. The Dean in charge of the building discovered the damage to the rare books and contacted the Preservation Department staff, Sterling Memorial Library, who worked through the night to salvage the affected volumes. All were frozen immediately. In the meantime, a few at a time have been thawed and evaluated and approximately 100 of the volumes have been returned to the shelves.

The affected 450 volumes represent a small percentage of the 12,000-volume Rare Book Room. Mr. Hull said it is expected that all volumes will be salvaged and returned to the shelves. The damage to the volumes came from a broken pipe above the stacks. The structural damage has been repaired. A faculty reading lounge above the Rare Book Room was also damaged.

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