The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 10, Number 3
Jun 1986


New Directions in Paper Conservation

The Institute of Paper Conservation celebrated its tenth anniversary with an international conference at Oxford, England, from the 14th to the 18th of April, entitled "New Directions in Paper Conservation." the conference was followed by three days of tours on April 20, 22 and 23, to three East Anglian workshops (Cockerell, McAusland, and Pickwoad), Barcham Green and Leeds Castle, and Camberwell and the National Maritime Museum. About 600 people came, from over 25 countries, including over 100 from the U.S.

Over 100 papers were given in four days of concurrent sessions. the three lecture halls booked for the purpose were sometimes very crowded, impossible to squeeze into if you did not get there early. Lunch was served buffet style onsite, which saved a great deal of time. The mood was one of celebration and intellectual excitement.

Quite a few significant developments were reported, including the following:

In addition to significant developments, there were some interesting facts, reports and publications:

Among the exhibitors were four freeze-dry services: Document Reprocessors and three British firms. Total Information Ltd. (2A Britannia Estate, Leagrave Road, Luton, Bedfordshire LU3 1RJ, England) demonstrated the Archivist, the face-up copier earlier known as the Selectec Duo-Copy; Derek Beck showed the redesigned bookbinding tools he has for sale; and the National Preservation Office of the British Library gave out information about their new preservation services.

Shortly before the conference, there had been two floods at the British Library, resulting from a defective pipe; one flood at the Victoria and Albert Museum, and a bad fire at Hampton Court Palace. None of these was formally discussed at the conference, but there were one or two newspaper clippings on the bulletin board, and the events came up in conversation. Except for the fact that the fire was started accidentally by someone who used candles to light her way around her living quarters, the disasters were very like American disasters: the fire would never have gotten out of hand if the Hampton Court building had been sprinklered; the major institutions had put their disaster plans into effect, and the neighboring cultural institutions lent skilled personnel to help them through the crisis.

Don Sebera had a "poster" (the posters at this conference were more like vertical display panels, one or more per display) that attracted some excited comment. It presented the preservation value of temperature and relative humidity in graphic form, allowing the viewer to pick different combinations of both variables that would be equivalent for paper and other hygroscopic materials. The graphs had curved lines that ran through all points having the same preservative effect-"isoperms," he called them. The temperature and RH ranges permitted by the forthcoming ANSI environmental standards were mapped as rectangles over the isoperms. Other applications of this principle related to biological attack and cost effectiveness of environmental control.

Almost all sessions were taped by the IPC, and negotiations to provide for distribution of the tapes in this country and abroad are underway. The IPC also intends to publish the proceedings. At present, only the Conference Notes are available, but they include a lot: 139 pages of abstracts (some quite long) and accompanying bibliographies; descriptions of 10 posters; addresses of exhibitors and advertisers; and lists of participants with addresses. They can be purchased for £25 from the IPC, Leigh Lodge, Leigh, Worcestershire WR6 5LB, England.

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