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CPA Newsletter #27, Sep 1990

Commission on Preservation and Access

The Commission on Preservation and Access


September 1990

Number 27

Fund Raising Support Package Developed for Commission Sponsors

In response to requests from its sponsoring institutions, the Commission has published a support package for libraries and archives titled “Ideas for Preservation Fund Raising.” The development of local support and funding is essential to a successful preservation program. and the new package provides suggestions and alternatives for colleges and universities seeking to build a base of support for ongoing preservation activities.

A library school intern and several universities worked with the Commission to write and assemble the package, which includes an overview from the national perspective, articles judged helpful for making a case for local preservation support, and examples of institutional fund-raising initiatives. A flexible format is provided so that the information may be transferred or shared. and other materials may be added for use in individual and cooperative efforts.

The introduction to the support package notes:

Each library and archive has a vital role to play in saving collections that are unique. Libraries and archives now need resources and assistance for these efforts from all concerned individuals and organizations. Only with resources and efforts beyond the of standard operations can our precious heritage be saved. These efforts need help because no preservation program can be truly successful in seclusion

Complimentary copies of the fund raising support package were mailed to the Commission’s sponsors. Additional packages are available free, while supplies last, to the Commission’s sponsors. The package is available to other institutions For $10.00 from: The Commission on Preservation and Access, 1785 Massachusetts Avenue, NW Suite 313, Washington, D.C. 20036. Orders must be prepaid, with checks (no cash) made payable to “The Commission on Preservation and Access.” Payment must be in U.S. funds.

Commission-TAAC Retreat Widens Inquiries Into Electronic Technologies

A three-day meeting of members of the Commission’s Technology Assessment Advisory Committee (TAAC) with university librarians in late July has been judged “most productive” by committee members, who had requested the opportunity to discuss a broad technological agenda with their constituents. The meeting, structured as a retreat at Coolfont Conference Center, Berkeley Springs. WV, marked the beginning of a projected continuing dialogue between TAAC and the academic and research library community, in order to explore the impact of the changing technological environment on scholarly communication, research, publication, and librarianship. The group’s discussions were designed to cover a broad range of issues with probable significant importance for preservation and access strategies.

Outcomes of the meeting will be evident in several reports expected over the next year, according to TAAC chairman Rowland Brown. In addition to Brown, participants were: Richard DeGennaro, Harvard College Library; Penny Abell, Yale University Library; James Govan, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Library; Paula Kaufman, University of Tennessee Library; Pat Battin, Commission President; and the following members of TAAC: Douglas van Houweling, Vice Provost for Information Technologies, University of Michigan; Michael Lesk, Division Manager, Computer Science Research, Bellcore; and M. Stuart Lynn, Vice President, Information Technologies, Cornell University.

Organization and Staffing of Preservation in Transition, According to ARL Survey

Changes in organization and staffing of preservation programs operated by major research libraries in the U.S. and Canada are described in a new publication from the Association of Research Libraries (ARL). SPEC Kit #160, “Preservation Organization and Staffing” (January 1990), is based upon responses of 109 ARL libraries to preservation surveys conducted by ARL over the past two years. In addition, 21 ARL libraries that have established major preservation programs were contacted in early 1990.

Survey responses of 18 of the libraries indicate several trends: institutionalization of preservation activities; significant growth in the size of preservation programs; growing emphasis on broad administrative and managerial responsibilities; and increased specialization in preservation positions. According to ARL, ” These trends underscore that today’s preservation programs operate in a dynamic, changing environment and that the organization of preservation activities is still in a state of flux.”

The kit includes selected ARL preservation statistics, organization char1s from six universities. position descriptions from ten institutions and planning documents from seven institutions.

The kit is available for 30.00 ($20.00 for ARL members), with prepayment required, from: SPEC, Office of Management Services, 1527 New Hampshire Avenue, NW. Washington, D.C. 20036 ($5.00 additional for first-class postage and handling within the U.S.). For all orders to Canada, add $5.00 for postage and handling; for all orders to other countries outside the U.S., add $8.50 for post3ge and handling. Kits are shipped via library rate unless otherwise specified; allow four to six weeks for delivery.

Third Regional Meeting Held in Berkeley, CA

The Commission held its third regional meeting with sponsors and other interested institutions on July 9 at the University of California at Berkeley. West Coast colleges. Universities and other institutions invited to attend were: University of Arizona; University of California, Berkeley: University of California, Davis; University of California, Irvine. University of California. Los Angeles; University of California. Riverside: University of California. San Diego; University of California, San Francisco: University of California, Santa Barbara; University of California. Santa Cruz: University of Oregon: Research Libraries Group: Stanford University: and University of Washington.

The group discussed the expansion of Commission priorities including deacidification, professional education, and physical plant concerns: the selection of materials for preservation; and the importance of regional differences and supporting a range of preservation programs and approaches. Participants also reiterated the need for improving and expanding professional education opportunities for managers of preservation programs and requested assistance on ways to strengthen funding sources at the state level.

Previous regional meetings have been held in Chicago (November 1989) and New York City (January 1990).

Joint Task Force on Text and Image Preservation Gains New Member

Nicholas Olsberg of the Canadian Centre for Architecture recently joined the newly formed Joint Task Force on Text and Image Preservation. This group of specialists will investigate commonalties as well as differences in the preservation needs of disciplines that depend upon both image and text for their intellectual work (see August newsletter for more details about the Joint Task Force).

Two New View1ng/Listening Resources–& One Old Favorite

  1. “Turning to Dust,” a program about the preservation of brittle books, aired March 14, 1990 as part of the series, “The Nature of Things,” by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation; 60 minutes; VHS format. For ordering information, contact CBC Enterprises, Educational Sales, Box 500, Station A, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5W IE6; (4 1 6) 975-3505.
  2. “Acid-Free Paper,” a 7-minute segment that aired March 1, 1990 on the Morning Edition of National Public Radio; features an interview with author Barbara Goldsmith. For ordering information contact National Public Radio, Custom Tape Service, Audience Services, 2025 M Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20036; (202) 822-2323.
  3. “Slow Fires,” the award-winning film/video portraying the slow destruction of a large part of our nation’s intellectual heritage due to embrittled books printed on acid-based paper: 30-minute or 60- minute version; VHS, 3/4-inch cassette or 16 mm film. Available for loan from the Commission. Copies may be purchased from the American Film Foundation, P.O. Box 2000, Santa Monica, CA 90406; (213) 459- 21 16 or (213) 394-5689.

Also of Interest

A well-researched article on brittle books by Robert Wernick (popular writer for the Smithsonian Magazine) was published in recent Readers Digest international editions (in French, Selection, and in German, Das Beste) with a combined circulation in the millions.

At the request of editor Charles Lowry, Norman Stevens, Director of University Libraries at the University of Connecticut, contributed an editorial, “Preservation–a Concern of Every Library and Every Librarian,” that appeared in the Summer 1990 issue of Library Administration Management (Library Administration and Management Association, 50 E. Huron St., Chicago, IL 60611).

“Decaying Books, Decaying Culture,” was written by James Edwards for the July/August 1990 issue of The National Book Collector (National Book Collectors Society, 65 High Ridge Road, Suite 349. Stamford, CT 06905). An excerpt:

What does acidic paper mean to lovers of books? Basically, it means that we have a serious problem on our hands, and one that we must attempt to tackle not only as book collectors, but as custodians of cultural artifacts. Because, quite clearly, many of the books that become lost to the ravages of time will become lost forever: There is an attitude of something approaching intellectual smugness that sometimes makes people unable to accept this fact. Books cannot be “lost” in the true sense of the word, the thinking goes. Your copy many crumble to dust; hundreds of others exist elsewhere. This is simply untrue. There are hundreds if not thousands of books from the latter half of the nineteenth century which are virtually impossible to locate anywhere…

National Register of Preservation Microfilm Masters Moves Forward with Collaborative Efforts

The National Register of Microform Masters (NRMM) Retrospective Conversion Project, considered a significant step in building the infrastructure for national preservation programs, is moving forward through cooperative efforts of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), the Library of Congress (LC), and the OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc. Under an agreement signed this summer, ARL. in partnership with LC, selected OCLC as the contractor for continuation of the NRMM. Published by LC from 1965 through 1983, the NRMM is a printed book catalog that includes catalog records for microform masters. The goal of this phase is the conversion into machine-readable records of the 400,000 monographic reports in the NRMM Master File that remain to be converted. The NRMM Project is made possible with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The current phase will create machine-readable records that meet acceptable standards for record consistency and fullness, thus enhancing access to preservation microform masters. The project also will help facilitate the searching that at present is an expensive step in the nationwide preservation microfilming program.

During the next 15 months, OCLC will convert about 258,000 bibliographic records, 30 of them not previously in machine-readable form. On behalf of research libraries, OCLC is making an $0.80 in-kind contribution to the price of each processed record. LC staff will conduct quality reviews to ensure that records conform to specifications established by ARL and LC. As the project proceeds, LC’s Cataloging Distribution Service will distribute tapes containing the converted records on a subscription basis. OCLC’s production schedule anticipates completing this phase by fall 1991.

NYS Support for Preservation Slated for Three-Year Increase

Legislation signed by New York State Governor Mario M. Cuomo on July 31 increases aid for preservation and conservation of endangered research materials in the state’s 11 comprehensive research libraries from the current $90,000 per year to $102,000 in 1991-92. $S 115,000 in 1992-93, and $126,000 in 1993-94. Total preservation/ conservation expenditures, now at $1.8 million, will grow to $2 million, $2.1 million, and $2.2 million over the next three years. The legislation brings total library aid in that state to $85-million over the three-year period. The legislation will become effective April 1, 1991. Funds for the increases will need to be included in the state’s 1991-92 appropriations. According to State Librarian Joseph F. Schubert, the bill was sponsored by leaders of both houses of the legislature.

CPO Report Finds Alkaline Paper Prices to be Competitive

In April, the Government Printing Office (GPO) issued a report and plan, “Use of Alkaline Paper in Government Printing,” prepared at the direction of the House Appropriations Committee. In the Executive Summary. the report states: “Fiscal year 1989 data shows that approximately 57 percent of the book-publishing and related papers purchased by GPO for in-house use and supplied to Federal agencies was produced by paper mills using alkaline production processes. This paper was purchased at prices that were competitive with acid paper, since GPO’s paper procurement system is designed to purchase paper which is the least expensive grade available that meets the Government’s needs. Approximately 40 percent of the total volume of paper used to produce contract printing for GPO is estimated to be alkaline.”

The report also states that the implementation in 1989 of the Environmental Protection Agency guidelines on paper containing recovered materials does not appear to have adversely affected GPO’s ability to obtain adequate supplies of alkaline paper.

A free copy of the report may be obtained by contacting: GPO Office of Public Affairs, STOP:PA, North Capitol and H Sts., NW, Washington, DC 20401. (202) 275-3541.

ALANET Users Join Commission Distribution List

The Commission maintains a distribution list on ALANET, which it uses to communicate with libraries and editors/publishers. If you would like to be included on this distribution list, send your complete ALANET subscriber codes (both numeric and alphabetical) or your FAX number, as well as your name, mailing address, and phone number to Maxine Sitts. We will add you the the list to receive announcements such as advance press releases and notices of upcoming newsletters. The Commission’s ALANET codes are: ALA2624 CPA.SITTS.

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
Patricia Cece, Communications Assistant


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