The Commission on Preservation and Access
M. Stuart Lynn to Head Commission
Billy E. Frye, Chairman of the Commission on Preservation and Access, has announced the appointment of M. Stuart Lynn, Vice President for Information Technologies at Cornell University, as Interim President of the Commission. The appointment will take effect July 1, 1994, upon the retirement of Patricia Battin, president since 1987.
“We are extremely fortunate to be able to call upon Stuart at this time to maintain the full and varied programs of the Commission,” Frye noted at the announcement. “His broad interests, visible leadership, and commitment to the Commission’s mission promise strong support to our constituencies.” Lynn has served on the Commission’s Technology Assessment Advisory Committee (TAAC) since its founding in 1988 and has been a leader in Cornell’s membership in the Commission’s Digital Preservation Consortium.
As vice president for information technologies at Cornell, Lynn is responsible for policy, strategic planning, and coordination of information technologies across the university, including library systems, network services, and associated support services. He is the author of a pivotal TAAC report, Preservation and Access Technology–A Structured Glossary of Technical Terms (1990), that forms the basis for a series of Commission papers on the challenges of preservation and access in a digital environment. In 1992, he co-authored a report with the Commission’s International Program Officer Hans Rütimann, Computerization Project of the Archivo General de Indias, Seville, Spain, which assessed the technical and operational aspects of a large-scale image scanning project.
Prior to his Cornell appointment in 1988, Lynn served for six years as director of computing affairs and professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of California at Berkeley. A graduate of Oxford University, England, Lynn received his M.A. and Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of California at Los Angeles.
Lynn has served as the principal or co-principal investigator for collaborative research-and-development projects sponsored by the Commission that have explored the digital preservation of brittle documents, the application of digital technologies to the preservation of brittle books, and the application of photo-CD technology to the digital capture of image materials.
Frye has announced that all current Commission initiatives described in the February 1994 Working Paper on the Future (available from the Commission) will move ahead as planned.
College of Charleston Becomes Commission Sponsor
The College of Charleston has become a sponsor of the Commission, increasing sponsorship to 68 institutions. The support of sponsors is crucial to the Commission’s ability to be responsive to emerging issues worldwide. All 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.
Carnegie Corporation Supports Study of Implications of Technologies
The Carnegie Corporation of New York has awarded a grant of $180,000 to the Commission on Preservation and Access for partial support of a study of the implications of technological developments for higher education and scholarly communication in the next 20 years. The 18-month study, called Vision 2010, is being conducted in partnership with the University of Michigan School of Information and Library Studies. The effort will involve individuals from a broad range of activities and professional experience, including teaching, research, administration, scholarly communication, publishing, librarianship, and information technology fields.
Vision 2010 will seek to explore the productive uses of digital technologies to shape 21st-century information services in support of the basic intellectual values of higher education, rather than to passively accept a technology environment dominated by commercial and industrial interests. The study is premised on the belief that active planning and a willingness to make fundamental changes can enable higher education to control its destiny in the digital world.
The Commission and the University of Michigan School of Information and Library Studies (SILS) will conduct the planning process from a neutral perspective arising from deep concern about continuing access to scholarly information in an environment of increasingly transient digital information. The planning process is designed to catalyze productive debate of conflicting views, not only by direct participants, but by members of the broader communities. “Indeed, if this study provokes widespread and serious debate and promotes further research and study with resulting recommendations and actions in years to come, this effort will have served a productive, catalytic purpose,” according to Rowland Brown, Technology Consultant to the Commission. Principal co-investigators are Patricia Battin, president of the Commission, and Daniel E. Atkins, dean of the University of Michigan SILS. Other SILS participants are Katherine Willis, SILS senior staff member, who is serving as the study’s program officer, and Laurie Crum, SILS program coordinator.
Vision 2010 is one component of the Commission’s technology initiative that includes plans for a documentary film on the unique characteristics of electronic information and the activities of the Digital Preservation Consortium, which is exploring the collaborative application of digital technology to the preservation of deteriorating printed materials.
Testimony Highlights NEH As Leader in Access to Humanities
Support for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) as a national leader for preserving and providing public access to endangered materials within the new National Information Infrastructure (NII) was emphasized at co-sponsored testimony last month on behalf of fiscal year 1995 appropriations. A demonstration of preserved images representing several historical periods, cultures, and geographic areas supplemented the written and oral testimony of Dr. Jerry D. Campbell, representing the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), the Commission on Preservation and Access, and the National Humanities Alliance (NHA). Dr. Campbell is the incoming president of ARL and University Librarian, Duke University.
The May 9 testimony before the Subcommittee on the Interior and Related Agencies, Committee on Appropriations, U.S. House of Representatives emphasized the substantial accomplishments of the Endowment’s Division of Preservation and Access as it has assumed a predominant position in the nationwide effort to preserve and provide access to at-risk humanities resources:
The Division of Preservation and Access has put into place a collaborative, multi-institutional program that is experienced and expert at selecting resources, adhering to standards, preparing resources for conversion, converting resources to usable formats, and subsequently maintaining and providing broad access to the resources.
The testimony also urged that NEH be an integral part of planning for the National Information Infrastructure (NII):
As we move our education and information services onto an electronic superhighway, the humanities preservation-and-access program is providing a perfect platform for conversion that considers not only the technologies, but the needs of the American public and the content of the materials…
Continued–indeed strengthened–federal leadership in advocating the importance and rescue of these resources becomes even more necessary in our increasingly technological environment, where these vulnerable, valuable materials could easily be pushed to the back shelves as colorful, electronic multi-media move to front and center stage.
The testimony advocated restoring full funding for the Division of Preservation and Access budget and for the 20-year brittle books program:
If [the President’s] appropriation is enacted without change, FY-95 will be the fourth consecutive year with virtually no growth …. the additional funds needed to bring the FY-95 budget for the Division up to the level called for in the 1988 [brittle books] initiative, and to bring the access programs up to their [full] level are … $4.295 million.
This appropriation, the testimony concluded, will provide the Division of Preservation and Access with the necessary support to provide leadership in meeting the multiple preservation and access challenges and in assuring the fullest possible representation of humanities in the new infrastructure, a component we believe is essential to the nation’s educational system and to all its citizens.
Columbia University to Investigate Brittle Map Reformatting
The Commission is supporting a seven-month investigative study by Columbia University to assess the technological possibilities for reformatting brittle maps. The project, part of the collaborative activities of the Digital Preservation Consortium, will be conducted by Columbia University Libraries and Academic Information Systems. The study seeks to identify the most acceptable preservation and access techniques available for oversize, color images associated with text.
Working with five maps from brittle volumes preserved in a previous project funded by the Commission, Columbia will investigate scanning directly from the originals and producing full-frame fiche from the digital files for archival storage. At the same time, they will scan from color transparencies and from full-frame fiche to produce full-size paper printouts from all three sets of scanned images.
They will establish panels of experts to compare results and identify the techniques that produce the best and most cost-effective combination of preservation-quality microfiche, digital images to be manipulated at the screen, and paper printouts.
Results will be used to develop plans for a large-scale project to scan and preserve the publications of the United States Geological Survey.
European Commission on Preservation and Access Formally Constituted; Sets Goals
The European Commission on Preservation and Access (ECPA) was formally constituted in Amsterdam on March 17, 1994, as a “European initiative to provide access to the accumulated human record as far into the future as possible.” The Chairman of the new Board is Professor Pieter J. D. Drenth, President, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Vice-Chairman is Professor Klaus-Dieter Lehmann, Director, Die Deutsche Bibliothek. Alison de Puymège, Deputy Secretary General of the European Rectors’ Conference (CRE), is serving as ad interim secretary to the Board.
The mission statement formally adopted at the founding meeting reflects the European Commission’s role as a unifying force throughout Europe to address the common concerns of preservation of and access to deteriorating scholarly resources:
The European Commission on Preservation and Access was established in 1994 to foster, develop and support in Europe collaboration among libraries, archives and allied organizations, in order to ensure the preservation of the published and documentary record in all formats and to provide enhanced access to the cultural and intellectual heritage.
The mission of the organization is deliberately closely linked with the mission of the Commission on Preservation and Access in the United States. Board members include representatives of universities, academies and learned societies, libraries, archives, and the world of publishing. Among possible ECPA activities are a clearinghouse, newsletter, linkages with other organizations, and demonstration projects. The next meeting of the European Commission is planned for Amsterdam in Fall 1994.
Board members are:
Prof. Michel Jouve
Vice-Président chargé des relations internationales
Université Michel de Montaigne – Bordeaux III
Prof. Jack Meadows
Dean of Education and Humanities
Department of Library and Information Studies
Prof. Hinrich Seidel
CRE President and
President, Universität Hannover
Academies and Learned Societies
Prof. Pieter J. D. Drenth
Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences
Prof. Inge Jonsson
Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities
Sir Anthony Kenny
Secretary of the Rhodes Trust and
Chairman of the Board, British Library
Fernanda Maria Campos
National Library of Portugal
(Membre de l’Institut)
Président, Bibliothèque Nationale de France
Prof. Klaus-Dieter Lehmann
Die Deutsche Bibliothek
Prof. Adam Manikowski
National Library of Poland
Prof. Eric Ketelaar
General State Archivist of the Netherlands and
Professor, Leiden University
Prof. Geoffrey Martin
Department of History
University of Essex
(former Keeper of the Public Records)
Margarita Vazquez de Parga
Spanish State Archives
To be confirmed
Commission on Preservation and Access
Secretary to the Board (ad interim)
Alison de Puymège
Deputy Secretary General
EROMM Phase I Complete; Phase 2 Underway
To coordinate preservation microfilming activities of European libraries, the European Register of Microform Masters (EROMM) is being created as a central database of truly international character. At its May 1994 meeting, the Commission on Preservation and Access approved funds in support of Phase 2 of EROMM, during which permanent service will be established and new partners will be added. The Commission contract with the Niedersächsische Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Göttingen, the new EROMM managing partner, follows upon a successful Commission-sponsored planning meeting in February 1994 that included the four original EROMM partners (Great Britain, France, Germany and Portugal) and representatives from Spain, Hungary, Poland, Estonia, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland and Austria.
The project phase of EROMM began in 1991 as a European Union project funded jointly by the Commission of the European Communities and the Commission on Preservation and Access. During Phase I of EROMM, the task of partner libraries was to gather existing and new microform master data on a national scale, to convert them to UNIMARC bibliographic format, and to send them to EROMM. All data were then merged into one database. The UNIMARC format was extended specifically for EROMM on the model of proposals made for an International Register of Microform Masters in 1990, an initiative chaired by the Commission. With EROMM, this new UNIMARC was used for the first time as an internal working format of an international database. An international pilot database of 50,000 records from the original four partners was set up in January 1993 at the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris. The records from Phase I are being loaded into RLIN.
EROMM activities are a part of the Commission’s International Program funded by the Mellon Foundation.
Conservation OnLine Gopher Provides Internet Access to Commission Publications
In collaboration with the Commission’s communication program, Conservation OnLine (CoOL) now provides browsing and full-text searching of all Commission reports. CoOL, recently made available via gopher, is a project of the Preservation Department of Stanford University Libraries. Its databases cover a wide spectrum of topics of interest to those involved with the conservation of museum, library, and archive materials.
In addition to the Commission publications, other materials available via CoOL are:
- the archives of the Conservation DistList
- the Newsletter of the Western Association for Art Conservation
- the ConsDir, a directory of people involved with conservation/preservation
- a variety of disaster preparedness documents
- a broad range of documents on all aspects of conservation
For full information on gaining access to this service, contact: Walter Henry <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Portuguese Library Association Addresses Preservation Issues
A seminar on preservation and conservation organized by Portuguese librarians, conservators and engineers was held earlier this year in Lisbon. The seminar addressed the issues of brittle paper, handling and treatment of documents, environmental conditions, and reformatting through microfilming and digitization. The event began with a showing of the video Slow Fires; selected Commission publications served as resources for the two days of discussions. The event was the first of its kind in Portugal, and organizers are considering future events covering other aspects of preservation and conservation.
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