The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 11, Number 5
Jul 1987


Literature

Contents Of Significant Publications

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National Preservation News is issued by the National Preservation Program Office in Washington, DC. The first five pages of the October issue are on state preservation programs, seven in all, some of which are in the very early stages of development. New York's is the most comprehensive and best funded. California's plan includes only the campuses of the University of California. The Illinois cooper- cooperative Conservation Program, a pioneer, continues to develop and now has a five-year plan for library and archival resources. Ohio has am information office, gives workshops, and is working hard to establish a mass deacidification facility. New Jersey has am information clearinghouse, disaster recovery program and basic preservation education program. Maine's program was cosponsored by the state library and a library binder! It has a modest appropriation from the legislature for conservation and preservation, but no information program. Most of the plans address only the needs of libraries, excluding archives and historical agencies, and none of the plans is complete yet--that is, none offers a full range of possible services.

The recommendations of the IFLA conference in Vienna, April 1986, and a description of IFLA's new PAC (Preservation and Conservation) core program are on p. 7-9. Briefly, there is going to be a world cooperative preservation plan, with headquarters ("focal point") at the Library of Congress and two regional centers to start with, one in France and one in Germany at their national libraries. Two of LC's functions will be publishing and education.

There is a two-page article on the Library of Congress's policies for microfilming illustrated books. There are four options, and each has its own criteria for choosing it. The options are: 1) filming and discarding the volume; 2) filming and retaining only illustrations; 3) not filming; and 4) filming and retaining the entire volume.

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Library Conservation News, issued by the Preservation Service of the British Library, is distributed free of charge to readers both in the United Kingdom and overseas, and all back issues are available. The January issue features an article on sausage casings, a material first suggested for repair of parchment in 1970, and Part 2 of an article on philatelic conservation, by R. F. Schoolley-West, who is in charge of the British Library's stamp collections. The Library Association a conference in September, "Preserving the Word: Past Imperfect, Future Imperative," is reported by Diana Grimwood-Jones (see "An Unprecedented Conference," AN v.10 #4 p. 54).

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AIC/PMG Topics In Photographic Preservation, 1986, vol. 1, is the Photographic Materials Group's first volume of published proceedings from its winter meeting in Charlestown, South Carolina, and includes ocher contributions as well. Two papers given at that meeting, but subsequently published elsewhere, are merely cited. There are nine contributions in 43 pages, of which two (by Grant B. Romer and Douglas G. Severson) concern the devastating effect of exhibition on photographs. Peter Mustardo describes a product called Oxidation Arrest Paper and suggests putting pieces of it in daguerreotype cases, and replacing then every 3 or more years as their absorption capacity is reached. Barbara Brown, a student, gives evidence that flecks of bronze powder from album pages may cause spots on albumen prints. This volume is available from the AIC office.

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Restaurator, vol. 7 #4, 1986 (received March 1987).

M. W. Ballard and N. S. Baer: Ethylene Oxide Fumigation: Results and Risk Assessment [a thorough review of the literature and current practice]

G. Calabrò, M. T. Tanasi and G. Impagliazzo: An Evaluation Method of Softening Agents for Parchment [a careful and exact comparison of PEG and glycerine; PEG is more efficient]

B. Fischer: Sewing and Endband in the Islamic Technique of Binding [a thorough investigation, with good illustrations, translations from Arabic and German, and a good bibliography; but the English is sometimes hard to follow]

H. Bansa: IFLA Principles on Conservation and Preservation [largely a protest against what the revisers of his first version of the Principles did to them; at least partly justified; cf. AN Editor's criticisms of the same document, Aug. 1986, p. 63].

Conferences & Professional Publications

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H. Curtis Wright, "Metallic Documents of Antiquity." Brigham Young University Studies 10 (4), Summer 1970, p. 457-477. Also, "Ancient Burials of Metallic Foundation Documents in Stone Boxes." Univ. of Ill. GSLIS Occasional Papers No. 157, Dec. 1982. These two articles describe the earliest time capsules, which are about 3000 years old and fairly numerous. They were written on the most stable materials known at the tine (e.g., gold and other metals, alabaster, clay), enclosed (as in stone boxes) and laid down in the foundation of new or renovated buildings, not as a way of communicating to future generations, but as a ritual affirmation of the authority of the king. The second publication ("Ancient Burials...") has a broader scope, and includes a review of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Nag Hammadi Codices, and other buried libraries. Both articles have immense bibliographies, and could provide very good starting points for papers on the history of preservation. The anchor's address is: Brigham Young University, School of Library and Information Sciences, 5042 HBLL Provo, UT 84602.

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"ARL Committee Surveys Preservation Needs," Association of Research Libraries Newsletter No. 135, June 12, 1987, 10-12. "Early in 1986 the ARL Committee on Preservation of Research Library Materials wrote to the directors of 63 ARL libraries that seemed to lack well established preservation programs in the committee's 1984/85 preservation statistics survey. The memo asked how the committee could best assist these libraries. ... Much that directors cited as needed was already available (but only recently so) and much has since become available." The rest of this article neatly summarizes the publications and other types of help available, under the following headings:

Local educational activities
Practical advice Materials for setting job descriptions, budgeting, planning, and comparing operations with peer institutions
OMS Preservation Planning Program
Other sources of preservation information
Preservation cooperation

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Ink & Gall, a new journal, was announced the last issue but its subject was not given. Its subtitle is A Marbling Journal. Its address has changed; now it is P0 Box 1469, Taos, NM 87571. The price for libraries is actually lower than for individuals: $10 as opposed to $20.

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The revival of Raised Bands (Bulletin of the Graft Bookbinders' Guild, in Australia) was announced in the last issue, but now it is learned that Issue #4 was its last. The [executive] committee has decided to concentrate instead on an upgraded newsletter, which will also include articles of a technical nature and detailed accounts of Guild activities.

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Les Documents Graphiques et Photographiques: Analyse et Conservation. 140 F from La Documentation Francaise, 124 rue Henri-Barbusse 93308, Aubervilliers Cedex, France. 244 pages. A report of the major research done in 1984 and 1985 at the Centre de Recherches sur la Conservation des Documents Graphiques: leafcasting, lamination with nonwoven polyamid materials, the effect of pollution on leather and parchment, the changes in neat's foot oil within leather, ultrasonic cleaning of parchment with application of an alcohol solution, light stability of pigments and restoration of glass plate negatives.

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Fred Ratcliffe, "Education in Preservation for Librarians and Conservators." Libr. Ass. Rec. 88 (10), Oct. 1986, p. 493-497. The author, University Librarian at Cambridge University, England, deplores the library schools' dwindling interest in the book, and argues for teaching conservation as part of every subject in library school. (Like many other writers, he blames the poor quality of today's paper on the fact that it is made from wood pulp--a mistake.)

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Rajal H. Atalla. The Structures of Cellulose: Characterization of the Solid States. Washington, DC: American Chemical Society, 1987. (ACS Symposium Series 340) 315 pp. US & Canada, $69.95. Atalla is the editor, and the co-author of five of the 17 papers.

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The Acetate Negative Survey: Final Report. University of Louisville Photographic Archives, 1987. 91 pp. $10 from The Photographic Archives, Ekstrom Library, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY 40292. This is a report of the history of safety base photographic film since 1925, and the current state of preservation of negatives at various museums and archives throughout the country.

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Michael Shaw, "Early Post-Mediaeval Tanning in Northampton, England." Archaeology 40 (2), Mar./Apr. 1987, 43-47. Recent excavations in Northampton have revealed 55 tanning pits from the 16th and 17th centuries. The author reviews the history of leathermaking, beginning with France, 20,000 years ago, and describes what is known about processes used, on the basis of surviving evidence. Well illustrated but no bibliography.

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"The Conservation Office Point System," Nat. Pres. News No. 7, May 1987, p. 12-14. Each point is a conservator-hour in the Conservation Office of the Library of Congress. By allocating a certain number of points to each custodial division, the Office makes a fair distribution of available resources and enables both conservators and custodians to plan and manage better. The system has been refined and extended since Peter Waters invented it in 1982, and it now runs on five Macintosh computers with Excel.

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A. B. Strzelczyk et al., "Studies on the Microbial Degradation of Ancient Leather Bookbindings, Part I." Internat. Biodeter. 23, 1987 (issue unspecified in flyer received). This journal is put out by Elsevier Science Publishers in New York and by Elsevier Applied Science in Barking, Essex, and costs $155/year for six issues.

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Alois Orlita and F. Martinek, "Control of Fungus on Archive Books." Kozarstvi 35 (8), 1985, p. 233-235. In Czech; abstracted in AATA 23 (2). The effectiveness of six fumigants against Aspergillus niger spores on parchment were tested. Of the six (thymol, o-phenylphenol, p-chloro-m-cresol, 18 or 367. solution of formaldehyde in water, 45% solution of stabilized glutaraldehyde, and 50% solution of nonstabilized glutaraldehyde), chlorocresol and phenylphenol were found must suitable for the purpose. (The fumigants were not vaporized by heat, but were apparently sprayed into the air of the chamber, because they mention an atmosphere saturated with water and vapors of each chemical.) The second author, Frantisek Martinek, also coauthored an article on fungus control in Restaurator 6 (3-4), 1984, on p. 205-216: "Disinfection of Archive Documents by Ionizing Radiation."

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Science & Technology Libraries, 7 (3), Spring 1987, is a special issue on "Preservation and Conservation of Sci-Tech Materials," to which six conservators have contributed.

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Joanne Sonnichsen, "Bookbinding in the United States: Present and Potential." Fine Print 13 (3), July 1987 p. 169-171. A good summary especially of the Guild of Book Workers six seminars on standards of excellence in bookbinding. An entire page is given to describing and evaluating the most recent seminar, and the 11 available videotapes are listed.

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Slow Fires: On the Preservation of the Human Record (videotape and film). Narrated by Robert MacNeil, with commentary by James Michener, Barbara Tuchman, Daniel Boorstin, William Welsh, Patricia Battin, Warren Haas, Vartan Gregorian and Margaret Child. Available for sale or rental, in one-hour or half-hour versions, from American Film Foundation, Box 2000, Santa Monica, CA 90406 (213/459-2116 or 394-5689). The cheapest version is the half-hour VHS version, which will be available August 1: $39.50 + $10 shipping. It is not available for rental; only 3/4" cassettes and the 16 mm film may be rented, for prices ranging from $45 to $95 + $10 shipping. The one-hour version is available right now. For price list write the AFF.

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Videotape, How to Operate a Book. Gary Frost, narrator. New York: Columbia University School of Library Service, 1987. 30 min. Available in U-Matic or VHS format, with printed transcript, for $250.

Most of the 30 minutes is occupied with a history of book structure; handling is covered in the last few minutes. Its appeal to both lay and professional audiences will probably lie in the historical part, in any case. And because it "educates" the viewer by providing significant insights about books as physical objects with cultural and historic value, and with structures that work, this video may bring about lasting changes in the behavior of the librarians and readers who see it. Binders, conservators and historians of the book will also like it.

The videotape was directed by Peter Herdrich, an independent producer and director associated with Viking Productions in New York City. Despite this professional involvement, certain aspects had a decidedly amateurish quality to them. The sound varied markedly in quality from segment to segment, as if it had been read in three or four different rooms under different conditions. The color tended to be limited, and the focus not sharp, as if it had been made directly on a video, rather than first on a film and then transferred to videotape. The text and narration were well done, and examples of books shown were well chosen.

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"Planning a Preservation Program," a slide-tape show in two parts, about 30 minutes long, by the Library of Congress and available on loan without charge from the National Preservation Program Office. It is very fast-paced and very well done. The narration, music and graphics are excellent. No one should be bored watching it. It should not be over anybody's head, either, because it assumes that the viewer knows nothing about preservation--in the first part, anyhow, which is for administrators and builds a case for preservation. The second part is more practical and specific.

[Although I was familiar with the material, I felt a need to see it twice, because there were parts I missed the first time through. Some audiences may ask to have it run through a second time, especially if they want to discuss any of the ideas in it. I also felt the lack of a bibliography, even though I have a large file of bibliographies, because I anticipated that new converts made by this very persuasive program would probably want something they can carry away with then. --Ed.]

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