The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 16, Number 5
Oct 1992


Literature

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In Restauro 1/92, p. 13-14, there is an English-language report, by Gerhard Banik and Gabriela Krist, of the two-month ICCROM Paper Conservation Course that was given at Horn-Vienna, last fall. There were 15 participants from 13 countries, all of whom were asked to give presentations themselves based on their own experience. The first quarter of the course covered scientific principles and guidelines for preservation; the next, biodeterioration and pest control; the next, taught by Cathy Baker, Western approaches to paper conservation; and the last, Oriental techniques of paper conservation. The first half of the course had significant preservation elements in the curriculum. (1D4)

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"Guidelines for Selecting a Conservator" is a brochure prepared in 1991 for the American Institute for Conservation, to give private collectors guidance in choosing someone to treat their artifacts. It refers to information sources, but not specific conservators or even lists of conservators. Like the following brochure, it is available from the AIC, 1400 16th St N, Suite 340, Washington, DC 20036 (202/232-6636, Fax 232-6630) (1H3)

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The American Institute for Conservation has a bibliography of about 50 references on care of private collections of art and heirlooms, called "Caring for Your Treasures: Books to Help You." Twelve of these references relate to care of books and paper. Most of these 12 are books, but three are 14-page pamphlets from the Historic New Orleans Collections:

Write to the Historic New Orleans Collections, 533 Royal St., New Orleans, I-A 70130, or call 504/523-4662. (1H3)

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Mass Deacidification: A Report to the Library Directors. Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) Task Force on Mass Deacidification, April 1992. 175 pp.

The Task Force, chaired by Richard Frieder of Northwestern University Libraries, was charged in 1989 by the directors of the CIC libraries to help position their units for action on mass deacidification. The report describes the Task Force's investigation of organizational and operational issues such as selection, in-library processing costs, treatment records, quality control, and contracting for mass deacidification, and chemistry issues such as process effectiveness, treatment side effects, and toxicological risks. Much of the Task Force's work was based on a series of test runs performed with two vendors of mass deacidification services, Akzo Chemicals Inc. and the FMC Corporation.

Although the report is intended for use of the CIC libraries, it contains much information of interest to other institutions. Copies are available for $12 + $3 postage and handling from: CIC, 302 E. John St., Suite 1705, Champaign, IL 61820 (217/333-8475; Fax 244-7127). (2D5)

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"A Spectroscopic Evaluation of the Efficacy of Two Mass Deacidification Processes," by Andrew N. MacInnes and Andrew R. Barron, both of Harvard University. Draft of an unpublished 18-page paper submitted to Journal of Materials Chemistry (Royal Society of Chemistry). Received at Abbey Publications July 1992.

Paper treated by DEZ or MG-3 (the FMC process) was analyzed by several spectroscopic methods to identify the nature and location within the paper of the alkaline reserve buffer. The DEZ process resulted in uniform distribution of throughout the paper, whereas the MG-3 process did not deposit a buffer salt uniformly, and what was deposited as a mixture of species, including the unhydrolyzed complex.

The authors make suggestions for the improvement of the MG-3 process. Neither process deposits a buffer salt at the core of coated paper, but the authors have suggestions for overcoming this obstacle too. (2D5)

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The Effects of Relative Humidity on Some Physical Properties of Modern Vellum: Implications for the Optimum Relative Humidity for the Display and Storage of Parchment, by Eric F. Hansen, Steve N. Lee and Harry Sobel. This study is summarized and appraised by Chris Ward in the July Commission on Preservation and Access Newsletter, and the research was also reported by Hansen at the 1991 AIC conference in the Book and Paper Group, as "Factors to be Considered in Determining the Optimum Relative Humidity for the Display and Storage of Parchment." Tear resistance and the force with which the parchment shrank as it dried were measured at RHs between 60% and 11%, and the higher RH at which gelatinization, biological growth and increased deterioration occur was noted. The tentative recommendation is for storage between 25% and 40% RH, with the ideal seen as 30% ± 5%. More work is needed, of course, to address questions such as ideal RH for inks and pigments on the surface of the parchment, but as Chris Ward says, "Those higher levels of RH for which we have been striving may not be in the long-term interest of the documents after all."

This research is, in effect, the first paragraph in what could be a declaration of independence from the respected but totally untested European tradition of storing at 50% RH or higher. If the work is carried out to its conclusion, that is, to the point where practical recommendations can be made from it with confidence, the payoff would be the extended life of parchment in collections throughout the world. (3D)

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"Practical Aspects of Plastics Found in Archives," by Alan Calmes. Restaurator 13:1, 1992. The great variety of plastics used in records of all sorts in the last 50 years is impressive. Early photocopy paper, for instance, was sometimes coated with plastic, and the toner used in plain paper copiers today is a mixture of copolymers and carbon black. Then there are the various film bases, sound recordings, laminations and encapsulations for paper, adhesives, sheets, even gears.... The list goes on and on. This article is good for consciousness-raising and can serve as a basic reference guide or manual, as long as it is supplemented by more detailed guides for special uses. (3E)

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"Preservation Packet: Care, Handling and Storage of Photographs." IFLA Core Programme: Preservation and Conservation, Library of Congress, National Preservation Office, Washington, DC 20540. 1992. There are four items in this packet, neatly reproduced on alkaline paper: 1) a list of eight standards from ANSI (one sheet), 2) a list of nine suppliers, eight of which are in the U.S. and one of which has branches in the UK, Canada and Australia, 3) an eight-page booklet on the care, handling, and storage of photographs, by Mark Roosa, and 4) a 38-item bibliography of items published mostly in the U.S. (3F)

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University Microfilms International's two videos on care of preservation microfilms are no longer being offered free, but they are still available, for $9.95 each, postpaid. Order by phone at 800/521-3042 (in Canada, 800/343-5299, ext. 3781)

They are: "Providing a Future for the Past" and "Caring for,, Your Microform Collection: The Next Step in Preservation. They have been viewed at the Abbey office, and they are accurate, persuasive, well-done and up to date. (3F3)

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There is a short bibliography (five items) on preservation and reproduction of recordings on p. 118-119 of the Spring 1992 ARSC Journal. One of the items discusses modern equipment for playing cylinder sound recordings, from Gramophone, May 1991. (3H)

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