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CPA Newsletter #86, Feb 1996

Commission on Preservation and Access

The Commission on Preservation and Access


February 1996

Number 86

CEU Addresses Long-term Access to Electronic Publications; Collaboration with DATF Welcomed

The Commission of the European Union (Directorate General XIII–Library networks and services) recently invited the participation of the Task Force on Archiving of Digital Information (DATF) in a workshop to explore issues faced by European national libraries related to deposit collections of electronic publications. At the one-day workshop held in Luxembourg, there was general agreement that future European-U.S. collaboration in the implementation of both groups’ recommendations will be very beneficial. The CEU’s invitation to the DATF noted that “the work carried out by [your task force] covers some pertinent areas for our study and we would very much welcome [your] input to the issues under debate.”

The DATF is co-sponsored by the Commission and the Research Libraries Group. The mid-December CEU workshop was held for national librarians and publishers in the member countries. Topics included electronic publications and the deposit library; selection of electronic publications; preservation: maintaining accessibility of electronic publications; providing access to deposited electronic publications; bibliographic control in the context of electronic publications; publishers and electronic deposit; and recommendations for future activities.

There is much common ground in the explorations of the CEU and the DATF, although there are some differences in approach. A CEU recommendation notes, “In view of the cost and specialized nature of preservation of electronic publications, it is unlikely that other parties than the deposit library can guarantee long-term archiving and availability. Decentralized models in which the archiving of electronic publications is delegated to publishers or network resource providers are therefore not recommended. Preservation of electronic materials is best guaranteed by local storage under the control of the deposit library.”

The DATF report explicitly leaves open the judgment about the ultimate value of a central depository and allows the possibility of a decentralized model that can result in the long-term preservation of culturally valuable electronic information. As explained by DATF co-chair Don Waters, “The success of the existing decentralized model in the U.S., consisting of a mix of national, public and university research archives and libraries, for preserving analog materials forces us to keep the option open. . . . Both models can be usefully seen within a common framework of principles, with the centralized model as a special case of the application of those principles.”

Waters also noted that the CEU, “in focusing clearly and with unwavering vision on that special case, generates useful results, many of which eluded us in the DATF effort. It provides an important guide for us all in next steps.”

The DATF final report, to be issued shortly, recommends further study of a number of pressing issues. Among them are the economics and financing of digital information archives. The report also suggests follow-on case studies to identify current best practices and benchmark costs in such areas as storage of massive quantities of culturally valuable digital information and the use of metadata and migration paths for digital preservation of culturally valuable digital information.

Preservation Training Project Launched in Brazil

In partnership with the Commission, the Getulio Vargas Foundation, Rio de Janeiro, has announced a project for the publication and dissemination of preservation knowledge in Brazil to form the basis for a series of preservation workshops in the region. The project is funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The non-profit effort is highly collaborative, involving an alliance of representatives from Brazil’s National Library, National Archives, and National Foundation of Arts. The Vargas Foundation is a private, non-profit institution dedicated to research and teaching in social sciences, it stimulates interinstitutional cooperation and exchange programs by developing joint projects and special programs in training, research, and consultation.

The Commission is serving as the U.S. liaison throughout the 18-month project, to help identify and make available relevant preservation literature and formulate the curriculum for preservation workshops. As a first step, the Commission is seeking permission to translate selected U.S.-developed preservation materials into Portuguese. In developing the partnership arrangements, the International Program drew upon an earlier assessment of preservation needs by Latin American librarians as reported in the Commission publication Preservation Priorities in Latin America: A Report from the Sixtieth IFLA Meeting, Havana, Cuba, Dan C. Hazen (July 1995).

The project expects to translate more than 1,000 pages of materials, making them available to about 1,500 public and academic archives and libraries. In addition, 70 monitors will be trained in preventive conservation. The project’s general objectives are to: allow access to information in archives and libraries through preservation of collections; empower personnel working in Brazilian institutions to conduct preventive conservation programs; create a conscience among political and managerial communities regarding the importance of a joint effort to preserve and provide access to library and archival materials; and promote a public awakening campaign for the preservation of the national heritage.

Distributed with This Newsletter:

Art Historian’s Views on Computer Imaging

To provide additional perspectives to the scholarly involvement program, the Commission is distributing an abbreviated version of “Computer Images for Research, Teaching, and Publication in Art History and Related Disciplines” with this newsletter. This report is adapted from an article written by Charles S. Rhyne for Visual Resources, An International Journal of Documentation. A professor of art history and chair of the Department of Art at Reed College, Rhyne calls for more participation by scholars in influencing the directions of digital imaging projects and discusses the characteristics of the technology that can affect research and teaching.

The full article examines the wider availability of digital images, the ways in which digital images will be less or more expensive, and the uses of computer modeling and image modification. It appears in Vol. XII, No.1 (1996), pp.19-51, of Visual Resources (ed. Helene E. Roberts). The journal is sponsored by the Visual Resources Association and published by Gordon and Breach. For additional copies, contact the Publisher’s document delivery service: Reprint Department, PO Box 786, Cooper Station, New York, NY 10276.

Commission reports on scholarly involvement include: Difficult Choices: How Can Scholars Help Save Endangered Research Resources? by Gerald W. George, August 1995; Digital Imaging of Papyri, by Roger S. Bagnall, August 1995; Preserving the Intellectual Heritage. A Report of the Bellagio (Italy) Conference, October 1993; and Preserving the Illustrated Text–Report of the Joint Task Force on Text and Image, April 1992. Each is available for $10.00.

Resources on Scholar Access to Digital Imaging

Two recently published reports provide practical background information for librarians, archivists, publishers, and others seeking to enhance scholarly use of digital images, including discussions of preservation and long-term access.

Introduction to Imaging: Issues in Constructing an Image Database, from the Getty Art History Information Program, Santa Monica, CA, introduces the technology and vocabulary of digital imaging as applied to the management of digital image databases, illustrating in full color the choices to be made when images are digitized. The primer recommends strategies for keeping technological options open in the future and for upgrading as new equipment becomes available. The 48-page publication is available for $7.95 plus $3 shipping and handling for each order from the Getty Trust Publications Distribution Center; phone (800) 223-3431 (U.S. customers only) or (310) 453-5352.

RLG Digital Image Access Project, from The Research Libraries Group, Mountain View, CA, presents the proceedings of an invitational symposium on March 31-April 1, 1995, attended by project managers from nine institutions that participated in an RLG digital imaging project along with experts in the digital imaging field.* The project set out to see what would happen when many collections from different institutions were merged, as well as to take a broader look at making integrated, networked access possible.

At the heart of the project was the role of photographic and digital imaging in collections–that is, can surrogate images of original photographic materials be used for both preservation purposes and enhanced access by users of collections?

The introductory remarks conclude: “We do not yet know how to organize and retrieve millions of images in an online environment. We do, however, have a better understanding of the issues… And we believe more firmly than ever that success will come about only with close collaboration among research institutions, their faculty, libraries, and computer centers, as well as museums, historical societies, and archival repositories.”

Copies are available in the U.S. for $20, plus $8 shipping and handling for the first copy, and $2 for each additional copy. International shipping and handling is $25 for the first copy and $5 for additional copies. Order from: Distribution Services Center, The Research Libraries Group, Inc., 1200 Villa Street, Mountain View, CA 94041-1100.

* Presenters included Anne R. Kenney, co-author of Tutorial: Digital Resolution Requirements for Replacing Text-Based Materials: Methods for Benchmarking Image Quality, and James M. Reilly, co-author of New Tools for Preservation: Assessing Long-Term Environmental Effects on Library and Archives Collections, both available from the Commission.

Millicent Abell Honored at Annual Meeting

The multiple contributions of a founding member of the Commission, Millicent Abell, were recognized by the Board at its annual meeting in November 1995. Penny, as she is fondly known, retired from the Board at that meeting upon completing the maximum number of terms of service. She also recently retired as University Librarian at Yale. Board Chairman Billy E. Frye cited in particular Penny’s ability to envision the needs of the future while focusing on current needs and actions. Among her many efforts in developing and carrying forward the work of the Commission, she served on all presidential search committees.

The Mellon Foundation Continues Support

The Commission has received a $1.2 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for general support over the next four years. The funding provides a stable operating core on which to base an effective array of programmatic activities and the necessary flexibility for the Commission to effect a merger with the Council on Library Resources.

The merger is seen by the Boards of both organizations as a way to provide a broader and simpler framework within which to pursue their objectives. The Commission and the Council announced the first step of their affiliation in March 1995, with the appointment of a joint president. Throughout the first year, the two organizations have begun sharing operating costs, thus releasing more funds for programmatic purposes.

The Mellon Foundation’s support of the Commission began in March 1988. The important flexibility in the use of those grant funds over the past eight years has been crucial to the Commission’s ability to catalyze action, stimulate cooperative efforts, and respond promptly to new technologies and other unforeseen opportunities. In December 1992, the Commission received a three-year Mellon grant for those programs deemed most important by the Commission’s clientele as announced in the Review and Assessment Committee Report (September 1991). That grant helped expand activities in the areas of communications and publications, technology, scholarly involvement, and non-print materials. The Commission’s International Program has been supported by separate Mellon Foundation grants.

According to Deanna B. Marcum, president, the grant will enable the work of both the National Digital Library Federation and the Task Force on Archiving of Digital Information to proceed at the highest possible level. “Each of these exciting projects, which began in 1995, involves scores of institutions and requires an accelerated pace to remain current with evolving technologies,” she said. “The Mellon grant enables the Commission to maintain high programmatic focus on digital technology, which leads us to new opportunities and tools for meeting the obligation of libraries and archives to preserve the intellectual and cultural heritage.”

Commission Sponsorship

Wesleyan University has agreed to sponsor the Commission for the next three years. Support from a diverse base of such sponsors, rather than from memberships, enables the Commission to address issues on a collaborative national and international scale, rather than respond to the interest of a specific constituency. A new brochure describing Commission initiatives and programs is available, as is a brochure on sponsorship benefits.

New Mellon Study Addresses Nonprofit Management

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has announced the publication of a new study, Managing Change in the Nonprofit Sector: Lessons from the Evolution of Five Independent Research Libraries, by Jed Bergman. In this thoroughly researched book, the author, in collaboration with William G. Bowen and Thomas I. Nygren, presents a historical review of five private libraries in the U.S. Bergman analyzes how the five organizations managed the pressures of changes that all nonprofits face. He examines financial pressures, new demands for access and democratization, and common challenges.

The book is written for nonprofit executives, board members, and scholars, as well as librarians, library science students, and historians of social change. Bergman, a graduate of New York University’s Stern School of Business, was a research associate at the Mellon Foundation from 1992 to 1994. Bowen is president of the Mellon Foundation and former president of Princeton University; Nygren is a research associate at the Mellon Foundation.

The publisher, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, is offering discounts on bulk quantities to corporations, professional associations, and other organizations. For information, contact the Jossey-Bass special sales department at (415) 433-1740 or FAX (800) 605-2665.

Commission Reports During 1995

The following list includes all Commission publications during 1995, organized by program area. In addition to these reports, the Commission has distributed its annual report and an informational brochure. A complete list of reports is available via email by contacting, on the WWW site or by writing to the Commission.

International Program
Hazen, Dan C., Preservation Priorities in Latin America: A Report from the Sixtieth IFLA Meeting, Havana, Cuba (7/95, 7 pp.) ISBN 1-887334-41-6

The International Program and Its Global Mission. Introduction to Report Series (1/95, 4 pp.) ISBN 1-887334-35-1

Jordan, Sonja. Preservation Activities in Bulgaria: The State of Affairs and Possibilities for Cooperation (2/95, 12 pp.) ISBN 1-887334-36-X

Schwartz, Werner, The European Register of Microform Masters Ñ Supporting International Cooperation (5/95, 8 pp.) ISBN 1-887334-37-8

Science Research Initiative
Reilly, James M., Douglas W. Nishimura and Edward Zinn, New Tools for Preservation: Assessing Long-Term Environmental Effects on Library and Archives Collections (11/95, 35 pp.) ISBN 1-887334-46-7

Van Bogart, John, Magnetic Tape Storage and Handling: A Guide for Libraries and Archives (6/95, 34 pp.) ISBN 1-887334-40-8

Scholarly Involvement
George, Gerald W., Difficult Choices: How Can Scholars Help Save Endangered Research Resources? (8/95, 24 pp.) ISBN 1-887334-43-2
Bagnall, Roger S., Digital Imaging of Papyri: A Report to the Commission on Preservation and Access (9/95, 8 pp.) ISBN 1-887334-44-0

Gertz, Janet, Oversize Color Images Project, 1994-1995: A Report to the Commission on Preservation and Access (8/95, 24 pp.) ISBN 1-887334-42-4

Kenney, Anne R. and Stephen Chapman, Tutorial: Digital Resolution Requirements for Replacing Text-Based Material: Methods for Benchmarking Image Quality (4/95, 22 pp.) ISBN 1-887334-38-6

Each report is available for $10.00 (U.S.), with prepayment required. Checks and orders should be mailed to: Publication Orders, Commission on Preservation and Access, 1400 16th St. NW, Suite 740, Washington, DC 20036.

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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