The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 22, Number 4



ARL Preservation Statistics, 1996-97: A Compilation of Statistics from the Members of the Association of Research Libraries. Compiled and edited by Martha Kyrillidou, Michael O'Connor and Julia C. Blixrud. 1998. $35 per year + $6 shipping & handling for ARL members; $65 + $6 for nonmembers, from ARL, 21 Dupont Circle, Suite 800, Washington, DC 20036 (202/296-2296; fax: 202/872-0884; e-mail:

One of the high (low) points of this volume is Graph 1, showing a sharp decline in "Volumes for Preservation Microfilm Masters," nearly to 1992 levels. One of the "major findings" mentioned on p. 6 is that preservation programs appear to be in a recession period.

Preservation expenditures have begun to level off in recent years, and grew by only $4 million between 1995-96 and 1996-97. There are two more preservation administrators than were reported in any previous year since 1989, but the number of staff library-wide engaged in preservation activities is 200 less than in any previous year.

Slightly over half of preservation expenditures go for salaries and wages; contract binding gets almost a third. Contract microfilming gets only 7%, supplies get 4%, and the other expenditures are all under 1%.

The total number of bound volumes digitized during the period was over half a million. The largest numbers of volumes were reported by Cornell, Michigan, and the Center for Research Libraries. The Library of Congress did not provide a figure.

Ten libraries reported sending bound items for mass deacidification. Northwestern, the Library of Congress and the National Library of Canada were leaders in this.

All things considered, preservation seems to have slowed down or to be holding its own, but this does not look like a period of recession.


International Association of Paper Historians (IPH), International Standard for the Registration of Papers with or without Watermarks, Version 2.0 (1997). Pages not numbered, but the book is 3/8" thick, with its paper covers, and it has nine sections, each printed on a different color of paper. The book was sent to IPH members, but there is no price given, or ISBN number. Send inquiries to Ludwig Ritterpusch, Wehrdaer Strasse 135, D-35041 Marburg, Germany (tel. + Fax: 49 6421 8 17 58.

Confronted with the task of registering watermarks in a standard way, which all potential contributors could use, the Association elected to use a manual rather than a digital database. The instructions for entering the information for each watermark are 14 pages long, and involve numerous codes and abbreviations, which can be expected to increase the number of errors in the record. Plans are being made, however, to set up a digital database. Appendix II is a set of recommendations for building a watermark database and a convention for data exchange.


Preservation Planning: Guidelines for Writing a Long-Range Plan, by Sherelyn Ogden, produced by Northeast Document Conservation Center with the assistance of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. It is available from the American Association of Museums Bookstore at 202/289-9127.

A condensation of this publication was published in the first issue of Collections Care Network, published by the Upper Midwest Conservation Association (where the author now works) in the first half of 1998. It appears on p. 1, 3-5. UMCA can be contacted in Minneapolis at 612/870-3120, fax 870-3118, e-mail


"Review of Experiences with CD-ROM for International Development and Prospects for the Future," a report by AL Kagan, Secretary of the IFLA Section on Government Information and Official Publications. IFLA Journal 18 (1992) #1, p. 70-72.

At a 1991 meeting hosted by the International Labor Office, representatives of 34 intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations discussed and made recommendations for further coordination. Surprisingly, they learned that a great deal of coordination and activity was already going on in Third World countries, including widespread use of CD-ROMs, which are the preferred medium for information technology, even in poor countries. They are relatively cheap and easy to use; they withstand climatic extremes, power cuts, insects, and fungi, and do not need to connect to national telecommunications and electricity grids, which may be unreliable. Even in Africa and the Arab states, 65% of public sector researchers have access to personal computers. Most of the participants at the meeting were in agriculture and rural development work.


The ACGIH Publications Catalog lists about 450 references on environmental control, safety and health. (Although the organization does not spell out its acronym any more, it used to stand for American Council of Governmental Industrial Hygienists, or something close to that.) The address is Kemper Woods Center, 1330 Kemper Meadow Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45240-1634 (513/742-2020, web site Here are some of the listings:

IAQ Guidelines for Occupied Buildings Under Construction, by the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors National Association, Inc. Pubn. #9718. 59 pages. 1995. $65. A manual on managing indoor air quality during renovation or early move-in.

Measuring Indoor Air Quality, by John E. Yocom and Sharon M. McCarthy. Pubn. #9262. 236 pp. 1991. $188.

Sick Buildings: Definition, Diagnosis and Mitigation, by Thad Godish. Pubn. #9522. 414 pp. 1995. $84.

A Guide for Control of Laser Hazards, 4th ed. Issued by ACGIH, 1990. Pubn. #0165. 76 pp. $31.

Bioaerosols, edited by Harriet Burge. (See Review.)


ARL Directory of Electronic Journals, Newsletters and Academic Discussion Lists , 7th ed. 1997. Includes over 7,000 listings of journals, newsletters, zines, and professional e-conferences accessible via the Internet. For the first time, a complete, fully searchable version of the directory is available on the Web, at <>.


Workbook for Developing a Disaster Plan, prepared by Lisa L. Fox. Library of Virginia Records Management and Imaging Services Division, July 1996. Looseleaf, 43 pp. + appendices (about 120 pp.), with diskette in Windows format. For information call 804/786-5634.

The workbook can be customized by filling in the blanks to show names of staff responsible for certain duties in a disaster, and sources of supplies and advice. The main parts of the book are: Response procedures, Salvage procedures, Salvage priorities, Restoration/Rehabilitation, and Prevention/Protection. Appendices cover Personnel, Supplies & services, and 15 other specific topics, including a brief appendix on data processing records.

The notebook is physically hard to use, because the rings do not close properly, making the pages hard to turn.

Generally, the instructions given are the ones seen in most disaster manuals, except that compromises seem to have been made in an attempt to make the instructions easier for a beginner to follow. Salvage workers are usually cautioned in other manuals against washing off dirt that has gotten between pages of a book; the author says (p. 28) that "materials" (for a library that means books) may be cleaned with a hose or by dunking them up and down in a water-filled barrel--unless they have soluble inks, animal skins or works of art on paper. For moldy materials, users are advised to put them in plastic bags in a separate room and to concentrate on saving the uncontaminated materials (but what will they find three days later when they have time to open up the bags?). Cleanup instructions emphasize fumigation and sterilization, but do not mention the fact that there are drying services one can call in to dry out entire rooms or floors quickly before mold growth gets out of hand. Most manuals say the period before mold growth begins is 48 hours; the author gives the reader 48 to 72 hours.


NFPA 909: Standard for the Protection of Cultural Resources Including Museums, Libraries, Places of Worship, and Historic Properties. 1997 ed. National Fire Protection Association, 1 Batterymarch Park, PO Box 9101, Quincy, MA 02269-9101. 1997 ed. 226 pp. $34.10; to order, call 800/344-3555. (Approved as an American National Standard in August, 1997, so it may still be in print.)

In 1998, this standard was "folded into" the 18th edition of The Fire Protection Handbook, a much longer and heavier reference book (8 pounds, over 2000 pages on incredibly thin paper with small type). The Handbook's chapter on "Library and Museum Collections" is only 17 pages long, but it is a first-class reference, easier to read than a standard, and hitting every important aspect of fire protection for these institutions.

On the back pages of the Handbook, there is a list of all NFPA publications. NFPA 909, the standard at the head of this entry, is not included, so this may mean that it has been withdrawn. Instead there are four separate recommended practices--not standards--covering each of the four aspects of the 1997 standard, NFPA 909. They are listed below, without prices, number of pages or anything, because there is no copy in the office.

910 - Recommended Practice for the Protection of Libraries and Library Collections

911 - Recommended Practice for the Protection of Museums and Museum Collections

912 - Recommended Practice for Fire Protection in Places of Worship

914 - Recommended Practice for Fire Protection in Historic Structures

Back to the standard, NFPA 909. Eight of its ten chapters relate to libraries and other cultural institutions, and one of its 14 appendices is on salvage of water-damaged library materials (condensed from Peter Waters' 1975 manual). But the chapters are short and the appendices are long, so only 1/8 of the volume relates directly to libraries and their problems. The rest is necessary information and guidance, under headings like fire emergency planning, new construction, alterations and renovations, inspection, testing and maintenance, collections storage, book stacks, prevention of arson, exhibit design and construction, explanatory material, and compact storage fire tests. The appendices have photographs, diagrams and tables.


Fire Protection Handbook, 18th ed. 1997. NFPA, Quincy, MA (800/593-6372). About 2000 pages; hardcover. $127.60

The main section on libraries and museums is in Chapter 16 of Section 9 and was revised by Stephen E. Bush (formerly of the Library of Congress) and Danny L. McDaniel of Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. It has tables of 13 or 14 major U.S. library and museum fires, 1980-1993, showing property damage, injuries, and causes of the fires. Property damage for libraries was three times as large as the damage for museums (6 vs. 2 million dollars). Most library fires are caused by arson (71%); most museum fires are attributed to the electrical distribution system, with suspected arson a close second. The advantages of sprinklers, and the characteristics of different sorts, are reviewed on p. 9-98 to 9-100. The reduction in insurance premiums can pay off the sprinkler system's installation cost in a few years, it says.

For rare book rooms and other special risks, there are alternatives to Halon 1301: water mist, inert gases (including Inergen) and synthetic Halon-like replacement gases. (Water mist is also covered at greater length in Section 6, Chapter 15.)

A hazard connected with unprotected steel columns and beams in the stacks, and one that is hard to anticipate unless one is warned of it, is that they may bend and collapse in a hot fire, making it too dangerous for the firemen to take a fire hose into the stacks; therefore an automatic fire suppression system is essential. Compact storage units have their own risks. Solutions that have been used (e.g., leaving 5" between ranges so the sprinklers can reach the books), a misting system for the whole room) are described. There is a long list of references.


Proceedings of the 3rd Nordic Symposium on Insect Pests in Museums. SEK 180 + postage surface mail (which is SEK 60 to the U.S.), made payable to the Swedish Museum of Natural History, Attn: Monika Akerlund, Frescativ. 40, Box 50007, SE-104 05 Stockholm, Sweden (tel. +46 8 5195 4201; fax +46 8 5195 4085). Payment via SWIFT through Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken, Stockholm, Sweden, a/c 5439-10-330-54. SWIFT address: ESSESESS.

Tom Strang spoke on integrated pest management. Two of the four papers on freezing were relevant to paper; four speakers covered anoxic methods, and another four covered heat treatment for wooden objects; David Pinninger and two co-authors spoke on trapping with pheromones. The papers on pesticides covered 1) fumigant gases to control insects in museum objects; 2) control of insect damage to textiles; and 3) a European Network for the Management of Arthropod Resistance to Insecticides and Acaricides (ENMARIA). There was one paper on health risks, one on rodents in museums, and two papers on education in the best methods of insect pest control.


IPC Conference Papers London 1997, edited by Jane Eagan. (Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference of the Institute of Paper Conservation, 6-9 April 1997) IPC, Leigh Lodge, Leigh, Worcester WR6 5LB, UK, 1998. ISBN 0-9507268-8-5.

(If this entry seems familiar, it is because the Conference Handbook was reviewed on p. 64-65 of the 1997 volume. Only the papers that were not adequately covered by that review are described here.)

Nine or so of the 32 papers in this volume were given earlier at a major conference or published elsewhere within the last five years, so their subject material and major conclusions were not a surprise, but here they are carefully edited, given the room needed for a full exposition, and published in context.

Peter Bower's "The Disastrous History of Paper" (p. 1-14) is excellent. His main focus is the co-occurrence of bad papermaking practices and abuse of the environment, beginning in the very early days of papermaking in Europe. He is a forensic paper analyst as well as a distinguished paper historian. It would be wonderful if everyone who felt inspired to write a historical introduction to their first book on preservation were required to read this paper first.

Jirí Vnoucek has accomplished a great deal in the last ten years, bringing to the world's attention the great value of the neglected rare manuscripts at the National Library of the Czech Republic. His paper on the conservation survey of these manuscripts relates how a working group of conservators, librarians and manuscript department staff was formed to put together a preservation plan. The condition survey on which the plan was based was designed with the participation of the Getty Conservation Institute and Chris Clarkson; a computer database was designed; photographs taken for documentation; and plans made for "first-aid" treatment and protective enclosures.

Heather Norville-Day and two co-authors looked systematically for a safe way to bleach water colors, especially those used by Turner, and had to conclude that there was no safe way. They tried 8 or 10 bleaches, including both reducing and conventional ones, applied by brushing, spraying, immersion and the use of a vacuum suction point, on artificially aged sample papers.

Yvonne Shashoua and Alice Rugheimer report how they selected the two best cellulose ethers for paper conservation from a wide field in "An Evaluation of the Use of Cellulose Ethers in Paper Conservation at the British Museum." After exhaustive testing, they settled on Klucel G and Culminal MC400 as the most stable and effective.

Julie Biggs of the Folger Shakespeare Library describes the procedure of boiling pages from a sketchbook of iron-gall ink drawings, to prevent further deterioration from the surplus iron ions that had migrated into the unmarked paper. Her paper is "A Controversial Treatment of a Sketchbook of Iron-Gall Ink Studies by George Romney," and it shows a scrupulous investigation of possible effects, before each step was taken. The "before" and "after" photographs look almost exactly alike, which is how it was intended to be. This procedure, new to Americans, has been used for 20 years in Germany.

Vincent Daniels reviews the paper conservation research of the last 21 years, covering health and safety, computers and microprocessors, accelerated aging tests, detection of changes to paper, reducing discoloration, biodeterioration, adhesives and consolidants, deacidification, storage conditions, and paints, pencils and inks. He predicts high continuing interest among scientists in accelerated aging conditions, deacidification agents, the effects of solvents and of the environment.


"Secret Sabotage: Reassessing Museum Plastics in Display and Storage," by Julia Fenn. Paper presented at the Scottish Society for Conservation & Restoration's 2nd Resins Conference, Aberdeen, Sept. 1995 (Resins, Ancient and Modern). Preprints edited by Margot M. Wright and Joyce H. Townsend.

Plastics generally considered safe to use for museum storage are virgin polyethylene, polyethylene terephthalate (polyester), polystyrene, polytetrafluoroethylene, polymethyl methacrylate, polycarbonate and polypropylene. This is largely because they do not emit corrosive degeneration products. Under certain conditions, however, they can absorb and re-emit gases from other sources, which damage the artifacts displayed or stored with them. The author describes a few of the vapor phase biocides and pollutants that are known to be absorbed by "safe" plastics. She performed a number of tests herself, and provides the results.

The "safe" plastics do not absorb all gases equally readily, and are often not visibly affected by any of them, so it is not possible to tell whether a usually trustworthy plastic can be trusted in a display with pigments, metals and other reactive materials. The only way to be really safe, unless one knows the plastic's entire past history, is to test before using it. A modified Oddy test is described.

Other information that has come to light since this paper was given (from the author's handwritten notes at the end of the paper): 1) On prolonged exposure to DDVP, all plastics became corrosive, even if they were not soluble in dichloroacetic acid; and 2) AD strips (bromocresol green) placed in contact with Plexiglas or other rigid plastic vitrine materials will turn from blue to green or yellow if the plastic is contaminated with acetic acid--usually within 24-48 hours. This is quicker and safer than using lead foil Oddy tests.


Roger Powell: The Compleat Binder, edited by John L. Sharpe. Bibliologia 14: Elementa ad librarum studia pertienentia. 1996. ISBN 2-503-50434-5. 341 pp. £86.00 from Brepols N.V./S.A., Steenweg op Tielen 68, B-2300 Turnhout, Belgium (tel. 32 (0) 14 40 25 00, fax 32 (0) 14 42 89 19, website [Note: The zero in parentheses may be necessary for foreign callers now. Formerly it was omitted.]

The table of contents was published in the September 1997 issue of the Abbey Newsletter, but without date of publication, phone and fax number for the publisher, or any commentary.

This festschrift was originally intended for publication on Powell's 90th birthday in 1986, but it did not appear until ten years later, on the 100th anniversary of his birth. The editor is to be congratulated for taking the project in hand and seeing it through.

There are 18 essays by the students, associates and friends of this great craft binder who laid the foundations for present-day book conservation. Among those that seem most relevant to current practice in libraries are the first four essays and one essay by the editor:

Roger Powell, 1896-1990: Reminiscences of his family and working life - Ann Donnelly and Peter Waters

The compleat binder: The arts and crafts legacy of Roger Powell - Guy Petherbridge

Annotated bibliography of works by and about Roger Powell - Chris Clarkson

Roger Powell's innovation in book conservation: The early Irish manuscripts repaired and bound 1953-1981 - Anthony Cains

Wooden books and the history of the codex: Isocrates and the Farm Account, evidence from the Egyptian desert - J. Sharpe


The Archaeology of Medieval Bookbinding, by J.A. Szirmai. Hard cover, 500 pages, 250 b/w illustrations, ISBN 085967 9047, £70 + £3.50 p&p, from Lorna Gordon, Ashgate Publishing Direct Sales, Bookpoint Limited, 39 Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon, OX14 4TD, UK (tel. 44 1235 827730). There may be a U.S. distributor.

This book is an expanded version of a series of lectures delivered by the author while Visiting Professor at the University of Amsterdam in 1987, supplemented with the results of ten years of intensive research in major libraries on the Continent, the UK and the USA. It surveys the evolution of the binding structures from the introduction of the codex two millennia ago to the close of the Middle Ages. [From publisher's blurb.]

The author gave an excellent paper on early book structures at the IADA meeting before last. Like Bernard Middleton, he is an excellent scholar and writer.


"Paper Degradation and Light Emission--Possibilities for the Application of Chemiluminescence to the Investigation of Paper Oxidation," by José Luiz Pedersoli and Judith Hofenk de Graaff. Paper given at the April 20-22 1998 meeting of the ICOM-CC Interim Meeting of the Working Groups on Graphic Documents and Photographic Documents, in Ludwigsburg.

Chemiluminescence is the faint cool light produced by a chemical reaction. [Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary says that it includes light given off by organisms like fireflies (bioluminescence) and by organic and inorganic compounds (oxyluminescence).] In 1979, George Kelly et al. published a report of their work on chemiluminescence at the Library of Congress (Durability of Macromolecular Materials, American Chemical Society Symposium Series 95). They showed the role of cycling humidity in the generation of emitting species during auto-oxidation.

Pedersoli and Hofenk de Graaff point out that the aging of paper can be observed at normal temperatures by monitoring the formation of cellulose hydroperoxides during chemiluminescence, for instance at the wet-dry interface in paper or in the selection of papers not vulnerable to oxidation, for use in conservation or preservation.


"Hydroxypropyl Cellulose and Polyvinyl Alcohol on Paper as Fixatives for Pigments and Dyes," by Marina Bicchieri and Barbara Mucci. Restaurator, 1996, v.17 #4, p. 238-251.

The authors were looking for pigment fixatives that would not damage paper or change colors visually, and that would not interfere with other procedures like washing and deacidification. They tried mixing the polyvinyl alcohol (PVAl) with water and alcohol, although water is usually used alone. The hydroxypropyl cellulose chosen was an intermediate viscosity Klucel G, and they dissolved it in ethyl alcohol. Both formulas were used successfully on plain white paper, and on papers with writing media and colors; measurements were made of the papers' pH, blue reflectance, and the carboxyl content and viscosity of cellulose; then they were aged for 28 days at 80°C and 65% RH. The protected pigments were immersed in water and even deacidified, without changing the pigments. All results were positive; in fact, the Klucel G reduced the number of oxidized groups and seemed to protect the cellulose.


"Aloft in a Balloon: Treatment of a Scrapbook of Early Aeronautica..." by Janice Stagnitto Ellis. Book and Paper Group Annual 16, 1997, p. 9-13.

Much of this paper has to do with efforts to find a solution to the stubborn problem of finding a way to soften or dissolve some aged casein glue between pages in a book of bound prints. Jasmin Khan, then a third year intern in the University of Texas conservation program, working at the same lab, suggested a way that worked: Applying the solvents in order of polarity, from most polar to least polar and back again to most polar. They consulted a Teas chart and decided on a sequence of ethanol, acetone, toluene, xylene, and back again. All of these individual solvents had been tried earlier to no effect, but they worked when put into the right sequence.


"Aqueous Light Bleaching of Modern Rag Paper: An Effective Tool for Stain Removal," by Terry Trosper Schaeffer, Victoria Blyth-Hill and James R. Druzik. The Paper Conservator, 1997, p. 1-14.

A complex experimental study with many variables. Conclusion: "The aqueous light bleaching technique appears, on the basis of observations made so far, to be a useful and relatively innocuous bleaching method."


"The Use of Calcium Bicarbonate and Magnesium Bicarbonate Solutions in Small Conservation Workshops: Survey Results," by Amy E. Gerbracht and Irene Brückle. Book and Paper Group Annual 16, 1997, p. 15-20.

The authors wanted to find out whether the use of these two bicarbonate washing solutions had declined as reported. Replies from 40 conservators of art on paper and archival materials, here and abroad, indicated that it had. Three-quarters of them had used or still used magnesium bicarbonate, possibly because it is easier to dissolve. They had used it equally on works of art and archival materials. Now only 10 still use it, most having switched to dilute ammonium hydroxide or calcium hydroxide.

The reasons given for not using bicarbonate solutions boil down to inconvenience and effect on the paper. The pH of calcium bicarbonate solutions was sometimes as high as 10 or 11. Half of the respondents reported a visible gritty deposit on the paper, and several reported unacceptable effects on the media, very high pH, and changes in the paper color to pink, orange, yellow, brown, tan, gray or just cooler tonality.

In a postscript following the Conclusion section, the authors describe the recommended way to prepare bicarbonate solutions in a small lab, using a seltzer bottle and disposable carbon dioxide cartridges. One liter of water, with one carbon dioxide cartridge, can dissolve about a half a gram of magnesium hydroxide or about a tenth of a gram of calcium hydroxide. A color-indicator test kit can show what concentration has been achieved; or, for more exact results, titration.


FACTS Annual Report, Standards & Guides (1997). FACTS, 95 Mitchell Blvd., San Rafael, CA 94903 (tel. 415/472-0800; fax 415/472-2841; <>). 1998. 32 pp.

FACTS was founded by Don Pierce in 1994 under the name of Fine Art Care & Treatment Standards, but now it is known by its acronym alone. It is not concerned with all fine art--only the art handled by framers. The "FACTS Network" has three locations: California, Australia and Europe. Its goal is to improve the care of art through education, research and voluntary consensus standards. This annual report gives most space (p. 9-26) to the standard guides drawn up by FACTS project committees:

Guide for Determining Frame Allowance
Guide for Ordering Frames and Chops
General Picture Framer Requirements (e.g., "Every general picture framer should have a current basic understanding of the environmental conditions that affect artwork and/or its framing and display.")
Maximum Preservation Framing Art on Paper (e.g., "Artwork shall be completely separated and isolated from any potentially damaging materials by an impermeable barrier such as glass or metal.") Guide for Permanence in Mat and Mounting Boards. The committee that wrote this 8-page standard had 23 members, including Don Brutvan, John Coutu, David Erhardt, Jeff Neumann, Abby Shaw and William K. Wilson.


"How to Protect Bookbindings?" by P.A. Goddijn. In Bewaren van boeken, prenten en archiefmateriaal in kleine musea en oudhiedkamers (book), W.G. Roelofs and J.A. Mosk, eds. 1986? p. 28-35.

A guide to leather treatment which advocates use of ammonia vapor to neutralize excess acidity, a fat-removal product for excess fat, and use of a dressing without wax. [From Abstract 29-2020 in Art and Archaeology Technical Abstracts, vol. 29 #2, 1992]


"Une Solution de Montage Reversible pour la Presentation des Photographies Contemporaines [A Reversible Mounting Method for Displaying Contemporary Photographs]," by Georges Monni. Paper given at the April 20-22, 1998 meeting of the ICOM-CC Interim Meeting of the Working Groups on Graphic Documents and Photographic Documents, in Ludwigsburg.

Most mounting methods are irreversible, or reversible only with difficulty. The author's solution is to incorporate between the work and its support a material with "anti-adhesive" properties: silicone. This has been tested and appears to offer stability and security of the displayed work.


"Using Kodak Photo CD Technology for Preservation and Access: Guide for Librarians, Archivists, and Curators," by R. Kenney and Oya Y. Rieger.

Cornell University Library's Department of Preservation and Conservation has published a brochure summarizing the findings of a study to evaluate the use of Kodak Photo CD technology for preserving and making available a range of research materials. Funded by a grant from the New York State Education Department's Program for the Conservation and Preservation of Library Research Materials, the study was conducted in cooperation with the eleven New York State comprehensive research libraries. In addition, six other institutions participated in investigating the applicability of the findings.

The project was designed to evaluate the Photo CD technology by controlling the factors affecting image quality during photography, digitization, and on-screen viewing. The study involved only paper-based documents, and was limited to documents scanned using the basic Kodak Photo CD method (Image Pac).


"Methods for Evaluating the Deterioration of Nitrate Motion Picture Film," by María Fernanda Valverde. Topics in Photographic Conservation v.7, p. 66-72.

The author did this research as part of her thesis work for a degree in conservation. The problem was that "the degradation process does not seem to follow the same kinetics among similar types of films and once it starts, the decay proceeds so fast that there is hardly enough time to duplicate the film." She looked for a simple indicator to use in conservation assessment, and tested pH, checking it against measures for soluble acidity, viscosity, thermal stability and spectrographic analysis. Thirty samples from different periods were used. No single test was completely reliable, but the pH test was simple and its accuracy acceptable. The author does not describe how she tested pH. (3F5.1)


"Introduction to the Universal Preservation Format Initiative," by Thom Shepard. Archival Outlook, July/August 1998, p. 24.

The author is the Project Coordinator of the UPF Initiative, which advocates a platform-independent storage format, designed specifically for digital technologies, that will ensure the accessibility of a wide array of data types into the indefinite future. It is sponsored by the WGBH Educational Foundation, and funded in part by the NHPRC. Dave MacCarn, chief technologist at WGBH is the architect of UPF; Mary Ide of WGBH is the project director; and the author is the project coordinator. MacCarn based his early work on Bento, the technical structure behind Apple's OpenDoc Standard Interchange Format. More recently, software companies have formed alliances to develop format standards.

For more information visit the web site at


"Time & Bits: Managing Digital Continuity." Conservation, the GCI Newsletter, 13 #1, 1998. The Getty Conservation Institute, the Getty Information Institute, and the Long Now Foundation of San Francisco are collaborating on a multiyear project to highlight the problems of preserving information in digital form and to consider possible solutions. The project held its first major meeting in February 1998. Among the 11 participants were some familiar names: Stewart Brand, Howard Besser, Brewster Kahle, Kevin Kelly and Peter Lyman.


Into the Future: On the Preservation of Knowledge in the Electronic Age, a film and video by Terry Sanders, narrated by Robert MacNeil. American Film Foundation, 1997.

This is a good film about an important subject, but it does not have the appeal of its predecessor, Slow Fires, which was also made by Terry Sanders and narrated by Robert MacNeil, and which pulled together and put into perspective so many fascinating aspects of the brittle paper problem that were familiar in one way or another to everyone.

Perhaps too little time has passed for everyone to grasp the enormity of the digital records problem or to accumulate their own experiences of loss. They haven't had the opportunity to discuss the loss of digital records with their family, friends and familiar experts. (For many people, abstract and general problems like this are not real until they have passed through the word-of-mouth filter. If electronic information were something they could see and handle, and if everyone could imagine future events more vividly, they might take this issue more seriously.)

Paul Wallich, a contributing editor for Scientific American, reviewed Into the Future in the January 1998 issue, p.110. He eloquently supports the thesis of the film, making clear how rapidly software and records made on it become obsolescent, and how complex and mutable the Web is, but he may be just another voice crying out in the wilderness, along with the people who made this film. The public does not want to hear about problems that do not have solutions.

Government agencies will be even harder to reach. The Y2K problem is far from being brought under control in several important agencies. How easily will they solve a much harder problem, retaining access to electronic records far into the future?


AMIGOS Agenda & OCLC Connection 97-02 (the AMIGOS newsletter) has some "Internet News" on p. 2, telling where to find instructions for citing a Web page and other electronic documents. Links to style guides that give instructions can be found at the Web resource below, which also serves as an example of such citations. It shows the American Psychological Association (APA) style for Web documents.

Tong, Josie. (1996). Citation Style Guides for Internet and Electronic Sources [Online]. University of Alberta. Available:
[1997, February 17].

The bracketed date at the end tells when the source was accessed at the listed address.

International groups are working on an international standard for description and citation of electronic sources, but none has been published in finished form yet. (5B1)


"Microbial Control in Archives, Libraries and Museums by Ventilation Systems," by Nieves Valentín, Rafael Garcia, Oscar de Luis and Shin Maekawa. Restaurator 19 #2: 85-107, 1998.

The research reported here was carried out for the sake of collections housed in historical buildings or buildings originally built for other purposes in humid climates. These collections have been plagued with microbiological contamination (despite the fact that traditional buildings usually made good provisions for ventilation) because these original structures have sometimes been modified for security purposes, compliance with modern building codes, and so on. The result has been overuse of chemical disinfection, which has affected the health of workers and the condition of the collections.

Of the 15 or so factors affecting the growth of fungi and bacteria on paper and parchment, the moisture content of the material is one of the most important, and was chosen as the focus of this paper. The authors concentrated on microorganisms with high cellulolytic activity: Bacillus subtilis (a bacterium), Penicillium commune and Aspergillus niger, measuring their growth under different conditions by counting the colony-forming units (cfu). The minimum RH for growth of these species was 90%, about 75% and about 88% respectively, depending on the temperature. The moisture content of the paper that permitted growth had to be above 7% for the two mold species.

The authors report, "Experiments showed a drastic decrease in microbial activities as a result of the ventilation at 0.96-1.2 ACH [air changes per hour] over the 25 hours, even in 85% RH environment (Table 4). However, a normal high bacterial growth was recorded when the ventilation was interrupted for 6 hours and the temperature rose to 24° C. It indicated that a combination of temperature and RH fluctuations in non-ventilated environment stimulated microbial reproduction in a very short period.... Therefore, it is probable that higher ventilation rates should be utilized in warmer climatic regions to stop biological cell reproduction."

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