CPA Newsletter #102, Sep 1997

Commission on Preservation and Access

The Commission on Preservation and Access

Newsletter

September 1997

Number 102

Council on Library and Information Resources
(CLIR) Formed by Merger

T

he Council on Library Resources and the Commission on Preservation and Access have merged to form the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR).

CLIR will work to identify the critical issues that affect the welfare of libraries and archives and the constituencies they serve, and it will encourage collaboration among institutions to achieve and manage change, particularly technological change. The interests of CLIR embrace the full range of information resources and services, from traditional library and archival materials to emerging digital formats, and the entire network of agencies that gather, catalog, store, preserve, and distribute information and that help users gain access to it.

The Commission on Preservation and Access will continue as one of four major initial programs of CLIR, along with programs for Digital Libraries, the Economics of Information, and Leadership.

In mid-September, CLIR will move to new quarters in Washington, D.C. New address, phone, World Wide Web, and e-mail contact (effective September 15, 1997) for the office are:

1755 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Suite 500
Washington, DC 20036-2188
Phone: (202) 939-4750
Fax: (202) 939-4765
WWW: http://clir.stanford.edu
E-mail: info@clir.org

New Program Officer for Preservation and Access

A

bby Smith has joined the Council on Library and Information Resources staff as the Preservation and Access Program Officer, effective September 15. Ms. Smith comes from the Library of Congress, where she began in 1988 as Special Assistant for Special Projects and Program Development. Since 1992, she has served as the Assistant to the Associate Librarian of Congress. Most recently, Ms. Smith was project manager of “The Treasures of the Library of Congress,” a permanent exhibition of Library items assembled to mark the reopening of the Jefferson Building.

As the Preservation and Access Program Officer, Ms. Smith will be responsible for developing projects, activities, and publications of the Commission on Preservation and Access. In the next several weeks, she will meet with the sponsors, work groups, and committees that have been part of the Commission’s constituency to establish plans and priorities.

While at the Library of Congress, Ms. Smith worked closely with curators and subject specialists to formulate preservation strategies for the special collections. She also chaired the Library-wide group that developed and implemented the Library’s risk-assessment program, served on the Library’s Publishing Board, and managed the Moscow Office, which is responsible for acquisitions, preservation, and reference work for the newly independent states of the former Soviet Union. Ms. Smith also serves on the executive board of the Slavic and East European Microform Project, a national consortium of libraries dedicated to microfilming rare Slavic materials around the globe.

Before going to the Library of Congress, Ms. Smith taught at the Johns Hopkins University, held a teaching fellowship at Harvard University, and worked as a consultant to publishing firms and rare book collectors. Ms. Smith holds the Ph.D., M.A., and B.A. in Russian History, all from Harvard University.

Maxine Sitts, who served as the Commission’s Program Officer since 1989, is continuing her communications and publications activities as a consultant and contractor, focusing on libraries and non-profit organizations.


Abby Smith can be contacted after September 15 as follows: Voice: (202) 939-4758; Fax (202) 939-4765; E-mail asmith@clir.org. blueding.gif

CLIR President Affirms Importance of Commission

I n a letter to sponsors of the Commission, CLIR President Deanna B. Marcum has affirmed the value of preservation and access activities and of continuing the Commission’s strong relationship with its sponsors. The letter, reprinted in part below, is being sent to institutions and organizations that have sponsored the Commission. Others interested in becoming sponsors can contact Pamela Davis Northcutt, Executive Assistant, at (202) 939-4755, or e-mail, pdnorth@clir.org.

Dear Sponsor:

In 1995 you generously agreed to sponsor the Commission on Preservation and Access for three years, and I am writing to tell you briefly what we have accomplished over the past two years thanks to your generosity and to request your support for the third year of sponsorship.

Let me assure you that the Commission on Preservation and Access is a visible and, indeed, centrally important program within the new organization. There has been no interruption in the Commission’s activities, and your sponsorship fee will support its activities no less directly than in the past.

We will maintain a vigorous publications program and continue to convene working groups of individuals best placed to define and to realize aspects of the preservation agenda. We will provide testimony to the Congress when preservation funding is under consideration, as we did this past spring, and encourage preservation efforts internationally, so that materials produced elsewhere but essential to the research and teaching of American scholars will be available for their use. We are committed to keeping preservation-and-access needs high on the list of priorities for institutions of higher education, funding agencies, and the Federal Government.

I sometimes wish that we could provide our sponsors with additional immediate and tangible evidence of our gratitude to them. The publications and reports we send are one way of saying thanks, and I hope that upcoming reports — on such topics as the management of visual materials in digital formats, digital archiving, and preservation priorities in the digital environment — will be of wide interest. Inviting sponsors to be part of our working groups on various topics provides another opportunity for us to show our appreciation, even as we benefit from the expertise of those whom we invite.

But perhaps the best way we can say thanks is to keep the Commission focused on its original–and still urgent–mission. To advance the many issues encompassed beneath the preservation-and-access rubric — to keep the agenda both inclusive and practicable, and to capture the attention of the individuals and the institutions whose participation is essential to realizing the agenda — is, I believe, the most valuable work we do, even if its rewards are long-term and not always immediately quantifiable.

Sincerely,
Deanna B. Marcum
President

The Commission’s agenda has been strengthened by Maxine’s Communications Program. She exemplifies “human networking.” We wish her every success in her new role.

 Deanna B. Marcum, President, CLIR

 

Regional Alliance for Preservation Meets Disaster Head-On

T

he Regional Alliance for Preservation, a one-year demonstration project to heighten awareness of preservation field services around the country, focuses on “Defense Against Disaster” in its second cooperative newsbrief. The six-page newsbrief provides short eyewitness accounts from each of the five Alliance participants. The articles describe how staffs have coped with floods, tornados, mold, and hurricanes. The September issue also includes a selective listing of World Wide Web resources to assist institutions with the development of disaster plans.

The introductory article provides the following overview:

Defense Against Disaster

by Christine Wiseman
and Tom Clareson

Our nation’s historical collections are threatened by a wide range of emergencies and disasters. Disasters come in many forms, from natural disasters (earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, and tornados) to emergencies resulting from deferred maintenance, accident, and negligence (burst pipes, fire, mold). The most recent predictions from the National Weather Service and insurance industry strongly indicate an increase in the numbers of natural disasters.

Libraries, museums, and archives have the responsibility of protecting their staff and patrons from harm during a disaster, as well as protecting the collections they hold in the public trust. No amount of preparedness can completely eliminate the chance of a disaster striking your institution. However, you can significantly minimize the amount of damage. Developing an institutional emergency preparedness and response plan is a crucial step in reducing potential losses.

Developing a disaster plan can be a daunting task that requires staff training, coordination, and planning to be effective. Regional preservation field services can assist institutions in disaster planning and recovery. One- and two-day workshops offered throughout the country introduce participants to issues of preparedness and recovery. In addition, regional programs offer publications and free leaflets, including fill-in-the-blank plans, bibliographies, checklists, building survey forms, and recovery guides.

In the event of a disaster or an emergency, regional field services are available for phone consultation to assist in recovery operations and referral to a recovery company or conservator. For more information, contact your local regional field service program. Information on preservation services in your area can be found at the RAP Website: http://clir.stanford.edu/rap/


Copies of the newsbrief are available from the five participants in the Alliance: The AMIGOS Preservation Service, Dallas, TX; The Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts, Philadelphia, PA.; The Northeast Document Conservation Center, Andover, MA; The Southeastern Library Network Preservation Services, Atlanta, GA; and The Upper Midwest Conservation Association, Minneapolis, MN. With Commission support, the Alliance is testing two methods for sharing training materials — a jointly written and distributed printed newsbrief and a shared Web site.blueding.gif

The new URL for the World Wide Web page of the Regional Alliance for Preservation is http://clir.stanford.edu/rap/

Bibliographers Take Note: ISBN for New Commission Report

T

he ISBN for the newest Commission report, SGML as a Framework for Digital Preservation and Access, is ISBN 1-887334-54-8. The number found in the report is not correct; we appreciate your assistance in correcting this error. The new report explores the suitability of Standard Generalized Markup Language for developing and providing access to digital libraries, with special emphasis on preservation issues. For more information, see the July/August 1997 newsletter. blueding.gif

Last week a Policy Studies Report confirmed what I long suspected. Beside every terminal lurks a furtive reader. The popularity of books has risen steadily over the first decade of the “information revolution,” a revolution that was predicted to herald their demise….

The book is the seminal invention of modern civilisation. The history of communication since Gutenberg and Caxton testifies to its appeal. What arrived on the cultural landscape back in the 15th century has remained unchallenged, certainly by anything that electronics can offer….

If we want to splash public money on culture, splash it on books.

— Excerpts from “No plug, no wires, no rivals,” by Simon Jenkins, in The London Times, January 4, 1997.

 

NDLF Becomes CLIR Project

T

he Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) has announced that the National Digital Library Federation (NDLF) will become one of its projects. This decision formalizes the existing relationship between the two enterprises. Participants feel that NDLF’s agenda, focused on the infrastructure needed to establish a distributed digital library, can best be accomplished by enlisting the assistance of a wide variety of organizations and institutions.

The NDLF has identified three primary topics for its agenda: (1) the discovery and retrieval of digital information; (2) intellectual property issues and economic models for the provision of digital information; and (3) the archiving of digital information. Several projects are now underway to address these strategically important areas that will continue to be the focus of NDLF activity.

Following the model of the Commission on Preservation and Access, CLIR will welcome new library sponsors of the National Digital Library Federation. The terms for participation by organizations and institutions other than libraries will be worked out over the next several months.

Additional information about the work of NDLF can be found at the Web site: http://lcweb.loc.gov/loc/ndlf/. Libraries wishing to receive information about sponsorship should contact Deanna Marcum, President, Council on Library and Information Resources, at (202) 939-4750 (after September 15, 1997) or by e-mail (info@clir.org). blueding.gif

Phone Number for Into the Future Film/Video

A

pologies for an outdated Area Code that crept into the phone number for ordering the new film Into the Future: On the Preservation of Knowledge in the Electronic Age. The correct number is (310)459-2116. The correct fax number is (310)394-1260. The American Film Foundation, PO Box 2000, Santa Monica, CA 90406, is making one-hour and half-hour versions of the video available. The film explores whether digitally stored information and knowledge will survive into the future.

Prices
One-Hour VHS
$59.50 plus $10.00 shipping and handling
Half-Hour VHS
$39.50 plus $10.00 shipping and handling blueding.gif

NEH in the Digital Age

N

EH in the Digital Age, a new report from the National Endowment for the Humanities, explains how NEH is using technology to further its mission. In his May 1997 letter to Congress and the nation, retiring NEH Chairman Sheldon Hackney notes, “The humanities help strengthen and sustain the cultural and civic character of the nation; the wealth of knowledge they embrace must be made more accessible. New digital technologies offer exciting new opportunities to do just that.” The report explores many of the thoughts, themes, questions, and concerns raised during the NEH thirtieth anniversary symposium on the humanistic implications of the technological revolution. For more information, contact NEH Office of Publications and Public Affairs, (202) 606-8400, e-mail: info@neh.fed.us. blueding.gif

The Commission distributes this newsletter to selected organizations and individuals around the world. Distribution is limited to sponsors and key constituencies working to provide enduring and equitable access to the historical and cultural heritage. For information about becoming a sponsor, contact the Council on Library and Information Resources.

 

The Commission on Preservation and Access
A program of the Council on Library and Information Resources
1755 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Suite 500
Washington,DC 20036-2188
(202) 939-4750
FAX: (202) 939-4765

Commission WWW Site:
http://clir.stanford.edu/cpa/

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 activities and is directed to university administrators, scholars, and faculty; preservation specialists and managers; and members of consortia, governmental bodies, and other groups sharing in the Commission’s goals. The newsletter is not copyrighted. Its duplication is encouraged.

Publications Order Fulfillment: Alex Mathews, amathews@cpa.org