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CPA Newsletter #87, Mar 1996

Commission on Preservation and Access

The Commission on Preservation and Access


March 1996

Number 87

International Program Report Describes Cooperative Preservation in Canada

Canada is a country of far-flung provinces and two official languages, yet its cultural heritage ties together this vast land. Similarly, preservation of its rich printed heritage provides a unifying theme for Canadian libraries, archives, and collections. A new report from the Commission describes Canada’s preservation efforts within the context of this common purpose.

Preservation Activities in Canada: A Unifying Theme in a Decentralised Country, by Karen Turko, Head of Preservation Services at the University of Toronto Library, is one of a number of the Commission’s International Program reports. It discusses Canadian preservation efforts from three perspectives: Federal, decentralised, and local. At the Federal level, for example, the National Library of Canada’s central mandate is to collect and preserve Canadian publications in all formats. Other primary NLC concerns include permanent paper, paper deterioration, the preservation of Canadian theses, and digital technology. Federal-level programs also are spearheaded by the National Archives of Canada and the Canadian Conservation Institute.

Institutions within Canada have banded together on many collaborative initiatives. The report covers accomplishments of such programs as the Canadian Council of Archives, Decentralised Program for Canadian Newspapers, Canadian Cooperative Preservation Project, and Advisory Committee on a Strategy for Preservation in Canadian Libraries. On the local level, provinces are preserving special collections and remain committed to the growth of their own preservation facilities and knowledge, whether at the mature stage of Ontario’s Archives and University library, or the building stage of Alberta, where a major preservation initiative includes converting a warehouse into an archival depository.

Canada’s commitment to maintaining preservation programs also is seen in its teaching and training programs. While noting the historical scarcity of training within Canada, the report points to a new wave of preservation education. Most recently, Canada has witnessed an upsurge of interest in the digital library. Some institutions are preserving printed materials electronically, while others are mounting a major effort to preserve electronic records.

Preservation Activities in Canada: A Unifying Theme in a Decentralised Country (February 1996) 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.

New Descriptive Brochure Available

This new 16-page brochure provides updated information on Commission programs and initiatives as well as phone, fax, and email addresses for contacting staff. The brochure also lists Commission Board members and recent publications and describes the benefits of Commission sponsorship.

The brochure is designed as a primary introduction to the work of the Commission for use at workshops and conferences and within institutions involved in preservation and access activities. Single copies are available at no charge by sending a SASE business envelope (#10) with 32-cents postage to Alex Mathews at Commission headquarters. Requests for multiple copies can be addressed to Maxine Sitts, Communication Program Officer (

CLR Statement on Fair Use

Included with this month’s newsletter is a statement from the Board of Directors of the Council on Library Resources emphasizing the centrality of the fair use doctrine to the development and dissemination of scholarship in the United States. The statement, a response to proposed revisions of the Copyright Law, expresses the Board’s concern for access and the free flow of information in the new era of electronic communication. It also argues that the current principle in copyright law that allows libraries to reproduce and distribute copies for preservation purposes should be retained in an electronic environment.

In mid-February, Commission Board member Cornelius J. Pings, president of the Association of American Universities, testified before a House of Representatives subcommittee, stating that pending amendments to the federal Copyright Law would not adequately protect educators’ fair use of copyrighted materials in digital form, and thus would jeopardize fundamental scholarly activities.

For a printed copy of the statement, which is not included in this Web document, contact Glenn LaFantasie (, at the Council on Library Resources.

Council on Library Resources Announces Small Grants Program

The Council on Library Resources (CLR) has announced that it will make available small grants of up to $25,000 to stimulate research, encourage the collection of badly needed data, and promote the analysis of library operations in the electronic and traditional spheres. The program, made possible with the support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, will enable librarians, administrators, and scholars to understand the potential scope and costs of information in the rapidly expanding electronic age.

Guided by a priority list of subjects developed by CLR’s Economics Advisory Committee, the Council hopes to encourage research in several areas, including studies of cost and pricing issues related to the transmission of digital information, cost-benefit analyses of commercial document delivery services, life-cycle costing models for print and electronic media, and analyses of the scholarly information market.

Grants will range in size from several thousand dollars to as much as twenty or twenty-five thousand dollars, depending on the scope of the project. Guidelines for submitting proposals are available from Glenn W. LaFantasie, Senior Program Officer, CLR, 1400 16th St., NW, Washington, DC 20036-2217; (phone) 202/939-3370; or email

The Council is affiliated with the Commission on Preservation and Access. Together the two organizations work to ensure the preservation of published and documentary records in all formats and provide enhanced access to scholarly information.

From the National Humanities Alliance

Continuing Resolution Keeps NEH Operating

In late January, President Clinton signed legislation to keep the full government operating through March 15. As with the third continuing resolution (CR), this fourth CR enables the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to operate at $99.5 million–the lowest of the House and Senate-passed budget levels–despite the fact that both chambers approved a conference report assigning NEH $110 million. Currently, the budget process is moving toward a CR that will fund programs of NEH and the National Endowment for the Arts through the end of fiscal 1996, with some confidence that the NEH program budget will settle on $110 million.

What’s New on the Commission and Council Web Sites

On the Commission’s WWW site (

  • A report on the findings of a College Libraries Committee survey of college library preservation activities and needs
  • Annual reports for the years 1993-1994 and 1994-1995

On the Council on Library Resources WWW Site (

The Web sites are maintained for the Commission and Council by Stanford University Libraries. Web site users can contact Maxine Sitts ( with suggestions for either Web site.

NDLF Planning Task Force Begins Studies

The Planning Task Force of the National Digital Library Federation (NDLF) reviewed a number of subcommittee reports and decided on next steps during a two-day meeting in late January. The Task Force, composed of representatives of the 15 NDLF participants, has been charged with defining the technical conditions necessary to establish a collaboratively managed, physically distributed, not-for-profit repository of digital information in support of instruction and research.

The NDLF seeks to integrate the unique characteristics and capability of digital technologies with existing strengths of the nation’s research libraries and institutions of higher education to provide convenient and affordable access to our intellectual and cultural heritage. [For background, see the June, July-August, October, and November-December 1995 issues of the newsletters.]

Areas for discussion included:

Discovery and Retrieval: To promote progress in working with the variety of information sources and content for a national digital library, as well as with the variety of access options–and to help resolve libraries’ bibliographic history with new digital approaches–the subcommittee suggested setting up a home page to make NDLF activities visible to other groups and developing an inventory of digital library projects. Future projects will explore a number of metadata issues.

Interoperability: There is a need to identify priorities in the corporate community and to articulate the urgent requirements for the higher education community. The group agreed that interoperability is so connected to other topics that it can’t be considered as a separate area of study.

Rights: Although the major issues are policy-related, the group agreed that the overarching principle for NDLF is the maximization of information access to scholars. It became clear that a well-defined taxonomy of resources and rights is essential.

Archiving: Three important issues for NDLF consideration that surfaced during investigations of the Task Force on Archiving of Digital Information are those of migration, certification of archives, and the fail-safe and/or rescue function. There are a number of opportunities for the NDLF and the DATF to jointly explore archiving and migration technical issues.

Economics: Traditional library costs are not well understood, infrastructure costs are not easily identified, and cost centers are shifting. The group recommended that subcommittee members be assigned different cost models for fuller explication and analysis, including separation of costs of content from access and maintenance services. There was general agreement that the NDLF objective is to federate institutional interests, rather than to create another entity.

Naming Conventions:A naming convention activity is underway at the Library of Congress, with an updated report available at The group proposed a format-based project to test the interoperability of naming conventions.

The Task Force has set a regular schedule of meetings through June 1996, with the goal of producing a written plan for consideration by the NDLF Policy Board.

Digitizing Workshop for College Library Directors

The College Library Committee of the Commission on Preservation and Access is sponsoring a workshop titled “Digitizing Texts and Images: a Workshop for College Library Directors” to be held at the Conference Center of the College of Charleston, in Charleston, SC, on April 18-20, 1996. The speakers, who are leaders in this field, have tailored their talks to the needs of college library directors.

Directors who want to know more about digitization and those who are considering digitization projects have been invited to attend. Those with questions about the program or interest in participating are asked to contact Willis Bridegam, Committee chair, by email, The deadline for registration is March 22, 1996.

Digitizing Texts and Images Program

“Digital Image Quality: From Conversion to Presentation”

Anne R. Kenney, Associate Director, Department of Preservation and Conservation,
Cornell University

“Preservation in the Digital World”

Paul Conway, Head, Preservation Department, Yale University Library

“Lessons Learned From Digitizing One Million Pages:
The JSTOR Experience.”

Randall Frank, Director of Information Technology for the
College of Engineering and the School

“Selecting Digital Projects: Maximizing Value to the Community”

Todd Kelley, Librarian for Information Technology Initiatives,
Milton S. Eisenhower Library, Johns Hopkins University.

“Electronic Texts and Images on the Internet: Standards,
Training, Costs, and Uses”

David M. Seaman, Director, Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library

“In the Interest of Access: The Role of the Commission on
Preservation and Access”

Deanna Marcum, President, Commission on Preservation and Access and President, Council on Library Resources

Preservation Reading

Environmental Guidelines for the Storage of Paper Records, by William K. Wilson (1995).

Published by the National Information Standards Organization (NISO), this technical report addresses conditions for preserving printed materials from such damaging factors as temperature, relative humidity, exposure to light, gaseous contaminants, and particulates. In distinguishing between the best environment for human comfort and preservation requirements, the report contains recommendations for preservation methods with the materials’ best interest in mind. An appendix includes information on environmental guidelines for library and archives environments; the effect of temperature and relative humidity, and air contaminants on records; the use and results of air conditioning in various climates; and a discussion of buildings and facilities. A glossary, bibliography, tables, and figures add to the report’s comprehensive nature.

For information contact NISO at 4733 Bethesda Ave., Suite 300, Bethesda, MD 20814; Phone: (301) 654-2512; Fax (301) 654-1721; E-mail:

The Commission is improving its ability to communicate with constituents by expanding its database to include phone, fax, and email information. You can help in this effort by providing this additional information. Submit your information, along with a copy of your mailing label, in one of three ways: fax to the attention of Vanessa Mueller at (202) 939-3407; email your information, including current address, to; or use the U.S. mail to send your mailing label and additional information.

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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