CPA Newsletter #63, Jan 1994

Commission on Preservation and Access

The Commission on Preservation and Access

Newsletter

January 1994

Number 63

Cornell Submits Final Report on Digital Technologies Testbed

A final report from Cornell University on work conducted under contract to the Commission describes the results of Phase II of the project A Testbed for Advancing the Role of Digital Technologies for Library Preservation and Access. As a part of the work of the Digital Preservation Consortium, Cornell established a testbed for evaluating both new uses of digital imaging technology for library applications and new technologies that may advance library preservation and access.

In Phase II, a testbed facility was established, the quality of image capture capabilities associated with binary scanning was further evaluated, and network access to the digital library was extended through the development of a client/server architecture. Internet access was provided via a digital library server and software “clients” designed to run on standard desktop computers used by students and faculty members, such as Macintoshes, IBM PC’s and Sun workstations.

The project also explored the creation of digital computer output microfilm (COM). In cooperation with Image Graphics, Inc., Cornell tested the feasibility of producing microfilm from high resolution digital images by means of an electronic beam recorder. After evaluating the quality of the resulting film based on a formula recently developed by an AIIM (Association for Information & Image Management) technical committee, Cornell concluded that a scanning resolution of 600 dots per inch is sufficient to produce digital COM that meets ANSI/AIIM standards for image quality for virtually all books published during the period of paper’s greatest brittleness. Issues surrounding quality, processing, costs, and vendor services associated with the conversion process have yet to be resolved.

More complete descriptions of Phase II results are available in the final report, A Testbed Advancing the Role of Digital Technologies for Library Preservation and Access> by Anne R. Kenney and Lynne K. Personius, Project Managers, (October 1993, 91+ pages). Copies are available for $10.00 from the Department of Preservation & Conservation, Cornell University, 214 John M. Olin Library, Ithaca, New York 14853-9346. The report’s executive summary is included with this newsletter. A report on Phase I, Cornell/Xerox/Commission on Preservation and Access Joint Study in Digital Preservation Report: Phase I, is available from the Commission for $10.00.

Additional support for the Cornell project came from the Xerox Corporation, Sun Microsystems, Inc., and the New York State Program for the Conservation and Preservation of Library Materials.

Commission Publications to Become Available on the CAUSE Exchange Library

In October 1993, the Commission granted permission to make its publications available in electronic form to CAUSE (The Association for Managing and Using Information Technology in Higher Education). The publications will be a part of the CAUSE Exchange Library, and will be made available online through the CAUSE Gopher system.

CAUSE announced the project at its annual meeting December 1993. According to Dr. Michael Zastrocky, Vice President for Information Resources at CAUSE, “This is a major improvement to providing services to people both through the Email and Gopher systems,” and went on to say that they hoped to have the publications available online as early as this month.

RLG Digital Image Access Project Underway

The Research Libraries Group (RLG) has launched a one-year collaborative project to explore the capabilities of digital image technology for managing access to photographic collections. Eight RLG institutions will work together to find ways to streamline indexing methods and capitalize on the online digital environment for improving access to collections, not just for local projects but for shared access in a networked environment. In total, 8,000 photographs from the collections of these RLG members will be digitized, and image access software will be created.

Working with Stokes Imaging Services (Austin, TX), the RLG cooperative project will employ state-of-the-art digital-imaging technology to enable institutions to reproduce images quickly and inexpensively at resolutions adequate for browsing, researching, and printing reference copies. The project will develop, test, and evaluate a digital image access system consisting of databases, image bases, and software for searching, retrieving, and displaying images.

The project was designed by the RLG Task Force on Photograph Preservation, a six-member group formed in July 1992 to address issues inherent in accessing and preserving large photograph collections. The task force has also developed a second, parallel project, in partnership with Stokes Imaging Services and the Image Permanence Institute (IPI), to explore relative cost-benefit tradeoffs in the technical aspects of digitization, including image capture, resolution, compression, storage, and display. For more information about either project, contact Patricia McClung, RLG Director of Member Support & Services, at (415) 691-2236.

Adapted from RLG press release

Exhibit Scheduled For AHA, AAP Meetings

The Commission’s modular exhibit, including its new center photo-panels (see Nov.-Dec. 1993 issue), is scheduled to attend a number of professional and scholarly conferences throughout the coming year. From the sixth through the ninth of January, the exhibit is at the American Historical Association’s (AHA) 108th Annual Meeting in San Francisco, CA, where 30 affiliated societies are contributing to an attendance approaching over 4,000. Immediately following AHA’s meeting, the exhibit will travel to the Tarlton Law Library at The University of Texas at Austin. The exhibit will then return to Washington, DC, where it is scheduled at the Association of American Publishers’ (AAP) Professional/Scholarly Publishing Division Annual Meeting. The AAP’s February 9-10 meeting should attract between 250-275 attendees from backgrounds related to scientific, technical, medical, professional and scholarly publishing. The new exhibit is sponsored by the Gladys Krieble Delmas and H. W. Wilson Foundations. For further information about the Commission’s exhibits contact Sonny Koerner at (202) 939-3400.

Slow Fires Video Available in SECAM Format

The video Slow Fires: On the Preservation of the Human Record is now available in the SECAM format, a version that is compatible with European systems as well as other countries around the globe. The film, which was produced in 1988, will be made available in this new format through the American Film Foundation in response to a joint venture between the Commission and the National Library of Medicine to make the film more accessible to the worldwide preservation community.

This version is scheduled to be used as part of a six-month lecture series to begin this month at the Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic. Copies of the SECAM version of Slow Fires are available for $39.50 (plus $10.00 for s/h) by contacting the American Film Foundation at (310) 459-2116.

New Commission Brochure Available

A new twelve-page brochure provides a synopsis of the Commission’s 1993-94 initiatives and highlights from the 1992-93 Annual Report. These highlights include information about the Commission’s International Project, Technology Assessment Advisory Committee, Scholarly Advisory Committees, The Brittle Books Program, Archives, Communication, and Institutional and Education Initiatives.

The brochure also includes a convenient order form for additional information about the Commission. It is available in single and multiple copies for use as handouts for displays and conferences. For more information, contact Sonny Koerner at (202) 939-3400.

NYSCPP Announces Grant Awards

The New York State Conservation/Preservation Program (NYSCPP) has announced its 1993/94 grant awards. The program, administered by the State Library’s Division of Library Development, is part of New York’s library legislation to provide State funding for libraries and other organizations engaged in efforts to preserve deteriorating library research materials. Among the awards for 1993-94 are:

  • Cornell University Library’s one-year demonstration project in cooperation with the 11 comprehensive research libraries in New York State to test and evaluate network access to Cornell’s growing digital library. This project builds on work previously conducted at Cornell as part of the Commission’s Digital Preservation Consortium to advance the use of digital technology to preserve and make accessible research library materials.
  • Columbia University Libraries will conduct a small pre-pilot test run of the dimethyl zinc (DEZ) mass deacidification process provided by Akzo Chemicals, Inc. The purpose of the pre-pilot is to gain sufficient experience with mass deacidification to enable the participants to design a full scale project for the 11 New York State comprehensive research libraries.
  • The University of Rochester will conduct a scientific research and development project to investigate the optimum storage strategies for color photography. The Image Permanence Institute will generate from accelerated aging tests the data necessary to apply the “isoperm” approach–in which the effects of storage temperature and humidity on life expectancy are quantified over a wide range of possible conditions–to four important and representative types of color photographs. The four materials used will be the most common (best selling) color negative film, color slide film, color print paper, and cinema positive film now on the market. This project complements research recommended by the Commission’s Preservation Science Council.

For more information about the Conservation/Preservation Program, contact the New York State Library, Division of Library Development at (518) 474-6971.

Adapted from a press release from The New York State Program for the Conservation and Preservation of Library Research Materials.

Librarians, who see the preservation of the nation’s intellectual heritage as one of their basic tasks, look on the Internet with mixed feelings. On the one hand, they appreciate the ease of electronic access to information. On the other, they know that much of what is being distributed on the networks will be lost forever…. There are myriad technical problems having to do with how you move information across various generations of hardware and software.

Clifford A. Lynch, director of library automation, Office of the President, University of California system, quoted in The Chronicle of Higher Education, July 28, 1993, “Electronic Riches are Free on the Internet, but Some Worry About the Consequences,” pages A20-21.

EFLC Announces Survey on the Use of Permanent Book Paper

The European Foundation for Library Cooperation (EFLC) recently announced the launching of a survey on the use of permanent book paper. The survey, conducted by a Dutch company at the request of the EFLC, consists of a cover letter explaining the project and a short questionnaire.

According to a memo from Marc Walckiers, Secretary to the EFLC, the survey will be distributed to some 2,000 European publishers. EFLC hopes to gain a large enough response to the survey to gauge the current use of permanent book paper and direct a campaign for its promotion among European publishers.

Project IBID Concludes Explorations of On-Demand Printing

Directors of the exploratory Project IBID have decided that their major goal–to stimulate interest in using on-demand printing technology to provide access to needed scholarly materials that have gone out-of-print (OP)–has been accomplished, and they will not be seeking support for a demonstration. During the early phases of IBID, project directors conducted a feasibility study on using digital technology for reprinting OP resources needed by college libraries and others for instructional and scholarly purposes. After gathering data on operational factors and costs, project directors met with several publishers and college librarians to discuss the concept further. Currently, several universities publishers are acquiring on-demand printing capabilities, and it appears likely that this method of providing access to OP materials will become more widely used without the need for a centralized program as proposed by Project IBID.

In its exploratory phase, Project IBID was met with considerable interest on the part of publishers, both academic and commercial. The project was co-directed by College Libraries Committee members Willis Bridegam and David Cohen. IBID was supported with funds and in-kind contributed costs from Amherst College, the College of Charleston, SOLINET, Inc., and the Commission.

News from the Commission Board

At its annual meeting October 29, 1993, the Commission board re-elected Billy E. Frye as chairman. The board accepted the resignation of David Penniman, president of the Council on Library Resources.

Following the board meeting, representatives of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges and the Coalition for Networked Information made an afternoon presentation on the nature and history of copyright law as it has applied to education and research. The presentation was led by Professor L. Ray Patterson, Pope Brock Professor of Law at the University of Georgia Law School.

Jewelry History Report Highlighted by Jeweler’s Book Club

A 1992 report by a Commission intern is featured in the Fall 1993 issue of the Jeweler’s Book Club News. The report, Jewelry History: A Core Bibliography in Support of Preservation, by Christine De Bow Klein, is described as a useful source of historical information. The review also notes the relationships between brittle books and access to this information, and closes with advice for jewelry-related associations interested in helping preserve access. The Jeweler’s Book Club News is published quarterly by Jeweler’s Circular-Keystone. Copies of Jewelry History: A Core Bibliography in Support of Preservation are available from the Commission for $12.00, prepaid.


“Preservation is not just about binding. Indeed, it is only a very little about binding. Its principal focus (and therefore ours) is on the management of stock, buildings and people to ensure that information is available to clients when and where they need it. We are therefore interested in contingency planning (against fire, for example) and in security measures (against theft) at least as much as we are in the niceties of the binding of serials. Preservation is an aspect of resource management. It saves money, because it hopes to make information resources available to clients.

These are core issues of professional practice, central to the provision of effective information and library services. At a time of chronic underfunding and institutionalized uncertainty in almost all library services, such issues take on an even greater importance.”

Excerpt from “Preserving Materials-Saving Resources? or, not preserving can damage your wealth”, by Paul Eden, John Feather and Graham Matthews. Published by The British Library in the Summer 1993 issue of Library Conservation News.

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
Sonny Koerner – Managing Editor