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CPA Newsletter #82, Sep 1995

Commission on Preservation and Access

The Commission on Preservation and Access


September 1995

Number 82

International Program Reports on Priorities in Latin America

A new International Program series report, Preservation Priorities in Latin America, by Dr. Dan C. Hazen, provides background and rationale for an increasing number of preservation and access activities in Latin America. The report is based on presentations and conversations from the August 1994 International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions meeting in Havana in August 1994. At that time, the Commission contracted with Hazen, Librarian for Latin America, Spain, and Portugal, Harvard College Libraries, to meet there with as many library leaders as possible. The goal was to gather information on the possibilities and capabilities for preservation programs in that part of the globe. The librarians’ reflections reveal, once again, that preservation on an international scale cannot simply consist of uncritically extending approaches used by developed nations to other countries and regions.

The report concludes that the high-priority needs are training, current knowledge and literature, and improved storage environments. Secondary needs include reformatting and bibliographic control and connectivity through new technologies. The paper treats these topics in turn and then considers some of the opportunities they present. The report has been distributed to the Commission’s mailing list.

Discussions of possible preservation initiatives in Latin America continue this month at the September 1995 ABINIA meeting in Mexico City. In the meantime, the Commission has developed a contract with the National Library of Venezuela for the creation of an automated register of microform masters held by Venezuelan libraries. The register will establish the capacity to receive bibliographic records of filmed items from other Latin American countries and to share these records with libraries in the United States and elsewhere.

Preservation Priorities in Latin America: A Report from the Sixtieth IFLA Meeting, Havana, Cuba (7 pages, July 1995) is available for $10.00. Prepayment is required, with checks in U.S. funds made payable to “The Commission on Preservation and Access”. Commission sponsors receive all publications at no charge.

Oversize Color Images Project

Maps Successfully Scanned; Quality of Capture Outstrips Display and Access Options

A report to the Commission from Columbia University provides results of the first phase of a project to identify acceptable preservation and digital access techniques for dealing with oversize, color images associated with text. Phase I took five original brittle maps from the turn of the century, single-frame color microfiche of the maps, and color transparencies of the maps, and had several vendors scan the three versions with a variety of equipment and at various resolutions. The goal was to provide a preservation-quality photographic archival copy, a digital version for online access, and paper printouts.

The report, Oversize Color Images Project, 1994-1995, by Janet Gertz, Director for Preservation, Columbia University Libraries, is was published and distributed to the Commission mailing list during August 1995. The report concentrates primarily on resolution and display issues relevant to modern printed maps. Image quality for both capture and display, the report points out, involves many factors that are not always easy to evaluate separately. They include characteristics of the original media, characteristics of the photographic intermediaries and how they were produced, scanning and display resolution, compression, storage, display hardware, display software, and network transmission limitations.

“Evaluation of the digital files and the highest quality printouts shows that fine details can be captured successfully from paper original, microfiche, and transparency,” the report concludes. “At this time, however, the ability to capture information outstrips capacity for easy access and display with equipment [available to most users]. Therefore, the immediate online use of high-resolution files is somewhat limited. Because all printed details visible in the paper originals can be fully captured by current technology, however, re-scanning should not be needed in the future, even though access and display capacity is expected to improve in the near future.”

Phases I and II of the oversize color images project are being conducted under contract to the Commission. The project management team includes representatives of Columbia’s Academic Information Systems, the Libraries’ Preservation Division, and the Geology Library. Phase II involves scanning preservation microfilm of the articles of which the maps are illustrations, and uniting the scanned text with the scanned illustrations online.

The full text of the final report and almost 300 images of the maps are available via Columbia’s Web server, at: The print version of Oversize Color Images Project, 1994-1995 (August 1995) is available for $10.00. Prepayment is required, with checks in U.S. funds made payable to “The Commission on Preservation and Access”. Commission sponsors receive all publications at no charge.

College Libraries Committee to Explore Scanning; Welcomes New Members

At a July meeting at Commission headquarters, the College Libraries Committee (CLC) identified scanning for preservation and access as a primary interest of their colleagues and decided to develop and offer a scanning institute for college library directors. The institute, tentatively scheduled as a two-day event in mid-Spring 1996 in Charleston, SC, will focus on helping college libraries benefit from and contribute to preservation and access goals within the new digital technology environment. Support for the institute comes from the Commission and the Charles E. Culpeper Foundation.

Two new members, Connie V. Dowell, College Librarian, Connecticut College, and Michael S. Freeman, Librarian of the College, Haverford College, were welcomed to the committee, which was established by the Commission in February 1989 to consider the role of college libraries in the national preservation agenda. Over the past several years, the CLC has instituted a regular library journal column about college preservation, developed a management training institute for college libraries, encouraged grant proposals by college libraries seeking preservation funds, investigated the use of scanning and on-demand printing services for out-of-print materials, and, most recently, conducted a survey of preservation activities and needs in college libraries. The CLC and the Commission will be distributing the results of the survey in the fall of 1995.

Two founding members, Barbara Brown, University Librarian, Washington & Lee University; and Caroline M. Coughlin, Rutgers University Library faculty, were thanked for their years of service upon their retirement from the CLC. Committee chair is Kathleen Moretto Spencer, Associate Vice President for Information Systems and Library Services, Franklin & Marshall College. Other members are: Willis E. Bridegam, Librarian of the College, Amherst College; David Cohen, Associate Provost for Academic Affairs, College of Charleston; Michael Haeuser, Head Librarian, Gustavus Adolphus College; and Victoria L. Hanawalt, College Librarian, Reed College.

French National Assembly Considers Permanent Paper Bill

A bill is pending before the French National Assembly requiring all government documents to be printed on permanent paper. “A nation that loses its cultural heritage loses its soul,” the document begins. “In French libraries, hundreds of millions of documents–books, journals, stamps, manuscripts, music scores–are dying inexorably of acidification. By its very composition, modern paper generates its own destruction: we are witnessing a slow-burning but no less veritable auto-da-fé of our graphical heritage.”

The bill describes the limited success–in France as elsewhere–of efforts to deacidify acidic paper. It also mentions existing standards for permanent paper and emphasizes that, produced in sufficient quantities, it need not cost more than acidic paper. The bill also points out the environmental advantages of new production processes for permanent paper. “Let us therefore not turn the page on the pleasures of turning pages,” the text concludes.

This “Proposition de Loi” was introduced at the Assemblée Nationale in October 1994 by the members of the “Socialist and Affiliated Groups.” In an interesting development, a group of conservative politicians introduced the identical text in December of the same year, indicating that members of both political parties find common ground concerning the preservation of library and archival collections. It is hoped that the Socialist and Conservative bills will be discussed by late 1995 or early 1996.

The initiative was spearheaded by the Association Sauver les Documents en Péril des Bibliothèques Françaises, a private advocacy group for the preservation of endangered collections in French libraries, archives and museums. The recent national elections will require a renewal of its groundwork addressing an entirely new executive.

… A coalition of moderate Republicans and Democrats took the floor to defend the agency, emphasizing NEH efforts to preserve presidential papers and decaying books

… The NEH [said one Representative] does something the private sector can’t do–preserve our culture.

“House Whittles Cultural Agencies–Slashing The NEH’s Budget,” The Washington Post , page D-1, July 19, 1995

ARL Report Shows Slowing of Expansion of Preservation Programs

The steady expansion in preservation expenditures and staffing across the membership of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) slowed significantly in 1993-94, according to recently released annual preservation statistics. Data from 115 ARL members show that while the number of programs managed by preservation administrators grew steadily from 76 in 1987-88 to 92 in 1993-94, expenditures and staffing increased only slightly in the most recent year. Preservation microfilming production, however, continued to grow, supported to a large extent by special grants and the National Endowment for the Humanities brittle books program.

Preservation expenditures in 1993-94 for the 115 reporting members were $77,674,363.

The report, The ARL Preservation Statistics, is available for $65 (non-members) plus $5 shipping and handling from the Association of Research Libraries, 21 Dupont Circle, Suite 800, Washington, DC 20036.

AALL Adopts Preservation Policy

The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL), which has a history of attention to national preservation initiatives, has published a preservation policy adopted by its Executive Board. The policy includes sections on setting priorities, participation in the national preservation agenda, work with publishers and information vendors, funding and support for preservation, and structure to implement preservation goals.

From the policy:

While acknowledging that preservation is a global problem, AALL has a responsibility to concentrate first and foremost on the preservation issues facing our member libraries. The most basic goal must be the preservation of as much as possible of the Anglo-American legal materials relevant to our primary constituencies–law faculties, law students, practitioners, judges, and government agencies.

The policy can be found in Volume 26, No.5 (February 1995) AALL Newsletter. For more information, contact AALL, 53 West Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL 60604.

Project Muse Receives NEH Grant for Online Journal Model

The National Endowment for the Humanities Division of Research Programs, Reference Materials Program, has awarded a grant to the Johns Hopkins University to support Project Muse, a system for electronic distribution of all of the Johns Hopkins humanities journals (currently 40). Project Muse is expected to provide a model for not-for-profit presses to convert print journals essential for research and teaching to electronic form for wide distribution. The NEH grant, which runs until the end of 1997, includes the consideration of preservation issues associated with the migration of the electronic form of journals to new hardware and software systems.

Preservation aspects of Project Muse were explored in a brochure and demonstration disk developed last year by the Milton S. Eisenhower Library and the University Press in cooperation with the Commission. The materials were used at scholarly meetings to illustrate digital alternatives for access to text and image and to underscore the importance of preserving and maintaining the original worth of scholarly materials. Hundreds of copies of the brochure and disk were provided to scholars and publishers with support from the Gladys Krieble Delmas and H.W. Wilson Foundations.

Brochures and demonstration diskettes (Mac or IBM format) remain available from the Commission. The materials describe the collaboration among the university’s library, press, and computer center.

The project prototype may also be viewed on the Internet at the address

Library of Congress Awards Deacidification Contract

Editor’s Note: Library of Congress mass deacidification efforts have been described in several Commission newsletters, most recently in August 1994.

July 1995. In June the Library of Congress awarded a contract to Preservation Technologies, Inc. (PTI) of Glenshaw, Pennsylvania, for demonstrated application of the firm’s Bookkeeper III mass deacidification process, a technology that neutralizes the acids in paper to prolong its useful life. The contract calls for PTI to treat at least 72,000 books during the next two years. The primary focus of this initiative is to ensure uniform, effective deacidification treatment of processed books and to enhance work flow, including book handling, storage, packing, and transportation procedures.

The Senate and the House appropriations Subcommittees on the Legislative Branch approved the Library’s proposed action plan to begin using the new Bookkeeper deacidification technology while continuing to evaluate other methods. The Library continues to encourage other companies with deacidification technologies and operational equipment capable of being scaled up for mass treatment to come forward if their processes have the potential to meet or exceed the Library’s technical requirements.

The report’s full title is: (Buchanan, Sally, et al.) “An Evaluation of the Bookkeeper Mass Deacidification Process: Technical Evaluation Team Report for the Preservation Directorate, Library of Congress.” Text pages (without appendices) are available on Internet by telnetting to ” and logging in as “Marvel.” To locate the report on Marvel, select “Libraries and Publishers (Technical Services),” “Preservation at the Library of Congress,” then “Mass Deacidification: Reports.” Free paper-bound copies of the report (including all of the appendices not reproduced on Internet), as well as another report on the Library-developed diethyl zinc (DEZ) process, can be obtained by contacting Kenneth E. Harris, Preservation Projects Director, Preservation Directorate, Library of Congress LM-G21, Washington, D.C. 20540-4500. Phone: 202-707-1054; Fax: 202-707-3434;

From a press release issued by the Library of Congress

More Institutions Pledge Sponsorship

In addition to the 22 institutions highlighted in the July-August newsletter, the following institutions have pledged support for Commission activities. All sponsors are acknowledged by the Commission’s Board of Directors as contributors to “our cooperative effort to transmit our intellectual heritage to those who follow us.” Sponsors receive all publications at no charge. A Sponsor Brochure describing programs and activities is available from the Commission.


(June 21 – August 7, 1995)

Brown University
University of California, San Diego
University of Chicago
Coalition for Networked Information
Dartmouth College
Lehigh University
Library of Congress
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
New York Public Library
Ohio State University
University of Oregon
University of Toronto
NYS Library Announces Grants for Cooperative Preservation

New York State Librarian Joseph F. Shubert has announced ten grants to research libraries for cooperation in preserving endangered research materials. This year marks the tenth anniversary of the state’s Conservation/Preservation Program, which has enabled libraries to preserve materials on the economic, social, cultural and educational history of New York State. In addition to helping libraries preserve irreplaceable books, maps, photographs, architectural drawings and archives, the program has supported internships, workshops, consultations and seminars which have expanded the preservation knowledge base throughout the state. Among the projects in 1995-96 are:

Preservation Reformatting of Theater Drawings and Posters
The University of Rochester Libraries and Columbia University Libraries will conduct a project to reformat New York State theater drawings and posters. Approximately 613 theater posters and drawings will be reformatted on color microfiche.
Preservation Photocopying of Oversize Ozalid Music Scores
The University of Rochester Libraries, Columbia University Libraries and Cornell University Libraries will create preservation photocopies of deteriorating oversized music scores produced by the ozalid reproduction process. The ozalid process is a photographic process used mainly for the reproduction of maps and blueprints. Unfortunately, like most photographic materials, ozalid materials proved to be very unstable and impermanent. A total of 776 scores from the three participating institutions will be photocopied ensuring continued access.
New York State Use-based Microfilming
New York University, along with Columbia University and the University of Rochester will create preservation microfilm for 1,000 brittle books identified through use. The participants will also investigate and develop a model approach to a use-driven microfilming project.

A Pilot Test of the Bookkeeper Mass Deacidification Process

The University of Rochester, Columbia University, New York University and SUNY Albany will conduct a project to evaluate the Bookkeeper mass deacidification process. The purpose of the project is to gain sufficient experience with the process to enable the participants to design a full-scale project for the comprehensive research libraries. The project will also enable the libraries to compare the Bookkeeper process with the results of the 1994 coordinated test project of the AKZO/DEZ process. In this project a total of 400 volumes will be deacidified, approximately 100 volumes from the general collections of the four participating libraries.

Enclosures and Air Pollution in Image Preservation

The University of Rochester, with the cooperation of seven other comprehensive research libraries, is conducting a three-year scientific research and development project in library preservation. The research will investigate the deleterious effects of pollutants on color and black-and-white photographic materials, especially microfilms, and test commonly available storage enclosures to determine the extent of protection afforded by each type and determine those best suited for storing various kinds of imaging materials. The Image Permanence Institute at Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY, is the prime contractor for the research.

For more information contact: Barbara Lilley, Conservation/Preservation Program Officer, New York State Library, Library Development, 10C47 Cultural Education Center, Albany, NY 12230; 518-474-6971;

California Preservation Plan Available

The California State Library has published the state plan for the preservation of its documentary heritage. The California Preservation Program describes development of the cooperative preservation plan, statewide initiatives, regional and local initiatives, and implementation and evaluation plans. Appendices include responses to the state’s needs assessment survey, a roster of task force members, and a glossary. California’s plan was developed to be inclusive and to meet the needs of a wide variety of agencies–including libraries, archives, historical societies, records centers and other agencies, public and private, large and small–that collect and make information of all kinds publicly available for resource sharing.

Copies of the report, with historical illustrations, are available from the California State Library, Library Development and Services Bureau, Library-Courts Building, P.O. Box 942837, Sacramento, CA 94237-0001.

Challenges for Preservation and Access

“Humanists will lead the way to innovative applications of information technology in the university.”

“The library must either become the facilitator of retrieval and dissemination of information or be relegated to the role of museum.”

These declarations are featured in the article, “Warning: Information Technology Will Transform the University,” in the Summer 1995 issue of Issues in Science and Technology (Volume XI, Number 4). The journal is sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Medicine, and the Cecil and Ida Green Center for the Study of Science and Society at the University of Texas at Dallas. The article is by William A. Wulf, AT&T Professor of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

Some of Wulf’s reflections:

“Science will not be where we see the most dramatic impact. I say that despite a recent study (in which I participated) by the National Research Council that paints an expansive image of the transformation of scientific research. I believe that a more dramatic transformation is about to shake the foundations of scholarship in the liberal arts. Humanists will lead the way to innovative applications of the information technology in the university….”

“One of the profound changes in store for libraries is that parts of their collection will be software agents collecting, organizing, relating, and summarizing on behalf of their human authors. They will “spontaneously” become deeper, richer, and more useful.”

How will these and other perceptions of the future be addressed by the preservation and access community?


To correct or change your address, contact Vanessa Lee Mueller at the Commission by FAX (202-939-3407), email ( or letter. Include both your old and new addresses if you are requesting a change. If you do not wish to receive this newsletter, provide your complete address with your request to be removed from the mailing list.


Incoming Commission Board member Elaine Sloan was most gracious about the misspelling of her name in the July-August 1995 newsletter. The editors have corrected the error in the online version of the newsletter and in archival versions maintained by the Commission. Others passing on the news of her election are asked to note the correct spelling above.

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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