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CPA Newsletter #30, Jan 1991

Commission on Preservation and Access

The Commission on Preservation and Access


January 1991

Number 30

Pioneering Preservation Supporter Warren J. Haas Retires

Warren J. Haas, who retired as President of the Council on Library Resources (CLR) at the end of last year, was honored by the Commission’s Board at its October meeting for his crucial and instrumental role in conceptualizing, founding, and persistently supporting and advocating the cause of the Commission. Under Haas’ leadership, CLR became a pivotal force behind the evolution of a nationwide (and national) preservation agenda. He began his association with CLR in 1974, when he was elected to the Board of Directors. He was named president of CLR in 1978, coming to the Council from Columbia University, where he had served as university librarian and vice president for information services.

Haas was instrumental in facilitating the efforts of the higher education community as it lay the groundwork for a national preservation agenda. The blueprint for much of today’s preservation activity at the national level is found in the documentBrittle Books, which was the culmination of 18 months of committee work sponsored by CLR under Haas’ direction. In a festschrift, Influencing Change in Research Librarianship (Washington, DC: Council on Library Resources, Inc., 1988), Haas is credited with an array of preservation accomplishments, among them:

  • Successful solicitation of more than a million dollars in funding commitments for the work of the Commission from a variety of important universities and foundations:
  • CLR support for all international conference of library directors in Vienna on the subject of preservation, under the auspices of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions;
  • Creation, from concept to national broadcast on public television. of the award-winning “Slow Fires” preservation film, and its wide distribution and use in both film and videocassette formats:
  • Involvement with Congress in a process that led first to subcommittee hearings and finally, in September 1988, to approval by Congress of a bill nearly tripling funding of the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Office of Preservation.

The chapter’s conclusion sums up his contributions well: “Thus, of the many things that Jim Haas has done during nearly forty years in his chosen profession, preservation must rank as one of his greatest and hardest-won successes. … The end result of his efforts in preservation and access will have fundamental and far-reaching effects on the way research libraries work for both librarian and user.”

TAAC Report: Technology Assessments Demonstration Projects Move Ahead

The Technology Assessment Advisory Committee (TAAC) continues to progress with its two main goals: the development of analytic and conceptual papers, and the identification and support of research and demonstration projects related to preservation and access technologies. At a November 2 meeting, TAAC welcomed as a new member, Peter Lyman, Executive Director of The Center for Scholarly Technology, Edward L. Doheny Memorial Library, University of Southern California. The committee also reviewed an early draft of a committee report that will address telecommunications technologies and networks for improving access to digitally stored materials.

In another technology initiative, the Commission contracted with Yale University in November 1990 for a three-month study to explore the feasibility of a major, multi-year project to convert microfilmed texts to digital images and to provide access to the converted information. The contract calls for the initial study to analyze requirements and costs of the larger project and prepare a detailed plan of work. The multi-year project would provide both intra- and interinstitutional access to the stored images, and also would consider the broader implications for enhanced intellectual access to digitized scholarly materials. The initial three-month study is being directed by Dr. Donald Waters, Head of the Systems Office at Yale University Library.

March 15 Deadline Set For Applications to Preservation Training Seminar for College Librarians

The date and location for the Preservation Training Seminar for College Librarians, developed collaboratively by the SOLINET Preservation Program and the Commission’s College Libraries Committee, have been announced. The event will be held July 20 – July 27, 1991, at Washington & Lee University, Lexington, VA.

Attendance is limited, with registrants to be selected by the College Libraries Committee on an application basis. The deadline for applications is March 15, 1991, with notification to successful applicants no later than April 15, 1991. The Commission will award one scholarship to a qualified attendee. Costs for tuition, room, and board are expected to be $1,200. Application information is available from: SOLINET Preservation Program, 400 Colony Square, Plaza Level, Atlanta, GA 30361-6301. (800)999-8558.

The eight-day seminar is a comprehensive training program for college librarians with part-time preservation responsibility. The program’s design and content have been developed jointly by SOLINET trainers and the College Libraries Committee over the past 15 months. One of the major goals of the seminar is to prepare staff to enable college libraries to plan and implement coherent and effective preservation programs appropriate to their needs and resources. The seminar includes modules on: Introduction to Preservation Management, Nature of Library Materials, Environment, Disaster Preparedness, Security, Care and Handling of Library Materials, Library Binding, Physical Treatments, Reformatting, Treatment Decision Making, and Planning a Preservation Program.

College Libraries Committee members are the following library directors: Willis E. Bridegam. Amherst College: Barbara J. Brown, Washington & Lee University: Joel Clemmer, Macalester College; David Cohen, College of Charleston: Caroline M. Coughlin, Drew University; Michael Haeuser, Gustavus Adolphus College; Jacquelyn M. Morris, Occidental College; and Kathleen Moretto Spencer, Franklin & Marshall College (chair).

Task Force on Preservation Education Developing Final Report

The Task Force on Preservation Education used its November 12, 1990, meeting to advance its final report, which will take into account the recommendations from the Preservation Education Institute held August 2-4, 1990, at Wye Center, Queenstown, MD. Activities already underway either by private consultants or sections of the American Library Association were noted, and the task force concluded that information already being collected should be used whenever possible, rather than trying to under take independent efforts.

Among other considerations, the task force will be addressing possibilities for curriculum offerings, continuing education, a preservation research base, and the development of faculty to teach preservation. The final report will be drafted in March and then submitted to the Commission. Task Force members are deans and faculty of library schools: Deanna Marcum (chair), Catholic University of America; Sally Buchanan, University of Pittsburgh; David Gracy 11, University of Texas at Austin; Carolyn Harris, Columbia University; Beverly Lynch, University of California. Los Angeles; and Robert Stueart, Simmons College.

Giant Brittle Book Exhibit Travels to Chicago

The Commission’s Giant Brittle Book exhibit travelled to Chicago at the Linguistic Society of America’s annual meeting. January 3-6, 1991. The Linguistic Society provided a complimentary booth for the exhibit because of its interest in the preservation of scholarly materials. The Linguistic Society of America was founded for the advancement of the scientific study of language. The Society has nearly 7,000 individual and institutional members.

“Turning To Dust” Available in PAL Format

In the June and September 1990 newsletters, the Commission reported on Turning to Dust,” a video presentation about the preservation of brittle books. The Commission has learned that the 60-minute program is now available in PAL format for use outside the United States. In addition, Filmmakers Library has offered to give a discounted price to persons who tell them that they read about the video in the Commission’s newsletter. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) first aired the program on March 14. 1990, as part of the series, The Nature of Things.”

Persons ordering from the United States can contact: Linda Gottesnan, Filmmakers Library, 124 East 40th Street, New York, New York 10016: (212) 808-4980.

Persons ordering from abroad can contact the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) Enterprises, who will refer you to a distributor in your country, if there’s one available. Contact CBC Enterprises at: Educational Sales, Box 500, Station A, Toronto, Ontario. Canada M5W 1E6; (416) 975-3505.

National Advisory Council on Preservation Explores Copyright, Mass Deacidification

Thirteen members of the National Advisory Council on Preservation (NACP) met with Commission staff members on November 12. 1990. to review activities over the past year and explore cooperative actions regarding copyright and mass deacidification. Robert Oakley, author of the Commission report Copyright and Preservation: A Serious Problem in Need of a Thoughtful Solution,* reviewed the current legislation and provided a series of possible library/ archive community actions that could proactively resolve potential copyright difficulties. In a discussion of mass deacidification. the Council agreed that decisions regarding use of the process are made at the local level, but noted that there are cooperative concerns as well. The NACP is composed of representatives from 22 library, academic, governmental, and scholarly organizations concerned with preservation and access issues. [* Available for $15.00 prepayment]

Hemisphere-Wide Planning for Latin American Preservation

With the interest and cooperation of several nations, the Commission has launched a study to help coordinate the preservation filming of Latin American materials. In November 1990, the Commission awarded a contract to Dan C. Hazen, Selector for Latin America, Spain, and Portugal at Harvard College Library, to conduct a study on the status of the production and bibliographic control of Latin American microfilms in the United States.

The National Libraries of Venezuela and Brazil, the University of Puerto Rico, and a number of Central Bank Libraries are internationally known. In particular, Venezuela’s National Library has been designated Latin America’s “Preservation and Conservation Core Program.” Lourdes Blanco, Director, Conservacion, Biblioteca National Centro De Conservacion, Caracas, has recently requested information on Latin American microfilming activity within the United States. The study’s immediate purpose is to minimize inadvertent duplication of filming by the involved nations, and over a longer term, to help inform a hemisphere-wide preservation strategy. The final report, expected by April 1991, will be widely distributed.

Deadline Nears for Environmental Conditions Seminar

The Association of Physical Plant Administrators (APPA) Seminar, “Preservation of Library & Archival Materials,” which is being developed in cooperation. with the Commission, is approaching a February 1, 1991, deadline for reduced early registration fees. The seminar will be held in Washington, DC, Thursday, February 28 – Friday, March 1, 1991. Designed to help physical plant managers deal with the particular needs of libraries and archives, the seminar will include sessions on standards, maintaining the facility for a reliable environment, and planning and designing for the library’s requirements.

Speakers include Billy E. Frye, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, Emory University (and Chairman of the Commission Board); Donald G. Kelsey, Library Facilities Planning Officer, University of Minnesota; Maureen Sullivan, Director of Personnel, Yale University Library; and the following Smithsonian Institution physical plant and library staff: Robert Burke, Charles Dunn, Nancy Gwinn, Michael League, Lawrence Stuebing, J. Andrew Wilson, and Howard Wink.

For registration details, contact APPA headquarters, 1446 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA 22314-3492, Phone (703) 684-1446; FAX (703) 549-2772.

New Year News


Preservation Microfilming. The Mid-Atlantic Preservation Service (MAPS) and the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) have concluded an agreement that transfers control of MAPS, a nonprofit organization, to OCLC, also a nonprofit organization. According to MAPS and OCLC, the move assures the continued operation and future development of MAPS and enhances OCLC’s commitment to preservation activities.

New CLR Leadership. The Council on Library Resources (CLR) has named W. David Penniman as its fourth president. Penniman, who assumes his new post this month, was most recently the director of the Information Services Group at ATT Bell Laboratories, where he previously served as Director of Libraries and Information Systems. Before moving to Bell Laboratories in 1984, Penniman served in research and development posts at OCLC, finally as Vice President of Planning and Research.


NEH Office of Preservation 1991 Funding Increase. The final fiscal year-1991 appropriations of $22.581 million for the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Office of Preservation include a significant increase for the brittle books initiative, which will receive $9.9 million–up from $8.1 million in 1990.

Revised Permanent Paper Standards. A second revision of the American National Standard for permanent paper for library and archival use (Z39.48- 199X), is available for comment through February 28, 1991, from the National Information Standards Organization, P.O. Box 1056, Bethesda, MD 20827 ($30.00). The revision is based on current information on the permanence of paper – both coated and uncoated. It is expected to be useful to publishers, printers, librarians, and paper manufacturers, and to help to encourage the use of permanent paper.

Permanent Paper Policy Signed Into Law. SJ. Res. 57, establishing a national policy on permanent paper, was signed into law by President Bush on October 12, 1990. The resolution, which promotes and encourages the printing of books of enduring value on alkaline paper, was assigned Public Law No. 101423.

Statewide and Regional

  • Nearly 40 representatives of state and regional preservation programs were in Washington, D.C., last month for an informal two-day “Cooperative Programs Group” meeting. Participants heard talks on legislative strategies and statewide planning and management and discussed possibilities for future cooperative purchasing and information exchange.
  • A Report Of The “National Conference on the Development of Statewide Preservation Programs” held March 1-3, 1989, at the Library of Congress will be published and distributed by the Commission early this year. Like the conference itself, the report is a cooperative effort of several institutions, including the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Office of Preservation, the Library of Congress, and the Commission. The report was edited by Carolyn Clark Morrow as a practical tool for states interested in developing preservation plans. It will be disseminated widely to state libraries and archives.

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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