The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 22, Number 2
1998


News

National Diet Library's pH Survey of Acquisitions

The pH survey of current Japanese monographs and periodicals was conducted by the Regional Centre in Tokyo in August 1997. Acid-free papers were found to be used in 50.2% of official publications, which is 14.8% higher than the preceding year.

Is This the Shape of the Future?

A particularly restrictive copyright notice appears on the web page of a certain organization. The content is copyrighted by the organization, though possibly parts of the material are copyrighted by other organizations that have sent information to the one with the web page. The notice reads, in part,

The data contained on the [database] is provided for the [database] Basic User's or [database] Enhanced Subscriber's internal, noncommercial use only.... Neither the databases nor any part thereof may be copied, downloaded, stored in a retrieval system, published, transmitted or otherwise reproduced, transferred, stored, disseminated, used as a component of or a basis for a database or otherwise used, in any form or by any means. Search result pages may be printed for individual use. Users or Subscribers may not make electronic copies of the data [or] under any circumstances resell data for any purpose, or provide it to third parties by gift, copying on a charge basis, copying on a no charge or "cost recovery" basis, loan, rental, service bureau, external time sharing or similar arrangement.

Digital Technology in Book Conservation Class

News from Preservation and Conservation Studies at the University of Texas library school in Austin: They are in the process of building an experimental lab for library/ archives digitization. Karen Motylewski, director of the program, described their plans and progress early in September, saying they are still at the neophyte stage, but that the General Libraries and related collections have given the students practical experience and identified some useful software for the program.

PhotoImpact <http://www.ulead.com/pi/runme.htm>. (Good for image quality control; less powerful for image manipulation, but apparently much faster and easier to master than PhotoShop.)

MrSID, from Lizard Technology, a wavelet-based compression technology based on raster images.... This is being used by the Library of Congress American Memory project, and solves the problem of tiling for large-scale objects. See <http://www.lizardtech.com /www/index.pl?var=prod_default&page=products/mrsid/mrsid_whatis/index.html>.

Gary Frost, who teaches book conservation in the program, is revising the curriculum for his lab to include digital technology, scanning for access, and the relationship of original volumes to online resources.

AMIGOS Forms Imaging Service.

With a grant awarded by the Division of Preservation and Access of the National Endowment for the Humanities, AMIGOS began operation July 1 of AMIGOS Imaging Service (AIS), a digital imaging field services program. Steve Smith, formerly AMIGOS Preservation Service Field Services Officer, serves as AIS Coordinator.

AIS will serve as an educational and informational resource on digital imaging for institutions in Arizona, Arkansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. It will function as a regional resource to repositories and scholars by providing education and promoting "best practices" and cooperation among collections managers. AMIGOS sees AIS as complementing and enhancing its basic resource sharing services and the preservation-specific programs of AMIGOS Preservation Service. [From ¿Que Pasa?]

FEMA Seeks Conservation Expertise

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Task Force on Emergency Response are recruiting conservation and preservation professionals for post-disaster assistance teams and mitigation research. The Task Force is an initiative of FEMA, the Getty Conservation Institute and Heritage Preservation, committed to providing coordinated, expert assistance to cultural institutions and the public in times of disasters.

In the event of a major disaster, FEMA can "mission-assign" employees from other federal agencies to participate on damage assessment and technical assistance teams. FEMA can also contract with individuals from the private sector to assist with mitigation inspection and evaluation projects. Both federal and private sector recruits will be included in a new database called the Federal Cultural Heritage Roster, which will be managed for FEMA by a firm in Greenbelt, Maryland.

For information about getting on the Roster, apply through Eric Letvin, Greenhorne & O'Mara, Inc., 9001 Edminston Rd., Greenbelt, MD 20770; 301/982-2800, ext. 611; fax 301/220-2606; eletvin@G-and-O.com.

3M Markets Archival Tape for Scrapbookers

Compiling artistic family-oriented scrapbooks is a popular activity that grows more popular every year. Photographs of family activities and growing children dominate most scrapbooks, and many parents want to make sure the materials they use are sound, so that they can pass on their work to the next generation. They are asking their suppliers for acid-free paper, plastic, tape, scrapbooks--everything. They also know to ask for archival materials.

Suppliers have tackled the job of explaining to their customers that the materials will not change as they age, and will be safe for use with the other things in the scrapbooks, including color photographs. They want to let them know that the materials are inert, long-lived, and harmless to the mementos on which they are used, but the customers don't usually know what inert means, or how you test for long life and harmlessness.

3M has just begun marketing a new kind of pressure-sensitive tape called Scotch photo and document mending tape (single-sided, 3/4" x 400") and a double-sided half-inch tape intended for mounting. Both use a clear polyester tape selected for its inertness, and a high-molecular-weight adhesive with no cold flow, which will not turn yellow or soak into porous paper and discolor it as the years go by. Neither will it emit acids as it ages.

The company actually tested the tape for pH, and can guarantee that it is acid-free. They surface-tested, and used hot and cold extraction on the intact tape, though they had to let it sit in the water for a while before doing the measurement.

As for removability, heptane or other solvents will be necessary. For the first few seconds or so, however, it can be simply lifted slowly and repositioned.

These tapes are being marketed first in hobby, discount and chain stores (Target and Michaels are two that were mentioned). Later on 3M will make it more directly available for the conservation market.

A New MA Program in Book History

Drew University is inaugurating a new master's program in Book History, the first such program outside Europe, according to Jonathan Rose, program director. The Conservation DistList announcement in July gave the titles of the courses and names of instructors, about 20 in all. Deirdre Stam, Martha Driver and John Bidwell, as well as Jonathan Rose, are among the instructors. The program will cover mass media, mass communication, electronic texts, literacy, linguistics and lexicography, and archives and research, in addition to the usual topics in book history: the book trade, and publishing of different genres of books. There seems to be no course on the history of printing, though perhaps this is covered under "The History of the Book in Europe" or other courses.

The program starts in September 1999, if this plan is approved by the board of trustees. For more information, contact the Office of Graduate Admissions, Drew University, Madison, NJ 07940-3110 (973/408-3242).

Indiana U. Offers Degree in Rare Books & MSS

A Master of Library Science with Specialization in Special Collections was announced by the University of Indiana in August. Whether it begins in 1998 or 1999 was not specified.

The library degree itself does not include any courses on rare books or manuscripts. They are included as electives. At least four of eight rare book courses must be taken in addition to the library courses. One of those eight is library preservation. For further information, contact Lorraine Olley at <olley@indiana.edu> or visit the web site at http://www.slis.indiana.edu.

Permanent Paper in Australia

IFLA's Preservation and Conservation Regional Centre in Australia has been working with Australian Paper, the sole large producer of office and fine paper in the country, to promote the 1996 Australian standards for permanent paper. Papers have been tested for compliance with the standard and all those which comply will soon be labelled as such. A list of Australian-made permanent paper is being compiled and will be disseminated in the next few months. [From International Preservation News No. 17, May 1998]

"Freedows" Project may Keep Old Files Readable

An episode of "flaming" may have derailed a project that promised to allow several operating systems to work simultaneously on the same computer, and thus to provide access to early computer files even if the hardware no longer exists. This would be a boon for preservation of digital records, if it comes to pass.

The project, described in the October 2 Chronicle of Higher Education, was started two years ago by a Canadian college student, Reece K. Sellin, to develop a free alternative to the Windows operating system, based on a technique called a "Cache Kernel Interface." He was 14 at the time. Two thousand volunteers from various countries have signed up for the "Freedows" project over the last two years.

Mr. Sellin got huffy when someone on a programmers' discussion list said that Freedows was an elaborate hoax, and as more people traded insults, it turned into the verbal equivalent of a street fight. Most project members quit, others were "fired." Sellin says the project is continuing, with a new kernel lead team. A member of a similar project called wine is quoted as saying,"Politics is common and natural in established free-software projects.... Time will tell."

To follow developments, consult the Web site, http://www.freedows.org.

NEDCC's Area Code Changed

Ten years ago, the area code of the Northeast Document Conservation Center was 617; then it was 508; earlier this year it became 978; and further changes may be in store. The phone number is now 978/470-1010, and the fax number is 978/475-6021.

Heritage Preservation has New Address and Phone

Heritage Preservation (formerly NIC) is still on K St., but all the numbers have changed: street number, suite number, zip, phone and fax.

1730 K Street, NW, Suite 566
Washington, DC 20006-3836
(202/634-1422; fax 202/634-1435)

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