The Commission on Preservation and Access
Summertime Good News Edition
Art History, Medieval Studies Committees Submit Final Reports
Inserted with this newsletter are summaries of final reports to the Commission from the Scholarly Advisory Committees (SACs) on Art History and Medieval Studies. The Art History SAC first met in the spring of 1989 after participants in a September 1988 planning conference at Spring Hill, Minnesota recommended that informed scholarly opinion should be brought to bear on the establishment of priorities for the preservation of published materials in art history (See Scholarly Resources in Art History: Issues in Preservation. Washington, DC: Commission on Preservation and Access, 1989).
As reported in June 1994, the committee determined that the criteria for preservation be based upon the assessment of three primary considerations: rarity, wide usefulness, and historiographic significance to the entire discipline regardless of content, as well as brittleness. The committee also decided that periodicals, ranked in importance of use by a wide variety of scholars, would be a crucial first target of concern. The summary of the final report includes a list of the 100 most “essential” periodicals chosen from a list of 2,000 serials in the collection of the Art and Architecture Library of Stanford University.
The SAC on Medieval Studies first met in October 1990 following a colloquium jointly sponsored by the Medieval Institute at Notre Dame, the Medieval Academy of America, and the Commission. The February 1994 summary report includes a list of the group’s tasks and accomplishments and a series of recommendations, including one that the Medieval Academy continue the life of a Committee on Libraries to encourage and review preservation efforts and to study new forms of information technology and their consequences for the scholarship of medievalists.
NYPL President to Join Board; Goldsmith Resigns
Dr. Paul LeClerc, President of the New York Public Library (NYPL), has accepted an invitation to join the Commission board of directors and will be officially welcomed at the annual meeting October 28, 1994.
LeClerc was recently appointed President of the NYPL after serving as Professor of French and President of Hunter College since 1988. During the same time period he was a member of the Doctoral Faculty in French at The City University Graduate School and University Center.
At Baruch College, he served as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and as Deputy President. He also served as University Dean for Academic Affairs and Chairman of the Council of Presidents Long Range Planning Committee at The City University of New York. LeClerc has many published books and articles, and has acted as consultant to a number of foundations and organizations.
The Commission board has accepted the resignation of author Barbara Goldsmith, a trustee of NYPL. She was thanked for long-time advocacy of book preservation and acid-free paper.
Commission Distributes Yale Report on Project Open Book
Digital image quality, indexing structures, and production workflow are the focus of a new report, The Setup Phase of Project Open Book. This report to the Commission from Yale University Library outlines incremental progress made during the second phase of Project Open Book, a major effort by the library to explore the usefulness of digital technologies for preserving and improving access to deteriorating documents. The Commission has supported the development of the master plan for the project, as well as its first two phases.
Project Open Book is an effort to convert 10,000 volumes from preservation microfilm to a digital library. During the setup phase, Yale acquired a single integrated conversion workstation that included microfilm scanning hardware and associated conversion and enhancement software. As they developed a production workflow, the team defined three conditions that must be present in the library for the project to proceed: a close working relationship with technology vendors, training of skilled staff, and broad administrative support in the library and administration.
The team first defined the quality of the conversion process from microfilm by exploring the impact of three factors on image quality: characteristics of the original source materials, characteristics of the microfilm itself, and technical limitations of the conversion equipment. The team then identified efficient ways to use existing database technology to develop structural indexes for the source materials stored on microfilm. Third, the team outlined in some detail the steps of the conversion process and estimated the productivity rate of each step. The third phase of Project Open Book, the production-conversion phase, has received funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Division of Preservation and Access. In that phase, Yale will define requirements for effective and economical digital conversion from microfilm, validate the production conversion model developed during the setup phase, and seek to optimize the efficiency of the digital conversion process.
The Setup Phase of Project Open Book has been distributed to the Commission’s mailing list. Additional copies are available at no charge to sponsors and for $10.00 to others (prepayment required, with checks made payable to “Commission on Preservation and Access”).
Demos to Spotlight Scholarly Access, Digital Scanning
Demonstrations of technologies that enhance scholarly access to preserved materials are under development at the Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village and the Pennsylvania State University, as part of the expanded exhibit initiative funded by grants from the Gladys Krieble Delmas and H.W. Wilson Foundations.
The Historical Resources Business Unit of Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village and the University of Michigan Historical Center for the Health Sciences SourceLINK Project are collaborating in the production of a Photo-CD that will highlight the Museum’s efforts to enhance access to its collections through the application of telecommunications and digital technologies. The interactive Kodak Portfolio Photo-CD will be designed to build awareness of the Museum’s remote access initiatives and to demonstrate how enhanced access can benefit core user groups including traditional scholars, collectors, restorers, and educators.The Pennsylvania State University Libraries’ will be developing posters and handouts to accompany a Xerox system demonstration of the libraries’ digital scanning project. That project included scanning and storing on optical disk over 14,500 pages from archival collections, including all the Steel Workers’ Organizing Committee papers (see September 1993 newsletter).
The demonstrations will be shown at Commission exhibits during scholarly meetings over the next year. Other demonstrations are under development at the Johns Hopkins University and Smithsonian Institution Libraries (see July 1994 newsletter). All the presentations will underscore the importance of preserving and maintaining the original worth of scholarly materials in the electronic environment.
Technology Exhibit at AAUP
The Commission’s technology exhibit and a CD-ROM demonstration by the National Agricultural Library (NAL) were on display at the 1994 annual meeting of the Association of American University Presses, Inc. (AAUP) in Washington, DC, June 20-21. The meeting focused on the theme of building new alliances as presses face increasing budgetary restraints and the electronic revolution.
An NAL staff member demonstrated a CD-ROM of papers, notes, and letters of George Washington Carver, part of the library’s ongoing National Agricultural Text Digitizing Project (NATDP).
The Commission’s exhibit activities are supported in part by grants from the Gladys Krieble Delmas and H.W. Wilson Foundations.
Dance Heritage Coalition Receives Support for Access Project
The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded $963,000 for the Dance Heritage Coalition to begin a national cooperative project to significantly increase the accessibility of dance research materials. The grant is the largest ever given by the Endowment in the area of access.
This project is the first step in a broad ranging effort by the Coalition to better preserve and make accessible the historic record of dance in America. The grant will fund computerized cataloging of more than 18,000 items and 1,500 linear feet of manuscripts and archives from the collections of seven institutions over the coarse of two years. As well, it will fund efforts to locate additional dance collections and archives, develop preservation practices, and train scholars and others in the dance community to use the computer catalog. The project is coordinated by the Dance Heritage Coalition, a consortium of performing arts libraries and representatives of the dance community. The New York Public Library, as the official recipient of the NEH award, will administer the grant funds (see also Feb. 1993 and May 1994 newsletters).
A copy of the video Slow Fires made available to the Library of Foreign Literature in Moscow, Russia, is being viewed by groups of librarians throughout the country. The library staff developed a written translation of the script to be read by a live narrator as the film is shown. The film premiered at a conference on preservation in Moscow in early March 1994.
German Plant Operational
A press release from Battelle Ingenieurtechnik GmbH announces that the first large-scale paper deacidification plant was recently put into operation at the Book Preservation Center of the Deutsche Bücherei in Leipzig. With its annual capacity of 200,000 books, the facility is represented by Battelle as the largest mass deacidification plant in the world.
The Deutsche Bibliothek and Battelle started a research program concerning the implementation of mass deacidification in Germany in 1987, with support by the German Federal Ministry for Research and Technology. One of the highlights of this program is putting into service the first mass deacidification plant integrated into a library.
A deacidification process to prevent acidic papers from deterioration, developed by Battelle, is used in the facility. The liquid-phase impregnation process works with a neutralization agent containing magnesium-titanium-ethoxides which deacidify and supply an alkaline buffer of magnesiumcarbonate. A non-polluting, non-toxic, silicon-organic solvent replaces the environmentally harmful CFC’s used by former processes. Due to compatibility with most common materials, the process can be applied to both library and archival collections.Based on a press release from Battelle Ingenieurtechnik GmbH,
Düsseldorfer Str. 9, D-65760 Eschborn, Germany
Library of Congress Progress
June 1994. During the past year, the Library of Congress (LC) worked actively with Akzo Chemical Co. on further refinement of the DEZ deacidification process, and an LC-appointed team has been conducting an evaluation of Preservation Technologies, Inc.’s Bookkeeper process.
AKZO: DEZ PROCESS. A team of technical specialists from the chemical, scientific, and library fields helped the Library design and evaluate a research and development project aimed at solving DEZ treatment problems identified during the Library’s earlier deacidification procurement effort. The Swiss Federal Archives cooperated with the Library and participated on the technical management team. The Library also contracted with the Universities of Houston and Delaware, where 15 laboratory experiments were conducted to emulate conditions in the Akzo plant in Texas. This laboratory research focused attention on reducing book and permeation temperatures as a primary means of eliminating or significantly reducing previously observed problems such as odors and minor physical damage in treated books. The test runs demonstrated significant progress in addressing these issues.
In December, Akzo Chemical Co. announced that it had made a business decision to withdraw from the deacidification business; the company stopped treating books for customers, including LC, in April. The Library had hoped to complete its report about the DEZ R&D initiative and submit it to Congress in June. The report will be based in part upon assessment of the odor level and physical condition of books treated in LC’s test runs. The latter assessment, conducted by conservators and a LC-management deacidification assessment team, cannot be concluded until books from each of LC’s test runs are returned from Texas. As of early June, books from one of the final test runs had not been received back at the Library for evaluation.
PTI: BOOKKEEPER PROCESS. The second phase of the Library’s deacidification program seeks to evaluate and encourage the development of other deacidification processes. After the Library advertised the availability of this evaluation and testing program, Preservation Technologies, Inc. (PTI) of Pittsburgh was the only company that requested a formal evaluation of their process, known as Bookkeeper.
The Library has employed a team of technical specialists to help it evaluate the Bookkeeper process. In addition, the Library contracted with the independent Institute of Paper Science and Technology (IPST) testing laboratory in Atlanta to obtain physical and chemical test results on Bookkeeper-treated books; and the Library asked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to assess the impact of this process.
PTI has treated library and test books for the Library’s technical evaluation team. Samples were aged at the Library and are being tested by IPST. After it receives final IPST test data and the EPA report, LC’s evaluation team will complete its report concerning the Bookkeeper process, probably in August. Preliminary results received to date from the evaluation team, IPST, and the EPA look promising.
REPORTS. The report about Bookkeeper and the Library’s report on the DEZ process will be submitted to Congress with recommendations; as soon as they are available, both reports will be shared with the library and preservation communities in the U.S. and worldwide. For further information, contact Kenneth Harris in the LC Preservation Directorate at 202-707-1054; FAX 202-707-3434.From a report issued by the Library of Congress
Free Publications Available
The following is a list of publications that the Commission is offering free of charge:
Hazen, Dan. The Production and Bibliographic Control of Latin American Preservation Microforms in the United States (6/91, 48 pp.)
Kesse, Erich. Survey of Micropublishers (10/92, 6 pp.)
Klein, Christine De Bow. Jewelry History: A Core Bibliography in Support of Preservation (2/92, 52 pp.)
Miller, Hillis. Preserving the Literary Heritage. The Final Report of the Scholarly Advisory Committee on Modern Language and Literature (7/91, 8 pp.)
Morrow, Carolyn Clark. National Conference on the Development of Statewide Preservation Programs (1991, 108 pp.)
Rütimann, Hans. The International Project, 1992 Update (1/93, 24 pp.)
Rütimann, Hans. Preservation and Access in China: Possibilities for Cooperation (3/92, 16 pp.)
Rütimann, Hans and Stuart Lynn. Computerization Project of the Archivo General de Indias, Seville, Spain (3/92, 20 pp.)
Scholarly Resources In Art History: Report of the Seminar Spring Hill, Wayzata, Minnesota, Sept. 29-Oct. 1, 1988 (1989, 43 pp.)
Sparks, Peter. Technical Considerations In Choosing Mass Deacidification Processes (5/90, 22 pp.)
Stevenson, Condict Gaye. Working Together: Case Studies In Cooperative Preservation (9/91, 36 pp.)
University of Pennsylvania Libraries. Report on the Preservation Planning Project (9/91, 44 pp.)
Single and multiple copies of the above publications are available for use at meetings, conferences, scholarly forums, and other educational purposes. For those interested in ordering, contact Sonny Koerner at the Commission.
Summary Of The Final Report of the Scholarly Advisory Committee on Art History to The Commission on Preservation and Access
The Scholarly Advisory Committee on Art History was one of the several advisory groups of disciplinary professionals appointed by the Commission on Preservation and Access to participate in the development of strategies for the selection of materials to be preserved. This report summarizes the activities, conclusions and recommendations of the Art History Committee during its five-year tenure and includes an Appendix containing a list of art serials important to the future study of art history. Since these recommendations were determined on the basis of their intellectual value rather than the current condition of the artifact, individual titles may not necessarily require priority for preservation intervention at this time.
Beginning with a planning conference (September 1988) at Spring Hill, Minnesota, the special preservation problems of the visual arts (and of visual resources in cognate disciplines, such as geography, geology, and medical sciences) have been an ongoing issue for the Commission on Preservation and Access. The participants in the Spring Hill meeting were unanimous in recommending that informed scholarly opinion should be brought to bear on the establishment of priorities for the preservation of published materials in art history. The Commission’s response was to appoint the present Committee which met first in the spring of 1989. It is important to note that both librarians and art historians composed the membership, for it was evident that the expertise of both occupations was both complementary and necessary for the task.
The charge given to the Committee was to advise the Commission as to strategies and priorities for the preservation of materials of scholarly importance, composed of text and image, recognizing that, while almost all books, journals, and newspapers published since the 1850s were becoming brittle and unusable, there was neither time nor resources enough to save everything. During its deliberations, the Committee noted that the period from the mid-1870s to the outbreak of World War I was a time of heightened activity both in art history, notably classical archaeology of the Middle East, and in the critical study of burgeoning movements and schools of contemporary art. Thus a large volume of important scholarship was published in an era whose acidic paper is in the greatest danger of loss through embrittlement. This stark fact anchors any preservation strategy in art history.
The Committee determined that the criteria for preservation should be based upon the overall assessment of three primary considerations: a) rarity, b) wide usefulness, c) historiographic significance to the entire discipline regardless of specific content, as well as d) brittleness. After considerable deliberation, the Committee also decided that periodicals, ranked in importance of use by a wide variety of scholars, would be a crucial first target of concern.
This decision led to implementation, in several phases, of an activity of evaluation of periodicals for preservation. The result of the final analysis by a panel extending beyond the Committee is shown in the Appendix. Its results offer converging consensus on a number of periodicals, as well as some weighting according to fields with largest pools of information at risk from the era of brittle papers. These decisions were not based on the condition of the periodicals at the present time but instead represent the core literature that should be available to future scholars. Preservation intervention may or may not be indicated at this time. The Committee believes that librarians are in a better position than scholars to decide which of the recommended selections are most urgently in need of preservation action because of condition.
The Committee also strongly endorsed the concept of workshop procedures for turning to those most endangered fields, such as 19th- century archaeology, for their own assessment of crucial publications beyond periodicals. Such workshops should involve both scholars and librarians, and they could unfold most effectively in the context of a “great collections” library, where such materials would be present in greatest numbers and could be inspected as part of the process. The Committee recognizes that the implementation of the workshop model will require collaborative effort of librarians and scholars as well as financial support.
Efforts to arouse awareness of the brittle books issue among the scholarly community met with limited success at busy annual meetings of the College Art Association on two successive years. Most of the attendees were librarians. More widely successful was the use of written channels, principally the editorial prefaces in the Art Bulletin journal as well as articles in the College Art Newsletter. However, the need remains for continued efforts to arouse concern for the issue among affected scholars.
The Committee has long endorsed the proposition that visual images require special technological attention. Results of considering these issues in tandem with other disciplines outside the humanities have already been published by the Commission as the Report of the Joint Task Force on Text and Image, Preserving the Illustrated Text (April 1992).
Applauding the activities of the Commission on Preservation and Access, the Committee reiterates its desire for more international coordination, especially with European agencies, in both preservation and conservation projects. The Committee also endorses heightened cooperation between librarians and scholars in designing preservation projects. It is evident that current library/classification systems complicate the selection process both by including material scholars consider irrelevant, and also by missing important publications whose significance to scholars is easily overlooked due to variant filing categories that differ from current scholarly usage. This is a problem that librarians are well aware of, as are scholars. It suggests the possibility that labor-intensive title-by-title searching might be the most effective strategy for assessing the intellectual value of serial publications in specific disciplines. This list could then be used by preservation managers to ensure the continued viability of these titles. The workshop approach might assist in providing maximal input from concerned specialists working in conjunction with art librarians.
Finally, the Committee continues to insist on the need for serious attention to the technical possibilities for preserving visual information. Digital imaging, which was not an option during most of the Committee’s work, is now the focus of a variety of research and demonstration projects in library, archival and museum collections.
A list of approximately 2,000 serials in the collection of the Art and Architecture library of Stanford University was sent to all members currently serving on the Scholarly Advisory Committee on Art History as well as to selected specialists in the following fields: ancient, Islamic, Egyptian-Mesopotamian, Asian, American, Renaissance, baroque, 19th- century and medieval art, as well as prints and drawings. Each recipient was asked:
Choose the 100 most “essential” periodicals from the enclosed list. “Essential” means those periodicals most important for your scholarship, research and teaching in the field of art history that is your specialty. An “essential” periodical might be important to you personally, important to peers and colleagues in your field, or important for students in that field. These choices will be subjective judgments based on your own scholarly experience and knowledge of the field.
Collectively, the judges identified nearly 300 items from the list as “essential.” About one-fifth of this total number were periodicals that had begun publication after 1940. Some periodicals were chosen by many judges, some by few, as might be expected. Since the total number of judges was not large and the special sub-fields of art history which they represent are numerous, it seemed unwise to compose the final list of recommended choices solely on quantity of choices. In a special sub-field that was represented by a single judge, after all, one vote amounts to unanimity.
Members of the Committee reviewed the list of 240 chosen periodicals that remained after eliminating post-1940 starts, and suggested cuts and retentions on the basis of their scholarly judgment. The final result is a compound of professional assessments of importance for scholarship. There was no effort made to assess the condition of the books for brittleness.
|Title||First Published in|
|AA: Architecture d’aujourdhui||1930|
|Academ. Royale de peint. et sculp Proces-verbaux||1875|
|Academy notes (London)||1875|
|American architect and architecture||1875|
|American Art Review||1879|
|American J. Archaeology||1885|
|Anales de Univ nacional inst. invests. estet de Mexico||1937|
|Annales, Musee Guimet (Paris)||1880|
|Annals of the fine arts (London)||1816|
|Annual of the Palestine Exploration Fund||1911|
|Annual reports India archeological survey||1900|
|Antike und Christentum: Kultur-u. religionsgesch. Studien||1929|
|Archaeologia (Society of Antiquaries, London)||1773|
|Archaeological journal (London)||1844|
|Archaeological report, Egypt Exploration Society||1890|
|Archeological survey of India (several series)||1874|
|Archaeologische Gesellschaft zu Berlin||1841|
|Archaologische Bibliographie (Arch. Inst. Deu. Reich)||1913|
|Archaologischer Anzeiger (Berlin)||1896|
|Archives de l’art francais||1895|
|Archivo espanol de arquelogia||1940|
|Ars asiatica (Brussels)||1914|
|Ars islamica (Ann Arbor)||1934|
|Art in America||1913|
|Art news annual||1939|
|Art prices current (London)||1908|
|Art studies: medieval, renaisance and modern||1923|
|Arte cristiana (Milan)||1913|
|Bijutsu kenkyu (J. art. studies – Tokyo)||1932|
|Bijutsu sekai (Tokyo)||1890|
|British museum quarterly||1926|
|Bulletin antieke beschaving (‘s-Gravenhage)||1926|
|Bulletin archeologique du Comite des travaux historiques.||1883|
|Bulletin monumental (Paris)||1834|
|Bulletin – Museum Far East. Antiquities (Stockholm)||1929|
|Bulletin of Amer. Schools of Oriental Research||1919|
|Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (NY)||1905|
|Bulletin of the Detroit Institute of Arts||1919|
|Bulletin of the Art Institute of Chicago||1907|
|Bulletin of the American Art Union (formerly Transactions of Amer. A.U.)||1839|
|Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art||1914|
|Bulletin, Societe de l’Histoire d’art francais||1879|
|Bulletino des Deutsches Archaol. Inst. Romische Abt.||1896|
|Cahiers d’art (Paris)||1926|
|Catalogue des ouvrages, Salon, Soc. nat., beaux-arts||1890|
|College art journal (a.k.a. The Art J.)||1929|
|De Stijl (Leiden)||1917|
|Dedalo: Rassegna d’arte||1933|
|Der Moderne Stil (Stuttgart)||1899|
|Deutsche Bau-Zeitung (Berlin)||1867|
|Die Christliche Kunst (Munchen)||1904|
|Die Kunst (Munchen)||1899|
|Die Kunst unserer Zeit||1889|
|France Comite des travaux historiques et scientifiques||1883|
|Gazette des beaux-arts||1859|
|Hobby Horse, The (London)||1886|
|Il Vasari: revista d’arte e di studi vasariani||1927|
|Istanbuler Mitteilungen Arch Inst Deut. Reich||1933|
|Jahrbuch d. Deutsch. Arch. Inst. Erganzungheft||1888|
|Jahrbuch der asiatischen Kunst (Leipzig)||1924|
|Jahrbuch der preussischen Kunstsammlungen||1880|
|Jahrbuch der bildenden Kunst (Berlin)||1902|
|Jahrbuch der kunsthistorischen Sammlungen in Wien||1883|
|Jahrbuch Deutsches archaologisches Institut||1886|
|Jahrbucher Deutscher Werkbund||1912|
|Jahresheft des Osterreichisches Arch. Inst.||1898|
|Jahrsgabe der Deutsche Verein für Kunstwissenschaft||1913|
|Journal, Indian Society of Oriental Art (Calcutta)||1933|
|Journal of the Warburg & Courtauld Institutes||1937|
|Jugend: Munchener illust. wochenschr.||1896|
|K’ao ku hs ueh pao (Chinese J. Archaeol)||1936|
|Konsthistorisk tidskrift (Stockholm)||1932|
|Ku kung chou kan (Peiching)||1929|
|Ku kung (Peiping)||1929|
|L’Architecture d’aujourdhui (Boulogne)||1930|
|L’Art et les artistes (Paris)||1905|
|L’Assiette au beurre||1901|
|La Critica d’arte||1935|
|La Revue de l’art ancienne et moderne||1897|
|La Revue d’art||1896|
|Le Magasin pittoresque||1833|
|Magazine of Art, The (London)||1878|
|Marburger jahrbuch für Kunstwissenschaft||1924|
|Memoires, Societe nat. antiquaires de France||1817|
|Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome||1917|
|Memoirs of the Archeological Survey of India||1919|
|Memorie de Pontificia Academia romana di archeol.||1923|
|Metropolitan Museum studies||1928|
|MFA bulletin (a.k.a.Boston Museum Bull)||1903|
|Mitteilungen Deut. Arch. Inst. (Romisches Abteilung.)||1931|
|Mitteilungen Deut. Arch. Inst. (Abteilung Kairo)||1930|
|Mitteilungen Kunsthistorisches Institut (Florence)||1908|
|Mitteilungendes Deut. Arch. Inst. Athenische Abteil.||1876|
|Monumenti antichi (Rome)||1890|
|Monuments et memoires (Acad. des inscrs. etc. Paris)||1894|
|Munchener jahrbuch der bildenden Kunst||1906|
|Notizie degli scavi di antichita||1876|
|Old Master Drawings||1926|
|Philadelphia Museum Bulletin||1903|
|Print collector’s quarterly||1911|
|Rassegna d’arte antica e moderna||1901|
|Rendiconti de Pontificia Acad. romana di archeol. (continues Dissertazioni della P.A.r.)||1881|
|Reportorium für kunstwissenschaft (preceded Zeitschr. für Kunstgeschichte, below)||1876|
|Revue belge d’archeol. et de l’histoire d’art||1931|
|Revue de l’art chretien||1857|
|RIBA journal (London)||1893|
|Rivista del Instituto nazion di arch e storia d’arte||1929|
|Rivista di archeologia cristiana (Roma)||1924|
|Romisches Jahrbuch für Kunstgeschichte (subsequently Veroffentlichung der Bibl. Hertziana)||1937|
|Salon (Societe des Artistes francais)||1673|
|Shen-chou kuo kuang chi (China)||1908|
|Skrifter Acta Svenska Inst. i Rom||1932|
|Sonderschriften, Osterreich. Inst. Arch.||1901|
|Studio (London) (American edit. titled Internat Studio)||1893|
|Transactions and proceedings, Japan Society, London||1892|
|Walters Art Gallery Journal||1938|
|Whitney Museum biennial exhib. contemp. Amer. paint.||1932|
|Wiener Jahrbuch für Kunstgeschichte||1921|
|Yearbook of Japanese art (Tokyo)||1927|
|Zeitschrift des Deut. Vereins für Kunstwissenschaft||1934|
|Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte||1932|
1. Scholarly Resources in Art History: Issues in Preservation. Washington, D.C.: Commission on Preservation and Access
Medieval Academy of America
Committee on Library Preservation
Commission on Preservation and Access
Scholarly Advisory Group on Medieval Studies
October 1990-February 1994
Susanne F. Roberts, Chair
Origins and goals
The Medieval Academy of America’s Committee on Library Preservation grew out of the American Council for Learned Societies’ concern for the threat posed to scholarship by acidic paper. As one of its constituent societies, the Academy commissioned in 1988 a report on the consequences for medieval studies of the embrittlement of books. In March 1990, along with the Commission on Preservation and Access and the Medieval Institute at Notre Dame, the Academy sponsored a colloquium of medievalists and librarians to discuss the danger to medieval studies and possible solutions. In addition to publishing its proceedings, the colloquium recommended to the Academy the formation of a committee on library preservation to identify endangered collections important to the various fields of medieval studies and to encourage their preservation. In April 1990, the Academy approved and charged the committee and appointed its members. It first met in October 1990 under the auspices of the Commission on Preservation and Access as its Scholarly Advisory Group on Medieval Studies.
Tasks and Accomplishments
- In order to identify research collections in medieval studies richest in material printed during the brittle-book era and to encourage these libraries to undertake microfilming projects centered on these books, the committee examined existing tools both in print and online. When these proved disappointingly general in their description of collections, the committee surveyed the Academy’s membership for direct scholarly assessment of the most valuable gatherings of medieval materials. This technique also yielded poor results; a small number of replies testified to scholars’ general lack of awareness of the problem. Nevertheless, between these replies and the pooled knowledge of its members, the committee drew up a list of important collections for scholars in medieval studies.
- In addition to identifying libraries, the committee surveyed past and current preservation filming efforts to ascertain what work had already been accomplished. Interpreted with caution, the resulting list of some thirty projects gave a useful view of work done or in progress and guided the committee in its endeavor to encourage filming in rich collections and other-wise neglected subject areas.
- Trying to initiate preservation projects, the committee’s most important function, has proven the hardest part of our task. The process of gathering accurate information has been time-consuming. Moreover, few libraries were in a position to apply for grants immediately upon hearing from the committee. They were at varying stages of readiness to undertake recommended projects, from having long queues in well-developed preservation programs to having no preservation program at all and no of starting one. We defined a set of approaches for different types of libraries. We also designed and produced a packet of information to educate and encourage scholars and librarians about preservation needs and possibilities.
Slowly, however, the committee realized that many libraries, even those informed and enthusiastic about preservation, lack the staff and expertise to apply for NEH grants in the first place to say nothing of meeting their cost-sharing requirements. We have submitted to the Commission a proposal for a meeting to begin to resolve a structural problem in preservation funding.
Along with some discouragements, the committee has experienced notable successes in the form of five current and prospective applications for NEH funding to preserve strong medieval collections.
- Another of the committee’s crucial tasks has been to educate medievalists about the problem of books printed on acidic paper and to enlist their support in this campaign to save as much of the scholarly heritage as possible. To achieve these goals we developed a resource packet (described above), sponsored special sessions at academic meeting, and contributed articles on preservation to the Academy’s newsletter.
Sessions at the Academy’s annual meetings in April 1991 and March 1992 focused directly on the brittle book problem and preservation options. In April 1993, the topic of preservation was introduced into a more general session on “the electronic medievalist.” In May 1993 the committee sponsored a very successful session on the creation and destruction of libraries at the annual medieval congress held at Western Michigan University (Kalamazoo).
In these venues the committee has also shown film and video versions of “Slow Fires,” displayed the “Brittle Books” exhibit, and made available informational literature on preservation questions. In addition committee members have carried its concerns to business meetings and plenary sessions.
Over the past three years, the committee has contributed eight articles to the Medieval Academy’s newsletter which reaches some 3,500 individuals three times a year. Topics have included general call to arms, relevant preservation projects, valuable collections at risk, the European Register of Microform Masters, deacidification, locating preservation microfilm, and the Bellagio conference.
Lessons learned since March 1990 have prompted the committee to make to make the following recommendations:
- That the Medieval Academy continue the life of a Committee on Libraries charged with the encouragement and review of preservation efforts, but also with the study of new forms of “information technology” and of their consequences for the scholarship of medievalists.
- That the Academy continue to combat scholarly apathy in the face of the threats to survival of academic libraries. This will require local and national efforts to educate scholars about the threats and about practicable responses to them.
- That the Academy consider ways in which issues of preservation and the new “information technologies” ought to be incorporated in graduate curricula in medieval studies.
- That the Academy take a more active role in bringing about international scholarly cooperation on issues of library preservation. The Academy should work with the Commission on the exchange of news, but it should also address its concerns with preservation to FIDEM and other international bodies.
- That the Commission on Preservation and Access consider ways to foster communication among the various Scholarly Advisory Groups in adjacent or overlapping fields. Means for doing this might include an informal newsletter for chairs of the Groups, meetings for the chairs, and more regular participation of the Commission’s officers in the Groups’ meetings.
Appendix Funded Preservation Projects
Covering Material of Interest to Medievalists
as of February 1994
- Fine Arts
- Art Serials: RLG, 9 participating institutions
- Fine Arts: Ohio State University
- German Serials (Social Studies): University of Wisconsin
- European History: Yale University
- German History: University of Michigan
- History of European and American Technology: University of Chicago
- History of Science: Stanford University
- Jewish History and Culture: Stanford University
- Medieval cultural history, philosophy, theology, and textual studies: Notre
- Dame, Medieval Institute
- Slavic Language and Literature/Russian History: University of Illinois–Champaign/Urbana
- Western European Nineteenth Century Cultural History Journals: University of Minnesota
- Language and Literature
- Arabic Collection: Princeton University
- Arabic Manuscripts: Princeton University
- Classical Literature: American Philological Association and Columbia University Library
- European Language and Literature: University of California–Berkeley
- French Literature: Columbia University
- German Literature: Columbia University
University of Wisconsin–Madison
University of Wisconsin–Madison Cutter Collection
K. G. Saur Publishers
- Italian Language and Literature: University of Chicago
- Ottoman Turkish Literature: Ohio State University
- Slavic Language and Literature/Russian History:
University of Illinois–Champaign/Urbana
Slavic Languages Project: University of Chicago
Spanish and Portuguese Literature: Columbia University
Turkish Language and Literature: Princeton University
- Philosophy and Religion
- Canon Law: Catholic University, Washington, D.C.
- Foundations of Western Civilization (ancient, medieval, Renaissance
- Europe–Religion and Philosophy): Columbia University
- Franciscan Institute Collection: St. Bonaventure University
- Medieval cultural history, philosophy, theology, and textual studies: Notre Dame, Medieval Institute
- Religion: American Theological Library Association
- Religion and Philosophy: American Theological Library Association
- Social Science
- Folklore: Indiana University
- Social Science: University of Michigan
- Social Sciences: Yale University
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.M. Stuart Lynn–President
Maxine K. Sitts–Program Officer, Editor