CPA Newsletter #72, Oct 1994

CPA Newsletter #72, Oct 1994

Commission on Preservation and Access

The Commission on Preservation and Access

Newsletter

October 1994

Number 72

Russia Reports on Preservation Reformatting, Collaboration

Hans Rütimann,
International Program Officer

Fact-finding visits to 20 libraries and archives in Russia in June 1994 provided familiar impressions of countries where the threat of acidic paper and environmental problems is exacerbated by decades of neglect. Many Russian librarians and archivists understand “preservation” to mean almost exclusively conservation, and they have placed much emphasis on repairing the original. Predictably, this hampers a large-scale preservation effort involving all the available tools (deacidification, environmental control, reformatting to film or digital). But even the efforts to repair the original are impeded by the magnitude of the task and an overall lack of funds.

The concept of collaboration with other libraries in the country and abroad is only beginning to emerge. The Library of Foreign Literature in Moscow took a lead in fostering collaboration by organizing a preservation conference in Moscow in March 1994 for librarians of the region, and by planning a large-scale symposium on preservation issues in Kiev (Ukraine) in early 1995. Some Russian librarians see the global threat to our printed and written heritage as a means to reestablish relations with institutions in the newly independent republics.

The fact-finding trip was undertaken with the organizational help of the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX) and with funds from the United States Information Agency (USIA). Similar meetings were arranged for Moscow, St. Petersburg, Tula, Ryazan, and Rybnoe by the local host library.

Pforzheimer Grant to Support Commission General Programs

The Carl and Lily Pforzheimer Foundation has announced a $10,000 grant in support of general programs of the Commission on Preservation and Access. In its notification letter, the foundation stated “The work you do is certainly important to our cultural history.” The grant will be used to help the Commission maintain its executive capacity, publications program, and continuing professional advice from scholars about priorities for preservation and access in their respective fields of endeavor.

The Carl and Lily Pforzheimer Foundation maintains publishing and research activities in connection with the Carl H. Pforzheimer Library collection at the New York Public Library in the general field of American and English Literature. It provides support primarily for higher and secondary education, and also for cultural programs, public administration, a national municipal organization, and health care.

EROMM Data Available for Searching

The database of the European Register of Microform Masters (EROMM) has been successfully loaded into the Research Libraries Information Network (RLIN) bibliographic files, joining records representing over 60 million items held in over 200 of the world’s research institutions. The newly-loaded data available for searching by librarians, students and faculty covers records contributed to EROMM up until August 1993. Periodic updates are expected.

EROMM is being created as a central database of truly international character to coordinate preservation microfilming activities of European libraries. In May 1994, the Commission board approved funds in support of Phase 2 of EROMM, during which permanent service will be established and new partners will be added. The contract with the Niedersächsische Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Göttingen, the EROMM managing partner, followed a Commission-sponsored planning meeting in March 1994 that included the four original EROMM partners (Great Britain, France, Germany and Portugal) and representatives from Poland, the Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland and Austria. EROMM activities are a part of the Commission’s International Program funded by the Mellon Foundation.

AMIGOS to Host Third Preservation Management Seminar

The AMIGOS Preservation Service is making plans to host the third College Libraries Preservation Management Seminar in 1995. Negotiations with faculty and host sites are now underway.

Developed by the Commission’s College Libraries Committee and the Southeastern Library Network (SOLINET), the seminar is an intensive, week-long program for library staff who have part-time preservation responsibilities. The seminar was previously held in the Southeast in 1991, and the Northeast in 1993. AMIGOS hopes to attract librarians from the Southwestern U.S. as well as national and international registrants. Participation in the seminar will help library staff members develop the management skills and implement the activities that contribute to successful preservation programs.

The seminar will enable academic libraries to implement effective, decentralized strategies for preserving their general collections. The training is predicated on the realities at college libraries, especially available resources and the distribution of preservation activities among several departments. The seminar will equip librarians to assess their institutions’ preservation needs, develop feasible solutions, establish priorities, and articulate practical plans.

Details on the date and site for the program, a list of faculty, and other information on the seminar will be forthcoming soon. Contact Tom Clareson, AMIGOS Preservation Service Manager, at (800) 843-8482.

NEH Budget Remains Flat for Fourth year

The House of Representatives and Senate have passed a flat budget for the National Endowment for the Humanities for fiscal year 1995, which marks the fourth consecutive year with virtually no growth in funding for that agency’s preservation and access programs. As reported by the National Humanities Alliance (NHA Washington News Report, 6/27/94), in a reflection of the very tight budget allocation this year, subcommittee chair Rep. Sidney R. Yates (D-IL) recommended only two changes to the administration’s budget: adding $1 million to the National Endowment for the Arts budget to soften a subsequent reduction voted on the floor, and restoring the National Capital Arts and Cultural Affairs Program. Although the NHA, the Federation of State Humanities Councils, the Association of Research Libraries, and the Commission, among others, had testified and otherwise made the case for an increase for NEH of up to 12 percent, the budget remains at $177,383,000. In 1993, the NEH final budget was $177,491,000.

At press time, the NEH budget was going into conference, and there was a slight possibility of a budget reduction due to an across-the-board cut. The NHA Report notes that the flat budget for 1995 translates into less funding for grants because the agency has to absorb increased costs, including Congressionally mandated salary increases for which no extra funds are provided.

Technologies Displayed at APSA, SAA

In collaboration with the Pennsylvania State University Libraries and the Xerox Corporation, the Commission provided a display of digital technologies for preservation and access at the annual meetings of the American Political Science Association (APSA) in New York City and the Society of American Archivists (SAA) in Indianapolis last month. The Penn project to scan the archives of the Steel Workers’ Organizing Committee was one of several efforts of the Commission’s 11-member Digital Preservation Consortium. Brochures describing the project are available from: Sue Kellerman, Preservation Officer, East 506 Pattee Library, Penn State University, University Park, PA 16802.

At APSA, librarians from Penn State, the Smithsonian Institution Libraries and New York Public Library staffed the Commission exhibit. APSA regional journal editors invited the Commission to discuss preservation aspects of electronic publishing and to plan a co-sponsored workshop at the 1995 APSA meeting. At SAA, staff from libraries at Penn State; Washington University, St. Louis; and Indiana University assisted at the exhibit. James Druzik of the Getty Conservation Institute and Christine Ward of the New York State Archives, both members of the Commission’s Preservation Science Council, were invited by SAA to give a presentation on the science research initiative.


Ed Note: The following summary of a project on preservation and copying of depositories of the Ural libraries and archives was submitted to the Commission International Program in conjunction with the Moscow Seminar held at the Library of Foreign Literature. Some of the project has been completed, but the main part of the work is still to be done.

Complex Project on microfiching and establishment of the Preservation Database of rare publications and manuscripts from depositories of libraries, museums, archives and private holdings in the Urals

To establish the Preservation Information Database and a united information network in the Ural region; for identification and preservation, registration and scientific description of the literature and cultural masterpieces, including those written in the languages of Ural people; to preserve archive materials, manuscripts and early-printed books, books printed on acidic paper, books influenced by humidity, microorganisms, etc., the following regional project has been worked out:

  1. Preservation of the masterpieces of Old Russian manuscript-written tradition of the Urals (15th-early 20th century).It includes early-printed books and manuscripts in the Church Slavonic language. Among them there are publications of Sh.Feol and an anonymous printing-house in Moscow, as well as the printing-houses of Ivan Phyodorov and the Moscow Printing Shop, old-believers’ publications and others; original manuscripts by Russian authors.

    At present there are about 20,000 literary monuments, and the work on identification and registration of the new ones is underway.

    Microfiching is supposed to be done on black-and-white and colored film. In the future the duplication of books in single exact copies is planned. At the same time there is the work on creation of the common electronic database.

  2. Microfiching of the Ural periodicals since 1789.Phase I: periodicals (1789 – 1920) – about 1,000 titles, including province gazettes (the Permskie, Orenburgskie, Ufimskie, Tobolskie, Vyatskie); the diocese gazettes, newspapers of principal towns of provinces and districts, and etc.
  3. Microfiching of the books published by the Ural Publishing Houses since 1792.Phase I:

    a) Publications of numerous local-lore communities established after 1917 and abolished after 1929. Their publications were prohibited and destroyed and only a few copies were preserved. These are bibliographic rarity.

    Besides those communities, in the Urals during that time-period there were the so-called Istpart Bureaus (Bureau of Commissions on the Study of the History of the Bolsheviks’ party and the October Revolution). Those “Istparts” collected and published the documents of not only the Bolsheviks’ Party but also of other parties: the ones of Mensheviks, Socialist-Revolutionaries… These publications are also bibliographic rarity.

    b) Rare reference publications of the Urals only single copies of which are preserved: guide-books, address-calendars of provinces…

    There are in total about 20,000 titles of books published in the Urals since 1792 till 1930.

  4. Preservation copies of the documents of the Archive Fund of the Russian Federation (Ural region) are to be made on microfiches. Phase I: making preservation copies of unique and especially valuable documents.
  5. Besides microfiching it is planned to build the following common registers: a) Common Register of the civil Russian books in the collections of the Urals (18th-the first quarter of 19th century). A complete scientific description of books is given. Besides bibliographic description, there is information on peculiarities of some definite copy (owner’s notes, ex-librises, labels, stamps and others). There are about 20,000 titles. The most books are taken from the largest libraries of the pre-revolutionary Urals: the private ones – of works-owners Demidoffs, of landowners Golubtsovs and others; the public ones – in Zemstvos, educational institutions… b) The Register of books in foreign languages (English, French, German, Latin…) published in the printing-houses of Europe during 16th – early 20th centuries, taken from the Ural collections. In working out and fulfillment of the project the following institutions take part:
    1. The Belinsky Regional Scientific Library
    2. The Scientific Library of the Ural State University
    3. The State Archive of the Sverdlovsk region
    4. The Bank of Cultural Information

RLG Manual Addresses Archival Microfilming

The newly published RLG Archives Microfilming Manual from the Research Libraries Group (RLG) addresses the many issues involved in preserving manuscripts and other archival materials on microfilm. It is based on the earlier manual, RLG Preservation Microfilming Handbook (1992), which provides guidelines for filming monographs and serials. The new 218-page manual applies and adapts established principles to archival preservation and examines in depth the special problems involved in selecting, preparing, filming, and providing access to archival materials being preserved on microfilm. To order, contact Distribution Services Center, RLG, 1200 Villa Street, Mountain View, CA 94041-1100.

ARL Members Automating Preservation Operations

Developments in technology are reshaping the way preservation administrators conduct their work, offering opportunities to rethink preservation functions, and resulting in new tools that allow for more efficient management and analysis of operations. At the same time, automation brings with it continuously changing hardware, software, and systems access. The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Office of Management Services SPEC Kit (#198), Automating Preservation Management in ARL Libraries, provides a snapshot of the types of preservation management systems already in place, and of those being planned. Most significant will be the use of digital technologies to preserve deteriorating research materials, and the use of expert (knowledge-based) systems to assist in preservation decision making.

ARL also has released its 1992-93 Preservation Statistics. This report presents statistical data on the current level of preservation efforts in 114 U.S. and Canadian research libraries. The data were collected in machine-readable form for the first time, and highlight key organizational, functional, and fiscal components that characterize preservation programs.

For more information contact ARL, 21 Dupont Circle, Suite 800, Washington, DC 20036, (202) 296-2296.

NISO Releases Paper Aging Proceedings

A group of 16 papers released by the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) cover the proceedings of the Institute for Standards Research Workshop on the Effects of Aging on Printing and Writing Papers held July 6-8, 1994 (see September 1994 newsletter). The publication is directed toward publishers, production managers who are buying paper and librarians working in the area of preservation and conservation. Copies are available for $95.00 (plus shipping & handling) from NISO Press. To order call (800) 282-NISO.

We need to work together as never before and abandon many of our usual suspicions and territorial imperatives. Broadcasters and filmmakers will have to think beyond their next anniversary or major retrospective/restoration. The major public archives have to let others also provide some leadership and viable models for moving image preservation… More resources for current efforts are sorely needed for moving image preservation, but we cannot assume that more resources will automatically be forthcoming for our current programs and strategies, no matter how worthy they are.

–Ernest J. Dick, President, Association of Moving Image
Archivists (AMIA). Quoted in the AMIA Newsletter, July 1994

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