The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 17, Number 3
Aug 1993


[Note: Each entry is followed by a classification number, to enable it to be indexed by subject in the yearly index.]


Preserved to Serve: The Massachusetts Preservation Agenda was issued by the state Task Force on Preservation and Access. It provides the foundation for future work between the Archives and state Board of Library Commissioners. Copies are available on request from Martha Clark, 220 Morrissey Blvd., Boston, MA 02125. (1G3)


Bricks and Mortar for the Mind: Statewide Preservation Program for Rhode Island, by the Rhode Island Council for the Preservation of Research Resources. Providence: Rhode Island Dept. of State Library Services, Sept. 1992. 23 pp. This report is reviewed in the July CAN by Robert E. Schnare, who considered the work of the concerned individuals who organized the program a model for other states to emulate, especially in regard to the disaster manual. Copies are available in paper or on disk from Beth Perry, Rhode Island Dept. of State Library Services, 300 Richmond St., Providence, RI 02903. (1G3)


A statistical report of preservation activities (books and documents treated) in all 50 state archives and records management programs is on p. 17 of the Summer 1992 NAGARA Clearinghouse, in an article entitled "1991 NAGARA Statistical Report for State Records Management and Archives Programs," by Jim Berberich, p. 7-19. The treatment categories are

Sheets cleaned Volumes rebound
Sheets repaired Volumes disbound
Sheets deacidified Volumes repaired
Sheets laminated Volumes bound (new)
Sheets encapsulated  

States that reported the most work on sheets were Florida, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee and Texas; those reporting the most work on books were Florida, Georgia, and Nebraska. North Carolina reported the most cleaning and repairing; Kentucky reported over twice as much deacidification as any other state; only two states (Illinois and Ohio) reported any lamination; and Texas reported 17,077 encapsulations, more than all the rest put together. (1G3)


The Publications Catalog of the American Society for Quality Control for Fall and Winter 1993 has 10 pages of listings of books on service quality, applicable to government agencies, schools, hospitals and other institutions. To order the catalog by phone, call 800/248-1946. (1G7)


Preservation in Libraries: Principles, Strategies and Practises for Librarians. ISBN 0 86291 632 1.

Preservation in Libraries: A Reader. ISBN 0 86291 608 9.

Both of these books are by Douglas Ross Harvey, who did such a good job with his first manual on this topic, Preservation in Australian and New Zealand Libraries: Principles, Strategies and Practices for Librarians in 1990. Published by Bowker Saur at £30 per volume or £54 for both. They get a very favorable review in the Summer 1993 Library Conservation News from Marie Jackson, who was the National Preservation Officer at the British Library from 1988-92. (2.2)


Protecting Records, by Harmon Smith. A Guide for Local Governments, issued by the National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators (NAGARA). First published March 1992; revised June 1993. 23 pp. This edition is a noticeable improvement over the first one, but it is still not the exemplary manual for local records managers that one expects from NAGARA. The section on "Records Control," for instance, covers storage conditions and environmental control for preservation of paper in less than two pages, is inaccurate or misleading in places and does not cover pest control at all. The bibliography is good. Twelve of the 27 references relate to disasters, a subject emphasized in the text as well. Copies may be ordered at $3 each from NAGARA Publications, CHMS, 48 Howard St., Albany, NY 12207 (518/463-8644). (2.4)


Conservation Concerns: A Guide for Collectors and Curators, edited by Konstanze Bachmann. Cooper-Hewitt National Museum of Design, New York, Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington and London, 1992. ISBN 1 56098 174 1. 150 pp. Available from Smithsonian Institution Press, Dept. 900, Blue Ridge Summit, PA 17294 (717/794-2148) for $12.95 + $2.25 postage & handling. Alison Richmond gives this a good review in the June Paper Conservation News, saying, "It is simple enough to be easily understood by the non-specialist but sophisticated enough to be useful for anyone formally involved in collection care. It is very practical and full of common sense, e.g. lights in storage areas should be turned off when areas are not in use." (2.4)


Preserving Archives and Manuscripts, by Mary Lynn Ritzenthaler. 1992. (SAA Archival Fundamentals Series) $25 for SAA nonmembers, + postage & handling, from Society of American Archivists (312/922-0140). If this is anything like the author's 1983 Archives & Manuscripts: Conservation; A Manual on Physical Care and Management, it can be recommended without reservation. (2.2)


"Relative Humidity: A Discussion of Correct/Incorrect Values," by Stefan Michalski. Preprints of the ICOM Committee for Conservation, 10th Triennial Meeting, Washington, DC, 22-27 August 1993, p. 624-629. The author traces the history of currently accepted recommendations of relative humidity levels (before and after the introduction of central heating), and examines how different materials in artifacts expand, contract, deteriorate, fade, flow and go moldy when RH fluctuates or exceeds the recommended range for longer or shorter periods. (2C1.3)


"Preservation Film: Platform for Digital Access Systems," by C. Lee Jones. Published as a separately-paged insert to the Commission on Preservation and Access Newsletter, July 1993. 3 pp. Now that Kodak will no longer manufacture the MRD microfilm camera, which has been standard equipment for over 50 years, eventually it will be replaced in use by superior cameras now made in Europe, the best of which can achieve a resolution of 200 lines per millimeter, or over 5,000 dots per inch. This makes filming, rather than digital scanning, the logical method for the initial capture of text on deteriorating paper. When used together with the newly available continuous tone filming, these new cameras can capture continuous tone images with great fidelity. The author strongly advocates use of this new technology, rather than scanning, because it serves the long-term information needs of the future better. He concludes, "The preservation reformatting goal of every library, archive, museum, and historical society needs to be to prepare preservation microfilm for the digital present and future. We can not afford to preserve materials more than once. To simply reformat endangered materials into a form resistant to scanning or one that complicates scanning is a serious disservice to scholars and researchers of the future." (2E)


"The Reproduction of Library Materials in 1991," by Glenda J. Pearson. Library Resources & Technical Services, v. 36, #3, July 1992, p. 339-359. A bibliographic review of major concerns, including bibliographic control, copyright, document delivery, equipment, technical aspects, publishing, and standards. (2E)


Preservation of Electronic Formats & Electronic Formats for Preservation. Edited by Janice Mohlhenrich. Published 1993 by Highsmith Press, W5527 Highway 106, PO Box 800, Fort Atkinson, WI 53538-0800. 144 pp. ISBN 0-917846-17-6. $25. This volume contains the published proceedings of a conference of the same name, hosted June 3-4, 1992, by WISPPR (Wisconsin Preservation Program). The volume can be ordered from the publisher or from WISPPR, 728 State St., Room 464, Madison, WI 53706-1494.

There is a 15-page annotated bibliography and a two-page glossary, mainly of acronyms. The question and answer periods following each paper have been transcribed and are included, which is a service to the reader. The most questions were asked after the paper by Fynette Eaton: over six pages.

The papers in this volume are:

Anne R. Kenney - The Role of Digital Technology in the Preservation of Research Library Materials

Michael B. Pate - The Marquette Electronic Archive

Fynnette L. Eaton - The National Archives and Electronic Records for Preservation

Basil Manns - The Electronic Document Image Preservation Format

Mark Arps - CD-ROM: Archival Considerations

Don Willis - The Resolution Factor in Preserving Page-Based Materials

This is pretty heavy stuff, not the sort of literature you can read through once and carry in your head thereafter. It is clearly written, and each author can be read independently of the others by nonspecialists; but this book will be most useful if it is also used as a handy reference work. Basil Manns, of the Library of Congress, gives five criteria for the development of a preservation electronic image format; the first criterion is to capture the image at the highest possible image quality. He says that optical media are more durable, and their longevity seems to be more understood. Michael Pate, on the other hand, believes that electronic text has special advantages: the value of the material is enhanced by wider scope, organization, indexing and transferability; the format also facilitates dissemination outside the walls of the library or archives. (Robert W. Stewart reviews this publication knowledgeably and at length in the July CAN.) (2E3)


NAGARA's Committee on Information Technology (NCIT) has surveyed the state governments on their optical imaging policies, and drawn up its own list of 12 recommendations to prevent the loss of the information on optical disks. It is on p. 6 of the Fall 1992 NAGARA Clearinghouse. (2E3)


"Does This Project Deserve the Erasmus Prize? Some Troubling Thoughts about a Large Electronic Imaging Project," by Robert W. Stewart. CAN, July 1993, p. 4-5, 33-35. 21-item bibliography. The project under discussion is the massive document imaging effort begun in 1986 at the Archivo General de Indias, in Seville, Spain, which was described in a CPA report by Hans Rütimann and M. Stuart Lynn in 1992. The Erasmus Prize was established in 1958 to honor persons or institutions that have made an exceptionally important contribution to European culture. The Archivo received this prize in 1992.

Eight million pages of documents, out of the 85,000,000 in the Archivo, were selected for digitizing or scanning onto optical disks. Plans are to convert the entire collection to digital format. The four goals of the project are given as

Stewart makes a case that the first three goals have not been fulfilled. Electronic image management, he says, is best suited for documents with a short period of high use, rapid retrieval time, and brief usage (sometimes by two or more users at a time), and stored in large numbers in a limited space. This, he says, is the opposite of what one finds in most archives; in fact, records are put into archives because they are no longer used in such fashion. Furthermore, the project is not designed to accommodate the way real researchers actually use documents in archives.

An official in the Ministry of Culture is reported to have claimed that preservation is one of the goals of the project; but in fact, standards are inadequate, and no one knows how long these digital and optical records will last. Where standards exist, the project has often ignored them, for instance on resolution of images, which were scanned at 100 dots per inch, which is just above the limit of readability and only 1/6 of the resolution required for archival quality.

As for making the records more available to users, there appear to be no plans for putting them online nationally. Users still have to travel to the Archivo to use its collection. Stewart says it would have been better to spend the ten million dollars on "judicious conservation work on some documents and high quality microfilming of the entire collection." Then they could have moved into electronic image management and developed a hybrid system. (2E3)


"Working in Major Manuscript Collections: Some Observations," by R. McK. Gazette du livre médiéval No. 22, Printemps 1993, p. 1-7. The author's observations center on the extent to which the needs of the reader or scholar are compatible with the librarians' concerns for conservation and security. This is an issue not often addressed in print, and hardly ever addressed so frankly in print by a scholar. In order to surmount the "idiosyncratic obstacles towards the goal of acquiring a reader's ticket," the author says,

Any visitor is advised to write in advance with full details of what you want to see, when, and why. Always arrive at any library armed with two passport photographs of yourself, a letter of introduction, your passport, and a reasonable sum of money.

Some libraries limit the number of books you can have at once; some books may be available only on microfilm, but there is no way of knowing which ones these will be before visiting the library. The substitution of microfilm for the original is the writer's main complaint. There is praise here too, however, for the libraries that have laudable policies, such as keeping lists of all the people who have consulted each valuable manuscript, and providing adequate care of the books once they are in readers' hands. (2E4)


An English-language description by Manfred Koller of the Hofburg fire, in Vienna, November 27, 1992, is on p. 50-51 in Conservation News for July 1993. (2F7)


An informative report of the Second International Conference on the Biodeterioration of Cultural Property (Yokohama, October 1992), by Linda Hillyer, is on p. 25-26 in the July Conservation News. (This is the newsletter of the United Kingdom Institute for Conservation.) (2H1)


"Audiovisual Aids on the Preservation and Conservation of Library and Archival Materials," by Susan Swartzburg. CAN #49, April 1992. Over 60 videotapes and slide-tape programs are listed with ample information on each: year, running time, format, producer/distributor with address, and summary. Many items cover bookbinding, repair, papermaking, and other procedures that are hard to describe with words alone. Almost all the items are on books, paper or photographs. (3.1)


Abstracts of the Nineteenth Annual IIC-CG Conference, Halifax 1993. Copies available from IIC-CG, PO Box 9195, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1G 3T9. In English (37 pages) and French. The directory of contributors on p. 36-37 gives full addresses, so that copies of the entire papers can be requested. Papers of interest to book and paper conservators include

Heather Rusk - "Caring for Works of Art on Paper at the Seagram Museum." A condition survey revealed that many works of art on paper had a high pH because of previous treatment with Wei T'o. In consultation with the Canadian Conservation Institute, the Museum decided to attempt to remove the buffer salts. Preliminary results have been encouraging.

Maureen MacDonald - "Using Electronic Data Loggers." Monitoring instruments have become electronic and have shrunk in size--"Hygrothermographs, which are usually bigger than a lunch box, have been replaced by data loggers the size of a package of dental floss." Statistics and graphs can be generated in a few minutes; the data loggers can be used to activate alarms when systems fail.

Cecily Grzywacz - "Indoor Air Pollution: Identifying the Problem." This was a review of research at the Getty Conservation Institute on carbonyl pollutants, volatile organic compounds and passive sampling devices.

James Hoagland, Carolyn Gimian and Peter Hull - "The Video Recovery Project." A way was found to transfer open-reel 1/2-inch video tape, recorded for the most part in the 1970s, to modern video formats, by vacuuming and transferring the tapes simultaneously on the same machine. This prevented the dirt and loose oxide on the tapes from building up on the recording head. (3.3)


Papers of the Conference on Book and Paper Conservation, Budapest, 4-7 September 1990. Budapest 1993. 612 + viii p. $24 or £16 from The National Széchény Library, Kulturális és Marketing Iroda, Budapest 1827, Hungary. The volume is well edited and very reasonably priced: a bargain. [This was announced on p. 15 in the last issue, but without the price or publisher's address.] (3.3)


Book and Paper Group Annual, v. 10, 1991. American Institute for Conservation, Washington, DC, 1991. 229 p. Seven of the 18 papers in this unedited volume were not given at the conference, but were added later. Papers of interest among those late additions are:

Harald Berndt - "Acidity: A Review of Fundamentals"

Helen D. Burgess and Elzbieta Kaminska - "Evaluation and Comparison of Commercial Mass-Deacidification Processes: Part 1 - Project Planning and Selection of Materials"

Robert Espinosa and Pamela Barrios - "Joint Tacketing: A Method of Board Reattachment." (3.3)3 3-->


Conference Papers, Manchester 1992. (Papers presented to the Third International Institute of Paper Conservation Conference, at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology, 1-4 April 1992) Edited by Sheila Fairbrass. Institute of Paper Conservation, 1992. 287 pp. ISBN 0-9507268-3-4. This volume is a pleasure to consult. It is well written, edited, illustrated, printed and bound--and it was published promptly after the conference. The papers are in English, with longish summaries in French and German. The papers are grouped under the headings

Painting, Printing and Drawing Media
Albums and Sketch Books
Art on Paper
Oil Media and Stains on Paper
Sizing and Resizing
Scientific Studies and Special Papers

A fairly detailed summary of some of the papers was published in the June 1992 issue of this Newsletter, on p. 33-34 and 37, with two corrections on p. 51 of the next issue. (3.3)


"Vapor Barrier Films," by John Burke. WAAC Newsletter, May 1992, p. 13-17. This is an excellent summary of the characteristics and uses of flexible laminated vapor barrier films, originally developed for food packaging, that have proven so useful in conservation for passive humidity control, treatment of insect infestations and other purposes. Five products are listed by name, with their suppliers. Ageless and Ageless Eye, which are used to control and detect oxygen within enclosures, are also listed; they are available from Conservation Materials, Ltd. The author is Head Conservator at the Oakland Museum Conservation Center. (3.7)


"Herstellung der Einbanddecke (German-Style Case Construction)," by Dr. Brian A. Roberts. CBBAG Newsletter, Summer 1992, p. 10-14. (In English) There are 14 photographs to illustrate this description of a case construction method the author used for five years while working with Gerhard Weiss at the Lippische Landesbibliotek in Detmold, Germany. It is basically the same cover technique described in this Newsletter in April 1987 by Werner Rebsamen in his article, "Gebrochener Rücken." At the Lippische Landesbibliotek it is used mainly for rebinding of worn and damaged books. (3A3.1)


The Changing Role of Book Repair in ARL Libraries, ARL SPEC Kit #190. 1993. $40 including postage, prepaid ($25 for ARL members) from the Association of Research Libraries, Publications Department, Dept. #0692, 21 Dupont Circle NW, Station 800, Washington, DC 20036 (202/296-2296). (3A2)


CAB Newsletter, Marzo-Aprile 1993, is an issue strong on restoration of ancient books. It is all in Italian. It opens with an illustrated article by Chris Clarkson on board slotting (the Italian for which is "board slotting"). This is the same elegant method for reattaching loose boards that he described at the April 1992 IPC Manchester conference. Paul Canart's four-page article entitled "Per l'apertura delle frontiere. . . codicologiche" introduces the reader to the Gazette du livre mŽdiŽval. Then Sergio Giovannoni has a how-to article, with diagrams, on reinforcing sewing and rebacking leather books. The "Events" column lists nine conferences and courses, all outside Italy, and the "Literature" column summarizes the Getty research on parchment and relative humidity, which found that low storage RH (30%) gave parchment a much longer life than the traditional level of 50% or so. (3A)


"New Directions in Library Binding--Life after Class A. Technical Considerations: 1986 LBI Standard," by Paul Parisi. New Library Scene, April 1992, p. 10-11, 23-24. This is a good, practical discussion of some of the features of the Guide to the LBI Standard, such as collation and trimming, from the binders' viewpoint. It should help librarians understand why the binder may charge not to trim certain volumes or not to remove stiff covers of serial issues. It also explains clearly what is involved in collation, ad removal and mending.

This whole issue of New Library Scene is lively and informative, with a report of the IFLA conference in Moscow during the coup, Jim Larsen on the importance of rounding and backing, Jack Fairfield on the importance of not rounding and backing, and a profile of Robert Sibert and Bound to Stay Bound Books in Jacksonville, Illinois. (3A4)


Binding Structures in the Middle Ages: A Selection of Studies by Berthe van Regemorter. Translated and annotated by Jane Greenfield. (Studia Bibliothecae Wittockianae 3) Published 1992 by Bibliotheca Wittockiana, 21-23 rue du Bemel, B 1150 Bruxelles; and Maggs Bros. Ltd., 50 Berkeley Square, London W1X 63L, England. £115. (ISBN seems to have been omitted.) 348 pp.

This is a major work, long awaited. It makes accessible to readers of English much of the pioneering work of the Belgian bookbinder Berthe van Regemorter (sometimes referred to in this book as "BvR") on the structure of early books. A biography of BvR by Jean Irigoin is included, with bibliographies of her own works and of works cited by her, a list of bindings cited, and notes and diagrams by the translator. Among the 19 works found herein are the following:

The Binding of the Manuscripts of Saints Cuthbert and Boniface
Influence of Egypt on the Binding of Greek Manuscripts
Limp Bindings of Carolingian Manuscripts from Fulda
Bound Codex at the Time of the Neo-Hittites
Binding of the Gnostic Manuscripts Discovered at Nag Hammadi
75 Binder's Bill. (3A5.3)


Ancient and Medieval Book Materials and Techniques. Proceedings of a symposium held in Erice, Sicily, 18-25 September 1992. At head of title page: " 'Ettore Majorana' Centre for Scientific Culture, International School for the Study of Written Records." 1992. There is no price, no address to write to for information, and no ISBN number, but the people at the Istituto Centrale per la Patologia del Libro (via Milano 76, 00184 Rome, Italy) may be able to give some information.

The individual papers are paged, but the volume as a whole is not, and there is no table of contents or index included in this thick (1-1/2") volume. Most of the papers are in French, but five or six of them are in English:

"Particle-Induced X Ray-Emission with an External Beam: A Non-Destructive Technique for Material Analysis in the Study of Ancient Manuscripts," by P. Del Carmine, M. Grange, F. Lucarelli and P.A. Mandò

"English Monastic Bookbinding in the Twelfth Century," by Christopher Clarkson

"A Census of Medieval Bookbindings: Early Examples," by Carlo Federici and Francesca Pascalicchio

"Research on Structural Elements of Byzantine Bookbindings," by Konstantinos Houlis

"Sizes and Formats," [a 3-page outline of paper] by J. P. Gumbert.

One of the papers, "Facteurs de Variation de l'Epaisseur du Parchemin Italien du VIIIe au XVe Siecle," has eight authors and is 58 pages long. Another, by Paul Canart and six other authors, presents data on the composition of inks in early Greek and Latin manuscripts: "Recherches sur la Composition des Encres Utilisees dans les Manuscrits Grecs et Latins de l'Italie Meridionale au XIe Siecle." (3A5.3)


Gaylord Preservation Pathfinder No. 2: Archival Storage of Paper, by Nancy Carlson Schrock and Gisela Noack. Gaylord Brothers, Syracuse, NY (1-800/448-6160), 1993. 17 pp. Free. The sections of this booklet are headed:

Selecting Storage Materials
Preparing Collections for Storage
Case Studies (discussion of the requirements for documents, oversized documents, art on paper, pamphlets, magazines and newspapers, and ephemera).

There is a 7-item bibliography, and the Introduction refers to both the Gaylord Preservation Help Line and the American Institute for Conservation. All of the numerous items illustrated in the booklet are available from Gaylord or can be made with materials from Gaylord.

These booklets strike a reasonable balance, not often reached in such works, between clarity or simplicity (so that even beginners can understand them) and reliability or accuracy. (3A8.1)


"Print Durability on Carbonless and Thermal Papers," by A. Croce, F. Brizzi and S. Caobianco. Ind. Carta 30(9), Oct. 1992, p. 487-491 (in Italian). Nine samples of each kind of paper were light-aged under artificial light, indirect sunlight and in the dark, under controlled conditions. The carbonless papers faded rapidly, but the thermal papers "seemed likely to last more than 10 years under indirect sunlight," according to Paper & Board Abstracts v.26 #5, 1993. (3B1.24)


European Directory of Acid-Free and Permanent Book Paper. Edited by the European Foundation for Library Cooperation (EFLC)/Groupe de Lausanne, on the request and with the support of the Commission of the European Communities (address: Directorate-General X; Audiovisual, Information, Communication, Culture; "Culture Unit"; rue de Trèves 120; B-1049 Brussels; Belgium). This is part of "Reading for Pleasure," a campaign for raising European public awareness of books and reading. Publisher: Marc Walckiers, EFLC-Librime, 17, Chemin des Vieux Amis, B-1380 Lasne, Belgium. Published May 1993. 33 pp.

The Foreword is in nine languages; the Introduction, methodology section, table listing the papers, and a technical note on the self-destruction of acid paper are in English and French; the recommendations of the 1991 Experts' Meeting on "Conservation of Acid Paper Materials and the Use of Permanent Paper" are all in English. Over 100 types of permanent book paper are listed, produced by 37 manufacturers in 14 European countries.

The Experts' Meeting at which the CEC decided to publish this booklet was reported in the February 1992 issue of this Newsletter, on p. 2. This booklet lists its recommendations, which are worded like resolutions. Four of the eight are given below.

The Experts' Meeting:


"Factors Governing the Long-term Stability of Polyester-based Recording Media," by Leslie E. Smith. Restaurator 12(4), 1991, p. 201-218. This concerns half-inch, open-reel magnetic data tape, containing ferric oxide particles. Research done at the National Institute for Standards and Technology is summarized clearly, and practical recommendations are made. Tape condition can be estimated by creasing the tape between thumb and finger; tapes in bad condition should be copied without trying to read them, because they may have only one use left in them. Cleanliness of the tape transport and heads is vital, to prevent tape damage.

Smith recommends against the practice of periodically rewinding tapes to retension them because it elongates the film and eventually makes it unreadable. Only tapes with extreme cases of buckling and tapes that are being prepared for immediate use should be retensioned. (3E)


"Photographic Preservation: Addressing Complex Institutional Needs," by Constance McCabe. Restaurator 12(4), 1991, p. 185-200. In this summary of the factors to be considered in formulating preservation plans, the author discusses typical problems, such as those involved in negative duplication (which may result in images being transferred to a film base even less stable than the original nitrate) and cold storage (which calls for conditioning of film before use, and competent monitoring and maintenance of the equipment). She draws attention to the need for standards that would make photographic preservation easier, and the need for professional education in the field. Her acknowledgements paragraph, with 24 names, is a who's who of the world of photographic preservation. (3F)

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