CPA Newsletter #52, Jan 1993

Commission on Preservation and Access

The Commission on Preservation and Access

Newsletter

January 1993

Number 52

Bellagio Conference Underscores Transatlantic Scholarly Links

The development of new scholarly linkages between Europe and the United States in all fields that depend heavily on the deteriorating literature printed on acid paper is a major goal of the Commission’s upcoming conference on preserving the literary heritage to be held June 7 to 11, 1993, at the Bellagio, Italy, Study and Conference Center. The conference is supported by The Rockefeller Foundation (see July 1992 newsletter).

Twenty-three scholars, 13 from Europe and ten from the U.S., have been invited to meet in plenary sessions and small working groups to define the current state of affairs and recommend strategies for action. Responding to papers prepared and distributed in advance as well as to short presentations at the conference, the working groups are charged with thinking through the following issues:

  • What efforts are needed to raise awareness among scholars and other interested parties?
  • How can each country determine where and in what respects the worst problems (greatest opportunities) exist?
  • What role can scholars play?
  • What resources are needed and how might they be obtained?
  • How can transatlantic collaboration be heightened?
  • How can we form an effective scholars’ network to carry on the work begun at the conference?

From its experience with scholarly advisory groups in this country, the Commission recognizes the importance of scholarly participation in the preservation process. Because scholarship knows no political boundaries, it is critical that we develop a capacity for international collaboration to save intellectual resources of value to the international scholarly community. The Commission expects to publish a summary of the deliberations to serve as a guide for productive cooperative action.

International Participants

Dr. Birgit Antonsson, President
Swedish Research Council
The Royal Library
Stockholm, Sweden

Professor Josep M. Bricall, Rector
Universitat de Barcelona
Barcelona, Spain

Father Hervé Carrier
Pontificum Consilium De Cultura
The Vatican, Italy

Professor Pieter J.D. Drenth, President
Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Professor Bernhard Fabian, Englisches Seminar
Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität
Munster, Germany

Professor Marc Fumaroli
Collège de France
Paris, France

Professor Christoph Graf, Direktor
Schweizerisches Bundesarchiv
Bern, Switzerland

Professor Knut Kleve
Klassisk og Romansk Institutt
Oslo, Norway

Dr. Allison de Puymège, Assistant Secretary General
Standing Conference of Rectors, Presidents, and Vice-Chancellors of the European Universities
Geneva, Switzerland

Professor Hinrich Seidel, President
Standing Conference of Rectors, Presidents, and Vice-Chancellors of the European Universities
Universität Hannover, Hannover, Germany

Professor Salvatore Settis
Scuola Normale Superiore
Pisa, Italy

Dr. David G. Vaisey, Bodley’s Librarian
Bodleian Library
Oxford, England

Dr. Erica Varese, Head of Unit DG X, Culture
Commission des Communautés Européennes
Brussels, Belgium

U.S. Participants

Richard Brilliant, Professor
Department of Art History and Archaeology
Columbia University

George F. Farr, Jr., Director
Division of Preservation and Access
National Endowment for the Humanities

John Heilbron, Vice Chancellor
University of California, Berkeley
Mark Jordan, Associate Professor

Medieval Institute, University of Notre Dame
Stanley Katz, President
American Council of Learned Societies

Stuart Lynn, Vice President
Information Technologies
Cornell University

J. Hillis Miller, Professor
Chair, Department of English and Comparative Literature
University of California, Irvine

Patricia Battin, President
Henry Riecken, Senior Program Officer
Hans Rütimann, International Project Consultant
Commission on Preservation and Access

New and Retiring Board Members

The following individuals have accepted invitations to join the Commission Board:

Betty G. Bengtson, Director of University Libraries, University of Washington, Seattle

Klaus-Dieter Lehmann, Director, Die Deutsche Bibliothek

Winston Tabb, Associate Librarian for Collections Services, Library of Congress

Nicholas Veliotes, President, Association of American Publishers

Election of Commission members is based on personal qualifications and interest, and not as representatives of organizations.

Retiring embers James F. Govan, University Librarian, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (retired), Henriette D. Avram, Associate Librarian for Collection Services, Library of Congress (retired), and Donald S. Lamm, President, W.W. Norton & Company, were honored for their service to the Commission during its annual meeting in October, 1992.

The Pennsylvania State University Becomes Commission Sponsor

The Pennsylvania State University has become a sponsor of the Commission, increasing sponsorship to 52 institutions. The support of sponsors who are interested and involved in the nationwide preservation and access agenda is crucial to the Commission’s ability to be responsive to emerging needs and possibilities. All Commission sponsors receive expedited mailings of newsletters and reports, as well as complimentary additional copies upon request. They also are entitled to borrow the Commission’s preservation exhibits with no service charge.

New Paper Explores Mix Of Film, Digital Technologies

A Hybrid Systems Approach to Preservation of Printed Materials, a new Commission publication developed at the request of the Technology Assessment Advisory Committee (TAAC), provides an extensive analysis of the interrelationships between microfilm and digital technologies applied to the preservation of and access to deteriorating print materials. The 68-page paper was written by Don Willis, Vice President of Electronic Product Development for University Microfilm International, in consultation with TAAC.

In reviewing preservation technologies, the author concludes that a hybrid system–one that combines both film and digital imaging–could well offer the best overall design for current preservation needs, while a digital image based preservation system is the most promising future solution for printed materials. In his recommendations, Willis states that preservation goals will be met when preservation managers and technical experts work together to develop this hybrid science. A long-range preservation system will be designed to take advantage of the strengths, access characteristics, longevity, and cost of each storage product to produce the greatest benefit at the least cost.

The publication examines the trade-offs in selecting one technology over another and the advantages, disadvantages, and costs of digital image and micrographics preservation systems. Appendices explain the importance of resolution as a key parameter when designing a preservation system. A discussion of image resolution is illustrated with an extensive series of figures and tables.

A Hybrid Systems Approach to Preservation of Printed Materials by Don Willis, November 1992, 68 pages, is available for $10.00. Prepayment in U.S. funds is required, with checks made payable to “Commission on Preservation and Access” and sent to: Communications Assistant, Commission on Preservation and Access, 1400 16th Street, N.W. Suite 740, Washington, DC 20036-2217. Commission sponsors receive all publications at no charge.

Funding for Selected NEH Programs

Figures in thousands
    FY 1992 Approp. FY 1993 Approp.
National Endowment for the Humanities TOTAL $175,955 $177,413
Humanities Projects in Libraries and Archives   2,750 2,727
Preservation Access   24,043 23,102
Research Programs   17,329 17,886
Challenge Grants   12,392 14,228
From ALA Washington Newsletter October 23, 1992

Preservation Management for College Libraries

July 22-30, 1993
Wellesley College, Massachusetts

A seminar designed for the librarian responsible–often on a part-time basis–for planning and coordinating preservation activities for the library’s circulating collection.

The 20 applicants selected to attend the seminar will develop priorities, an action plan, a timetable, and drafts of critical documents tailored to their own libraries.

Sponsored by SOLINET and The Commission on Preservation and Access

For more information contact:

Amy Bernath, SOLINET Workshop Coordinator
1-800-999-8558 or 404-892-0943, ext. 226
SOLINET
1438 West Peachtree Street, NW
Suite 200
Atlanta, GA 30309-2955

PMC Explores Preservation Function in First Meeting

At the first meeting of the new Preservation Managers Council (PMC) held at Commission headquarters in October 1992, members explored several broad areas for future investigation and development of initiatives. There was a general interest in examining the changing nature of the preservation function within an institution and clarifying its interrelationship with other library and institutional activities and goals; it was suggested that a discussion paper might be used to begin to address this area. Educational efforts–for both preservation administrators and those with whom they work–to advance the understanding of the operations and needs of large preservation programs also were identified as a possible initiative. The group also discussed a need for an interchange between archivists and librarians concerning their points of commonality and divergence relating to the broader definition of preservation.

The group decided that future meetings would be scheduled biannually and held at Commission headquarters in early Spring and mid-Fall. In keeping with the practice of other Commission groups, the PMC will be developing its own agenda, determining where the Commission can be of assistance to institutional preservation programs. PMC members are expected to represent the preservation community during the meetings and to serve as a communication link to the broader preservation constituency.

PMC members are: Margaret Byrnes, Head, Preservation Section, National Library of Medicine; Ellen Cunningham-Kruppa, Preservation Officer, University of Texas, Austin; Richard Frieder, Head, Preservation Department, Northwestern University; Kenneth Harris, Director for Preservation, Library of Congress; Carolyn Clark Morrow, Malloy-Rabinowitz Preservation Librarian, Harvard University; Barclay Ogden, Head, Conservation Department, University of California, Berkeley; and Christine Ward, Chief, Bureau of Archival Services, New York State Archives and Records Administration.

Project IBID: Status and Plans for the Future

Project IBID, an effort to investigate the possibility of enhancing access to out-of-print (OP) books by the use of digital technology, has met with considerable interest on the part of publishers, both academic and commercial, during an initial exploratory phase funded by the Commission. The project, co-directed by College Libraries Committee members Willis Bridegam and David Cohen, seeks to encourage the on-demand printing of digitized versions of OP books needed by colleges for curriculum and instructional purposes. It also will investigate the marketing of such reprints. The co-directors are submitting a grant proposal to the U.S. Department of Education this month. Amherst College, the College of Charleston, the Southeastern Library Network (SOLINET), and the Commission are supporting the proposal with funds and in-kind contributed costs.

In its two-year demonstration, Project IBID will seek to determine if it is feasible to keep needed books available in the marketplace by bit-mapping them with high resolution scanners and by using Xerox Docutech equipment to produce a limited number of copies of OP books on demand. The initial scanning of 250 titles would take place in early 1994, with on-demand printing done throughout 1994-95. More information about this evolving project is available from Bridegam, Librarian, Amherst College, Amherst, MA 01002, and Cohen, Dean of Libraries, College of Charleston, Charleston, SC 29424.

For books are more than books, they are the life
The very heart and core of ages past
The reason why men lived and worked and died
The essence and quintessence of their lives.

Amy Lowell

Science Research Agenda in 1993

At their October, 1992, meetings, the newly-formed Preservation Managers Council (PMC) and the Commission board agreed to the further development of a scientific research agenda. Based on evaluations from participants of last September’s Science Workshop for Preservation Administrators, the Commission has agreed to convene a one-day planning meeting in February, 1993, followed by a second invitational 2 1/2-day workshop in September, 1993.

The previous workshop, held at the Belmont Conference Center, MD, enabled a small group of scientists and preservation administrators (PAs) to jointly explore how the scientific process can be used to address key scientific and technical issues in the preservation field. The goal was to facilitate the development by scientists and PAs of a viable set of priorities for future research projects. Participants gave a high evaluation to a series of exercises conducted by research teams, who were given assignments to develop science projects within a few hours. In a wrap-up session, participants agreed that an extension of the “research team with science advisor” mode could serve as a strategy for developing a collaborative science agenda, and recommended that the initiative be continued in 1993.

Among a number of conclusions, the group agreed that:

  • While scientists are key players in research projects, it is the PAs’ responsibility to define the needs for preservation, to oversee research projects, to help translate results and to apply them, and to lead the way to developing useable technologies based on the results.
  • Working initially with a smaller number of participants, while not as democratic as a highly inclusive group, facilitates the process of establishing priorities and setting an agenda.
  • A workable next step, achieved through the use of research teams, would be the development of no more than four or five well-thought-out research projects. The description of such projects would include priority levels, rationales for their importance, and suggestions for their support and execution.

New E-Mail Addresses

Please make a note of the following new electronic mail addresses for the Commission:

Pat Battin: PBATTIN@CNI.ORG
Maxine Sitts: MSITTS@CNI.ORG

We live in a cultural continuum in which we are free to move back and forth through the centuries. Books are islands in the ocean of time. They are also oases in the deserts of time.

Lawrence Clark Powell

Slow Fires: Sequel Under Development; French Version Available

The Commission board, at its annual meeting in October, 1992, approved the development of a film sequel to Slow Fires, to focus on preservation and access in the age of electronic data. Terry Sanders of the American Film Foundation, who produced Slow Fires, has been engaged to conduct research and develop an outline during the initial conceptual phase of the project.

Meanwhile, a French version of the original Slow Fires has been developed by the U.S. Information Agency, which earlier produced a Spanish version of the film. The French language voice over version is available in the hour length only, at the same cost as the English language version–$59.50 plus shipping and handling–from American Film Foundation, 1333 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90401.