The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 15, Number 4
Jul 1991


Literature

Conferences & Professional Publications

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"Behandling wasserempfindlicher Objekte mit GORE-TEX

(Treatment of Water-Sensitive Objects with Gore-Tex), by Hannah Singer, Sebastian Dobrusskin and Gerhard Banik. Restauro 1991 (2), March, p. 102-111. Flattening, backing removal and washing operations for paper or parchment are generously illustrated. Possibilities and limitations are described.

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Studies in Conservation 36/2, May 1991: "Long-term Storage of Wheat Starch Paste," by Bruce F.

Miller and William Root. P. 85-92. Describes the processes by which paste deteriorates, and ways in which it is made and kept; proposes two methods for storage of fungicide-free nonrefrigerated paste for a month or more (UV-radiation and storage in syringes).

"The Effects of Low Oxygen Atmospheres on Museum Pests," by Mark Gilberg. Oxygen concentrations of 0.4% or less for at least three weeks, at or above 30°C, give 100% mortality. Absence of oxygen keeps the elevated temperature from deteriorating most museum objects.

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Shared Responsibility: A Seminar for Curators and Conservators. Proceedings. Edited by Barbara A. Ramsay-Jolicoeur and Ian N.M. Wainwright. National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, 1990. $25 + shipping. This seminar was oriented to museums and their needs. Nothing in the proceedings relates directly to books or paper. Still, Stefan Michalski's paper, "Time's Effects on Paintings," which obviously is intended to get through to curators and others who had never thought much about conservation, is powerful, eloquent and poetic, and worth the price of admission.

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Technologie Industrielle et Conservation Restauration du Patrimoine Culturel, Colloque AFTPV/SFIIC, Nice (1989), 128 pp. ISBN 2-905519-12-6. This is reviewed by Marie-Claude Corbeil in Studies in Conservation 36 (1991) 63-64. Two of the papers involve microwave drying of archival materials (documents and flooded photographs). [Note: Mention of a process in this newsletter does not constitute an endorsement of it.]

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Tom Clareson reports the 6th meeting of the Cooperative Preservation Programs Group in the January/February 1991 issue of the OCLC Newsletter, on P. 5-7. The group met in Washington, DC, December 6-7, 1990. Nearly 50 people were present, representing organizations like NEDCC and SOLINET, and various state and regional programs.

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Preservation Notes, v.1 #I, appeared in April. It is issued quarterly by the Document Conservation Branch, National Archives, for the information of the Regional and Affiliated Archives. Peter Mustardo is the editor.

The Compleat Binder: Studies in Bookmaking and Conservation in Honour of Roger Powell, edited by Guy Petherbridge. Available in the autumn from W. Thomas Taylor, 1906 Miriam Ave., Austin, TX 78722. Orders can be placed now, though the price is unknown at present.

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Obituaries of Roger Powell by Helen Shenton and Nicholas Pickwoad appeared in the March 1991 Paper Conservation News, on p. 4 and 5.

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Scribes, Script and Books: The Book Arts from Antiquity to the Renaissance, by Leila Avrin. Chicago, ALA: 1991. 392 pp. $60 to ALA members.

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Paper Conservation News, No. 58, June 1991, has four item in it that readers may want to read for themselves:

1. A half-page report by Alison Richmond of talks [a talk?] given by Julius Grant to IPC members, March 8. He described his long career in forensic analysis of books and documents (on which he published a well-known book in 1940) and works of art, as well as in the paper industry, running mills and developing new kinds of paper. The last paragraph in Richmond's report says, "Dr. Grant's delivery is deadpan. During his lecture which, at its funniest moments, had the whole audience roaring, he gives no more than a little chuckle. His recollections of a career, unique among his contemporaries and packed with anecdotes more likely to be associated with international intrigue than with forensic science, are a tour de force of understatement. If you ever have the opportunity of hearing him speak don't miss it. But hurry-Dr. Grant is 94."

2. "What Members Charge for Time," by Simon Green, is a short discussion and presentation of results of a survey of members in private practice. Charges ranged from £5-9/hour to £30-39/hour, with most people charging £2O-24.

3. An English translation of a 98-page article on Arab paper, written by Joseph von Karabacek in 1887, is described on p. 11. It is available for about £10 plus postage & handling from Canonbury Bookshop, c/o 3 Canonbury Park South, London, N1 2JR.

4. The four RAMP (Records and Archives Management Programme) studies reviewed by David Baynes-Cope in the Journal of the Society of Archivists (Apr. 1991) are listed with all bibliographical information on P. 12. The RAMP studies are published by UNESCO and distributed worldwide. Most are in English, and all are on conservation and preservation or closely related subjects. They are free from PGI, Unesco, 7 Place de Fontenoy, 75700 Paris, France. BUT quality varies widely. It behooves one to read reviews before relying too much on them, if the studies on hand are on unfamiliar topics.

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Expert Systems Technology and Its Implication for Archives. (National Archives Technical Information Paper No. 9) NARA March 1991. 41 pp. 7-p. classified bibliography. A limited number of copies are available without charge to members of the archival community; contact the Archival Research and Evaluation Staff (NSZ) at 202/501-5540 or write to them at National Archives, Washington, DC 20408. When this supply is exhausted, copies will be available through NTIS.

Expert systems, now used widely in business, are being tried out in the library world and are in use throughout the government, which has sponsored research and development on them for decades. NAGARA GRASP is an expert system for archives.

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The 1991 AIC Abstracts, which include abstracts of papers given in the specialty groups, is 86 pages long and can be ordered from AIC for $8 (members) or $12 (nonmembers).

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Abstracts of the 17th Annual IIC-CG Conference, Vancouver, May 24-26, 1991. Available from IIC-CG, PO Box 9195, Ottawa Ontario, Canada K1G 3T9. Speakers' addresses are given in the back. Papers relating to paper conservation (none related to books) are:

"A New Method of Consolidating Powdery Paint: The Ultrasonic Mist," by Stefan Michalski and Carole Dignard

"A New Light Exposure Policy for Works on Paper," by Karen Colby

"Conservation of the Winslow Papers," by Karen Brawn and Harold Holland

"Dismounting of Dry-Mounted Lansdowne Watercolours with the Aid of a Solvent Vapour Chamber," by Wanda McWilliams

Preserving Harvard's Retrospective Collections, Report of the Harvard University Library Task Group on Collection Preservation Priorities. April 1991.

Coverage of factors relating to preservation priorities is thorough, systematic and balanced, making this perhaps the best treatment of the subject in print. On page 20 is a good description of scholars' patterns of research and use of periodicals in back files--a matter relevant to preservation but rarely described so carefully. Factors to consider in setting preservation priorities for nine formats of materials are discussed in one chapter. Retrospective conversion is seen as very important, as is full cataloging of microfilm . There is an appendix on "The Acidic and Brittle Paper Problem and its Solutions," in which the questionable permanence of recycled paper is pointed out.

The book is well-designed, and printed on an esthetically pleasing, off-white, alkaline paper. The writing style is occasionally awkward, and there is no index, but the organization is clear and the report should go a long way toward focussing Harvard's preservation efforts. Some members of the Task Group were Kenneth E. Carpenter (Chair), Wolfgang M. Freitag and Carolyn Clark Morrow.

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International Paper History is a new newsletter published by an old organization, the International Association of Paper Historians (IPH). Vol. 1 #1 appeared in May as a separately paged supplement to Das Papier. It is also distributed separately-at least the exchange copy to the Abbey Newsletter came separately. It will be a newsletter and journal, much like the Abbey Newsletter. Besides the usual departments, it has short substantive articles, including one entitled "Old Books Can Be Rescued: Battelle Builds German Pilot Plant for Paper Deacidification.

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"Books as Books or Books as Things: Reflections of a Bibliophile an Certain Trends in Bookbinding and the Book Arts," by Geoff Spencer. CBBAG Newsletter, Summer 1991, p. 3-6. An articulate contribution to the Art vs. Craft controversy. The author, who is the founder of the Alcuin Society, defends Craft, to which a touch of artistry may be added, against "those-frustrated artists or would-be artists-who, having stumbled on bookbinding, feel compelled to use the book as a launching platform for artistic creation.

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The German Tradition in Teaching Hand Bookbinding in the United States," by Tom Conroy. CBBAG Newsletter, Summer 1991, p. 10-11. The distinctive North American contribution in bookbinding, the author says, is in the mixing and rethinking of the modern English tradition via Douglas Cockerell and the German tradition, which came to us through Ignatz Wiemeler (1895-1952). Seventeen well-known American binders are in this German tradition.

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Bookways, a forthcoming quarterly devoted to contemporary book arts, especially printing, will fill the niche vacated by Fine Print, which last appeared a year ago. (Although there has been no formal announcement of the demise of Fine Print, if it appears again that will be news.) The publisher is W. Thomas Taylor, Inc. (1906 Miriam Ave., Austin, TX 78722-1714). Managing Editor is Anita Prewett (512/4787414). Subscriptions will be $46 per year for domestic bulk-mail delivery; a full rate schedule is available. Each issue will include a newsletter called Counter as an insert.

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"Conservation Training in Latin America," by Suzanne Deal Booth. WAAC Newsletter 13/2, May 1991, P. 19-21. Twelve programs are described, of which at least two cover paper conservation.

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"Letter from London: Conservation Training Programs in London: Camberwell College of Arts," by Melissa McAfee. CAN #46, July 1991, p. 28, 30. Camberwell offers two undergraduate degrees and one graduate degree in conservation. Students in the master's program can focus on art on paper, book structures, archival materials or photographic materials.

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"Book Restoration Certificate Course, Sydney Technical College, School of Graphic Arts," by James Elwing. This is a three-year course, with a specialist fourth year, reported on P. 9-10 of the AICCM National Newsletter #38, March 1991.

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"Materials for Conservation: A Summer Course," by Sally Shelton. SPNHC Newsletter 5/1, Feb. 1991, p. 4. This describes a short course taught at the Institute of Archaeology in London by Velson Horie, and based on his book of the same name. It was "tremendously beneficial to the participants."

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Kvävedioxids effekter på papper (Effects of Nitrogen Dioxide on Paper), by Tommy Iversen and Jiri Kolar. (FoU-projektet för papperskonservering, Rapport nr 5) Although this report is written in Swedish, there is a three-page English s and all the figure legends are translated to English. This was a pilot project to determine whether normal urban concentrations Of N02 can affect the aging stability of paper. High gas concentrations, rather than high temperatures, were used for accelerated aging. Only brightness of mechanical pulp papers was adversely affected.

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An informative report of a lecture by David Helliwell given last November ("Chinese Binding Structures and their Conservation") is on p. 6-7 of the March Paper Conservation News. Both speaker and reporter are from the Bodleian Library.

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The process of recovering from the terrible fire of May 1988 at the USSR Academy of Sciences in Leningrad is described in three recent articles:

"Phased Conservation at the Library of the USSR Academy of Sciences," by Irina Belyaeva. CAN, July, p. 1-2, 7.

"Computerization of the Phased Conservation Project at the Library of the USSR Academy of Sciences," by Andrei Yu. Soloviev. CAN, July, P. 3, 26.

"Conservation and Disaster Recovery," by John E. McIntyre. Lib. Cons. News 30, Jan. 1991, p. 5-6.

Bibliographies & Other Lists

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There is a 13-item bibliography of books written in English on the history of Chinese and Japanese bookbinding in the Belgian newsletter, De Boekbinder, for March. It is followed by a five-item bibliography of the history of Chinese bookbinding, of books in Chinese; and by a 15-item list of books in Japanese. All titles are given in English.

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The Datek Imaging Supplies Monthly for May gives the sources (types) of principal toner binders for 25 companies. The most popular ones are styrene acrylic and polyester, and the least popular ones are polystyrene and polyamide. Others used are styrene butadiene, acrylic and epoxy. Counting the "miscellaneous" binders, each company uses 1-4 different binders.

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The first report of the Arthur Salm Foundation of the Collectors Club of Chicago appeared in March, giving permanence test data on 64 stamp album pages. The names and suppliers of the album pages are given, along with test results on each, but the pages are not evaluated or compared. Six of them had a pH below 5.0 before aging, and many had a negligible alkaline reserve even though their pH ranged up to 7.5. No groundwood or reduced sulfur was found in say of the pages, but the testing lab found alum every time they looked for it. The grain of each page (short or long) was noted, because they realize that a page will perform better and last longer if the grain is parallel to the binding. Similar reports will be prepared every year. Tests are currently under way on hinges, mounts and pages with plastic covers. The Foundation, by the way, is an independent nonprofit corporation. The Collectors Club of Chicago gives it office space at 1029 North Dearborn St., Chicago, IL 60610. The report is available without charge to interested collectors upon receipt of a business length envelope with 29¢ postage on it.

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