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Preservation & Access International Newsletter No. 5


Number 5
March 1999


Chilean Libraries and Archives Launch New Cooperative Conservation Project

Chilean Libraries and Archives Launch New Cooperative Conservation Project

News from the National Diet Library, Tokyo

News from the ECPA

Mellon Renews Funding for the Harvard-based Program for Latin American Libraries and Archives

Ludwigsburg Colloquium Provides Forum for Identification of Joint U.S.-German Projects

CLIR Establishes Billy E. Frye Digital Leadership Institute

New CLIR and DLF Publications Available

Pacific Rim’s Multilingual Gateway Receives New Funding

Print and On-Line Resources

Chilean Libraries and Archives Launch New Cooperative Conservation Project

The Centro Nacional de Conservación y Restauración of the Dirección de Bibliotecas, Archivos y Museos de Chile has launched a cooperative project for preventive conservation in Chilean libraries and archives, funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The project, which will be carried out over the next two years, was inspired by the ongoing Brazilian project for the translation and dissemination of preservation knowledge, also funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR), which coordinated the Brazilian project, is serving as advisor to the Chilean project.

The goal of the Chilean project is to carry out a national program to disseminate information about preventive conservation and to train the staff of institutions that safeguard materials in libraries and archives around the country. In this way, current and future generations will be guaranteed access to these collections. An advisory committee with representatives from major libraries and archives has been created to promote inter-institutional cooperation in implementing preventive conservation programs and to support good project communication.

The project’s foremost activity will be to prepare a database describing collection contents and their condition, based on a census that will involve the greatest possible number of institutions in Chile. The project will also support dissemination of specialized technical literature about preventive conservation to institutions in Chile. Materials will be chosen from the existing literature in Spanish, including translations and editions produced by the Biblioteca Nacional de Venezuela within the framework of its Conservaplan series. Pertinent and up-to-date literature in other languages will be translated into Spanish, and relevant videotapes produced in Brazil and the U.S will be dubbed into Spanish.

At least 80 staff will receive training at week-long seminars held at four regional locations. The seminars will be designed for staff at institutions with collections of importance to Chile’s national heritage. A team of conservators from the Biblioteca Nacional, the Archivo Nacional, and the Archivo del Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores who have training experience will collaborate with the Centro Nacional de Conservación y Restauración.

For more information, please contact Magdalena Krebs, Director, Centro Nacional de Conservación y Restauración, Avenida Kennedy 9350, Vitacura, Santiago de Chile, Chile. Phone: (562) 224-3782. Fax: (562) 201-8896.

News from the National Diet Library, Tokyo

In November 1999, the National Diet Library (NDL) will celebrate the tenth anniversary of the establishment of its Regional Center for Asia for IFLA/PAC (Preservation and Conservation). In commemoration, the National Diet Library will invite preservation experts from Asian countries to its Annual Symposium on Preservation. The anniversary will also serve to promote preservation activities and bring about even closer collaboration with the IFLA/PAC for Southeast Asia and the Pacific at the National Library of Australia. A survey of 22 national libraries in Asia, undertaken by the NDL in 1996 as a basis for expanding activities, showed that environmental issues are a major concern and that there is a great need for preservation training, onsite visits by preservation experts, and translation of preservation literature from Japanese and other Asian languages into English.

Since the NDL began acting as an IFLA/PAC center in 1989, it has established the Preservation Cooperation Program, which provides institutions in Japan and in Asian countries with information services, educational opportunities, and technical aid. Since NDL’s capabilities and financial means are limited, it is planning to establish a larger framework for mutual cooperation with the Japan Foundation, private research institutions, universities, and other organizations.

Translation of preservation literature written in Asian languages into English for more widespread use is a major concern. Through a planned Web site, the NDL hopes to make such literature accessible throughout Asia and to spread information about IFLA/PAC’s many activities. IFLA/PAC is very active, arranging for educational exchanges, workshops, symposia, and research projects, as indicated by the following selected examples from the past two years.

  • The NDL received two trainees from the Historical Research Commission of Taiwan in 1997. After completing a training course in document preservation and restoration techniques, they visited several other institutions in Japan.
  • In answer to a request from the Japan Foundation Asia Center, the NDL sent its Assistant Chief, Preservation Division, Mr. Hideo Sugawara, to Myanmar to investigate the current state of preservation and restoration of old paper materials in that country.
  • In 1997, the Tenth Preservation and Conservation Forum was held at the NDL, attended by 51 professionals. The theme was the use of recycled paper and preservation of library materials. A symposium in 1998 focused on permanent paper and the Japanese paper, washi.
  • In September 1998, the NDL hosted a forum on fire and fire prevention, shortly followed by the Ninth Annual Symposium on Preservation with the timely theme of preservation of electronic information. Four Japanese speakers addressed the issues, joined by Mr. Colin Webb, Manager of Information Preservation at the National Library of Australia. The NDL’s Committee for the Promotion of the Electronic Library contributed a report to the symposium.

The NDL initiates preservation research and initiatives in addition to those taking place within IFLA/PAC. For example, annual pH surveys of newly acquired books and periodicals have been conducted since 1986. The results in 1996 showed that acid-free paper was used for 35.4 percent of official publications (42.4 percent for books and 31.6 percent for periodicals). The NDL’s promotion of acid-free paper has had a substantial impact: the figures for 1997 showed an increase to 50.2 percent overall, and the 1998 figures were an impressive 59.6 percent for monographs and 57.1 percent for periodicals.

For more information about the NDL’s preservation programs and the activities of the IFLA/PAC Regional Center for Asia, contact Ryuji Yonemura, Director, PAC Regional Center for Asia, National Diet Library, 1-10-1, Nagatacho. Chiyoda-Ku, Tokyo, 100-8924 Japan. Phone: +81 (3) 3581-2331. Fax: +81 (3) 3592-0783.

News from the ECPA

Estonian State Archives Paper Preservation Project

In 1998, seven major archives and libraries in Estonia started a project for the usage and preservation of archival and library materials. This was made possible by financial support from the Open Estonian Foundation and the Open Society Institute. Its aim is to preserve and ensure continuing access to Estonia’s national paper-based heritage. The project has three stages: conservation of the original paper material, microfilming it, and digitizing the microfilmed material.

In September 1998, the Estonian State Archives inaugurated a four-month course on conservation that includes theory as well as practical work. Graduates will be able to mend and bind all kinds of paper materials. The sedentary nature of the work led to the suggestion that disabled people could be trained to do it, and the State Archives contacted societies for the disabled to find suitable candidates. The City of Tallinn decided to support the course by paying the trainers’ wages, because the program will improve job opportunities for the disabled. The final stage of the project, digitizing microfilmed material, will start this year (1999). The digitization is made possible by a second grant from the Open Estonian Foundation of 1.5 million EEK (about 96.000 Euros or $86,000).

ECPA Surveying European Photographic Collections

The ECPA is currently surveying the extent of conservation and digitization activities for European photographic collections. The Commission hopes to learn what kinds of conservation measures are being taken to protect these collections and whether collections are being digitized. The results of the survey will be summarized in a brief report to be sent to respondents and other interested parties. Although the survey’s first phase was completed in January, the ECPA is still interested in receiving information and invites those who hold photographic collections and have not yet been contacted to complete a short questionnaire that can be found at

April Conference on Preservation Management at The Hague

The Koninklijke Bibliotheek, the national library of the Netherlands, together with the IFLA-PAC and the ECPA, are jointly organizing Preservation Management: Between Policy and Practice, a European conference that will take place April 19-21, 1999 in The Hague, The Netherlands. The conference will focus on organizational, financial, and managerial aspects of preservation with special emphasis on the interaction between theory and practice. Case studies will be presented of preservation efforts in European countries that shed light on questions of planning and budgeting for a large preservation project, and that show how a preservation program can be realized, step-by-step.

For more information and registration details, see the conference Web site or contact the local organizer, Barbara de Goederen at the Koninklijke Bibliotheek. Phone: +31-70-314 03 48. Fax: +31-70-314 04 40.

Mellon Renews Funding for the Harvard-based Program for Latin American Libraries and Archives

Latin America’s rich documentary heritage is crucial for those who would understand the region’s history and culture. Yet this heritage is at risk. While the region can point with pride to a number of well-organized, fully-supported libraries and archives, in too many cases, scarce or unique materials are held by repositories that lack the means either to preserve their holdings or to make them fully available to scholars.

To address this problem, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation funded the Harvard-based Program for Latin American Libraries and Archives (PLALA) in 1996, building upon initiatives by Spain’s Fundación Histórica Tavera and the concerns of a worldwide community of scholars and librarians. Harvard’s David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies has recently received a renewal award from the Mellon Foundation, which will enable PLALA to continue beyond 2000.

During its first three years, PLALA authorized almost $400,000 in small grants to 37 libraries and archives from 13 countries. These awards have supported projects such as

  • metal shelving for the Archivo Arzobispal in Lima, Peru,
  • a new microfilming unit at Guatemala’s Centro de Investigaciones Regionales de Mesoamérica (CIRMA),
  • climate control for stack areas of the Archivo General del Estado de Yucatàn, Mexico, and
  • conservation measures for the 187 volumes that comprise the Documents Archive of Dr. Emilio Ravignani at Argentina’s Instituto de Historica Argentina y Americana.

Other grants have focused on cataloging and access, such as the award to Ecuador’s Archivo Nacional de Historica, Sección del Azuay, to process some 100,000 documents and the grant to the Universidad de la República to describe the business records of the early twentieth-century Uruguayan textile firm, Campomar y Soulas.

Proposals for grants submitted by interested repositories are reviewed by an independent committee of scholars, librarians, and archivists. Recipients must submit periodic progress reports, and in most cases they must procure matching funds.

For more information, contact: Dr. Dan Hazen, Librarian for Latin America, Spain, and Portugal, 197 Widener, Harvard College Library, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA. Fax 617-495-0403.

Ludwigsburg Colloquium Provides Forum for Identification of Joint U.S.-German Projects

On November 9-11, 1998, the Landesarchivdirektion BadenWürttemberg (State Archives Authority of Baden-Württemberg), supported by grants from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft or DFG, hosted a colloquium on new opportunities for access and use for digital libraries and archives. It attracted over 130 participants from Europe and was held at the Institute for Preservation of Archival and Library Materials of the State of Baden-Württemberg in Ludwigsburg, Germany.

Since DFG launched its program to establish a distributed digital research library in Germany in 1996, it has been observing with great interest the parallel development of digital libraries in the United States. As an expression of that interest, DFG sent a group of scholars, librarians, and archivists on a study tour to more than 20 U.S. institutions in September 1998. Also invited to the colloquium were four U.S. leaders in the field to give presentations: Deanna Marcum and Hans Rütimann of CLIR, Carol Mandel of Columbia University, and John Haeger of Research Libraries Group (RLG).

At the first working session, participants heard the results of a DGF-sponsored project to assess hybrid conversion of archival and library materials, in which microfilm is used for long-term storage and digital formats are used for access. (See also The hybrid conversion approach is presented in a 1997 CPA/ECPA publication, Digitization as a Method of Preservation? and in a report posted on CLIR’s Web site, Digital Imaging and Preservation Microfilming: the Future of the Hybrid Approach for the Brittle Books Program.

Those who attended the working session on U.S.-German cooperation heard the following individual presentations, among others:

  • Deanna Marcum of CLIR underlined the important role of digital libraries in today’s information society.
  • Jürgen Bunzel of the DFG presented the German approach to the work of the distributed digital research library, highlighting the parallels to the U.S. system.
  • Carol Mandel of Columbia University used the experience of an American university library to illustrate the new opportunities and stresses of setting up a digital library.
  • Hans Rütimann of CLIR spoke about the preservation of collections in a digital world in which the possibility of digitization should not distract us from our commitment to do everything necessary for the preservation of our paper-based cultural heritage.
  • John Haeger of RLG presented RLG’s finding aids project as an example of how to satisfy the expectations of modern information users who want not only cross-national data and search capabilities, but also convenient access points to text-coded finding aids, established increasingly according to EAD standards in Anglo-Saxon countries.
  • Elmar Mittler of the State and University Library in Göttingen suggested some starting points for developing joint U.S.-German projects, as seen from a German perspective.

Other colloquium sessions covered digital library research requirements, the operational implications of digitization for libraries and archives and for the conduct of scientific research, the organization of digitization projects, and the development of models for efficiently presenting books and archival materials.

During executive session following the main colloquium, the four U.S. invitees and a small group of German leaders in the field identified a number of concrete project proposals for joint implementation by U.S. and German libraries and archives. Potential projects included exchange of experience with methods and best practices, joint work on sustainable approaches to digital preservation, mutual support of ongoing projects such as the digital scriptorium, and joint efforts to promote the use of finding aids on the Internet.

The proceedings of the colloquium will be published by the Landesarchiv-direktion in the summer of 1999. For further information, contact Dr. Hartmut Weber, Vice President of the Baden-Württemberg Landesarchivdirektion or visit online. A complete description of DFG-funded projects is also available.

CLIR Establishes Billy E. Frye Digital Leadership Institute

In collaboration with Emory University, the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) has established The Billy E. Frye Digital Leadership Institute. The institute has been formed to effect fundamental change in how universities manage their information resources in the new digital era. It has been named to honor Dr. Frye’s outstanding university leadership over the past several decades.

The Frye Institute will provide continuing education opportunities for individuals who currently hold, or will one day assume, positions that make them responsible for transforming the management of scholarly information in institutions of higher education. Over the next decade, the Institute will train a cadre of some 600 professionals-most likely to be in midcareer and drawn from library and administrative staffs, computer centers, and faculties-who can preside over this change on the nation’s campuses and comprehend its far-reaching implications for the way universities allocate their financial resources and fulfill their educational mission.

The institute will enroll 50 to 60 individuals a year. Their training will begin with an intensive two-week seminar on the Emory campus, followed by a subsequent year-long practicum on their home campus or in another appropriate setting. The training concludes with a summary session that reunites the participants to discuss and evaluate what they have learned.

Planning for the institute is now underway, and the first Frye Institute class will take place in the summer of 2000. CLIR will work closely with EDUCAUSE, the Association of Research Libraries, and others to develop the Institute’s curriculum.

New CLIR and DLF Publications Available

The Council on Library and Information Resources has published three reports: Scholarship, Instruction, and Libraries at the Turn of the Century: Results from Five Task Forces; Technological Quicksand: Finding a Viable Technical Foundation for Digital Preservation by Jeff Rothenberg; and Why Digitize?, by Abby Smith. The Digital Library Federation (DLF) has published its first report, Enabling Access in Digital Libraries: A Report on a Workshop on Access Management, edited by Caroline Arms with Judith Klavans and Donald Waters.

Scholarship, Instruction, and Libraries at the Turn of the Century presents the results of task forces of 36 scholars, librarians, and academic leaders, appointed by the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) and CLIR, who were asked to consider the ways in which technology is changing the nature of scholarship and teaching and to make recommendations to guide the development of digital and paper-based library resources in the next century. They addressed five types of scholarly resources-visual materials, manuscript materials, audio materials, monographs and journals, and area studies materials.

CLIR commissioned Dr. Jeff Rothenberg, senior research scientist of the RAND Corporation, to write Avoiding Technological Quicksand to follow up his 1995 article in Scientific American, “Ensuring the Longevity of Digital Documents” by elaborating on his proposal for emulating obsolete software/hardware systems on future, unknown systems as a means of preserving digital information far into the future.

The DLF’s first publication, Enabling Access in Digital Libraries: A Report on a Workshop on Access Management, tackles a complex and critical issue for research libraries today: how to manage access to digital information that is sensitive, proprietary, or protected by copyright. While the results of the workshop relate specifically to the problems of managing access to the cultural record in digital form for research and teaching purposes, they apply well to business, medicine, insurance, credit card transactions, and logfiles from Web browsers, all of which also involve sensitive information.

Why Digitize?, written by CLIR Director of Programs Abby Smith, addresses issues faced by libraries and archives when contemplating a digital conversion program. Dr. Smith emphasizes that digitization provides extraordinary access to collections but is not yet an acceptable medium for preservation reformatting.

Scholarship, Instruction, and Libraries at the Turn of the Century, Enabling Access in Digital Libraries, and Why Digitize? are available for $15, Avoiding Technological Quicksand for $20. All prices include postage and handling and all orders must be prepaid. Checks should be made payable to CLIR and mailed to CLIR Publication Orders, 1755 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Suite 500, Washington DC 20036-2124. Credit card orders may be made by calling CLIR at 202-939-4750, sending a fax to 202-939-4765, or sending e-mail. A complete list of publications may be found at CLIR’s Web site.

Pacific Rim’s Multilingual Gateway Receives New Funding

The Pacific Rim Digital Library Alliance received a $300,000 award from the Henry Luce Foundation in late 1998 to fund three projects:

  • building a multilingual gateway to library resources giving scholars access to databases in many languages
  • creating a Pacific Explorations Archive of documents chronicling the history of Pacific exploration
  • extending its Chinese Serials Database.

The Alliance was launched in October 1997 in San Diego with support from the National Education Security Program to link major libraries across the political, linguistic, and technical boundaries of the Pacific Rim. Its 14 members span the shores of the Pacific Ocean from Mexico to Australia, by way of the U.S., Canada, China, Taipei, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Japan.

The multilingual gateway is one of the Alliance’s more ambitious projects. Using this gateway, catalog information in different character codes and bibliographic formats will be collected from many libraries and converted into a single code and format, eliminating the cumbersome procedure of changing codes and the need to learn different formats. The resulting software will greatly improve the efficiency of bibliographic searching across national boundaries.

At its membership meeting in La Jolla, California, on April 12-13, 1999, the Alliance will also begin work to create a Pacific Rim electronic interlibrary loan infrastructure that will allow a user to request and receive digitized items via the Internet. Within the framework of international copyright laws, books and journal articles may be received by the user within as little as a few hours after placing the request.

Phyllis Mirsky, Interim University Librarian at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), and Coordinator of the Alliance, expressed the Alliance’s delight with its funders, saying, “We are deeply grateful to the Luce Foundation, the National Security Education Program, several generous donors in the San Diego area, and national organizations, such as the Council of Library and Information Resources, the Center of Research Libraries, the San Diego Supercomputer Center, and the Digital Library Federation, for their pivotal support. Their investment in the Alliance profoundly affects intellectual exchange and mutual understanding between East and West.”

Charter members of the Alliance are: Academia Sinica, Taipei; Australian National University Library, Canberra; El Colegio de Mexico Library, Mexico City; Keio University Library, Tokyo; National University of Singapore Library; Peking University Library, Beijing; Seoul National University Library; University of British Columbia, Vancouver; University of California, Berkeley Library; University of California, San Diego Library; University of Hong Kong Library; University of Washington Libraries, Seattle; and Zhongshan University Library, Guangzhou. The National Institute of Japanese Literature, Tokyo is an associate member.

More information about the Alliance is available online, or from Alliance Coordinator, Phyllis Mirsky, and Executive Director Karl Lo. They may also be reached by phone at 619-534-1234; fax at 619-534-6193, and mail at University of California, San Diego, Libraries, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, California 92093-0175, USA.

Print and On-Line Resources

Iron Gall Ink Corrosion Website

The European Commission on Preservation and Access (ECPA) has launched an Iron Gall Ink Corrosion Website. The Web site is a joint initiative of ECPA, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, The Netherlands State Archives, and The Netherlands Institute for Cultural Heritage.

Known by the Romans and widely used after the late Middle Ages, iron gall ink is arguably the most important ink in Western history. Libraries and archives around the world contain many manuscripts, documents, official records, and music compositions executed in iron gall ink. From the fifteenth century onward it was also a popular drawing ink, favored by artists such as Rembrandt, Guercino, Lorrain, and Van Gogh. Over time, depending on the recipe used in manufacture and the storage conditions of the object, iron gall ink corrosion can cause the degradation of paper or other supports. Aging from blue-black to dark brown, it can eat its way through the paper, leading to the total loss of the paper wherever the ink was applied.

The iron gall ink corrosion Web site was developed to inform collection keepers, conservators, scientists, and the general public of ongoing research on all aspects of iron gall ink corrosion. It also contains images of corroded drawings and manuscripts, an extensive literature list, ink recipes, and a complete transcription of the sixteenth-century work, “A Booke of Secrets”.

A discussion list named INKCORROSION-L has been established simultaneously with the Web site.

Protecting Archives During Armed Conflict

Under contract with UNESCO, the International Council on Archives (ICA) has recently completed a guide to protecting archives in the event of armed conflict. The guide is based on case studies done in three countries from three different continents-Costa Rica, Croatia, and the GambiaÑand covering a range of conditions. It includes a series of expert reports on environmental and fire protection, building protection and hardening, and on the legal background to protecting the cultural heritage. The Web version is now available.

For further information on this guide and on ICA’s work with the International Committee of the Blue Shield, contact George P. MacKenzie, Deputy Secretary General, International Council on Archives, Scottish Record Office, HM General Register House, Edinburgh EH1 3YY, United Kingdom. Tel: (+44) 131-535-1382 or 1313. Fax: (+44) 131-535-1390.

New Preservation Web Site in Brazil

The Translation and Dissemination of Preservation Knowledge project in Brazil, funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and coordinated by CLIR, has established a Web site in Portuguese to provide access to preservation information in Brazil. Featured are a preservation map of Brazil, a list of translated preservation literature with access to full text, and links to related sites.

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.

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