The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 11, Number 7
Oct 1987


Literature

Conferences & Professional Publications

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Chandru J. Shahani and Robert E. McComb. "A Clarification on Specifications for Archival Paper." Tappi Journal 70(9), 128, Sept. 1987. Alkaline sized and coated paper loses fold endurance as a result of aging much faster than tear resistance or tensile strength, which may be more significant tests of permanence in coated papers.

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Picturescope has ceased publication, at least temporarily, because the Picture Division of the Special Libraries Association has disbanded. Its last issue had four papers in it on photographic preservation.

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International Preservation News made its debut with No. 1, September 1987, a 12-page issue. Its subtitle is "A Newsletter of the IFLA Programme on Preservation and Conservation," and it is available without charge to interested institutions, from IFLA PAC Core Programme, National Preservation Program Office, Library of Congress, Washington, DC 20540. Naturally, it is printed on paper meeting the 1984 ANSI standard for permanence and bears the infinity symbol. Its purpose is to report on the preservation activities of IFLA (the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions) and to highlight international activities and events that support efforts to preserve materials in the world's libraries and archives. It will be a good English-language source of information on major developments in France, Germany and other countries for which information through the usual channels is scarce, as well as on those in the U.S. There are illustrated descriptions of the regional conservation centers in Leipzig and Sablé, and a report on a comprehensive preservation planning study for sound recordings, just carried out by the Associated Audio Archives Committee of the Association for Recorded Sound Collections. (For more information on the audio study, write Elwood McKee, Project Director, AAA Audio Preservation Planning Project, 118 Monroe St., No. 610, Rockville, ND 20850.)

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Library Technology Reports 23(3), May-June 1987, consists mainly of a comprehensive report on mass deacidification by George Cunha, which caps a two-year study commissioned by the American Library Association. Not surprisingly, it focuses on the DEZ and Wei T'o methods, but it provides luxuriant detail not previously available; and it also includes "Techniques for Preserving Newsprint" by Otto Wächter of the Austrian National Library (immersing bound volumes in a solution of magnesium carbonate, Planatol and methyl cellulose within a chamber after drawing a vacuum, then removing them and freeze drying). More on this later.

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D. Braun. Simple Methods of Identification of Plastics. $23 from Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE), 14 Fairfield Dr., Brookfield Center, CF 06805 (203/775-0471). 96 pp.

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David Hillman, "A Short History of Early Consumer Plastics." Journal of the IIC-CG 10 & 11: 20-27, 1985/86 [received July 1987]. A good readable summary with illustrations and 10 references, covering natural polymers (wax, rubber etc.), cellulose nitrate, cellulose acetate, nylon, PVC, polyethylene and other materials. "Unfortunately," he says, "there has been almost no research done on the conservation of early plastic objects."

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Lars Odberg et al. "Evidence for Beta-Ketoester Formation during the Sizing of Paper with Alkylketene Diners." Tappi Journal 70(4), April 1987, p. 135-139. In the debate over whether the sizes used for alkaline paper form a chemical bond with the cellulose, this gives the chemical-bond advocates an advantage by presenting evidence in favor. Data was gathered by FTIR calorimetry, and extraction.

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LG Communicator [or Communicator?] 19 (3-6), March-June 1986. This issue is on the Los Angeles Public Library Central Library fire of April 29, 1986, and contains contributions from volunteers, readers and librarians; even the Fire Department has a contribution, an official memo on the first page of the text. It is an unusual publication, not only because of the fullness of its report, but because of the heart-wrenching accounts of the librarians' experience in the weeks following the fire (see especially p. 3-8 and 35-39). Excerpts:

"By Sunday,... all but a very few library staff had gone home. But Monday came and new areas were declared to be safe.... But there were no volunteers, no helpers now, only the Central staff to do it all. Every day a new area was made safe to enter, worse than before with more charred volumes, more swollen books, more damage, more horror at the loss.... Various rumors now surfaced, along with the absence of administration, along with the absence of ideas and plans and information and communication and concern for the workers. But there was no absence of ash or odor or nightmares, no absence of depression or anger or fear...." [Written May 24]

"A great deal has happened in this time period; unfortunately, none of it has been good. There is more illness among the staff, including pneumonia, lung infections, bronchitis, viruses. The smell of mold and mildew permeates the smoky air on all floors.... Almost everyone dreads going to Central." [Written June 4]

The last article is a reprint of a 1982 article by Joyce Elliott called "Time is Running Out!"--about the unsafe and primitive condition of the rundown 56-year-old building, constructed like a "giant chimney filled with flammable books."

For a copy of this issue, or more information, write the Librarians' Guild, AFSCME Local 2626, P0 Box 71568, Los Angeles, GA 90071.

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Nancy B. Olson, "Hanging Your Software Up to Dry." Coll. & Res. Lib. News, 47 (10), Nov. 1986, 634-636. Describes salvage techniques used for a collection of AV materials and software.

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B. Kolmodin-Hedman, G. Blomquist and E. Sikstrom, "Mould Exposure in Museum Personnel." Int. Arch. Occup. Environ. Health 57(4): 321-323, 1986. A case study of illness in a woman who worked with moldy books in a museum basement. Health officials found 100,000,000 microorganisms per cubic meter. [From Art Hazards News 10(4) 1987]

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Seamus McClafferty, "Letters from Israel." CBBAG Newsletter 5(2): 22-24, Summer 1987. The author has emigrated, changed his name to Yehudah Miklaf, learned a lot of Hebrew, and put down roots already in the book arts community in Israel. He chose the mane Miklaf because a) it is like an old nickname, McClaf, and b) in Hebrew it means "from parchment, related to books and binding."

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Documentation Systems and their Tasks in the Literary Museums: Minutes of the VII. Annual Meeting [of the ICOM International Committee for Literary Museums], Budapest, 8-12 October 1984. Edited by Csilla E. Csorba and Dr. Ernö Taxner. Published by the Hungarian National ICOM Committee, Irodalmi Müzeum, V. Károlyi Mihály U. 16, 1364 Budapest PF. 71, Hungary.

The concept of literary museum is a little hard for Americans to grasp. They are not museums of the book, or rare book collections. They contain books, but people do not come to read the words printed on their pages. Like historical museums, which contain the artifacts of history, literary museums contain the artifacts of the literature produced by a writer, culture or nation. Dr. Taxner who sent this volume, says that one of the best literary museums in the world is the Dickens House Museum in London.

Eleven of 19 contributions are in English; the rest are in French. Conservation is mentioned in six places. Since the publisher's supplies of this publication are limited, readers can request copies of the table of contents and selected articles from the Abbey Newsletter office. Dr. Taxner has granted permission for this.

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Information Resources for Archivists and Records Administrators: A Report and Recommendation Prepared by Victoria Irons Walch for NAGARA under a grant from NHPRC. 1987. Distributed by NAGARA Executive Secretariat, New York State Archives, 10A75 Cultural Education Center, Albany, NY 12230. 42 pp. Alter two planning conferences and over two years of work, with a lot of input from the archival community the information needs of the community have been identified and a realistic recommendation for satisfying them through a national clearinghouse has been drawn up. Implementation is still being worked out.

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W. Thomas Taylor, "The Iowa Center for the Book." American Craft 47 (3): 26-33, June/July 1987. The Center is basically a group of people from different departments at the University of Iowa, each a master of a different aspect of the book, most of them craftsmen. Its purpose is to teach, encourage research and disseminate information on the book. The Center includes Kin Merker (printing), David Schoonover (rare books), Bill Anthony (binding and conservation), James Snitzer (artists' books), Tim Barrett (papermaking), and Kay Amert (typography).

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CAP has a special issue, which is a translation into Japanese of Philip Smith's "Prospect for Bookbinding." It has eight illustrations in its 31 pages.

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Lydia Preiss, "Preservation of the Anson Logs." ICCM Bulletin 12 (3 & 4): 95-101. Five volumes of 18th century logs from a round-the-world voyage were discovered recently, not in very good condition. First priority was given to recording of the information by photography and microfilming, which was not easy, because the script was blurred, faint, dense and had show-through. The author describes the photographic measures taken to cope with these conditions, and the treatment given to the logs.

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David N. Hill and Pat Townley, "Management of the Conservation Program for the Power House Museum." ICCM Bulletin 12 (1 & 2): 25-46, June 1986 [received Aug. 1987]. Heavy pressure to prepare large numbers of objects for exhibition on a regular basis was accepted as totally legitimate. This article describes the policies, procedures and administrative arrangements adopted to meet this challenge.

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Wolfgang Wächter, "Mechanizing Restoration Work--The Deutsche Bücherei, Leipzig and its Role as a Regional Centre for IFLA." IFLA Journal 12(4): 307-309, 1986. Since it was chosen as an IFLA regional center in 1985, the Deutsche Bücherei has enlarged its workshop and given two seminars on paper splitting (which is like laminating a document, except that the reinforcement is on the inside of the paper). The author is developing an automated system for wet treatment, leafcasting and splitting, processes that can be used separately or one after the other on the same piece, to multiply the output of a conservation lab by a factor of ten. (For more information, see his Buchrestaurierung, published by VEB Fachbuchverlag, Leipzig, 1983.)

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Every year the conservation students in the various formal training programs have their own conference, each year at a different school, and give papers, which are assembled afterward into a volume of published proceedings. There is apparently no way to subscribe; each year you have to ask around to find out where the conference is being held this year, and write to that school.

In May 1985 the conference was held at Winterthur, and the papers cost $10. Write Art Conservation Program, University of Delaware, 303 Old College, Newark, NJ 19716 (302/ 451-2479). In 1986, it was at New York University; write Conservation Center, IFA, 1 East 78th St., New York, NY 10021. In 1987, it was at Queen's; write Art Conservation Program, Queen's University, Kingston, Ont. K7L 3N6, Canada. The papers from the 1987 meeting will not be published until 1988.

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"Report from Japan," by Karen Zukor. The Ampersand 6(4), Fall 1986 [p. 10]. The author observed a bookbinding class and visited a bookbinding supply store on her short stay in Japan. The class was taught by Hirotaka Kanays, friend of the editor and publisher of CAP (Conservation and Preservation), Toru Kibe.

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SAMA Library Newsletter (Southern African Museums Association, Museum Library Group). Vol. 2 #2 has been received, and shows that conservation has caught on among this group: the first 13 pages of this 40-page issue are taken up with an editorial on the need to preserve, a short article on the kinds of preservation, a list of suppliers, an article on salvage of water-damaged books, and--Richard Frieder s "Designing a Book Wrapper," reprinted with permission from the May 1985 issue of this Newsletter.

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Review of Lionel S. Darley's Introduction to Bookbinding, by Jim Dorsey, in Binders' Guild Newsletter vol. X #1, p. 13-16, Jan. 1987. Detailed and critical, this review is one of a series on handbooks for beginners. "I would give this book a higher rating if it did not so readily give two or more techniques for the same operation without explaining when to use then and what the difficulties are. All of the basic material is here."

Nonbook Materials

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Videotape, Murder in the Stacks. New York: Columbia University Libraries, Preservation Department, June 1987. 15 mm. $35. (For information call 212-280-2223.)

Preventive preservation is the theme of this video--in other words, care and handling. As Sherlock explains to Watson, books are mined, murdered, every day by the people who handle and read them: they are jammed into tight spaces, dog-eared, and so on.

Department staff wrote the story; professional actors were auditioned and chosen for the two parts; a professional script writer adapted the story; a video production manager from the University filmed it; and the state provided a grant of $20,000 to make it. (No review copy has been received yet; this information is from a news release.)

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"Washi: Hand-Made Japanese Paper," a film that appears in some of the catalogs of AV materials, is available from Nikkei Visual Images, Inc.; 2-1-2, Uchikanda; Chiyoda-Ku; Tokyo; Japan 101. In 1986 it cost $1,118 plus $44 shipping, but by now it is probably more. The payment can be directly transferred to: Sumitomo Bank, Account No. 254875, Nihonbashi Branch, Tokyo, Japan.

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"Japanese Handmade Paper," a 14-minute film, is available on free loan from the Japan National Tourist Organization, 360 Post St., Suite 401, San Francisco 94108 (415/989-7140)--but it is not for sale at any price. The JNTO's film loan application form must be filled Out and signed first; it is an agreement to compensate for any loss or damage, and to give an "audience report" after viewing.

Other films are available under the same conditions. People who are planning to travel to Japan soon, or who do conservation work on Japanese cultural objects, might want to write for a JNTO free loan film list.

For The Public

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Fifield, Richard, "Library Aims for 'Long-Life' Books." New Scientist 9, p. 31, April 1987. A report on the British Library's efforts to strengthen brittle books, with a brief survey of mass treatments used in Canada, France, and the U.S., and a brief plug for permanent paper. It mistakenly says that "long-life" paper needs to be 100% wood-free (a widespread misconception) but otherwise carefully done. The BL process of strengthening uses a mixture of ethyl acrylate and methyl methacrylate 5:1 in a chamber, polymerized with the aid of gamma radiation. Books are done without taking them apart. The process is being developed for the BL by the Industrial Chemistry Group at the University of Surrey.

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"Preservation Takes Rare Manuscripts from the Public," by Paul Lewis. New York Times, Jan. 25, 1987. The growing practice of protecting rare manuscripts by providing facsimiles for use by readers is the topic of this article, which provides a forum for critics and defenders.

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Records administrators and state governments have teamed up to produce "We are Losing Our Past," an eight-page brochure that states the preservation problem in state archives and outlines what concerned citizens, state government officials and the federal government should do. Funding was provided by NHPRC. The brochures are designed to fit into a business length envelope without folding. They can be ordered from NAGARA office, The Council of State Governments, Iron Works Pike, P.O. Box 11910, Lexington, KY 40578. Copies have been sent to all state archival programs and to the governors, budget directors, legislative leaders, and other top officials in each state.

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Jan Merrill-Oldham, "Preservation in Research Libraries: A New Approach to Caretaking." New Library Scene 5(6): 1, 5-6, Dec. 1986. Reprinted from Harvest, Spring 1985 (Univ. of Connecticut Libraries). A very nice introductory statement, with sections on conservation (physical treatment), binding preparation, reproduction, shelf preparation, staff and reader education, environmental control and disaster planning, and outreach.

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The BL Preservation Office has three new publications: 1) Conservation in Crisis--Our Achilles Heel: Papers published from the first NPO seminar July 1986. It covers most aspects of preservation, but emphasizes education, which is the Achilles heel. 11 overseas. In US and Canada, order from Longwood Publishing Group, 27 South Main St., Wolfeboro, NH 03894. 2) "Adopt a Book," a brochure inviting donations for conservation, 200/book for conservation. The Library chooses which book to restore, but the donor's name goes in it and a letter is sent saying which one it was. Other kinds of recognition are given out too. 3) "Permanent Paper," an eight-page pamphlet describing the problem of brittle books in libraries, how the answer is permanent paper, how NISO in the U.S. has published a standard; and listing 16 U.K. mills and 11 merchants as sources of permanent paper.

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