The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 17, Number 2
Sep 1993


Reviews


Integrated Pest Management in Museum, Library and Archival Facilities, by James D. Harmon. $45.50 prepaid from Harmon Preservation Pest Management, PO Box 40262, Indianapolis, IN 46240. Looseleaf hardcover notebook. 1993. 140 pp.


Reviewed by Thomas A. Parker, Ph.D.

Thomas A. Parker is an entomologist and President of Pest Control Services, Inc., 14 East Stratford Ave., Lansdowne, PA 19050 (215/284-6249; fax 622-3037).

Any Integrated Pest Management program designed for a sensitive setting, such as a library or archive, a historic, cultural, ethnographic, art or natural history museum, or an architectural treasure, must be aimed at prevention as well as control of pest problems. Museum professionals cannot wait until part of a valuable artifact or structure is in the stomach of an insect or rodent before reacting to a pest problem. Therefore, any text or guide published for setting up such a program must first analyze the reasons particular pests become problems in such settings, how they have gained access to the structure and/or its contents, and what conditions have enabled the infestation to begin before the IPM program can be properly designed and implemented. Emphasis must be placed on the exterior and interior environments, the location of the structure in its environment, the physical plant and its mechanical systems, the types of collections housed within, proper storage of artifacts, exhibit design to prevent pest infestation, loan practices and policies, procedures for incoming exhibits, food facilities and vending areas, pest biology and importance to the structure and collections, and finally direct elimination of existing infestation.

Advertised as "a complete 'How-To' guide to conducting Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs in museums, library and archival facilities," unfortunately this notebook misses the mark by a wide margin. Instead of a manual that "walks the user through a complete IPM program from design and development to implementation and maintenance," this publication leaves the reader with a series of disjointed, often technically incorrect, passages about many topics relating to IPM programs in general. The specific elements of an IPM program, with suggestions and recommendations for detailed implementation at each juncture, have not been logically or conveniently packaged for the reader.

The author presents topics by briefly highlighting some of the actual or potential pest problems found in such facilities, but time and again he leaves the reader without any practical solutions to them. For instance, it takes 105 pages before the author presents a practical pest preventive recommendation of bagging items susceptible to pest attack for storage in resealable polyethylene bags. In Section 4.2.2, Lighting, he states, "Lights act as a magnet to attract all types of insects, . . ." but gives the reader no information about the correct usage of various kinds of interior and exterior lighting to reduce their attractiveness to insects. Most of the book is devoted to discussions of various means of disinfesting artifacts (the easiest part of any IPM program), instead of explanations for having a particular infestation in the first place, and recommendations for its prevention.

James D. Harmon holds a B.S. in Urban and Industrial Entomology from Purdue University and an M.S. from Virginia Polytechnic Institute in a similar discipline. After college, he was employed by Van Waters & Rogers, a chemical and equipment supply house in southern California, for three years. After leaving this position, he was hired as a pest management specialist in the Facilities Department of UCLA where, for the past two years, he has been instrumental in the development of an IPM program for the Fowler Museum of Cultural History, the Clark Library and the University Research Library.

Like most attempts at tackling the subject of IPM in museums, historic properties, libraries and archives, this notebook begins with a discussion of the definitions and principles of IPM and moves to a section entitled Pest Identification, where a page with a line drawing of each insect contains a brief summary of the pest, its habits, biology, and some information about the damage the pest may cause. This section does not give the reader sufficient information about the prevalence of each pest in a museum setting, its potential threat to collections, the reason it may be a pest and the kinds of situations where one might encounter this pest. The section detailing the carpet beetles is particularly poor, because it does not impress upon the reader which species of dermestids are the most likely to affect the health of susceptible collections. Except for the sugar-cured ham hanging in a smokehouse of a historic plantation, or very rarely in the skin preparation room of a natural history museum, hide beetles, such as D. maculatus and D. ater, are rarely encountered. Certain smaller dermestids are a much more frequently encountered problem in museum collections and the author should emphasize that the IPM program will be targeted at the control and prevention of these important pests.

In the section detailing the wood-boring beetles, the Death Watch Beetle is mentioned and illustrated. The Death Watch Beetle, Xestobium rufovillosum DeGeer, is so rare in the United States as to be practically nonexistent. It is so rare, in fact, that Dr. Harry B. Moore in his Introduction to: Wood Destroying Insects, Their Identification, Biology, Prevention and Control, does not list it and states, "The deathwatch beetle has been introduced into this country from England, but it has never become widespread or of much significance." Mr. Harmon, by including this insect in his Pest ID section, totally misleads the reader. Technical errors in this section are too numerous to detail in this short review. Some opinions of the author are difficult to support, such as his recommendation that populations of house centipedes and spiders "should be encouraged where ever (sic) possible." On page 54, the two lower left color plates of insect pests are mislabeled. Both are photos of Webbing Clothes Moths, not Casemaking Clothes Moths. On page 55, the author should have labeled the wooden figurine "Old, Inactive Powder Post Beetle Damage to Wooden Figurine" to give the reader a sense of what inactive evidence of Powder Post Beetle damage looks like.

The next section, entitled "Integrated Pest Management Components," contains quite a few mistaken opinions of the author. He seems to think cigarette beetles are a major problem in museums, libraries and archives, for he mentions them often and advocates the use of pheromone traps for their detection and control. They are a problem in herbaria, and in the United States only rarely may be a problem in books (bookworms) and dried vegetable matter, such as dried flower arrangements, corn husk dolls, particular toy soldier collections and paper mache materials. Unless a museum contains large collections of such susceptibles and has previously noted an active infestation, the cost of such a cigarette beetle pheromone trapping program does not warrant its use. His statement on page 73 that dried flower arrangements harbor carpet and other dermestid beetles is simply not accurate. Neither is his statement on page 78 that "the Serrico and Fuji 87 traps are specific for the Cigarette (sic) beetle (Bookworm)." The Serrico trap is designed for cigarette beetles and the Fuji 87 trap is to be used for drugstore beetles.

There are certain limited sections of this publication that deserve acknowledgement. For instance, the section devoted to the use of nitrogen and/or Ageless as a "fumigant" explains their use sufficiently to enable most readers to make an informed decision about their inclusion in an IPM program. However, to state, as the author has done on page 84, that "fumigants that either have been abandoned or discontinued include. . . carbon dioxide" leaves the reader with the conclusion that this gas is not longer a viable candidate as a fumigant. This is simply not true.

The bibliography is fairly accurate and helpful. The reference for Mallis, A. should be 1990, not 1982. To the credit of the author, he has included a registration form so that he can keep purchasers' names and addresses on file for future updates.

I could continue this chapter-by-chapter review, but by now the reader must be feeling that Integrated Pest Management in Museum, Library and Archival Facilities needs major work in order to become the manual for which it is advertised. On page 17, in the section entitled "Putting it All Together," the author states, "We have established and (sic) IPM program that will prevent insects and other pests from entering the facility and monitor and control them if they do enter." After carefully reviewing this work, I do not feel confident that we have.


Advances in Preservation and Access. Vol. 1. Barbara Buckner Higginbotham and Mary E. Jackson, eds. Westport, CT: Meckler Corp., 1992. 297 pp.


Reviewed by Thomas F.R. Clareson

Thomas F.R. Clareson is Manager of the AMIGOS Preservation Service, a preservation information and education resource based in Dallas, Texas.

Advances in Preservation and Access, Volume 1, provides a historical context for where the field is today, and outlines the diverse issues which preservation and information professionals will need to grapple with in the future.

The work is divided into six parts:

Each of these sections includes one or more essays. Many of the essays collected in the volume have been previously published and will be familiar to preservation professionals; however, bringing them together in this format is helpful in providing a well-rounded view of the field.

While the title of the work is Advances in Preservation and Access, the collected essays are of a more historical and issues-oriented nature than one might expect. With its highly-readable study of some of the key organizations and "watershed events" in the preservation field, this volume could serve well as a textbook on preservation for library school students. The best portions of the work, however, mix the philosophical questions of preservation with the historical information.

The key essays in the book each provide a springboard for further research and opinion. By outlining important discussion points, Patricia Battin's essay, " 'As Far Into the Future as Possible' = Choice and Cooperation in the 1990s," and Peter G. Sparks' "Technical Considerations in Choosing Mass Deacidification Processes" confront the reader, and make one hope that future projects and published reports will take into account the questions they pose.

Paul J. Fasano and John P. Baker, in an essay on "Preservation's Place in the Library's Organization and Budget," point out key resources for preservation and library administrators to use in planning for preservation. In an essay republished from The American Archivist, Janet E. Gertz provides excellent segues from discussion of an institutional preservation program, to selection for preservation microfilming, to the central components of an institutional preservation microfilming program. And Nancy Gwinn's "Politics and Practical Realities: Environmental Issues for the Library Administrator" is both effective and entertaining in its style.

Almost all of the essays in Advances in Preservation and Access point to the importance of collaborative/cooperative work to confront the challenges and opportunities which preservation presents. One hopes that, using the historical background and well-defined viewpoints included in this volume as a "launching pad," future volumes of Advances in Preservation and Access will report on movement forward on any number of preservation fronts.


The Future of Hand-Bookbinding, by Samuel B. Ellenport. Boston: The Harcourt Bindery, 1993. 39 pp. $130 postpaid from the publisher at 51 Melcher St., Boston, MA 02210.


Reviewed by John P. Chalmers

John P. Chalmers is Curator of Special Collections at the Chicago Public Library.

When I first glanced at this and had a quick look at the illustrations I thought that here is an elegant promotion of the business of the Harcourt Bindery: a little book in the style of those remarkable Lakeside Press productions of the twenties--Extra Binding at the Lakeside Press, 1925, and especially A Rod for the Back of the Binder, 1928. I was wrong.

This is a cogently written 9000-word essay in which the history of the business of hand-bookbinding since the mid-1940s is carefully outlined in fourteen pages by someone who lived through much of it. This is followed by some firmly stated considerations for the future. The history will be familiar to anyone who has been connected with recent preservation and conservation enterprise in libraries, but it is superbly succinct and there are some observations that carried me far beyond an understanding that the Florence flood of November 1966 was the fundamental catalyst for change in the period.

For example, one factor in the successful revival of interest in hand-binding by a younger generation in the 1960s and 1970s was "the lack of a middle generation of craftsmen that otherwise would have been an impediment to any rapid assimilation of craft skills outside the traditional learning patterns" (16), i.e., the apprenticeship system which collapsed at the end of World War II in 1946. Ellenport explains why the collapse, and indeed, why the middlemen were not there as well.

The historical section will be valuable as a record, and as a source for people working in the field of preservation and conservation. The second section is full of predictions for the future which will be of interest to anyone involved in the three areas of "design binding; hand-edition work and traditional presentation leather binding; and conservation, repair and restoration."

To give a few examples:

In the area of design binding, the recession of the 1990/91 period will level off. Young binders, who are more and more technically-challenged, are attracted to the field and will broaden the choices collectors have in "design, technical execution and price" (23). Prices will be regularized.

The economics of the book trade, and especially the second-hand book trade, are such that hand bookbinding is now so expensive that edition binding is done according to cheaper standards, or abandoned for mechanical processes. There will always be a limited need for presentation and other special bindings, such as memorial volumes and pulpit Bibles.

The greatest area for growth, financial reward, and power, is in conservation, restoration, and repair, especially as librarians, administrators, and binders recognize the need for collection maintenance, and as the book is increasingly treated as an artifact in this automated age.

Nevertheless, there are serious problems. Standards for collection maintenance are not well established, and there is a serious lack of preservation librarians.

And a sustained theme of the last paragraphs is the lack of the old-style bench training of the latest generation of hand-binders which the "first" and "second" generation of binders of the present period underwent. Ellenport is talking about people such as Mansfield, Powell, Middleton, Robinson, Anthony, Peller, and Johnson for the first, and in the proselytizing second generation he mentions: Frost, Etherington, Pensky-Adam, Evetts, Bourbeau, and Thenen. The lack of "disciplined, repetitive bench training" results in a loss of production. "Confidence and dexterity" is lost, and treatments which should take only a few hours take many.

The lack of such training, especially in the conservation, repair and restoration area, is just beginning to be recognized. Classes and workshop training are not a substitute. Much more serious, training provided by binders who have attended a few classes and workshops is not effective. Contemporary binding styles reflect this training problem: sewing and forwarding are carried out competently, but finishing is not. Ellenport's third generation, for the most part well educated, is informed about materials and techniques but not very productive. He claims that "limited technique and decision making, rather than speed and skill" are developed.

The flyer advertising this book claims that it is a "provocative study." There is no question that many in the "design" and others in the "conservation, restoration, and repair" areas will find it so.

It is a handsome and elegant book, beautifully bound at the Harcourt Bindery in cloth over light boards that perfectly match the slim textblock of Magnani mould-made paper. There is a tipped-in colored frontispiece and other black and white illustrations of the author and of some of his colleagues at work at Harcourt. (The halftones are so fine that for a moment I thought they were collotypes.) The edition is limited to 150 copies, designed by Bruce Chandler and printed with Janson types by Daniel Keleher.

My only reservation is that this essay, which covers much that is essential in few words, is not more widely available in a less elegant and less expensive dress. (Ellenport's other monograph, An Essay on the Development & Usage of Brass Plate Dies including a Catalogue Raisonné from the collection of the Harcourt Bindery, 1980, is similarly exclusionary.) Perhaps the essay has been printed elsewhere, or the author will allow it to be reprinted.

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