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CPA Newsletter #76, March 1995

CPA Newsletter #76, March 1995

Commission on Preservation and Access

The Commission on Preservation and Access


March 1995

Number 76

Council on Library Resources, Commission Announce Affiliation

February 24, 1995. The Boards of Directors of the Commission on Preservation and Access and the Council on Library Resources (CLR) voted today to affiliate with one another, with the first step being a joint presidency. Deanna B. Marcum has agreed to serve as president of both organizations and has pledged to enhance their efficiency and effectiveness.

Billy E. Frye, Chairman of the Commission, and Martin M. Cummings, Chairman of the Council, announced the affiliation will be effective March 1, 1995. “We see the joint appointment as a major step in strengthening the programs of CLR and the Commission as they support and advocate the essential role of libraries in a time of changing opportunities and needs,” they noted.

Both organizations are committed to helping shape the future of librarianship and the institutions that preserve and provide access to our cultural heritage, while making information available to all citizens.

Within that commitment, the Commission develops and encourages collaborative strategies for preserving and providing access to the accumulated human record. The Council assists libraries in finding cooperative solutions to problems.

A joint committee with representatives from each board has developed the framework for the affiliation, taking advantage of the unique strengths and specialties of each organization

The main principles articulated are:

  • The mission of each organization remains distinctive and complementary;
  • A main objective is to achieve staffing and programmatic efficiency;
  • The independence and responsibility of each board will be preserved;
  • Each organization will retain fiscal independence and responsibility; and
  • Cooperative projects will be undertaken if deemed advisable by the two boards.

Marcum noted, “The Council and the Commission have always worked closely together. The offices are in the same building, and funding comes from foundations and institutions. We need to make operations as efficient as possible so that the funds we raise can go to projects that improve users’; access to needed information. I am delighted to accept the challenge of providing leadership to these two historically important and productive organizations.”

Marcum’;s prior positions include Director of Public Service and Collection Management at the Library of Congress, Dean of the School of Library and Information Science at The Catholic University of America, and Vice President of CLR. Marcum also has served as senior consultant with Information Services Consultants, Inc; and as a management training specialist with the Association of Research Libraries.

ECPA Attracts Multiple Support

The newly-formed European Commission on Preservation and Access (ECPA) has received several offers of support. Professor Pieter J.D. Drenth, President of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences and Chairman of ECPA, reports that:

  • The Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science has committed funds to match those allocated by the Commission on Preservation and Access in the U.S. for the initial establishment of an ECPA Secretariat;
  • The same Ministry has provided some funds for travel, meetings, and program activities;
  • The Council of Europe in Strasbourg has promised funds and facilities for meetings;
  • The Commission of the European Union in Brussels (Directorate X) also has offered support for meeting expenses and some other activities; and
  • The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences has offered to house the ECPA’;s Secretariat at the historic “Trippenhuis” in Amsterdam.

As a result of these developments, the ECPA has been invited to a two-day meeting in Amsterdam on March 17-18, 1995, to discuss the future agenda (see “Aims and Activities” of the European Commission on Preservation and Access, included as an insert to this newsletter).

With This Issue

The second in a series of reports on international preservation is included with the March newsletter. Preservation Activities in Bulgaria: The State of Affairs and Possibilities for Cooperation chronicles the preservation challenges that have developed from that country’;s long tradition of using manuscripts, rather than the printed word.

Commission Issues Papyri Contract

Experts in the field of papyri gather in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on March 4-5, 1994, to prepare a report on the best practices to use in the digital scanning and storage of papyri. Columbia University, under contract with the Commission, will coordinate the project.

The project will enable experts in a variety of fields to work together in developing agreement on the best methods for capture and storage of digital images of papyri. Scholars in many disciplines use ancient papyri texts in their work, making the preservation of this information vital to future scholarship.

It’;s widely anticipated that a major effort among papyrologists to digitize their papyri collections will soon occur. There are more than 100 papyri collections in the United States alone.

For more information, contact Carol A. Mandel, Deputy University Librarian, Columbia University, 535 W 114th St, New York, NY 10027; Tel: 212-854-2226; Email: <>.

Members Named to Archiving Task Force

Twenty-one specialists in publishing, information technology, and library and archival administration have been named to the Task Force on Archiving of Digital Information (see list below). The task force is a joint effort of the Commission and the Research Libraries Group (RLG) that was announced in the January newsletter.

The group will analyze the problems facing technology refreshment, seek solutions to them, and investigate alternatives. Not seeing its mission as solely or even primarily technology-oriented, the group also will consider intellectual, social, economic, and legal ramifications.

Task force members, who have been meeting electronically and via conference call, held their first face-to-face encounter at the American Library Association Conference in Philadelphia last month. They expect to complete an interim report by May of this year.

For more information, contact M. Stuart Lynn, Vice President for Technology, Commission on Preservation and Access; Tel: 510-548-2244; Email:<>.


Pamela Q. C. Andre
National Agricultural Library
Howard Besser
Visiting Associate Professor
School of Information and Library Studies
University of Michigan

Nancy Elkington
Assistant Director for Preservation Services
Research Libraries Group

John Garrett, Co-chair
Director, Information Resources

Henry Gladney
Research Staff Member
IBM Almaden Research Center

Margaret Hedstrom
Chief of State Records Advisory Service
New York State Archives & Records Administration

Peter B. Hirtle
Policy and IRM Services
National Archives at College Park

Karen Hunter
Vice President & Assistant to the Chairman
Elsevier Science

Robert Kelly
Director, Journal Information Systems
American Physical Society

Diane Kresh
Director for Preservation
Library of Congress

Michael E. Lesk
Manager, Computer Science Research
Bell Communications Research

Mary Berghaus Levering
Associate Registrar for National Copyright Programs
U.S. Copyright Office
Library of Congress

Wendy Lougee
Director, Digital Library Program
University of Michigan

Clifford Lynch
Director, Library Automation
University of California

Carol Mandel
Deputy University Librarian
Columbia University

Stephen P. Mooney, Esq.
Copyright Clearance Center, Inc.

James G. Neal
Director of University Libraries
Indiana University

Ann I. Okerson
Director, Office of Scientific and Academic Publishing
Association of Research Libraries

Susan Rosenblatt
Associate University Librarian
University of California, Berkeley

Donald Waters, Co-chair
Associate University Librarian
Yale University

Stuart Weibel
Senior Research Scientist
OCLC, Inc.

Hewlett Foundation Continues Support

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, a charter supporter of the Commission in 1986, has announced the awarding of a $250,000 grant to the Commission. In addition to providing for executive support, the flexibility of the two-year-grant will allow the Commission to advocate for preservation and access and to explore new initiatives in the fields of technology, science research, scholarly participation, international affairs, communications, and shared resources.

Following its original support, the Foundation awarded the Commission grants of $300,000 in 1989 and $450,000 in 1992. “The Commission is most grateful for the continuing and generous support of the Hewlett Foundation,” noted Commission Board Chairman Billy E. Frye.

Digitizing at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France

By the time the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (BNF) opens its new library in 1996, it hopes to have digitized 30 million pages from 100,000 books and microforms. The library’;s future goal is even more ambitious: 300,000 books by the year 2000.

The purpose of the massive digitization program is to create an interdisciplinary electronic collection that will be accessible via workstations located in various departments of the new and old buildings. After the rights of all authors and publishers have been negotiated, access to the digitized collection will be provided through the French RENATER network and the INTERNET.

Mainly in French, the collection includes works in philosophy, literature, science and history of science, history and social sciences, economics, legal and political history, anthropology, and linguistics. It will largely be in bitmap format, with about 10 percent in retrievable texts drawn from databases like “Frantext” and “Trésor de la langue Française.”

Initially, the BNF conceived the digitization program as a wide-scale technical experiment to complement the encyclopedic offerings that soon will be available to researchers in the new library. As the BNF’;s Direction de services de Conservationpoints out, “Now, an evolution is taking place; interest for digital technologies to preserve and improve access to patrimonial collections and to the items consulted most frequently by researchers is better perceived. This results partly from our work using existing microforms for digitization.”

An interdepartmental working group representing technology, preservation, and collection development has been created to facilitate and monitor the goals, means, and consequences of the BNF’;s digitizing project.

Looking beyond an isolated collection at its own library, BNF plans to cooperate with other electronic text archives in hopes of eventually sharing electronic resources among several specialized and linked European libraries. To this end, BNF plans to collaborate with –; among others –; the Oxford Text Archives and the Institute for Computational Linguistics in Pisa, all within the framework of the European Union’;s “Memoria” project.

Permanent Paper Research Draws Interest

A proposed $2.5 million research program to study the effects of aging on printing and writing papers has drawn a high level of interest from research laboratories, paper companies, potential investors, and the preservation community.

To date, 12 organizations have committed funding and more than 19 research laboratories from around the world have submitted proposals to participate. The project will be administered by a subsidiary –; Institute for Standards Research (ISR) –; of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). More than 50 paper-industry officials attended a meeting on the subject at the ASTM headquarters in Philadelphia on December 8th.

At the meeting, ISR Director Kathleen Riley outlined the background and purposes of the program to potential investors. She announced a deadline of February 15, 1995, for pledges of support, with organizations that pledge $75,000 or more given the right to help ASTM officials and other sponsors select the winning bids.

Changes in papermaking technology, rules requiring the inclusion of recycled fiber, and changing world economic conditions have made the issue of the definition of permanent paper an important one for both the preservation community and the paper industry.

The most controversial compositional issue in the current standards is the maximum allowable content of lignin. Test methods to predict the effects of higher lignin content on the mechanical strength and whiteness of paper as it ages are the key objective of the research program. Investigation of paper-aging mechanisms and air-pollution effects on paper are also part of the ambitious research agenda.

The planned research program addresses some of the needs identified by the Commission’;s Preservation Science Council, which issued its research agenda in September 1994 See newsletter for that month for details. (Material for this article was supplied by James Reilly, scientist-member, Preservation Science Council.)

Demo Disk Available to Museums

Museums exploring the use of digital imaging for preservation and access can now obtain additional copies of the disk Moving Axles on Pixels at Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village. The Photo-CD Portfolio disk uses both images and audio to demonstrate how digital and telecommunications technologies can enhance on-site access to research collections offered by a museum.

The disk underscores the critical role that digital technology can play in a museum’;s mission to promote the use of collections while insuring their long-term preservation for generations to come. It is the result of a collaboration among the Commission, the Ford Museum, the University of Michigan’;s Historical Center for the Health Sciences, and the Eastman Kodak Company, which is making the additional copies available.

For more information, contact Luke Gilliland-Swetland or Dennis Moser, Henry Ford Museum Greenfield Village-Research Center, P.O. Box 1970, Dearborn, MI 48121-1970; Tel: 303-271-9621; Email: <>.

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.

Deanna B. Marcum–President
Maxine K. Sitts–Program Officer, Editor

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