Close this search box.
Close this search box.

Preservation & Access International Newsletter No. 1


Number 1
March 1998


A Forum for Exchange

NEDCC Launches Exchange Program in Cuba

News from Europe and the ECPA

China Starts New Phase of Microfilming Program

St. Catherine?s Project Enhances Access to Rare Holdings

CPA International Program Notes

Permanent Paper Conference Aims to Raise Awareness in Russia

Report Urges Changes in Cataloging Reformatted Materials

New Spanish-Language Resources for Preservation

Print and On-Line Resources


A Forum for Exchange
CLIR?s Commission on Preservation and Access welcomes readers to the first issue of a new publication, Preservation and Access International Newsletter. Around the world, there is a growing awareness of the fragility of much of our cultural and historical record. This is especially true of the large body of information created this century, whether on paper, magnetic tape, or CD. Researchers, archivists, and librarians must address the problem, and always with too few resources. As more countries initiate preservation projects, there is growing interest in what colleagues internationally are doing to save their collections, in a variety of media, so that they can remain usable into the future. We hope that by reporting on a range of these initiatives?from deacidification to digitizing?we shall inform readers and provide the basis for the direct exchange of ideas and information among preservation managers in all countries.

The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) will publish Preservation and Access International Newsletter quarterly. It will appear on CLIR?s Website <> and be distributed in print form outside the United States and Canada. We welcome your comments and suggestions for future news items.


NEDCC Launches Exchange Program in Cuba

Over the last two years, the Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC), in Andover, Massachusetts, USA, has established an embryonic network of contacts in Cuba for international collaboration on preservation. In April 1996, two NEDCC staff members made an exploratory visit to Cuba to discuss the preservation needs of libraries, archives, and museums. Since then, the exchange program has accelerated more rapidly than anticipated, owing to the eagerness of Cuban professionals and government officials to preserve historical collections, the establishment of a working group on Cuba by the American Council of Learned Societies and the Social Science Research Council, and the willingness of funders to support a new philanthropic initiative.

Libraries and archives in Cuba urgently need to upgrade their preservation programs. High humidity and temperatures and rampant insect damage aggravate the deterioration of collections. Cuban institutions hold important collections of the French and Spanish colonial periods, including records that relate to the history of the American South and the Caribbean. The major Cuban institutions have well-established preservation programs, but these are foundering because they are isolated and lack supplies. Cuban professionals recognize that the preservation techniques they learned in Eastern Europe in the 1970s and 1980s, such as lamination and chemical bleaching, have fallen out of favor in the West, but they have not yet found viable alternatives for these methods. They want to learn new conservation methods, and their institutions understand the need to keep their staffs involved with the latest professional developments.

In January 1997, NEDCC presented a workshop in Cuba on preventive conservation with the National Archives of Cuba. The workshop served 100 individuals from 38 Cuban institutions. NEDCC brought several Cubans to its workshops and conferences in the US on microfilming and digitization. Last June, it was host to a group of three Cuban conservators, who practiced the latest conservation methods in its laboratory for three weeks. The Cubans identified training in microfilming and preservation of photographs as the highest priorities, and NEDCC?s exchange activities for 1998 will focus on these topics. NEDCC?s Cuban colleagues have said that other priorities for future training include bookbinding and ways to control temperature and humidity.

With a critical mass of well-educated preservation professionals, Cuba could provide leadership and training for the Caribbean and Latin America. On May 11-15, 1998, NEDCC and the National Archives of Cuba will present an international conference on the preservation of paper and photographs. Fifteen participants from Latin America and Spain have enrolled, as have many Cubans.

Information about the conference is available from the National Archives of Cuba at <>. Information about NEDCC?s exchange program may be obtained from Ann Russell at NEDCC, 100 Brickstone Square, Andover, MA 01810-1494. Fax: (1)508-475-6021; E-mail: <>.


News from Europe and the ECPA

CLIR is pleased to include ?News from Europe and the ECPA? as a regular feature in this newsletter. Each quarter, the ECPA?the European Commission on Preservation and Access?will contribute news about preservation projects, institutional and political developments in the field, and other updates from Europe, thus conveying a European perspective on preservation. This first issue of the newsletter introduces the ECPA and one of its projects, ?The Preservation Map of Europe.?

The European Commission on Preservation and Access (ECPA) was established in 1994 by a group of archivists, librarians, and scholars. Its role is to explore the general issue of how information can be kept accessible for the long term when the carriers on which it is stored are all subject to decay.

The ECPA aims to raise public awareness of this problem and to impress the urgency of the situation on policymakers, funding agencies, and users. The ECPA also wishes to act as a European forum for discussion and cooperation among archives, libraries, scholarly organizations, and international agencies in areas of preservation and access. The ECPA serves as a clearing house for information and sends its publications to hundreds of institutions throughout Europe. With partners in various countries, the ECPA organizes conferences, meetings, and training courses to promote the exchange of knowledge and experience.

The Preservation Map of Europe

One of ECPA?s main projects is ?The Preservation Map of Europe.? This project, funded by the European Commission (DG X), aims to map preservation policy and practice in Europe. It intends to stimulate information flows and enable users to find experts to consult in their region or partners for cooperative projects. The survey will draw a graphic directory and yield a better picture of what is being done and in which areas cooperation is possible and necessary. Eventually, this will stimulate the development of joint projects and more targeted research.

The preservation map is a virtual directory of organizations working in the preservation field in Europe. It includes the postal and e-mail addresses and telephone numbers of relevant organizations. It gives a short description of each organization and its preservation policy and activities. The map also lists important preservation projects and training courses for staff. Over the last year, the ECPA has collected information for this project by sending out questionnaires, general appeals for information, and letters with specific questions.

Information about half of the countries in Europe is currently available on the Internet. The map includes: Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Estonia, Lithuania, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Belgium, France, Spain, Portugal, Andorra, Italy, Switzerland, Slovenia, Croatia, Albania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Hungary, and the Czech Republic. Work on the project continues, and ECPA will add information on the remaining countries as soon as possible.

The Internet presentation is designed to give the user the look and feel of an actual map. The home page of the project features a large chart of Europe, and the pages about individual countries also contain a small map highlighting the country concerned. These pages are all divided into a maximum of four sections: national policy, organizations, projects, and training.

Viewers can use a special search screen to get answers to their questions about preservation in Europe. This search screen offers a wide range of queries, from type of organization (e.g., research institute) to keyword (e.g., photography) and free-text search.

Creating a directory of all large organizations in the field throughout Europe has proved to be a large project that requires information from many sources. Work on the project continues, and the ECPA asks Europeans for their help in completing the survey.

Please send information or updates about organizations, projects, and training facilities to Mariska Herweijer at the European Commission on Preservation and Access, P.O. Box 19121, 1000 GC Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Fax: (31)20-620-4941. E-mail: <>. The Preservation Map of Europe can be found at <>.


China Starts New Phase of Microfilming Program

Since 1985, China?s government has sponsored an extensive microfilming effort to preserve its written history. The National Library of China and some 30 provincial and municipal libraries have taken part in this program to film rare books, aged newspapers, and periodicals. To date, the program has filmed almost 63,000 reels, including 3,227 titles of newspapers in 18,454 reels; 13,649 titles of periodicals in 17,558 reels; and 27,850 titles of rare books in 26,798 reels.

The Chinese National Microfilming Center for Library Resources, located in Beijing, manages the effort, called the National Microfilming Program of Documentation in Public Libraries.

A new phase of the program began in 1996. The Center is now overseeing the filming of several types of aged and deteriorating materials. They include ordinary (as opposed to rare) books and other publications, documents in minority nationality languages, foreign-language documents, maps, rare material copied from epigraphic inscriptions on ancient bronzes and stone tablets, revolutionist documents, local annals and documents, and newspapers and periodicals published after 1949.

The Center has been building up its own information management system under the operating platform of Windows 95. By the end of 1998, it intends to put into service a bibliographic database of microfilms produced by public libraries. It also hopes, eventually, to digitize the microfilm on demand.

For more information on the microfilm project or bibliographic database, contact Li Jian, Director of the China National Microfilming Center for Library Resources, 7 Wenjin Street, Beijing 100034, People?s Republic of China. E-mail: <>.


St. Catherine?s Project Enhances Access to Rare Holdings

St. Catherine?s Monastery in Sinai, Egypt, has embarked on an ambitious project to catalog and conserve its large collections of icons and manuscripts. The project, initiated by the Archbishop of Sinai, Archbishop Damianos, will enable the library to share its resources with scholars throughout the world and reduce exposure of the fragile originals. Besides continuing its microfilming activities, the monastery will digitize about 4,500 complete manuscripts and 40,000 fragments of its rich collections. Descriptive bibliographies will accompany the digitized images.

The project will collate and catalog each manuscript, with the information put on an electronic database. Each manuscript will then be photographed using both a microfilm camera and a digital camera, and the digital files will be recorded onto CD-ROMs. The library will keep full digital files as archival copies and from them make derivatives for scholarly use.

St. Catherine?s is the world?s oldest Orthodox monastery and houses more Byzantine icons than exist in the rest of the world. It is the only place where one can see the entire range of iconography, from icons painted in the sixth century to those painted recently. The library of Saint Catherine?s contains some 4,500 manuscripts, two-thirds of them in Greek, the remainder in Arabic, Syriac, Glagolitic, and other languages. The earliest date from the fourth and fifth centuries. The collection includes texts on papyrus, and many scrolls, which are rare because they are so fragile. The library also contains some of the first books printed in Greek.

In September and October 1997, Father Justin from St. Catherine?s and photographer Anastasios Christodoulides visited the US for five weeks to attend the Cornell Digital Training Workshop. They also visited digitizing projects throughout the US, including sites for the Digital Scriptorium Project at Berkeley and Columbia. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation sponsored the visit, which was organized by CLIR.

For more information, contact Father Justin at St. Catherine?s Monastery, c/o 18 Midan el Daher, 11271 Cairo, Egypt.


CPA International Program Notes


The International Program is working with China?s National Microfilming Center to develop a Chinese translation script for the half-hour version of the video ?Into the Future.? The video examines the problems associated with the permanence of information in electronic media.

South Africa

The International Program initiated its work in South Africa by supporting a preservation training workshop held in Durban in early March. The week-long workshop addressed the problems of paper-based records and why they deteriorate, and presented options for reformatting print, audio, and visual materials. While providing much-needed instruction in preservation management to South Africans, the workshop will also serve as a model for a subsequent workshop for all of Anglophone Africa. The second workshop will also take place in Durban, in April. It is sponsored by the Joint IFLA/ICA Committee for Preservation in Africa (JICPA).


Permanent Paper Conference Aims to Raise Awareness in Russia

Last October, the Library for Foreign Literature in Moscow held a conference on permanent paper. The goal of the conference was to raise awareness about the threat that continued use of acid-based paper poses for future access to Russia?s library and archival collections.

Conference participants included paper manufacturers and distributors, printers, publishers, librarians, archivists, researchers, and representatives of executive and legislative branches of government. It was the first time in Russia that representatives from such a broad range of organizations assembled to discuss the problem.

For years, librarians, archivists, and researchers in Russia have known the dangers of acid paper?and most discussions of the problem have been limited to that group. In the late 1930s, experiments were conducted in creating more permanent paper. In the 1980s, there were also attempts to introduce the use of permanent paper for archival records in some governmental structures. They failed, however, because of political and economic changes in the former USSR.

The underlying message of the meeting was that attendees share a common responsibility for ensuring future access to library and archival materials. Unfortunately, paper manufacturers and publishers were a minority. Pre-conference talks with invited publishers had been discouraging. Just the mention of ?permanent paper? raised questions ranging from ?What is that?? to ?Why should we think of preservation?? An important, recurring remark was that it is ?not the right time for this discussion; the country is solving much more important problems.? So it is not surprising that few paper manufacturers and publishers were present to hear the frightening statistics from the reports of librarians and archivists. The current attitude of Russian publishers and paper manufacturers is very similar to the attitudes that formerly existed in the United States and Europe.

Only the ongoing efforts of paper consumers will change the mentality of those who create the problem. The conference ended with the formation of a task force whose main responsibility will be to develop strategies and tactics for raising awareness among paper manufacturers and publishers, and for lobbying the government on behalf of library and archives interests.

For more information, contact Galina Kislovskaya at the Library for Foreign Literature, Nikolo-Jamskaya Street, 1, Moscow 109189, Russia. Fax: (7)95-915-3637. E-mail: <>.


Report Urges Changes in Cataloging Reformatted Materials

PRESERV, the preservation program of the Research Libraries Group (RLG), recently released a preliminary report from its Working Group on Preservation and Reformatting Information. The report recommends specific changes to the UNIMARC record format to allow for description of digitally reformatted materials.

RLG established the working group to examine current international practices for describing actions and decisions taken in support of preservation, conservation, and retention policies.

The report suggests enhancements to the existing USMARC 007 field to carry information about digitally reformatted items. The group focused on the 007 field (Computer Files) because it already records information about some kinds of computer files. However, the current 007 (c) values do not allow for the types of information needed to describe digitally reformatted materials. It is necessary to adapt, rather than replace, the existing 007(c) to avoid invalidating the hundreds of records already using the current 007 values. The report suggests that the original five bytes (007/01 – 007/05) appear in the proposal but join with eight new, optional bytes designed to convey the desired preservation or reformatting information, or both. The proposed bytes of information are: 007/06 Antecedent/Source (of the computer file); 007/07 File Formats; 007/08 Image Bit Depth Type; 007/09-10 Image Bit Depth; 007/11 Quality Control Target(s); 007/12 Compression; and 007/13 Reformatting Aspect.

Although the report proposes changes to USMARC specifically, the composition of the working group was international. RLG sought advice from a variety of sources in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia. The final document proposes a format that will allow all institutions to record information relating to their digitally reformatted files within a standardized field of a MARC record. RLG will submit the report as a proposal for consideration at the June 1998 meeting of MARBI (the Machine Readable Bibliographic Information Committee of the American Library Association) in Washington, DC.

The preliminary report is available on RLG PRESERV Website <>. To request a printed copy of the report, contact Robin Dale, RLG Program Officer at: RLG, 1200 Villa Street, Mountain View, CA 94041-1100 USA. Fax: (1)650-964-0943. E-mail: <>.


New Spanish-Language Resources for Preservation

Preservation Assessment Software Forthcoming in Spanish

A Spanish-language version of Calipr, a widely used preservation assessment software package, will be available for broad distribution, free of charge, in May 1998. Jeanne Drewes at The Johns Hopkins University is overseeing the project. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is supporting the work.

Calipr is a powerful tool for collecting and analyzing data used for estimating the preservation needs of library and archival collections. The software generates several different management reports to give insights into the needs of collections as a whole and to those parts of collections that have the greatest value and are at greatest risk of damage and loss. Developed in 1989 by the Conservation Department at the University of California, Berkeley, the software has existed until now only in English.

The Spanish-language version will be available in several formats, including DOS and Windows. Users may download the software from the Web or request software on disk.

For more information, contact Jeanne Drewes, Preservation Department Head, Milton S. Eisenhower Library, Johns Hopkins University, 3400 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21218-2683. Fax: (1)410-516-5486. E-mail: <>.

National Library of Venezuela Translates Preservation Literature

The National Library of Venezuela is overseeing a program to translate eight works of preservation literature into Spanish. The titles are as follows: From Microfilm to Digital Image (Waters, Commission on Preservation and Access [CPA]); Preservation of Library and Archival Materials: A Manual (selected chapters, Northeast Document Conservation Center); Storage Guide for Acetate Film (IPA); Digital and Other Media: A Structured Glossary (CPA); Redefining Film Preservation (Library of Congress); The Care and Handling of Recorded Sound Materials (St. Laurent, CPA); Magnetic Tape Storage and Handling (Van Bogart, CPA); and Book and Paper/Paper Conservation Catalog (American Institute of Conservation).

The translated publications will be completed in early summer and will be available from the Biblioteca Nacional de Venezuela. For more information, contact Raymond Sanchez at the library?s Centro Nacional de Conservaci?, Calle Soledad con Calle Las Piedritas, Edf. Rogi, 1er. Piso, Zona Industrial de la Urb. La Trinidad, Munic™io Aut?omo Baruta, Caracas, Venezuela. Fax: (58)2-941-4070.

APOYO Creates Clearinghouse for Spanish-Language Preservation Resources

The Associaci? para la Conservaci? del Patrimonio Cultural de las Americas (APOYO) is creating a bibliographic information database of Spanish-language materials on conservation, with an emphasis on preventive conservation. The database includes materials from Latin America, the US, and Europe that were either written in Spanish or were translated into Spanish from other languages. The database will serve as a clearinghouse of information and will help avoid duplication of translation efforts. APOYO will distribute the list of translated titles as an annotated bibliography.

The APOYO newsletter in Spanish, published twice yearly, will announce the availability of the bibliography. The newsletter is coedited by Amparo R. De Torres and Ann Seibert, in collaboration with volunteers and with the support of LC?s Preservation Directorate, the Smith-sonian Center for Materials Research and Education, and the International Center for the Study of Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property.

For information about APOYO, contact Amparo R. De Torres or Ann Seibert at the Library of Congress, P.O. Box 76932, Washington, DC 20013. Fax: (1)202-707-1525 or 707-3434. E-mail: <>.


Print and On-Line Resources

IFLA Principles

In late spring, a completely new version of Principles on the Care and Handling of Library Materials will be available from the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions Core Programme on Preservation and Conservation (IFLA-PAC). The forthcoming edition, compiled by Edward P. Adcock with the assistance of Marie-ThœG?e Varlamoff and Virginie Kremp, supersedes the 1986 edition by J.M. Dureau and D.W.G. Clements. The updated version is copublished by IFLA-PAC and the Commission on Preservation and Access.

The publication is an introduction to the care and handling of library materials for individuals and institutions with little or no preservation knowledge. It does not aim to provide a comprehensive list of detailed methods and practices. Rather, it gives basic information to help instill in librarians and library staff a responsible attitude toward preservation.

Initially, the publication will be available only in English. However, the Principles will eventually be published in several languages. PAC regional centers will distribute the publication to IFLA members. Non-IFLA members may request a copy from the International Centre at the Biblioth?ue nationale de France, IFLA PAC, 2, rue Vivienne, 75084 Paris cedex 02 France. Fax: (33)1-47-03-7725.

On-Line Preservation Training

The School of Information, Library and Archive Studies (SILAS) at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, has developed two of its preservation-related subjects?Preservation and Conservation of Audiovisual Materials and Preservation Management in Libraries and Archives?for delivery over the Internet.

In 1996, SILAS received a University Development Grant to create a new specialization in audiovisual management, adding to the school?s established programs in Archives/Records Management and Library and Information Management. In developing the program, SILAS worked with Australia?s National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA). A semi-autonomous agency of the Department of Communications and the Arts, NFSA manages a collection of about two million audiovisual items, including films, audio and video tapes, discs, and cylinders. It is the largest audiovisual collecting archive in the Southeast Asia/Pacific region. NFSA is also the national collecting institution with primary responsibility for preserving and providing access to Australia?s audiovisual heritage.

SILAS and the NFSA believed that, because the program had an international student market, they should adopt a distance education strategy to reach as many potential students as possible. Through the Web, course material could be posted, relevant information at other sites could be incorporated into the learning resources, and students and lecturers could communicate rapidly with one another. SILAS offered the new specialization for the first time in 1997 and enrolled internal UNSW students as well as continuing-education students from Australia, the Philippines, Israel, and Hong Kong.

In developing the curriculum, SILAS and the NFSA recognized the centrality of preservation and conservation in managing audiovisual materials. The objective of Preservation and Conservation of Audiovisual Materials is to ensure that students are familiar with a range of preservation techniques that make audiovisual objects stable and accessible. It looks at methods for identifying different moving-image and sound materials; at measures for determining deterioration characteristics; and at a wide range of treatment options, including repair, cleaning, and copying. Storage and handling practices, such as risk and vault management, are discussed, while ethics, professional practice, handling, occupational health and safety considerations, and standards are integrated into all aspects of the subject.

The second of SILAS? preservation-related curricula, Preservation Management in Libraries and Archives, is also a joint venture between the School and an outside party. Here, SILAS has worked with Wendy Smith, a preservation consultant from Canberra. Ms. Smith originally developed much of the content while she was Director of Preservation Services at the National Library of Australia, through a fellowship program administered by the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA).

The result of this cooperation has been instruction that introduces aspects of preservation management for libraries and archives and the role of preservation within the broader context of collections management. It covers the basic technology and the properties and deterioration of materials found in libraries and archives, and considers methods for improving their long-term preservation. It looks at the interdependence of librarians, archivists, and conservators in preservation planning and at the basic elements of a library or archives preservation plan. This curriculum was also offered for the first time in 1997 and enrolled continuing-education students from Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, The Netherlands, and Papua New Guinea, in addition to students from the university.

SILAS will offer Preservation Management in Libraries and Archives twice in 1998 (March-June and August-November), while Preservation and Conservation of Audiovisual Materials will be taught from August to November.

More information, including subject outlines, costs, and registration details, can be found at <http://www.silas.>. Or contact Paul Wilson at The University of New South Wales, Sydney 2052, Australia. Fax: (61)2-9385-3430.


Readers with access to the Web and an interest in developments in digital information may want to see The Research Libraries Group?s Web-based newsletter, RLG DigiNews. DigiNews will be published bimonthly in 1998. The newsletter can be found at <>.

The current issue contains a feature article by Michael Lesk, Director of Information and Intelligent Systems at the National Science Foundation. The article, ?Finding Pictures,? discusses current research into the indexing of images through mechanized image analysis and includes several images to explain and illustrate the concepts being explored. The issue also contains a technical feature article, ?What is MTF … and Why Should You Care?? by Don Williams, Image Scientist, Eastman Kodak Company. In his article, Williams introduces the concept and use of Modulation Transfer Function (MTF) and explains why it is a better way of specifying spatial resolution than other methods, such as dots-per-inch (dpi) or visual bar target readings.

For more information about RLG or PRESERV, please contact either Robin Dale <> or Nancy Elkington <>, or write to Robin Dale at the RLG address provided above.


Council on Library and Information Resources
1755 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W. Suite 500
Washington, DC 20036
Fax: (202)-939-4765 · E-mail: info@clir.orgThe Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) grew out of the 1997 merger of the Commission on Preservation and Access and the Council on Library Resources. CLIR identifies the critical issues that affect the welfare and prospects of libraries and archives and the constituencies they serve, convenes individuals and organizations in the best position to engage these issues and respond to them, and encourages institutions to work collaboratively to achieve and manage change. CLIR maintains four current programs: the Commission on Preservation and Access, Digital Libraries, the Economics of Information, and Leadership.CLIR?s International Program falls within the Commission on Preservation and Access. The program seeks to build awareness internationally about preservation issues and to support colleagues abroad in their work to meet preservation goals.Correspondence about this publication should be sent to Kathlin Smith, Editor, at, or to the address shown above.

This newsletter is not copyrighted.
Its duplication is encouraged.

Did you enjoy this post? Please Share!


Related Posts

Skip to content