The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 12, Number 8
Dec 1988


Literature

Selected Contents Of Significant Publications

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Business Facilities, a monthly magazine, had four articles in its October issue that are relevant to planning of new or renovated buildings to house collections:

For information, in New Jersey call 201/842-7433, and outside New Jersey call 800/524-033% It costs $25 a year.

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Restaurator 9(2), 1988:

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Professional Ethics Report 1(3), Summer 1988: One news item says the American Physical Therapy Association has lost its recognition as accrediting organization because its primary concern is for the interest of physical therapists. On p. 6 is an announcement of the publication of the proceedings of the National Conference on Specialty Certification, April 12-13, 1988, 187 pages for $30 (National Society of Professional Engineers, Attention: Legal Dept. (#10-433-31-30-002), P0 Box 96163, Washington, DC 20090-6163). Other groups with licensure and certification activities are covered. This newsletter can be ordered from the Office of Scientific Freedom and Responsibility, AAAS, 1333 H St., NW, Washington DC 20005.

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Art Hazards News 11(7), 1988, has a story about lawsuits by 108 film lab workers against employers, suppliers and others; a notice that the Permissible Exposure Limit for acetone has been lowered from 1000 ppm to 250 ppm; and a notice of a new book, Making Darkrooms Safe: A National Report on Occupational Health and Safety, available for $6.50 from the National Press Photographers Association, 3200 Croasdaile Drive, Suite 306, Durham, NC 27705.

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Paper Conservation News No. 47, Sept. 1988:

Conferences & Professional Publications

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A copy of the two-volume Preservation of Library Materials, the proceedings of the 1986 international conference in Vienna (remember the library and the conference in the opening scenes of "Slow Fires"?) was received here in June after it was announced on p. 41 of this Newsletter, and has now been digested. Here are impressions:

An effort was apparently made by the conference organizers to have the presentations represent the state of the art worldwide, in a simple and short but pithy form. With over 40 speakers, there was bound to be repetition, and many of the papers are pretty simple too. The value of these two little volumes is not as a repository of research or as a manual, however. They will be most useful as a source of good ideas used overseas but not here, at least not widely (e.g., the use of heat to kill insects, p. 113, v.2; or Otto Wächter's delignification of newspapers, p. 95, v.2), and as a survey of world opinion on certain practices or beliefs (e.g., the ideal relative humidity for storage, which is variously stated as 40%, 42%, 40-50%, and 50-60% by different speakers). Where beliefs differ on important topics like RH, this is an indication that it is time to bring forth evidence for each belief, evaluate it all, and agree on some standard, or perhaps initiate research to resolve important uncertainties.

The editing did not succeed in making all the papers by non-English speakers as clear as they should have been. Ambiguities and misstatements slow down the reader a bit, and use of the volumes for reference is definitely hindered by lack of running heads and by not using one paging sequence for the set. The only way to know which volume you are reading is to look back at the title page or the outside cover. There is an index in the back of v.2.

The small print is a hit hard to read, but it does make the books more compact and easier to mail around the world, to libraries that are looking for a good summary of the state of the art like this. It makes a good introduction for heads of libraries without any preservation background. The price is high ($70), but Saur is said to be a pricey publisher. To order, ask for IFLA Publications 40 and 41, Preservation of Library Materials, edited by Merrily Smith, K. G. Saur, 245 W. 17th St., New York, NY 10011.

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Preserving the Word: The Library Association Conference Proceedings, 1986, Harrowgate. 90 p. $2%50. March 1988. Order from ALA Publishing Services, 50 E. Huron St., Chicago IL 60611. ALA order code: L471-1.

This volume could be epitomized as a smaller, British version of the IFLA proceedings of the Vienna conference, which was held in the same year, 1986. There were two American speakers, David Stan and Sandy Dolnick, who covered international programs in preservation and fundraising American style; Brian Hutton covered the preservation policy of the National Library of Scotland, and Eiluned Rees the preservation problem in Wales. Peter Waters and Anthony Cams gave historical papers on conservation, with emphasis on the Florence Flood and its influence on conservation. The other papers were on various aspects of preservation (David Clements, Peter Fox, Frederick Ratcliffe and others) and conservation (John McIntyre, Alan Howell). Basically, it was a instructional conference. The outstanding papers that might justify purchase of the book even by people pretty familiar with the subject matter are:

David Stam's "International Programs in Preservation," which is well written and informative. His list and discussion of factors in development of international preservation is valuable.

John C. Beard's "Preservation Problems in Public Libraries" is on a rarely-addressed topic. Jeanne-Marie Dureau is one of the few other people who have concerned themselves with the value of public library collections.

Alan Howell, in "Paper Conservation: New Directions surveys job titles of conservators, serial publications in conservation (ranked by price), and people in the U.K. who are willing to give information by telephone (with telephone numbers).

Peter Waters' paper, "The Florence Flood of 1966 Revisited," actually goes much further back. It covers the development of salvage of water-damaged materials, interaction between paper chemists and paper conservators, lamination, deacidification, a conservation philosophy, preservation planning and other developments. It was serially published in five issues of the Chicago Area Conservation Group' Newsletter, Oct. 1986-May 198%

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Books in Peril: Proceedings of the Symposium on the Preservation of Library and Archival Materials in Southern Africa (Cape Town, Nov. 1986). Cape Town: South African Library, 198% Like the Vienna and Harrowgate conferences, this one was held to instruct and promote awareness among professionals and administrators of the preservation problem and modern solutions to it. Because of its distance from Europe and America, only one outside expert was invited, Helmut Bansa from West Germany. He gave the keynote address, three other talks, and a workshop for practicing restorers. His resume, published in the hack of the book, shows that he has degrees in both librarianship and chemistry.

The papers, some of which are very good, cover the usual broad range of preservation concerns. To judge from their bibliographies, they draw heavily upon the research and experience of America in the literature, as well as a few British, German and South African publications. Some are behind the times (e.g., the one on conservation of leather bindings, which discusses physical protection and leather dressing, but not aluminum retannage, light or RH) and one of them objects to the use of the term "conservation binding," saying "All binding is conservation, and this makes nonsense of the term."

Three resolutions were passed by the 90 or so participants: one on the training of restorers, one on the training of librarians in preservation, and one on the promotion of the use of acid-free paper.

The book is sewn through the fold, but is on acidic paper. An index would have been useful.

Copies can be ordered from Publications Section, S.A. Library, P0 Box 496, Cape Town 8000, South Africa, for R22.50 ($22.50). ISBN 086968 0765. 196 pp.

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The Precentors' Accounts of Ely Cathedral Priory. Red Gull Press, 1988. 264 x 180 mm. iv + 24 + iv pp. Edition limited to 150 copies. $50 postpaid (in sheets $42.50). In Latin, with a facing English translation, giving details of books and bookmaking at Ely, 1300 to 1524: "Candles for the scribes' room, 4s 6d; Galls, gum and copperas to make ink, 7s 6d," and so on. Order from the Red Gull Press, St. Bridgets, Radcliffe Rd., Hitchin, Herts, England.

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"The Vinland Map," by Walter C. McCrone. Analytical Chemistry 60(10), May 15, 1988, p. 1009-1018. This is the first published report of the analysis carried out by McCrone Associates in the authentication of this 1440 map belonging to the Yale Beinecke Library.

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"Staying One Step Ahead of Their Six," Science News, v. 134, July 9, 1988, p. 22. Reviews the uncanny ability of insects to adapt to all methods of disinfestation (chemical fumigants, replacing oxygen with nitrogen or carbon dioxide in the storage buildings, gamma rays). The latest method--wrapping houses in tarps and blowing hot air inside, keeping the temperature at 120°F for 30 minutes--works like a dream, though. So far.

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David Grattan has an article in the June CCI Newsletter on "'Ageless' and 'Ageless Eye' ," which are, respectively, an oxygen absorber and an oxygen indicator, both products of Mitsubishi Gas Chemicals of Japan. Both show promise for retarding oxidation of artifacts in airtight enclosures, and controlling fungus and insects in a nontoxic way. They may give us our first practical way to preserve rubber and plastic artifacts. A cooperative evaluation project is planned.

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"Zum Alterabestimmung von Papieren," by Barbara Werthmann. Restauro, July 1988, p. 211-21% The title in English is "Determining the Age of Paper," and the English summary says 'This article discusses various possibilities of determining the age and, thereby, the genuineness of paper by means of analytic examination. The identification of the fiber and material content of paper as well as the substances applied onto it, such as inks, copying materials or correction mass--combined with the knowledge when this material was first employed, permits drawing conclusions--in many cases, on age and genuineness. The examination of a label on an 'old' violin, of the Hitler Diaries and of notes of a symphony by Schubert are described as examples."

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Meridian is a new semi-annual journal put out by the Map and Geography Round Table of ACRL It deals with all kinds of maps, ancient to modern, and the care and treatment of them in libraries. $20 for individuals, $25 for institutions, from Peter L. Stark, Subscription Mgr., Map Library, University of Oregon, 165 Dondon Hall, Eugene, OR 97403.

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Five of the papers from the 1988 IIC-Canadian Group meeting seemed particularly relevant to current issues in book and paper conservation, judging from the abstracts. Since post-prints are not published, the best way to get a copy of the paper is probably to write to the author.

1) "What You Don't See can Hurt You: The Effects of Nitrogen Oxides on Works of Art," by Duane R. Chartier (Graduate student, Art Conservation Program, Queen's University, Kingston, Ont. K7L 3N6). He says nitrogen oxides are more reactive than sulphur oxides with most target substrates, though their effect has been underestimated because the reaction products are not insoluble or involatile, and because they are smaller in absolute quantity.

2) 'The Preventive Conservation Programme at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia," by Thomas Dixon (National Gallery of Victoria, Victorian Arts Centre, 180 St. Kilda Road, Melbourne 3004, Australia). Since 1984, most of the efforts of the conservation section have been focussed on preventive conservation. This paper asks whether conservators are equipped to operate this type of program.

3) "After the Fire," by Suzanne Marie Holm (Centre de Conservation du Quebec, 476 Ave. Desrochers, Ville Vanier, Quebec G1M 1C2). After the 1986 fire that destroyed the building of the Conservatoire d'art dramatique du Quebec, replacement of damaged volumes was considered but ruled out because over half (54%,) of the books and periodicals were no longer available on the market, and the remaining 46% were very expensive.

4) "Bonsecours Market: A Painting that Survived Through Neglect," by June Bramall (205 Trafalgar Rd., Oakville, Ont. L6J 3G9). The painting hung in the garage for 40 years, subjected to periodic spraying of water from washing of cars, yet was in remarkable condition. The author raises the question whether or nut we are too caught up in the graphs and charts of environmental control.

5) "Some Aspects of Preventive Conservation in Fine Arts at the Canadian Conservation Institute," by Robert Arnold (Canadian Conservation Institute, Paper & Textiles Division, 1030 Innes Rd., Ottawa, Ont. KlA 0M8). A study of the demands placed on the time of conservators in the Fine Arts and Polychromes Division.

Standards & Practical Guides

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Vacuum Freeze-Drying, a Method used to Salvage Water-Damaged Archival and Library Materials: A RAMP Study with Guidelines, prepared by John M. McCleary, for the General Information Programme and UNISIST. Paris: Unesco, 198% 63 pp. (PGI-87/WS/7) This is a pretty good study, containing many case studies not reported before, and demonstrating an understanding of the principles involved. 75 ref s.

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The Preservation and Restoration of Paper Records and Books: A RAMP Study with Guidelines, prepared by Carmen Crespo and Vicente Viñas, for the General Information Programme and UNISIST. Paris: Unesco, 1985. The information in this guide is a mixture of reliable and unreliable, and there is no way to tell which is which. Almost three pages are devoted to bleaching with various chlorine compounds (hypochlorites, chloramines, sodium chlorite, dissolved chlorine dioxide, gaseous chlorine dioxide and chlorous acid). Morpholine and cyclohexylamine are described as deacidification methods, but the temporary effect they have is not mentioned. The health hazards connected with chlorine dioxide and barium hydroxide are barely mentioned. And so on.

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"Education Compilation," 25 pages of all the material published in the Abbey Newsletter since July 1983, has just been brought up to date and can be ordered for $%50. It includes material on apprenticeships, internships, formal education and training programs, workshops, seminars, individual courses, summer schools and intensive courses in the U.S. and elsewhere. It also includes references to recent pamphlets, brochures and directories of training programs.

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"Photographic Enclosures," by Betty Walsh. WAAC Newsletter, 10(3), Sept. 1988, p. 3-6. A useful, accurate summary, complete with average prices for the different types of enclosure. Reprinted from the Association of Canadian Archivists Bulletin 11(2), Nov. 1986, and 11(3), Jan. 198%

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Preserving our Printed Heritage: The Long Room Project at Trinity College Dublin, by Anthony Cans and Katherine Swift. Dublin: Trinity College Library, 1988. 24 unnumbered pages. 2.30 postpaid, from Trinity College Library, College St., Dublin 2, Republic of Ireland. An overview of all phases of a very sophisticated "stack maintenance" program, underway since 1980 for the old leather volumes in the Long Room. The photographs, which take up over half of each page, are excellent. There are also a few pages on care and handling policies. This booklet, though written as an overview of current practices, could almost serve as a guide for similar programs in other libraries.

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A Strategic Plan for Managing and Preserving Electronic Records in New York State Government. Final report of the Special Media Records Project. Albany: State Archives and Records Administration, Aug. 1988. The emphasis in this report is not on preservation as such, but on how to integrate electronic records into all archival functions, including preservation. Page 16-34 is on specific activities and resource requirements of the five-year plan recommended.

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