The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 9, Number 1
Feb 1985


Literature

Conferences & Professional Publications

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Poster, "Arno Werner, Bookbinder," designed by Lance Hidy and printed by Rob Day, Mink Brook Editions, Lebanon, NH. 20" x 30", 6-color silk screen. Commissioned by the Homer Babbidge Library at the University of Connecticut, Storrs. 300 copies, $50 each plus $5 postage & handling. Available from Diane Castillo, Business Office, Homer Babbidge Library, the University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06268 (203/486-2520). After March 1 the price goes up to $75 plus $5 postage & handling.

Arno Werner, now 85, continues to work out of his studio in Hadlyme, Connecticut. He has worked in New England since 1942, binding for collectors, libraries and private presses.

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David Vestal, "Preserving Photographs: an Update." Popular Photography 90 (2), 99-100, Feb. 1983. A report of the symposium held by the Society of Photographic Scientists and Engineers, Ottawa, September 1982.

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F. W. Ratcliffe. Preservation Policies and Conservation in British Libraries: Report of the Cambridge University Library Conservation Project. Library and Information Research Report 25, 1984. ISBN 0-7123-3035-6. £9.50. Available from the Publications Section, British Library Lending Division, Boston Spa, West Yorkshire LS23 7BQ.

And a companion publication: Response of the British Library to Dr. Ratcliffe's Report "Preservation Policies and Conservation in British Libraries." 7 pp. Available free from Press and Public Relations, 2 Sheraton St., London W1V 4BH.

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Merrily A. Smith, Norvell M. M. Jones, II, Susan L. Page and Marian Peck Dirda, "Pressure-Sensitive Tape and Techniques for its Removal from Paper." J. Amer. Inst. Cons. 23(2), 101-113, Sprig 1984 [received December 1984]. Describes the three methods most used in the Library of Congress: immersion, poultice and suction table. Does not describe the "bottle trick"; Robert Futernick will include this in a forthcoming professional publication, which will be announced when it appears.

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Lucy Commoner, "Personal Protective Equipment for Conservators: Gloves and Hand Protection." J. Amer. Inst. Cons. 23 (2), 153-158, Spring 1984. Mostly on gloves. A short section covers barrier creams, which "provide less protection than gloves and may not be practical in a conservation lab."

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Anthony Cains, Review of Margaret R. Brown, Boxes for the Protection of Rare Books, Their Design and Construction. In Studies in Cons. 29(4): 206-207, Nov. 1984.

Each new review of this book on boxes brings out new points not made by other reviewers. Mr. Cains draws our attention to the importance of proper use of good, properly adjusted tools and equipment in doing work as accurately as this manual describes it, and to the lack of advice of this sort. He suggests using pine or other woods instead of layers of laminated millboard, which result in a very heavy box. He notes with surprise "that the names of two important figures in the development of the Library of Congress Preservation Office, Fraser Poole and Christopher Clarkson (whose original introduction is largely incorporated uncredited, in this new edition), have been deleted from the text." Nevertheless, he sees the book as a "splendid new addition to the very sparse literature on the subject" with clear precise illustrations.

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The Paper Conservator, Volume 8, 1983/84, is promised for the spring of 1985. Volume 9, 1984/85, am all-oriental one edited by Paul Wills, should be out by the end of 1985, according to the December Paper Conservation News.

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Cordon Hollis, "The importance of the Dust Jacket." AB Bookman's Yearbook 1984, Part Two: the New and the Old, p. 108-112.

When a desirable pre-1925 book has its jacket, it is worth 10 to 15 times more than a copy without the jacket.... Early dust jackets are both rare and desirable. They are rare because, until the 1920s, there was no real reason to keep them.... For the 'pure collector' (that is, the collector who feels a direct and powerful attraction for the modern first edition), the copy lacking its jacket is an incomplete book and not worth having... For the scholar, the jacket provides rich bibliographic information. Jackets provide insight into the publishing and literary history of the book by printing otherwise uncollected material by and about the author...."

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Crafts Report for October 1984 contains four helpful articles:

p.1: Shereen LaPlantz, "Stuck Away in the Hinterlands? Psyche it Out and Make an Impact!" How to live in the backwoods without getting isolated from your profession or feeling depressed.
p.7: Richard Weatherington, "It Helps to Know Why and How the IRS Conducts a Tax Audit."
p.16: Elisabeth Johnson, "Tale of Computer Troubles Ends Happily for California Ceramist Who Learned to Try Software Before Buying It." Recommends a program for craft businesses called "Maker's Automated Clerk" by Industrious Software Solutions. [Since it also seemed appropriate for newsletter businesses, one was bought for the Abbey Newsletter office, but has not yet been put into operation.]
p.19: Joseph Arkin, CPA, "Don't Fall into the Unemployment Insurance Tax Trap." a recent study revealed, it says, that American business spends nearly 40% more than is necessary on unemployment insurance, primarily because many employers don't know how the system works.

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C. V. Horie, "Reversibility of Polymer Treatments." in Proceedings of the Symposium "Resins in Conservation" held at the University of Edinburgh, 21-22 May 1982. Edited by J. O. Tate and N. H. Tennent. Scottish Society for Conservation and Restoration, n.p., 1983. Available from Conservation and Restoration Labs, National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland, West Granton Rd., Edinburgh EH5 lJA, U.K. ISBN 0 9508068 1 1.

Modern methods of examination have shown us that far fewer procedures in conservation are reversible than we used to think, and reversibility can be affected not only by aging but by method of application and removal, and by other effects following the removal process. Damage must often be weighed against benefits, as when a crumbling stone must be consolidated because the alternative is to lose it. 18-item bibliography. The article is on p. 3-1 to 3-6.

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Susan M. Blackshaw and Susan E. Ward, "Simple Tests for Assessing Materials for Use in Conservation." Page 2-1 to 2-15 in the "Resins in Conservation" proceedings. Describes tests for reversibility, flexibility, shrinkage, heat aging, response to light, mechanical strength, tear, elastic modulus and breaking strength in bend.

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Richard D. Smith, "Fumigation Dilemma: More Overkill or Common Sense?" New Lib. Scene 3(6): 1, 5-6, Dec. 1984. Richard Smith has a genius for pointing out directions for most-needed research and is capable of solving complex technical problems for libraries in many areas, though he is best known for his development of nonaqueous deacidification solutions. In this article, he considers alternatives to the use of poisons for fumigation and extermination, describing established methods (freezing at -20° to -40°F), methods of sterilizing and fumigating foods that night be adapted to library use (pasteurization and fumigation with 60% CO2), methods as yet untried but based on sound principle (very low vacuums and rapid changes of pressure), and--surprise!--an effective method already used in many libraries but not trusted enough (keeping temperature and relative humidity at levels that prevent propagation of microorganisms, i.e. no higher than about 70°F and 50% RH). Absence of moisture kills or controls all unwanted forms of life, he says (fungi, bacteria, insects and rodents); libraries (unlike kitchens and barns, supposedly) are killing pests all the time anyhow because from a bug's point of view there is not enough water around to live on.

One problem he does not address is the health hazard of processing heavily infested acquisitions: when contaminated dust is breathed into the lungs, microorganisms can find all the moisture they want, and can make a person sick or kill them. Perhaps Dr. Smith will address this question in May at the AIC meeting, where he will chair a panel discussion on the use of freezers for drying and exterminating insects.

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Richard D. Smith, "Mass Deacidification: the Wei T'o Way." College & Research Library News 45(11): 588-592, Dec. 1984.

Peter G. Sparks and Richard D. Smith, "Deacidification Dialogue." C&RL News 46(1): 9-11, Jan. 1985.

In these articles Richard Smith describes how his mass deacidification system, in use since 1979 in the Public Archives in Canada, can be used not only for deacidification, but for impregnating books with acrylic resins to strengthen their paper and with safe chemicals to prevent fungus attack and repel insects and rodents. He compares capital expenses for building his plant ($½ million) with that appropriated for the Library of Congress plant ($11.5 million) and says treatment costs per book are very similar. He believes the LC treatment extends the life of books only 50-75% as far as his own system does, and says each college and research library must decide which system fits its needs.

Peter Sparks (Director for Preservation, LC) was asked to reply. He says LC views the two processes as complementary, not competitive, and prefers diethyl zinc for its own collections because it is safe for so many kinds of materials and does not require preselection as the Wei T'o system does. He lists the benefits of the LC method, says costs are hard to pin down and compare, and motes that LC may also undertake to add other functions to its process.

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NJLA Preservation Section Newsletter, issued by the New Jersey Library Association Preservation Section and edited by Bob Parliament, Head of Conservation, Princeton University Library in Princeton, NJ 08544 (609/452-3207). Issue #2, 1984, was received Jan. 31, 1985, has four pages, and has very good writing, reporting and editing. National as well as local news is covered.

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Leonard O. DuBoff with Michael Scott, Editor, the Law (in Plain English) for Craftspeople. A Crafts Report Book Published by Madrona Publishers. $8.90 ppd from the Crafts Report, P0 Box 1992, Wilmington, DE 19899.

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"Treatment of Leather." [University of Denver] Conservation News, RMRCC, 2(2): 4-5, Fall 1984. Gives fairly comprehensive and up-to-date advice to the museum curator on the care of leather, covering the nature of leather; light; biological deterioration; dust, soil and grease; support; humidity (55% 5% usually recommended); pollution; corrosion of metals; glues, adhesives and stitching repairs; water; and dressings ("To periodically treat a collection of leather with a proprietary and standard leather dressing is very unwise").

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Disaster Plan Workbook, prepared by the Preservation Committee, New York University Libraries. $10.00. Looseleaf, with space to write in your own local data, names, numbers, etc. Helps structure the planning process; will probably speed it up at the same time. Sections: Emergency procedures (fire, flood, bomb threats, vandalism, rodents, insects and mold), computers (what to do when the system fails) and resources (safety equipment, supplies to have on hand, external services), among others. Available from New York University Libraries, Collection Management Offices, 70 Washington Square South, New York, NY 10012 (212/598-2378).

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The GBW Newsletter says that Yerba Buena Books was recently opened in San Francisco (882 Bush St., 94108, 415/474-2788) and will devote their first catalog to bookbinding with several hundred books on historical and modern bookbinding as well as related items such as marbled papers and papyrus. Free to anyone who asks.

Bookbindings

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Thompson Conservation Laboratory. Book Conservation at Mount Angel Abbey. The Benedictine Press, St. Benedict, Oregon 97373. 1985. 14 pp. $3.00.

A readable and well-designed exhibition catalog of 21 books restored by modern conservation methods, with drawings, descriptions of processes and even some information that was included by accident, the number of hours' work done on some of the books.

Bibliographies & Other Lists

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"Brief Bibliography on the Care of Sound Recordings," compiled by Larry Miller, Supervisor, Public Listening/Viewing Facility at the Library of Congress. Midwest Cooperative Conservation Program Newsletter #4, September 1984, p. 7. 11 items. The Newsletter is at Morris Library, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL 62901.

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The list of books in the RTSD Basic Preservation Library has just been updated and is available for $1.00 from Susan Swartzburg, 38 Evergreen Circle, Princeton, NJ 08540. It includes a balanced selection of books in print, about library and archival preservation, with annotations.

Commercially Available Publications

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"The Golden Eye of Los Angeles." Newsweek, Nov. 26, 1984, p. 80-89. The Getty Trust's activities; two short mentions of its conservation concerns.

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