CPA Newsletter #14, Jul 1989

Commission on Preservation and Access

The Commission on Preservation and Access

Newsletter July 1989 Number 14

Final Report Fiche Seen

as Alternative; 35mm Format of Choice for Preservation Filming Microfiche does offer some interesting preservation alternatives, but in the long term we should view 35mm as the preservation format of choice and use other equipment to create end-user formats, according to a new project final report to the Commission and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation from the Mid-Atlantic Preservation Service (MAPS). “The Final Report on Step Repeat Camera (105mm) Operating Strategies and Application of Archival Standards to the Fiche Production Process” also contains a surprising finding, described by C. Lee Jones, MAPS President, in a letter to the Commission: We are especially concerned that the Photographic Activity Test has received so little attention from either preservation people or vendors. This is a test that indicates whether or not a particular enclosure is likely to have a negative effect on the film enclosed. As it turns out. very few of the Fiche envelope enclosures we had tested passed this test. The manufacturers response ranged from concern about how to make the required corrections to a cavalier, “Librarians don’t pay attention to such standards.” The report describes tests conducted from October through December 1988 on various kinds of projects: those with flat materials, those with materials requiring use of the TDC book cradle, and some relatively fragile materials. The projects enabled MAPS to test the production of archival quality 105mm film and to investigate procedures for its inspection and handling. Clearly, there are challenges when working with a step repeat camera, according to the report, its unforgiving characteristics with regard to retakes being a major one. But most archival quality standards can be met in the process of producing 105mm film. The exception is the manner in which the archive master needs to be maintained and the way retakes are integrated into the resulting end product. “Practical solutions are possible, but they must be defined in the context of a production environment. There is no suggestion that by so doing one has to compromise the archival filming mission: the preservation of information for long term storage, dissemination, and access,” the report concludes. Copies of the report are available from the Commission.

Acid-Free Paper Information

to be Included in CHOICE Reviews The CHOICE editorial board and editors have approved the request of the Commission that CHOICE add acid-free paper information to the bibliographic entry that accommodates the review. In a June letter to the Commission, editor and publisher Patricia E. Sabosik states that CHOICE is now working with its computer vendor to add an additional field to its bibliographic record for the acid-free paper indicator. “We plan to complete this process in the next few months and begin publishing reviews with the indicator by the end of the year,” she notes. CHOICE will report whether the book that is sent out for review is printed on alkaline paper. They will take the information from the book itself or from the LC MARC record. They will not physically test the paper for a Ph value, but rather will rely on the information provided by publishers. “CHOICE is pleased to provide this information to our subscribers and to assist the Commission and the broader library community in the mission of preserving library collections,” Sabosik comments.

Preservation Initiatives of

University Libraries Further Nationwide Preservation Efforts A truly collaborative approach to preserving and providing access to our intellectual and cultural heritage demands proactive involvement at all levels–from individual citizens and institutions to international cooperative projects. The June 1989 Newsletter focused on international initiatives; this issue features news from the local level. A major program direction for the Commission is to support the development of preservation awareness and capabilities at institutional. regional, and state levels, and to coordinate these initiatives with national and international preservation efforts. Reported here are university-level initiatives dealing with use of alkaline paper and programs to strengthen library preservation programs. If your university or library has recently accomplished a project or established a program related to national and international preservation concerns, please contact Maxine Sitts at the Commission, so that we can pass on your ideas to others.

Tulane University–Campus-Level Alkaline Paper Use

Early this fall, Francis L. Lawrence. Academic Vice-President and Provost at Tulane University, will be sending out a memo to deans, directors, and department heads, informing them of the availability and the choice of acid-free paper, thanks to University Librarian Philip E. Leinbach. In addition, the copy center and bookstore are changing their signage, order forms, and information available from the clerks so that individuals will make a conscious decision when choosing paper as to whether it will be acid-free or not. It all started when Leinbach sent a one-page memo to Lawrence titled “Publications on Permanent Paper.” His succinct statement of the problem and suggestions for action tie in well with the national preservation program:

Research libraries are engaged in a Massive effort to preserve books that in the last hundred years have been printed using acidic paper and are now crumbling away. Using both private and public funds, programs to capture the contents of millions of volumes are well underway. At the same time we must fore.stall future problem. by printing todays books on permanent paper (also called “alkaline” or “non-acidic” paper). I am requesting your support in several ways.

Leinbach then goes on to ask that the faculty be informed of the importance of permanent paper and that they be encouraged to require publishers of their articles and books to use such paper, that there be a policy decision that all university publications of enduring value be printed on permanent paper, and that persons responsible for sources of paper make permanent paper available at the university. A copy of Leinbach’s memo is available from the Commission.

University of North Carolina–State-Level Alkaline Paper Use

On June I of this year, legislation to require acid free paper for State publications designated by James F. Govan. University Librarian at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and State Librarian Howard McGinn, became law in North Carolina. Govan and McGinn are now working through the “mass of publications” to determine which will be required to come under this law, according to the UNC librarian. The two librarians also will be visiting the Gladfelter paper plant along with a top state secretary, and will be working with state libraries and legislatures in other southeastern states to pass similar legislation.

Ten Research Libraries–Institutional Planning

Ten U.S. Association of Research Libraries (ARL) members have been selected to undertake preservation planning projects as participants in ARL’s Office of Management Services Preservation Planning Program. The effort is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities Office of Preservation. The ten libraries that will conduct the program are Arizona, Boston Public, Colorado, Delaware, Duke, Georgia, Kentucky, Oklahoma State, Purdue, and Syracuse. The Preservation Planning Program involves a broad cross-section of staff at each library who are charged with conducting an investigation of the library’s preservation situation and carrying out investigations of specific preservation needs. Each participating library prepares a comprehensive three- to five-year plan for local preservation program development. The NEH grant also supported the operation of a Preservation Consultant Workshop for 16 experienced preservation librarians. (Please see the May 1989 Newsletter for more details, including names of the participants.)

New Statistical Report:

Library Preservation Programs Continue to Expand A report detailing the critical organizational, functional, and fiscal components of preservation efforts in 109 of its members has been released by the Association of Research Libraries (ARL). ARL Preservation Statistics 1987-88 illustrates the concerted efforts of large university libraries to address preservation needs, and verifies that the institutionalization of preservation programs and activities is indeed continuing to take place. The statistical profile includes information for six major categories: administration, personnel, conservation treatment, binding, preservation microfilming, and expenditures. An important element in the report is the analysis of the data to provide statistical measures for distinguishing between stages of preservation program development. Overall the statistics reflect the expansion of preservation programs in U.S. and Canadian research libraries. Seventy-six respondents report they employ a preservation administrator, and of those, 48 are full-time. The data also highlight current preservation microfilming activity. In the aggregate, the 109 reporting libraries microfilmed 54,112 titles, or approximately 70,000 volumes, in 1987-88. During the same period, total preservation expenditures exceeded $50 million. Copies of ARL Preservation Statistics 1987-88 are available from ML, 1527 New Hampshire Ave., N.W., Washington. D.C. 20036. The price is $10.00 per copy for members, $15.00 for nonmembers. Orders should be prepaid. Plans are currently underway for a 1988-1989 survey of preservation activities, according to Jutta Reed-Scott of the ARL office.

Library Directors Discuss

Implications of Centralized Storage; Dissemination of Preservation Microfilm During their May 1989 membership meeting in Providence, RI, a group of Association of Research Libraries (ARL) library directors discussed the concept and implications of a centralized collection of preservation masters from which copies could be distributed quickly and economically. The following report on the “Current Topics” session (one of four held at that meeting) comes from William J. Studer, library director at Ohio State University and ARL’s representative to the Commission’s National Advisory Council on Preservation:

Clearly, little more than broaching a complex issue such as this can be accomplished in an hour’s discussion, but there did appear to be a favorable, if tentative, consensus on the potential advantages of centralized access, given the realities of over one million preservation masters now in existence and three to four million additional to be produced over the next twenty years–the majority of which will be done with funds from the NEH Office of Preservation and must therefore be made openly available. The number of libraries serving as creators–and therefore holders– of preservation microforms will grow significantly; and the prospect of scholars having to contact multiple sources for copies, as well as the redundancy, inefficiency, and costliness of many libraries acting as repositories and service centers for their individual stores, would not likely prove cost effective. Lively discussion ranged over a wide variety of elements, including the need for a cost study of alternative models, as well as how best to finance such a public good, determination of costing and pricing for storage and copy service, development of a governance model which facilitates broad participation, the equipment implications of providing service copies in electronic format (vs. microform), formulation of an open policy for defining the potential collection scope of microforms held in a central facility, the ramifications of copyright restrictions, and the coordination of development of any such service with European efforts. A point of complete agreement was that ARL directors should be closely involved in shaping the plans for a centralized service.


Newly Available from the

Commission Reprints of article, Institutions Have Moral Responsibility to Preserve Great Book Collections,” by Patricia Battin and Maxine K. Sitts, in Educational Record, Spring 1989 pp. 54-55. New printing of Commission on Preservation and Access Background Paper, including sections on History, Basic Operating Principles, Programs and Activities, International Project, Scholarly Advisory Committees, Library Committees, Technology Assessment Advisory Committee, Meeting Sponsorship, Into the Future, Support and Funding Principles, National Advisory Council on Preservation, and Strategies for a National Preservation Effort: The “Brittle Books Program.” This 15-page payer has been reprinted with blue ink in a booklet format suitable for distribution to university administrators, government officials, library users, and others interested in supporting preservation efforts. The Commission is continuing to track on developments in mass deacidification as part of its overall charge to investigate technologies applicable to national preservation and dissemination efforts. Unlike microfilming technologies, mass deacidification still is under development–the only working system existing today is the one developed by Wei T’o Associates in 1981, according to the useful report, “Mass Deacidification for Libraries: 1989 Update” by George Martin Cunha, in the January-February 1989 Library Technology Reports (Vol.25, No. I ). The report includes sections on mass deacidification in 1987, status of 1987 systems in 1989, and new systems in the U.S. and Europe. From the Executive Summary:

The perspective on mass deacidification is changing rapidly… There is now increased emphasis on the strengthening of acid damaged paper because deacidification alone of embrittled paper is an exercise in futility…. This could mean that all other processes that deacidify only will obsolete soon.

Library Technology Reports is published by the American Library Association, 50 East Huron Street, Chicago. IL 60611. Single issues, when available, cost $45.00.


Priorities for a national preservation effort will be different from any particular state’s, but at both the federal and state level, agencies must play the multiple roles of planners, funders, leaders, educators, and coordinators. We have to see our work at the institutional, state, and national levels as part of one major effort

Carole Huxley, Deputy Commissioner for Cultural Education,

New York State; Welcoming Speech at the National Conference on the Development of Statewide Preservation Programs. March 1-3, 19 89, Library of Congress.


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

Maxine K. Sitts–Program Officer, Editor Pamela D. Block–Administrative Assistant Return to CLIR Home Page >>