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Preservation & Access International Newsletter No. 2


Number 2

June 1998


Metamorfoze to Preserve Library Material in the Netherlands

Portuguese Preservation Literature to be Distributed Internationally

News from the ECPA

Creating an Electronic Guide to The Central Historical Archive, Tbilisi, Georgia

Changes at IFLA-PAC Regional Centers

Preservation Training for Anglophone Africa

The European Register of Microform Masters (EROMM): An Update


Metamorfoze to Preserve Library Material in the Netherlands

In 1997, Metamorfoze, a national program for the preservation of library material, was launched in the Netherlands. The program is an initiative of the Netherlands Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCenW) and is coordinated by the National Preservation Office of the Netherlands (BCB) of the Koninklijke Bibliotheek, The Hague. Libraries in the Netherlands are responsible for the preservation of their own collections, but much of the cost is subsidized by the Ministry of OCenW through the Metamorfoze program.

Metamorfoze focuses on the preservation of manuscripts, books, newspapers, and periodicals of Dutch origin from 1840-1950, in libraries with a preservation function. Paper documents from this period are especially vulnerable to decay because of the paper?s acid content. External influences such as air pollution, temperature and humidity fluctuations, and poor handling have also severely affected paper quality.

Louis Couperus (1863-1923), one of the greatest literary figures of Dutch naturalism, is generally seen as the author who fashioned the renewal in Dutch literature at the turn of the century. In 1897, he wrote his novel Metamorfoze, and exactly one hundred years later the national preservation program started in the Netherlands. The name of the program has been taken from this novel.

Within the Metamorfoze program, the nineteenth- and early twentieth-century library material will undergo a metamorphosis from book to microfilm, and perhaps later to digital object, to preserve it for the future. This is also true of Couperus?s novel: both the manuscript and the first edition of the book will be preserved under the program.


If one copy of every Dutch document from the 1840-1950 period is preserved, it will amount to some 600,000 books, 300,000 volumes of periodicals, 5,000 newspaper titles, and 2 million manuscripts and letters held by libraries throughout the Netherlands. Preservation of this material will require at least 20 years. A strategic plan has been drawn up for the years 1997 to 2000, which will initiate preservation of some of the material and focus on three areas: Literary Collections, Preservation of Dutch Book Production, and Newspapers.


Preservation for Metamorfoze
Cataloging, filming, and reliable storage: these are the focal points in the first four years of Metamorfoze. Every document to be preserved is cataloged in the national automated cataloging system (GGC/Pica). The original document is then transferred to microfilm. After filming, the original is stored in acid-free sleeves or boxes, under optimum conditions. Thereafter, the user generally will not be allowed to consult the book or manuscript, but will be referred to the microform. This provides better protection of the original and also preserves the content of the document for the future.

To prevent a printed document from being filmed more than once, the microfilms will be registered in the EROMM database, a European system for the input and retrieval of descriptions of microforms, managed by the University Library of G?ttingen, Germany. This database enables any interested library to order microfilms.

Literary Collections: Preservation work will focus on literary collections by and about Dutch authors published between 1840 and 1950. The collections may consist of manuscripts, printed material, or a combination of the two. Because of the value of these materials as a group, the project will aim to preserve every collection in its entirety. Twice a year, institutions in the Netherlands may submit project proposals to qualify for preservation subsidies. It will be possible to preserve about 20 percent of all literary collections by the year 2000.

Preservation of Dutch Book Production: This effort concerns books with a Dutch imprint published between 1840 and 1950 and held in the general collections of the large libraries, including the Koninklijke Bibliotheek and the University Library of Amsterdam. Because the condition of paper from the 1870-1899 period is worst of all, the approximately 66,000 books from this period will be handled first. Although multiple copies of one title have often been held in the Netherlands, the project will aim to preserve only one copy of every edition of every title.

Newspapers: National dailies published after 1869 and Dutch newspapers from World War II will be preserved. For every title, efforts will be made to gather as complete a set as possible by borrowing from various library collections.

Research is an important part of Metamorfoze. Besides literary collections, libraries in the Netherlands are also managing cultural-historical collections and internationally valuable collections that include material published between 1840 and 1950. The program will create lists of the contents of these collections so that they will be eligible for preservation in the future. In addition, research is taking place on the rate of paper decay and the possibility of mass deacidification. Several pilot projects have also been done to explore the potential for digitizing as a method of preservation.

The BCB coordinates the various preservation and research processes nationally and supports the institutions in developing project proposals and executing the projects. The BCB also stays abreast of international developments in the field of preservation, and information is exchanged at regular intervals with libraries and research institutions abroad about preservation projects and techniques. This includes regular consultation with the European Commission on Preservation and Access (ECPA) about research needs and experiences in the preservation field.


Why microfilming?
For the first four years of Metamorfoze, the approach to preservation will be to film, rather than deacidify or digitize, originals. Currently, both deacidification and digitizing as preservation measures have their drawbacks. Although deacidification may help to prolong the life of a document, it does not improve the quality of the paper. Digitizing offers several advantages, including ease of access, but there are many uncertainties about the long-term storage of digital media. A microfilm made within the Metamorfoze framework will last at least 200 years, and meets the quality requirements necessary for optimum digitizing in the near future.

The Metamorfoze program is supported by a review committee of seven experts from different academic disciplines. Its main task is to advise the State Secretary for Education, Culture and Science on the project proposals submitted to the BCB and on the support and evaluation of the program.

Further information about the Metamorfoze program can be found in Metamorfoze Nieuws, the newsletter appearing three times a year. The Metamorfoze web site can be visited at . The BCB regularly organizes workshops, information meetings, and congresses for participants in the program and other interested parties.

Inquiries about the program should be directed to H.J. Jansen, Project Manager, the Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Bureau Conservering Bibliotheekmateriaal (BCB), P.O. Box 90407, 2509 LK The Hague. Fax: (31)70-3140427. E-mail:


Portuguese Preservation Literature to be Distributed Internationally

Portugal, Portuguese-speaking countries of Africa, and Macao will soon have access to 52 titles of preservation literature that have been translated from English into Portuguese. The titles cover topics ranging from disaster preparedness to the long-term archiving of digital information.

Agreements to distribute the literature were made in early May at the third meeting of Lusophone librarians and archivists in Aveiro, Portugal. Ingrid Beck, Director of Preservation at the National Archives of Brazil, reported on the project ?Translation and Dissemination of Preservation Knowledge in Brazil,? funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Under this project, the 52 titles were translated into Portuguese, then used as the basis for six workshops held throughout Brazil, with more than 160 participants. In the process, the project?s coordinators also gathered valuable information about libraries and archives and their holdings by means of a questionnaire.

At the meeting in Aveiro, librarians and archivists responded with enthusiasm to the offer to make the translations and other materials available in Portugal, Angola, Mozambique, S?o Tom? and Pr?ncipe, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde Islands, and Macao. With the help of Ant?nio Pina de Falc?o at the Portuguese Library Association and Maria Jos? Moura at the Portuguese High Council for Libraries, CLIR established the network of individuals that will receive the materials and distribute them to appropriate institutions in their respective countries. For Portugal, the Portuguese Library Association agreed to coordinate the distribution. As in Brazil, the literature and other materials may form the basis for preservation workshops.

For more information, contact Hans R?timann, CLIR International Program Officer, 312 West 77th Street, New York, NY 10024 USA. Fax: (1)212-721-5173. E-mail:





News from the ECPA

Colloquium iin Ludwigsburg

On April 20-22, an international colloquium on the conservation of paper and photographic documents took place in Ludwigsburg, Germany, organized by the State Academy of Art and Design in Munich and the Institute for the Preservation of Archival and Library Material in Ludwigsburg. The colloquium also served as the annual meeting of the ICOM Working Groups on Graphic Documents and on Photographic Documents, bringing together more than 120 participants with an interest in conservation science from 18 countries. More than 40 papers were presented: the first day focused on paper, the third on photographs, and the second was a special Memorial Day for Klaus Hendriks, the highly respected expert on conservation of photographs and paper who died last year.

The presentations on paper research showed that discussions continue about the value and effectiveness of accelerated aging as a means of investigating the effects of certain preservation methods. There was also talk about the effects of deacidification, which can cause high pH values in the treated paper and may be harmful for the documents over the long-term. Several papers focused on iron-gall ink corrosion. The photography session covered not only technical problems in conservation but also issues related to contemporary materials, such as prints produced with ink-jet printers and the role of digitization. Further reports will be made on many of these issues at the 12th Triennial Meeting of the ICOM Committee for Conservation in Lyon, France, in August 1999.

DLM Guidelines Available

The DLM Forum, organized jointly by the Member States of the European Union and the European Commission in Brussels in December 1996, brought together experts from industry, research, administration, and archives to discuss the collective memory of our information society. Among the principal outcomes of the DLM Forum are guidelines on best practices for using electronic information.

These guidelines are now available at the sales offices in all member states of the European Union. The English version of the document can be downloaded from (PDF format) or (HTML format).

Permanent Paper for Scholarly Publications

The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), the most important source of subsidies for scientific and scholarly publications in the Netherlands, has acknowledged the importance of using permanent paper for scholarly books. This month, the organization mandated that permanent paper must be used for all books that receive publication grants from NWO. In a letter to Dutch publishers, NWO stated that the organization ?considers it very important to make a contribution to the reduction of the problem of paper degradation in the future.?

NWO responded to an appeal by the European Commission on Preservation and Access to consider the long-term preservation of scientific and scholarly publications. With this positive response, NWO has made a significant contribution to the preservation of intellectual heritage in the Netherlands.

Miracle Machine in Germany?

In the past few weeks, several newspapers, journals, and electronic discussion lists have published announcements about a new preservation machine. Contrary to what some of the publicity has led us to believe, the machine, designed in Leipzig by the Zentrum f?r Bucherhaltung, is not a miracle device enabling deacidification, paper splitting, and rebinding in one run. The machine is a mechanized papersplitting installation that can treat approximately 2,000 pages a day.

Before the papersplitting, the loose pages are cleaned by rinsing the sheets with water. Then, the pages are laminated with carrying paper to enable the splitting of the original paper. An extremely thin supporting page is glued between the two layers, leaving the original enforced. Finally, the carrying paper on both sides is removed, and, after the pages have dried, the documents can be rebound (by hand). The paper-splitting machine can be bought for 2,500,000 DM from Zentrum f?r Bucherhaltung, Mommenstrasse 7, D-04329 Leipzig, Germany.

For more information about the European Commission on Preservation and Access, visit its Web site at, or contact Mariska Herweijer, ECPA, P.O. Box 19121, 1000 GC Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Fax: (31)20-620-4941. E-mail:


Gabriel: Gateway to Europe?s National Libraries (
Gabriel is an excellent source of information about the functions, services, and collections of 38 national libraries in Europe, from Albania to the Vatican City. The Web site was created by the Conference of European National Libraries as a means to improve and expand the dissemination of information about and from national libraries. The networked information system is available to users of the Internet and related networks. Gabriel is presented in English, French, and German.


Creating an Electronic Guide to The Central Historical Archive, Tbilisi, Georgia

The Friends of the Georgian National Archives (FGNA) plans to create an electronic guide to the Central Historical Archive (CHA) in Tbilisi, Georgia, in a project that will run from July to December. The guide?also to appear in print?will consist of collection-level descriptions of 839 record groups (Russian fonds) for inclusion in the Research Libraries Information Network (RLIN). The project is funded by the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX) in Washington, DC.

Located in a decaying archival complex with an unreliable electrical supply, a sharply reduced budget, and a staff with little, if any, exposure to computers, CHA exemplifies the plight of many of the world?s archives. Fortunately, Georgia inherits a well-organized and extensive archive system from the Soviet period. Moreover, the administrative staff are eager to collaborate to make their holdings accessible internationally. The project has been endorsed by the President of the Republic, Eduard Shevard-nadze.

The project aims to resolve the problems of data design and collection in multiple languages that impede the distribution of archival resources worldwide, especially where infrastructure is deficient.

Considering the relatively primitive working conditions and the need to capture descriptive information on-site in the most flexible and teachable manner, project staff chose to build the database in Microsoft Access. The software has substantial documentation and online support groups, is easy to integrate with the Internet via Windows NT, and permits remote administration and duplication. The software also allows staff to create electronic records that comply with various international standards, including the International Standard of Archival Description (ISAD (G)) set forth by the International Council of Archives, MARC fields, and the Encoding Archival Description Document-Type Definition (EAD DTD). Records will be exported to RLIN in MARC format. If additional funds are made available for a subsequent phase of the project, staff hope to encode the records with EAD DTD to create more detailed descriptions of the record groups at the inventory (or series) level.

Project staff will create a trilingual guide, whose primary language will be Georgian but whose descriptive entries will also be available in Russian and English. This requires the generation of modular authority files that accommodate multiple transliteration schemes. The software accommodates three separate alphabets (Roman, Georgian, and Cyrillic) in which to construct corresponding authority structures, initially for government bodies and individuals, and later for geographical names. At the same time, staff will translate the most important fields into Russian and English. Access allows project staff to meet these linguistic demands within the parameters set by the DTDs imposed by MARC and EAD.

A team of three Americans, including Kenneth Church, a scholar of Georgian history and Russian Imperial history; Peter Carini, Archivist of Mt. Holyoke College; and Ross Teasley, President of Hyperhead New Media and technical specialist for Ardis Publishers, will go to Georgia for one month in July to initiate the project. They will train three or four Georgian archivists in Access. After the group leaves, the Georgian archivists will continue to add to the database while the American partners monitor progress and address their concerns from afar.

FGNA hopes to raise additional funds to create similar finding aids for several of Georgia?s other major national archives, which hold documents dating from the sixth century to the present that pertain to Georgian, Caucasian, Russian, European, and Middle Eastern history. Staff will work with the Archival Department and National Parliamentary Library to create a national union database of shared information, at least at the record-collections or fond level.

Comments on the project, or reflections about similar efforts elsewhere, may be directed to Kenneth Church, Department of History, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1045. Fax: (1)734-647-4881. E-mail:

Readers are also referred to the following URL?s:

Friends of the Georgian National Archives ( (See conference paper delivered at CNI Task Force Meeting, 14 April 1998.)

The Library Automation Association in Georgia (LAAG) site: (See series of conference papers on information technologies in Georgian libraries.)


Changes at IFLA-PAC Regional Centers

There have been several developments at the regional centers of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions? Core Programme on Preservation and Conservation (IFLA-PAC).

On April 1, Ryuji Yonemura, of the National Diet Library, became director of the Central and East Asia PAC, succeeding Yoshitaka Nishimiya. Cliff Law has succeeded Jan Lyall as director of the South East Asia and Pacific PAC. Mr. Law heads the National Initiatives and Collaboration Branch of the National Library of Australia.

The PAC for Eastern Europe and the CIS has moved from the Deutsche Bibliothek in Leipzig to the Library for Foreign Literature in Moscow and is under the directorship of Galina Kislovskaya.

Other regional directors are Diane Nester Kresh for USA and Canada and Ram?n S?nchez-Chapellin for Latin America and the Caribbean. Marie-Th?r?se Varlamoff is director for Western Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, and director of IFLA-PAC?s International Center, hosted by the Biblioth?que nationale de France. The International Center is responsible for setting the general strategy and coordinating the work of the six regional centers. The regional centers each develop a more specific agenda that addresses their particular preservation needs.

Established in 1986, PAC is one of two core programs that IFLA created to tackle issues of preservation and access. Its main objective is to raise awareness of preservation issues, while its partner program, Universal Access to Publications (UAP), deals primarily with issues of access.

Three times a year, PAC publishes International Preservation News, which is distributed free of charge through the six regional centers. Articles in English, French, or Spanish are summarized in the two other languages. Each issue deals with a specific theme. The current issue (Number 17, May 1998) discusses photography preservation and digitization.

A new version of the IFLA Principles for the Care and Handling of Library Materials will be available this summer.

PAC also helps regional institutions to organize preservation workshops. Recent cooperation has led to a series of multilingual workshops in Africa: in April 1997, a workshop was held in Dakar, Senegal, for Francophone Africa. In April 1998, a workshop was held in Durban, South Africa, for Anglophone Africa. In May, a workshop was held in Kairouan, Tunisia, for Arabic speakers. PAC is planning additional workshops for Portuguese, French, and English speakers.

With the European Commission on Preservation and Access and the Royal Library of the Netherlands, PAC will also sponsor a European Conference on Preservation Management, to be held at the Royal Library, April 19-21, 1999.

For more information about the Core Programme on Preservation and Conservation or its projects, contact Marie-Th?r?se Varlamoff, Biblioth?que nationale de France, IFLA PAC, 2 rue Vivienne, 75084 Paris cedex 02 France. FAX: (33)1-47-03-7725. E-mail:


The US Library of Congress has awarded a contract to Preservation Technologies, Limited Partnership to provide book preservation services to LC over the next four years, using the firm?s Bookkeeper mass deacidification process. Between 250,000 and 275,000 books will be treated. The contract grows out of a limited production contract that enabled the Library to deacidify almost 100,000 books in the past 18 months. For more information, contact Kenneth E. Harris, Preservation Projects Director, Preservation Director, Library of Congress LM-G21, Washington, DC 20540-4500. Fax: (1)202-707-3434. E-mail: Additional information about the Library?s mass deacidification program is available at the following Internet address:


Preservation Training for Anglophone Africa

In April, the IFLA-ICA Joint Committee on Preservation in Africa (JICPA) held a week-long preservation training course for Anglophone Africa, drawing 15 participants from 11 countries. The course was held at the University of Natal in Durban, South Africa, and was organized by Peter Coates, chairman of the South African National Committee of JICPA. The workshop, intended primarily for practical library and archive workers, also included professionals and academics. Participants were divided into three groups, based on professional level, to allow the most efficient coverage of material. The four course instructors were all experienced conservators working with South African institutions.

The course was organized around five modules that focused on preservation ethics, preservation practice, preventive management, environmental control, and practical simple repairs. Participants? reactions were generally positive, although many felt the course should be longer than one week. Several requested a follow-up course. Many said that the course made them aware that they had been using outdated or discredited methods. Disaster preparedness training was felt to be an especially important part of the course. Everyone wanted top management to take courses to make them more aware of preservation issues.

Based on participants? evaluations and his own observations, Peter Coates had the following recommendations for future workshops in Africa:

  • One week is too short, considering the cost and effort involved and the amount of information to be covered.
  • Organizers should consider holding regional courses, with trainees? employers paying their transport and accommodation costs, and instructors being brought to the regional centers where basic conservation facilities are available. Such regional courses would make better use of available funds than will large Africa-wide courses.
  • Special courses are needed separately for practical workers, professionals, and managers/academics.
  • Because regional communications can be difficult, libraries and archives should be encouraged to secure Internet links and e-mail. This would also facilitate the expressed desire for an Internet site serving African conservation needs and could be the means to locate affordable conservation materials and make it possible for consortia of libraries and archives to purchase in bulk at the best prices.
  • There is an urgent need for an African conservation training center. The cost of tuition and residence in Europe or the USA is prohibitive for any African student. Moreover, overseas training often overlooks matters relevant in the African context, such as pest and mold control, inadequate housing for collections, and climate control.

For more information, contact Peter Coates, Assistant Director for Special Projects, South African Library, P.O. Box 496, Cape Town 8000, South Africa. Fax: (27)21-244-848. E-mail:


The European Register of Microform Masters (EROMM): An Update

EROMM, an initiative by the Commission of the European Union and initially supported by the Commission on Preservation and Access, has become an important source of information on what materials have been microfilmed worldwide. Libraries in several countries routinely consult the register to avoid duplication of reformatting efforts and to obtain duplicates from contributing institutions.

EROMM?s database grew considerably late in 1997 when, under an exchange agreement with the Research Libraries Group (RLG), 1.9 million records of microform masters from RLG?s database, RLIN, were added to the almost 400,000 records contributed by European institutions (EROMM records have already been added to RLIN). Through ten partners in nine countries, some 40 European institutions have so far contributed records to EROMM and more partners are expected to join in 1998 and 1999 (for example, Poland, Finland, and Sweden). Usage of the database shows a steady increase.

EROMM plans to include bibliographic records for materials reformatted by means other than microfilm, e.g., digital (for a description of proposed tags and codes needed to describe records of digital masters, see erommrecord.html>). EROMM is also willing to assist efforts in other parts of the world where collection points for information about reformatted materials are underway or being considered, such as in Latin America and South Africa.

A compact disk with the European portion of EROMM?s database with an interface in German and English is available for DM 180 for non-members (DM 120 for members and DM 150 for affiliated libraries). Order from EROMM at SUB G?ttingen, D-37070 G?ttingen, Germany. E-mail: .

For more information about EROMM, see also



Council on Library and Information Resources

1755 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W. Suite 500
Washington, DC 20036
Fax: (202)-939-4765 · E-mail:

The 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.


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