The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 14, Number 3
Jun 1990


Literature

Conferences & Professional Publications

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Contingency Journal is a new publication, more thoughtful and with a broader scope than the Disaster Recovery Journal reviewed earlier. Jan-Mar. 1990 was the premier issue. Its announced plans for coverage include the following issues: Legal liability, hostile takeovers, loss of key employees, strikes and risk analysis as well as computer- and data-oriented concerns. The editor was very interested in receiving the Abbey Newsletter on exchange, so maybe there will be sane mutual influence here. Subscriptions free from Contingency Journal, 10935 Estate Lane, Suite 375, Dallas, TX 75238 (214/343-3717).

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Neue Museumskunde, a well-illustrated, well-edited professional museum journal published in East Berlin, written mostly in German. The editor, Udo Röszling, wrote to the Abbey Newsletter in January 1989, requesting an exchange. After much delay at this end as the Abbey Newsletter tried to find a good home for the Neue Museumskunde where it would be properly appreciated, a three-way exchange was finally arranged this year: AN goes to East Berlin, NMK goes to the Field Museum, and Field Museum information goes to AN.

On March 30, 1990, the NMK editor wrote to acknowledge the exchange and added:

I was pleased to read that my journal had left a good impression on you....

In fact, the development in East Germany causes many problem and I am sure that the people in your country follow this with interest. But however good the unity of the two German states and other things in this connection may be, there are also many negative aspects. This is also true for the NMK. My journal has annual proceeds of 35,000 East-Deutschmarks, but the cost amounts to 230,000 East- Deutschmarks. Until now the state has paid subsidies, but I assume they will be cut off this year. That's why my journal is in danger because I will have to stop publishing then. For this reason I appeal to all museums in the GDR and abroad to support the journal with donations. An increased number of subscribers would improve the ratio of proceeds and cost. But also direct donations of money, however small they may be, would be of great benefit. For this purpose I opened an account: Staatsbank der DDR, Berlin, Deutscher Verlag der Wissenschaften/NMK, Konto-Nr. 6651-59-30385

Note: This is not a conservation journal, although it occasionally touches on conservation matters.

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Restaurator 10: 3/4 (papers of the '88 NARA conference):

J.M. Reilly et al. Photo Enclosures: Research and Specifications

I.G. Shepilava. [A paper on Russian archives]

E. Passaglia. The Characterization of Microenvironments and the Degradation of Archival Records

R.L. Ritzenthaler. Holdings Maintenance at the National Archives of the United States

F. Preusser & J.R. Druzik. Environmental Research at the Getty Conservation Institute

Restaurator 11:1

A. Lienardy & P. Van Damme. Practical Deacidification [a comparative review of all methods]

N. Valentin & F. Preusser. Insect Control by Inert Gases in Museums, Archives and Libraries

J. Vodopivec & M. Cernic-Letnar. Applying Synthetic Polymers to Conserve Cultural Property on Paper

B.J. Humphrey. Paper Strengthening with Gas-Phase Parylene Polymers: Practical Considerations

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The New Bookbinder 8 (1988, received Feb. 1989) - Partial contents:

J. Lindsay. The Development of the Codex in the Western World

K. Gostling. Bookworkers and Adhesives: Part 1

G. Kurz. Bookbinding Societies No. 2: Meister der Einbandkunst, Germany

D. Cawthron. The Development of Technical Courses in Bookbinding in Britain up to 1914

(Part II of both the Gostling and Cawthron papers are published in the next volume - 9, 1989.)

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The Survey: Conservation Facilities in Museums and Galleries. United Kingdom Institute for Conservation (37 Upper Addison Gardens, London W14 8A.J): July 1989. 88 pp. ISBN 1 871 656 05 2. Paperback, f-10, postage paid.

A report of a 1987/88 survey, documenting a shortage of skills and underuse of existing skills. Findings:

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The communication barrier between conservators and museum directors and curators, once nearly impenetrable, seems to be falling. Two publications for museum curators and administrators devoted an unprecedented amount of space to conservation concerns in their latest issues: Museum News and the Western Museums Conference Newsletter

Museum News (May-June, 1990) carried seven articles on disaster planning and recovery on pages 50-70, covering quakes, floods, Hurricane Hugo, public relations and war. AND Paul Storch has an article an p. 92-94, "How to Equip your Conservation Laboratory for Success."

The WMC Newsletter covered emergency planning on p. 4-6 (report of a Feb. 6 directors' workshop and a competition for best emergency plan), 9-12 ("How the J. Paul Getty Museum Plans and Prepares for Major Emergencies," by Wilbur Faulk) and 14 (an announcement of a local meeting with a program called "Circumstances Beyond our Control"). There is nothing like a real disaster to get people's attention. This is an opening -but then conservators have to follow up somehow.

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Restauro 96, Jan. 1990:

A. Giavannini. Archälogie des Buches und konservierende Restaurierung (Archaeology of a Book and Conservation by Restoration)

A.-C. Brandt and A.-J. Berteaud. Einsatz der Mikrowellen zur Trocknung von Papier im Bibliotheks- und Archivbereich (The Use of Microwaves for Drying Paper in Libraries and Museums)

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Proceedings of the 14th Annual IIC-CG Conference May 27-30, 1988, Toronto. Ed. by Johanna G. Wellheiser. Order from IIC-CG, PO Box 9195, Terminal, Ottawa, Ontario K1G 3T9, Canada. No price given. 179 pp. There is a 5-paper section on pest control.

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Brittle Books Programs (SPEC Kit #152; 121 p., March 1989) contains the results of a survey of 64 ARL libraries on the evaluation, bibliographic searching, replacement, preservation photocopying, and preservation microfilming of books and serials that have become too brittle to handle without risking damage. It also includes planning documents, selection and searching procedures and form, guidelines and workflow descriptions, microfilming and photocopying procedures, and a selected reading list. $20 prepaid from SPEC, Office of Management Services, 1527 New Hampshire Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20036.

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Bibliography Newsletter (BiN) XVI:3, July-Sept. 1989, appeared this spring. It is now edited by Bryan Johnson from 32 Trimountain Ave., PO Box 280, South Range, MI 49963. 1

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"Remote Book Returns," Amer. Libraries, April 1990, p. 372, 374, gives six libraries' responses to an editorial request for their experiences, with pros and cons. Preservation issues are lightly touched on.

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Technical Information Papers (TIPS) recently issued by the National Archives and Records Administration and available from NTIS are:

No. 5, Archival Copies of Thermofax, Verifax, and Other Unstable Copies, by Norvell M.M. Jones, summarizes the pertinent conclusions of a study conducted for NARA by the GPO and describes procedures for conducting a simple "peel test" to determine if a copying machine is producing an archivally acceptable copy. Includes the full GPO report as an appendix. (NTIS Order No.: PB 90/171836; $15, paper; $8.00, microfiche)

No. 6, Preservation of Archival Records: Holdings Maintenance at the National Archives by Mary Lynn Ritzenthaler, covers housing, flattening, dusting, and safe unfastening of a variety of record types including oversize records, folded and rolled documents, damaged records, fastened documents, bound volumes, scrapbooks and albums, photographs, and unstable copies. Procedures are illustrated and supplies described. (NTIS Order No.: PB90/168733; $15, paper; $8, microfiche)

No. 7, National Archives Preservation Research Priorities: Past and Present, by the staffs of the Preservation Policy and Services Division (K.E. Harris et al.) and the Archival Research and Evaluation [unit] (W.M. Holmes and A. R. Calmes). 1990. 14 pp. (No NTIS Order No. assigned yet, apparently; call Preservation Policy and Services Division, 202/501-5355).

Order from National Technical Information Service, Department of Commerce, 5285 Port Royal Rd., Springfield, VA 22161 (703/487-4650).

Another TIP is in preparation, on the preservation needs of collections of photographic negatives.

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Proceedings of the International Symposium: Conservation in Archives (Ottawa, May 10-12, 1988) On the verso of the title page it says it may be purchased from International Council on Archives; 60, rue des Francs-Bourgeois; 75003 Paris; France. But it must be paid for in German Marks: 24.00 for ICA members and 44.00 (about $26) for other people. It is not clear whether purchasers send their money to ICA or to K.G. Saur, the German publisher with whom the price was negotiated. Perhaps the quickest way to find out would be to call the Canadian National Archives (613/9958109) or the New York office of Saur (212-337-7023).

In any case, it should be bought. This is a good summary of the state of the art of archival conservation, and contains material not easily accessible elsewhere (though some of it is familiar from other contexts).

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"Investigation of the Properties of Tyvek, Pertaining to its Use as a Storage Material for Artifacts," by Sarah Walker. IIC-CG Newsletter Sept. 1986, p. 21-25. Eighteen properties were tested or investigated, presumably at the Scarborough Historical Museum in Canada, with the aid of information supplied by DuPont. Type 14 was used. Few technical details are given, except that it is affected by toluene and kerosene, stable up to 118°C, surface treated with potassium dibutylphosphate as an antistatic agent (the only additive), vapor-permeable, waterproof, and rated as Class 1 for flammability (not readily flammable). They decided it was useful for dust covers for furniture, moth ball envelopes, bags for books and albums and framed pictures, padded hangers, shelf liners, and so on.

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"Reproductions and Scholarship," by G. Thomas Tanselle. Studies in Bibliography 42 (1989), 25-.54.

In the Abbey Publications files there is a category, 2E4, for material on the "Effect of Reproduction Program on Patterns of Research," with only one sheet of paper in it, a 1984 remark of David Stam's on how scholars really prefer to have the real thing. This article is the first response from a scholar to librarians' response to the brittle book problem (microfilming and photocopying). It is also a criticism of bibliographical work done m the basis of photocopies instead of the original books. If we are lucky, other researchers will publish their experiences too, and let librarians know the effect of their policies and practices. In the opinion of this editor, widespread reproduction of brittle books will have an effect on civilization as subtle and pervasive, if not as large, as the printing press. It is having that effect right now, but almost no one is describing it. Tanselle has gone first, in his usual thorough and meticulous way. Others may now follow.

Excerpts: "...The definition of primary evidence ought to be the same in scholarly research and in courts of law, but neither scholars nor judges are immune from, lapses in logic.... A reproduction of any one copy of a printed item represents only that copy, not the edition as a whole; yet both producers and users of photofacsimiles of printed material often assume that the facsimiles can stand for the edition.... There is no way that the existence of reproductions, however high their quality, can justify the destruction of originals... If titles must be selected [for preservation], asking a group of scholars for advice is appropriate; but the committee should not fool itself by thinking that some works lack usefulness, for there is no product of the past that is not useful in studying the past."

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"The McLeod Collator, Your Book-Friendly Bibliographical Aid)" by D.A. Owen. Library Conservation News 26, Jan. 1990, p. 6. Each of the user's eyes sees a different copy, and variants stand out. It is book-friendly because it does not require high illumination, but it does have a tendency to topple over backward.

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"An Alternative Method of Inlaying," by Joanna Kosek and Alan Donnithorne. Paper Conservation News 53, March 1990. Describes a way of setting a document or work of art on paper into a paper "frame' with strips of Japanese tissue, without having to pare edges or press the document.

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Out of the Question [Column, by Robert DeCandido], CAN 40, Jan. 1989, p. 20-21. The question this time is: How much searching is enough? The fearless columnist tackles this apparently impossible question, does some calculating and some reasoning, and finds eight equations to help preservation managers monitor and control the search operation. By and large, if the hit rate is 4.29%., and the cost of filming a one-volume replacement is $120, one can afford to spend 8.4 minutes searching.

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"It takes Two to Tango: A Conservator's View of Curator/ Conservator Relations," by Roberta Pilette and Carolyn Harris. Rare Books & Manuscripts Librarianship 4/2 (Fall 1989). Offers guidance for relating to both inhouse and external conservators, and may one day provide a model for relationships with inhouse or commercial book repair services. Recommended.

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"To Each Its Own," by Sün Evrard. Fine Print 16/1, Spr. 1990, P. 37-39. An illustrated version of her "simplified binding," which can also be used for full leather design bindings with leather doublures. Main features: no backing, no lacing in, spine covering assembly attached first, and boards prepared off the book.

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"Chinese White--A Potential Source of Trouble an Paper?" by Margaret Hey. Wiener Berichte Über Naturwissenschaft in der Kunst, v.4/5, 1987/88, p. 362-369. A review of the literature since 1911 on the aging reactions and effects of zinc oxide, used as a pigment in paintings since 1797. Excerpts: "...Cotton textiles containing zinc oxide ... rapidly disintegrated on subsequent light exposure, the effect being increased the higher the ambient relative humidity." ...Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide (anatase) (are] generally excluded from restoration palettes because of their photoactinic properties." "...In zinc oxide as Chinese White we have a pigment capable of the localized production of hydrogen peroxide on paper [depending on type of paper, type of zinc oxide, and exposure to moisture and to light]."

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The Hand Bookbinding Tradition in the San Francisco Bay Area. 1982. 194 pp. $55 from the Regional Oral History Office, the Bancroft Library, Berkeley, CA 94720 (postpaid). Includes interviews with Leah Wollenberg, Stella Patri, Duncan Olmstead, Stephen Gale Herrick and Barbara Fallon Hiller; plus appendices. This work is ongoing, and other volumes should result.

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"A Man with All the Right Movies." Insight, March 19, 1990. A photocopy of this article was included in the Spring 1990 clippings packet sent out by the National Center for Film and Video Preservation. It summarizes, on p. 58-60, the work of John E. Allen in collecting and preserving old films. The author, Helle Bering-Jensen, says, "Because of neglect, as much as 80 percent of the movies made on nitrate stock from 1920 to 1950 already have been lost.... Only a few facilities in the United States have the equipment for the kind of restoration work going on here. 'There are two on the West Coast, but John Allen is the only one on the East Coast,' says Jan-Christopher Horak at the George Eastman House film archive in Rochester... The Library of Congress has its own film laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, but the library too comes to Allen with special projects...."

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"The Ancient Book: Part II," by F.A. Beck. CABBG Newsletter 8/2, Summer 1990, p. 3-9. A scholarly and informative work; the 70-item bibliography refers to original sources in Greek and Latin as well as to modern works.

Bookbindings

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The Art of the Book, catalog of an exhibition celebrating the fifth anniversary of the Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild, is 75 pages long, with two essays in front and pictures of work done by the jurors as well as by the exhibitors. Each of the 48 objects has a page to itself, and eight of the illustrations are in color. Betsy Eldridge contributed the essay entitled "The World of the Book Conservator," which explains clearly the relationship of the two worlds of designer binding and book conservation (she does both). The catalog can be ordered for $10 plus postage and handling ($4. 00 to U.S. destinations) from the Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild, PO Box 1142, Station F, Toronto, Ont. M4Y 2T8, Attn: Ellen Spears.

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"Bookbinding in Miniature," Raised Bands (The Newsletter of the Craft Bookbinders' Guild Inc. of the A.C.T., Australia), Spring (Sept.) 1989, p. 6-8. Notes by Murray Millar and illustrations by Peter Rogers, from a demonstration by Bob Lyon in Canberra last April.

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Art Nouveau and Art Deco Bookbindings: The French Masterpieces, 1880-1940, by A. Duncan and C. de Bartha. London, Thames and Hudson, 1989.

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American Embossed Leather Bindings, 1825-1855, by Edwin Wolf 2nd. Library of Philadelphia. Announced as "in press" in the summer issue of Occasional Miscellany....

For the Public

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Molecules, by P.W. Atkins. 198 pp. Scientific American Library, 1987. $32.95. The review in American Scientist has high praise for this book as one that can explain chemistry to the nonchemist in a clear and pleasant way.

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"Toward the Totally Acid-Free Book," by Jerome Frank. Publishers Weekly, July 21, 1989. A description of a vendor committed to permanence of the book: Ecological Fibers, of Lunenburg, Massachusetts, and its sister plant, Narragansett Coated Papers, in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. They supply alkaline endsheets, binders board, cover cloth, and nonwoven of the Kivar type, for Bibles as well as the full range of ordinary books. They specialize in acrylic water-based coatings. Ecological Fibers, Inc. is at Pioneer Industrial Park, Lunenburg, MA 01462 (508/537-0003).

In the same issue is an ad by Finch for "alkaline book paper from the Adirondacks" and another ad by Lindenmeyr for "Sebago, the premium permanent book paper.... It's here to stay, despite baseless rumors to the contrary." Also a short article on Thomson-Shore, a short-run printer that uses only alkaline paper. Also a four-page article, "Public Drive for Alkaline Paper Inspires New Action in the Mills," with sections on each of seven companies: Finch Pruyn, Glatfelter, International Paper, James River, Newton Falls, Penntech and Warren. Each company's leading book publishing grades are described, and its plans for the future are touched on.

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"Protective Enclosures for the Care of Books," by Peter J. Mustardo. AB June 19, 1989. Well written, accurate, up to date.

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"Dry." The New Yorker, April 3, 1989, p. 34-35. A fictional piece about an irresponsible, carefree fellow who makes good in his adopted country reprocessing documents in his vacuum tank and sabotaging the opposition (mom and pop franchises in Dodge Minivans).

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