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CPA Newsletter #32, Mar 1991

Commission on Preservation and Access

The Commission on Preservation and Access


March 1991

Number 32

IPI Issues Interim Report on Dark Stability of Color Microfilm

The Commission has received an interim report covering the first 12 months of research on the dark stability of color microfilm products performed by the Image Permanence Institute UPI) under a grant from the Getty Grant Program to the Commission. In a cover letter included with the report, IPI Director James M. Reilly states:

Cibachrome dyes are so incredibly stable that they simply won’t be the issue for this film. It s a question of which will give out next the gelatin or the polyester support, and how long that will require …

Excerpts from IPI’s report to the Commission follow.

Two types of film are being compared in the study: conventional chromagenic film (from Kodak) and silver dye bleach film (Cibachrome). The project scope expanded from only considering the dye fading aspects of dark keeping to include measurements of the physical properties of the plastic support and gelatin emulsions…. Tensile strength, emulsion melting point. and emulsion wet scratch resistance are the properties being measured.

…. Overall this study is the first one ever to comprehensively address base, emulsion, and dye stability properties in such a way as to allow for predictions of lifespan. As such, it may be a model for studies in the future.

Results so far show the expected greater dye stability of Cibachrome, so it probably will be limited by gelatin or base deterioration; it’s not possible yet to know which. The chromagenic films show a quite strong temperature and humidity dependence for dye fading, and their acetate supports are also showing expected degradation.

A final report will be issued at the end of the two-year grant period.

New Supply of Fund Raising Support Package

The Commission’s supply of its fund raising support package, “Ideas for Preservation Fund Raising,” has been replenished. The package was developed in response to requests from the Commission’s sponsoring institutions. It 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. The flexible format–a pocket folder with inserts–enables a library or archive to add its own information For fundraising presentations.

Packages are available free to the Commission’s sponsors. Others may purchase the package, while supplies last, for $10.00. Orders must be prepaid, with checks (no cash) made payable to The Commission on Preservation and Access.” Payment must be in U.S. funds.

The preservation of library materials is a goal that affects every library department and many library procedures, for preservation is at the heart of guaranteeing access to information.

“Of Textblocks and Clamshell Boxes,” by Becky Rydel; in BiblioTech. V2.n 1, Newsletter of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Libraries

Specialists Discuss Preserving the BOOK as an Artifact

The Commission has invited a small group of specialists to meet for one day to explore possible cooperative approaches to selecting books for artifactual conservation. The informal discussion was scheduled for February 13 at Commission headquarters. Previous work with Advisory Committees has proven the value of involving knowledge able specialists in initial deliberations regarding nationwide approaches to selection. Invitees to this meeting are being asked to consider ways to broaden the inquiry.

Among the questions on the agenda for discussion are:
How do we determine what constitutes the “national interest” and the “local interest” in a context of unique and site-bound scholarly resources?
Is it possible to model such an effort on the cooperative preservation microfilming program, or is cooperation meaningless in this context?

Invited to attend the meeting are: Max Evans, Director, Utah State Historical Society; William L. Joyce. Associate University Librarian for Rare Books & Special Collections, Princeton University: Linda Matthews, Head. Special Collections Department, Emory University; Alice D. Schreyer, Assistant Director for ,Special Collections, University of Delaware Library; and Samuel Allen Streit. Assistant University Librarian for Special Collections, Brown University.

Membership Changes for Scholarly Advisory Committee on Art History

Joining the Commission’s Scholarly Advisory Committee on Art History are Dr. Elizabeth Boone, Director of PreColumbian Studies, Dumbarton Oaks; and Professor Marvin Eisenberg, Department of the History of A{t,, University of Michigan. Completing their terms on the committee are Professor Phyllis Pray Bober (Bryn Mawr), Professor Egbert Haverkamp Begemann Institute of Fine Arts, New York University) and Dr. Alan Fern (National Portrait Gallery). This committee was scheduled to meet with its new members February 19.

RLG-OCLC AGREEMENT to Benefit Cooperative Preservation

A cooperative agreement reached late last year between the Research Libraries Group. Inc., (RLG) and the OCLC Online Computer Library Center is expected to help avoid costly duplication of services and to supplement ongoing cooperative efforts in standards, computer linking, and exchange of preservation data, according to K. Wayne Smith. OCLC president. James Michalko, RLG president, stated that the agreement will enable more institutions to join with their colleagues around the country in an array of activities and grant-funded projects to support preservation.”

The two-year agreement encourages increased participation in RLG’s Preservation Program through OCLC’s subsidizing of program fees for eligible OCLC-member institutions. To date, OCLC and RLG have exchanged nearly half a million bibliographic records for filmed items. More information is available from OCLC (614)761-5163, and Patti McClung at RLG (415)962-9951.

Lehigh University Joins Sponsors

Lehigh University has joined with 36 other academic institutions to help sponsor the Commission’s activities. The support of the higher education and research library community is a vital component of the Commission’s capacity to facilitate national and international initiatives for the preservation of our scholarly resources and written heritage.

Commission Receives First Report on Digital Preservation Demonstration Project

The following information is excerpted from Cornell University’s First Interim Report to the Commission–Progress from July 1990 through November 1990, which was issued on January 25, 1991. The report was prepared by Anne Kenney. Assistant Director. Department of Preservation and Conservation, and Lynne Personius, Assistant Director, Scholarly Information Systems, Cornell Information Technologies. See the August 1990 Newsletter (page 3) for background on this 18-month pilot project, which is testing an advanced technology for recording deteriorating books as digital images and producing, on demand, multiple high-quality copies.


The Cornell/Xerox/Commission on Preservation and Access Joint Study in Digital Preservation has been in progress since January 1990. This is the first of three status reports to be issued at interim stages of the project.

The first three phases of the project … are complete. Cornell and Xerox have collaborated in the development of scanning workstation hardware and software specifically designed to meet the needs of a technician doing preservation scanning. The equipment needed to perform scanning and printing has been delivered and is operating successfully. At this point, books are being scanned and stored. and printed paper facsimiles are being produced. … The development of the prototype hardware/software has taken longer than originally anticipated…. Attention is now being focused on improving efficiency and speed in the processing and handling of material. Development and delivery of the image storage system and development of the request server needed to offer access to images are planned for first quarter 1991.


Half of the 1000 volumes to be digitally preserved have been selected from the Mathematics Library. The math monographs include the works of very significant authors and those volumes that have contributed substantially to the development of the discipline. Each title has been carefully selected for its historical and intellectual significance based on faculty review and citation studies. The volumes are in poor condition yet are heavily used locally and much requested by scholars in other libraries throughout the world. The second 500 volumes will be selected primarily on the basis of their condition and will be representative of a cross section of materials typically found in modern research libraries. The Library’s four selection teams–humanities, social sciences, sciences, areas studies–are in the process of identifying 100 volumes each. A further 100 volumes have been selected from the Olin Library brittle books program….


Sample catalog records for both the preservation paper copy and the computer file have been developed … and the first nineteen volumes are in the process of being cataloged. Records will be created on RLIN and downloaded via the RLIN/NOTIS Generic Transfer and Overlay (GTO) to the NOTIS catalog.

Cost Model Progress

Work is progressing on a model that will serve as a tool to predict the cost of digital preservation.

Preservation does not exist in a vacuum. We preserve something either in order for it to be consumed, like strawberry preserves, or to provide access to it…

Information is one of the very few commodities which has the characteristic of being taken or sole, but without diminishing the resources of the original owner.

“Our Crumbling Heritage.” George E. Brown, Jr., Congressman, 26th District, CA

As a society, I believe our goal should be to create an environment in which librarians, archivists, scholars, and citizens can make collection decisions based on the value and content of the publication rather than a reaction to the condition of the medium.

“Collection Preservation: The Practical Choices,” Patricia Battin

The value and uses of library collections in a research institution are debated in a publication sponsored by the Center for the Book. Research Collections in the Information Age: The Library of Congress Looks to the Future, an 18-page booklet, is written by two library specialists from the Library of Congress. Stephen E. Ostrow, Chief of the Prints and Photographs Division, presents the case of the Library of Congress as a collection-based institution; Robert Zich, director of the Planning Office, offers the case that the information derived from the collections is more important than the collections themselves.

$3.95 at the Library of Congress Sales Shop or by mail from the Publishing Office, Box J, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 20540 ($3.50 per order shipping and handling, prepayment required).

Applications for the PRESERVATION MANAGEMENT SEMINAR for College Librarians are being accepted by SOLINET up to the deadline of March 15, 1991. The eight-day seminar–geared for librarians with part-time preservation responsibility–will be held July 20-27, 1991, at Washington & Lee University, Lexington, VA. Costs for tuition, room, and board are expected to be $1,200. The seminar is co-sponsored by SOLINET and the Commission. The Commission is awarding one scholarship to a qualified attendee. Attendance is limited, with successful applicants to be selected by the College Libraries Committee. More information is available from SOLiNET Preservation Program. 400 Colony Square, Plaza Level, Atlanta, GA 30361-6301 (800)999-8558.

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–President
Maxine K. Sitts–Program Officer, Editor Pamela D. Block–Administrative Assistant
Patricia Cece–Communications Assistant


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