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CPA Newsletter #9, Feb 1989

Commission on Preservation and Access

The Commission on Preservation and Access

Newsletter February 1989 Number 9


Changes Maxine Sitts has accepted appointment as Program Officer, effective February 21, 1989. She will be responsible for the development of an expanded communications program, including the Newsletter, and will assist in the preparation of the broad range of reports, grant proposals, and other written communications essential to the Commission’s effectiveness. She will also participate in a variety of program activities and serve as an active liaison with colleagues in the field. Ms. Sitts brings her considerable talents to the Commission from the Association of Research Libraries, where she was Program Officer for Publications and Information Services in the Office of Management Services from 1982 to the present. Prior to that time, she served as Information Services Specialist for the Office of Management Studies from 1977-1981. She also spent six years at Stanford University as Publications Director for the ERIC Information Resources Clearinghouse. Peter Winterble resigned as Program Officer, effective December 31, 1988, to move to New York City.

Commission Adds New

Member Richard De Gennaro, Director of the New York Public Library, was elected as the twelfth member of the Commission on Preservation and Access by the Commission as its quarterly meeting on January 25, 1989. The Commission also noted that the membership now includes the perspective of a university president with the appointment of Vartan Gregorian to the leadership of Brown University.

Committee on College

Libraries The Commission has established a Committee on College Libraries to consider the role of small colleges in the national preservation program. Kathleen Spencer, Librarian at Franklin and Marshall, has accepted the chairmanship of the group. The members include Willis Bridegam, Amherst College; Caroline Coughlin, Drew University; Barbara Brown, Washington and Lee University; Joel Clemmer, Macalester College; David Cohen, College of Charleston; Jacquelyn Morris, Occidental College; and David Kearley, University of the South. The first meeting will be held on February 21.

Color Microfilm Potential

Explored Lee Jones, President of the Mid-Atlantic Preservation Service (MAPS), and James Reilly, Director of the Image Permanence Institute, made a recent visit to the laboratories of Herrmann & Kraemer (H&K), a small color slide and microfiche duplicating company in Garmisch- Partenkirchen, West Germany. The purpose of their travel, sponsored by the Commission, was to investigate the camera technology developed by Herrmann and Kraemer for high-quality color microfilming for preservation purposes. The firm has developed cameras and processing technology now being used in filming projects at the Vatican and the Bildarchiv Foto Marburg. The H&K cameras can routinely achieve 200 lines per millimeter in resolution, with a range to 240 or 250 not unusual, as compared to the 140 lines per millimeter capacity of the standard microfilm camera. The camera height can be adjusted to 1/4000 of a millimeter for focusing accuracy. A variety of appropriate parameters have been fed into microcomputers which then drive such functions as light exposure, film advance, and a combination of exposure time and lens opening. Transparencies made by H&K can be processed through a digitizing copier, such as the Canon product now on the market, and produce extraordinary color reproductions on paper. In addition to their color technology, the company has greatly improved the process for producing a high-quality continuous tone black-and-white microfilm. Although their major business is duplication of color slides and transparencies, the small, established, family-owned business is very much interested in participating in the preservation effort. They have designed probably the most advanced book cradle in the world, according to Lee Jones, for use in filming older, tightly bound, rare books which can be opened only 90 degrees without harming the binding. Negotiations are underway with H&K to establish a demonstration project at MAPS to investigate the potential of this technology for art history materials, maps, and other visual resources requiring accuracy, stability, and high resolution of the reproduction.

History Scholarly Advisory

Committee Meets The Scholarly Advisory Committee on History met at the Commission on January 23-24 to begin exploring the complex and ramified questions of strategy for preserving those materials that are of special interest to historians. Because this was the first of a series of meetings, it would be premature to report any definitive conclusions about strategy, but certain points on which there was firm agreement can be mentioned. The Committee agreed that there was no such thing as a “core” body of materials for historical research. Scholars in the field range over a wide variety of materials and formats in doing historical research, and materials of interest keep changing. It is very difficult to predict the future course of historical inquiry, and it would be unwise to base a preservation strategy upon topics or themes. There was considerable discussion of the differences between books and journals on the one hand and archives and manuscripts on the other. It was pointed cut that archives serve many users who are not scholars but who need documentation of some point of fact. Archives thus have a kind of public accountability and responsibility that goes beyond scholarly use, and different criteria may be required for selection for preservation. Books usually exist in multiple copies and are likely to have a broader scholarly audience. Strategies for the preservation of books are more amenable to interinstitutional sharing, and the idea of a national collection in microfilm format for storage purposes is a very natural one. Furthermore, the bibliographic control that makes books accessible ordinarily does not obtain for archives. The differences between the two types of materials are great enough to suggest that they should be handled separately and the distinction between them be preserved for the purposes of the Committee on History. The Committee tentatively explored a range of approaches to selection criteria, and their deliberations, although inconclusive at the first meeting, established directions for continuing discussions at future meetings.

Commission on Preservation and Access

1400 16th Street, NW, Suite 740 Washington, DC 20036-2217 (202) 939-3400 Fax: (202) 939-3407 The Commission on Preservation and Access was established in 1986 to foster and support collaboration among libraries and allied organizations in order to ensure the preservation of the published and documentary record in all formats and to provide enhanced access to scholarly information. The Newsletter reports on cooperative national and international preservation activities and is written primarily for university administrators and faculty, library and archives administrators, preservation specialists and administrators, and representatives of consortia, governmental bodies, and other groups sharing in the Commission’s goals. The Newsletter is not copyrighted; its duplication and distribution are encouraged.

Patricia Battin–President

Maxine K. Sitts–Program Officer, Editor Pamela D. Block–Administrative Assistant Return to CLIR Home Page >>

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