CPA Newsletter #6, Nov 1988

Commission on Preservation and Access

The Commission on Preservation and Access

Newsletter November 1988 Number 6

Seminar on Preservation

Issues for Scholarly Resources for Art History Scholarly books in the disciplines of art history and architecture create special problems for preservation because the intellectual content is contained in both text and image. A seminar, sponsored by the Getty Grant Program (see June, 1988, Newsletter), was held at Spring Hill, Minnesota, in late September to consider the preservation status of art history collections, the specialized requirements of art historians because of their dependence on images, and strategies for productive participation in a massive, federally-supported reformatting program. A background paper was commissioned for the meeting, which was attended by art historians, librarians, technical experts, and a university press editor. The focus of the seminar was the preservation of the intellectual content of brittle books rather than the conservation of artifacts. The group recommended that a survey of photo archives be conducted to deter- mine the extent of deterioration and to propose strategies for a major conservation program. The discussions centered around three major concerns: 1) the intellectual requirements of art history scholarship; 2) a selective review of existing technologies; and 3) the development of a series of recommendations for action. The participants agreed on three basic assumptions: 1) scholarship in art history is dependent upon images; 2) the current preservation process of black-and-white microfilm is not satisfactory for the reproduction of half-tone and continuous tone images; and 3) the preservation process must result in enhanced access to the scholarly resources. The group recommended the establishment of a joint task force to develop basic premises, priorities, and overall strategies for a long-range preservation effort, including selection criteria and consideration of use of different formats. The task force should include representatives from a wide range of organizations, including ARLIS/NA, the American Association of Museums, the American Institute of Architects, the Archeological Institute of America, the College Art Association, the Society of Architectural Historians, and the Art and Architecture Program Committee of the Research Libraries Group. Proposed short-term strategies include filming only those publications amenable to black-and-white photography for the next two or three years while other possibilities, such as color microfilm and digital technologies are explored in prototype demonstration projects. An organized effort should be made to identify the requirements for digitizing color film and to develop the specifications for the art historian’s workstation for future scholars. The long-term research agenda includes investigation of environmental issues for a variety of storage formats, research on the archival potential for color film, and the promotion of efforts to develop indexing standards for the classification cf visual images. The seminar was chaired by Patricia Battin and John Haeger, Research Libraries Group Vice President for Programs and Planning. A full report, including the background paper, will be issued by the Commission in early 1989.

Slow Fires

Film to be Re-broadcast in January Slow Fires: On the Preservation of the Human Record will be offered for broadcast again on the national Public Broadcasting System on Monday, January 2, 1989. PBS will provide the hour-long film to its approximately 300 television outlets via satellite that day and individual stations will be able either to broadcast it at the time of satellite transmission, or to tape it for later broadcast. Local PBS station scheduling departments should be consulted for actual time and date of broadcast. The film was first aired last spring, and more than 700 copies in a variety of formats have been purchased in North America and worldwide.

Senator Pell to Introduce

Congressional Resolution on Use of Acid-Free Paper Sen. Claiborne Pell (D-RI) will reintroduce a proposed joint Senate-House resolution calling for the establishment of a national policy on permanent papers when the 101st Congress is convened in January. He introduced the resolution “for the record” in the waning days of the 100th Congress, although it was not acted upon. The resolution urges federal agencies, publishers, and paper manufacturers to make acid-free paper the standard for all publications deemed to be of enduring value. The resolution would require directors of the three national libraries to monitor the nation’s progress in implementing a national policy, and report annually to Congress.

Authors and Publishers in

Support of Preservation of the Printed Word, an organization started by New York writer Barbara Goldsmith and co-chaired by Ms. Goldsmith and Vartan Gregorian, President of the New York Public Library, will solicit commitments from authors and publishers to have first printings on acid-free paper. Writers and publishers “taking the pledge” to do so will be honored at a ceremony at NYPL next March. At the same time, the library has established a Center for Paper Permanency which, according to Ms. Goldsmith, will serve as a clearinghouse for information about efforts to encourage the increased manufacture and use of acid-free paper.

TAPPI Institute Holds

Conference on Permanent Paper The TAPPI (Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry) Institute conducted a three-day symposium on paper permanency in Washington in late October. Attended by an international group of paper producers, paper chemists, and librarians, the conference focused on developments in the fields of acid-free paper manufacture, paper chemistry, and mass deacidification processes. Paper producers predicted that within the next two to three years, the amount of uncoated and coated acid-free paper produced in the U.S. would double from 1987 levels. A major reason cited for the increase was a change in the economics of paper manufacture, including cheaper availability of calcium carbonate, the filler used in producing alkaline paper. Commission President Patricia Battin presented a paper on practical choices on collection preservation, and Chairman Billy Frye provided concluding remarks at the conference, in which he congratulated TAPPI on recognition of a serious social problem and the organization’s willingness to devote an annual conference to the subject. Strong support for the ongoing nation-wide preservation program currently being funded through the National Endowment for the Humanities was voiced by three congressional speakers at the conference, Sen. Mark Hatfield (R-OR), Rep. George Brown (D-CA), and Rep. Major Owens (D-NY).

Survey Shows Continued Use

of Acid-Free Paper by University Presses A study conducted by the American Association of University Publishers and the Association of Research Libraries has revealed that nearly all university presses continue to affirm the use of acid-free paper in their publications. In a virtually complete response, 96% of AAUP members indicated they used permanent or alkaline paper in publishing; nearly 60% use permanent paper in all books, while 14% use it in all books except paperbacks. Copies of the report are available from ARL for $15. (ARL/OMS, l527 New Hampshire Avenue N.W.. Washington, DC 20036).

Update on N.E.H.

Preservation Program George Farr, head of the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Office of Preservation, reports that as of early November, about 15 individual institutions and consortia were discussing with NEH the submission of proposals for filming of major collections under the expanded program. The deadline for completed preservation proposals is December 1. The Office’s funding was increased by $8 million, to $12.5 million, for the current federal fiscal year. (See October and prior issues of Newsletter.)

Library of Congress

Microfilming Funding Increased An important and distinct effort in the nation-wide filming plan is the commitment by the Library of Congress to film one million volumes at the same time filming of a proposed three million volumes is occurring in other research and university libraries. LC requested and received an additional $765,000 for the current fiscal year to increase its level of filming in proportion to the NEH-funded filming.

Contracts Approved for

Microfilm Technology, Records Conversion, Conservation The Commission has approved several contracts related to -the nation-wide preservation microfilming program. Contracts were approved with the Mid-Atlantic Preservation Service (MAPS) in Bethlehem, Pa., to 1) Develop archival standards for the processing of microfiche; 2) Develop a high-speed density checking capacity for roll film processing; and 3) Support development of specifications with the Xerox Corporation for a special composing reducing camera capable of digitizing 35mm film, producing film in difference reductions (roll and fiche), paper, and creating CD-ROM products. The Commission also approved a contract with the Research Libraries Group to study technical capabilities for scanning and converting existing bibliographic records of preserved materials to machine-readable format, and approved a contract with Barclay Ogden, preservation administrator at the University of California-Berkeley, for a research paper on the intellectual rationale for conservation of the book as artifact.


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.

Patricia Battin–President

Peter Winterble–Program Officer, Editor Pamela D. Block–Administrative Assistant Return to CLIR Home Page >>