The Commission on Preservation and Access
New International Report Chronicles Cooperative Support of EROMM
When libraries began microfilming their holdings in the years following the Second World War, they saw it as a service to geographically distant readers. The aspect of preservation was the last, and least, motivation. Much has changed since then. Today, microfilming continues to grow in popularity worldwide as the most preferred method of preserving information printed on brittle paper.
To coordinate the preservation activities underway in many nations, records of materials already filmed must be shared. Collecting information on a national level alone is not enough. In this context, the European Register of Microform Masters (EROMM) has been created as a central database of truly international character. A new Commission report by Dr. Werner Schwartz, The European Register of Microform Masters –; Supporting International Cooperation, provides both an historical and contemporary understanding of EROMM.
Based on a talk given in Göttingen at the annual meeting of LIBER (Ligue des Bibliothèques Européenes de Recherche) in July 1994, the report describes the development of the shared database and the importance of expansion to other nations. The author, who is Director of the Technical Department at the Niedersächsische Staats- und Universitütsbibliothek Göttingen, sees the original four nation-partners growing to as many as 30 in the near future.
The European Register of Microform Masters –; Supporting International Cooperation (May 1995), by Dr. Werner Schwartz will be distributed to the Commission’;s mailing list. Additional copies are available, while supplies last, for $10.00 each from: Communication Program, Commission on Preservation and Access, 1400 16th Street NW Suite 740, Washington, DC 20036. Prepayment is required. Please make checks payable in US funds to: The Commission on Preservation and Access.
Lynn Continues as Vice President; To Coordinate Technology Projects
M. Stuart Lynn, who served as interim president of the Commission following Patricia Battin’;s retirement on July 1, 1994, now is serving the Commission in a part-time capacity as vice president. Consistent with his personal wishes, he will be based in California.
Lynn’;s primary responsibility is the coordination of the Digital Preservation Consortium and the Digital Archiving Task Force. He also advises on the technological aspects of contracts, publications, programs, and new initiatives.
“The Board and I are most grateful to Stuart Lynn for his willingness to serve on an interim basis pending completion of the search for a permanent president,” commented Commission Board Chairman Billy E. Frye. “He has vigorously continued the Commission’;s programs during his tenure. We are excited that he will continue to serve in this new capacity with key responsibility for the Commission’;s technology-focused activities.”
Deanna Marcum, newly appointed president of the Commission and the Council on Library Resources, added, “The Commission has been very fortunate to have someone with Stuart Lynn’;s knowledge and expertise at the helm in recent months. He has been a guiding force in digital library projects, and I am delighted he has agreed to continue in this new capacity.”
LC Provides Findings on Digital Scanning
The Library of Congress Preservation Directorate has issued a report on its findings regarding the use of gray scale digital scanning for text and illustrations.
According to a press release from the Directorate, “Over the next several years, the Library of Congress will carry out a number of additional projects designed to address the various theoretical and practical aspects of digitizing historical collections.
“As these projects proceed, we will seek to find the greatest synergy between work in research and work in practical applications. The goal is to make the best preservation copy while providing optimum access for various users. We look forward to sharing our findings as this work proceeds.”
Information about the report –; Guidelines for Electronic Preservation of Visual Materials, Picture Elements, Inc. –; is available from Diane Nester Kresh, Director for Preservation, Phone (202) 707-5213.
Workshops on Digital Imaging for Preservation
The Cornell University Department of Preservation and Conservation has announced that it will hold four workshops between June 1995 and May 1996 to provide training in digital imaging for preservation reformatting.
The one-week programs will provide baseline training on reformatting paper- or film-based library materials, including books, serials, archives, manuscripts, graphic materials, and photographs. Primary emphases will be on the conversion process itself, the factors affecting image quality, and the use of digital imaging in a preservation context.
The workshops are designed for preservation administrators, librarians, archivists, records managers, curators, and other information professionals who are responsible for collecting, preserving, and making accessible documentary materials.
Planning is partially funded by a contract to the Commission. The contract calls for Cornell to develop a financial and management structure that will launch a training series to continue beyond the initial four events. The full cost of the workshops will come from several sources including registration fees, grant support, and sales of published training manuals derived from the course.
To be held at Cornell University
in Ithaca, NY, the workshops are planned for June 12-16, 1995; August 14-18, 1995; October 9-13, 1995; and March 18-22, 1996.
More information and application procedures are available from Anne R. Kenney, Associate Director of the Department of Preservation and Conservation, or Stephen Chapman, New York State Preservation Intern, both at Olin Library, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853
Rochester Institute of Technology’;s Technical and Education Center of the Graphic Arts and Imaging will present Preserving Photographs in a Digital World on August 19-25, 1995, in Rochester, NY, at the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film.
The addition of digital topics for this year’;s seminar, updated from previous years, mirrors trends in the preservation industry. Topics include:
- identification of 19th and 20th-century image-forming processes,
- storage and display of photo collections,
- digital imaging for archival applications,
- the role of digital imaging in collection management, and
- digital reconstruction of faded color images.
“The traditional and digital components of the seminar are complementary; today’;s collection managers can’;t afford to be uninformed in either area,” said James Reilly, Program Co-Chair and Director of RIT’;s Image Permanence Institute.
For additional information, contact Val Johnson at (716) 475-2736..
(This article was adapted from a Rochester Institute of Technology press release.).
Believing that accuracy, albeit a bit late, is preferable to carelessness in terminology, the editor points out that references to “lines per millimeter” in the Commission’;s July 1993 report, Preservation Film: Platform for Digital Access, should actually read “line-pairs per millimeter.”
As more work is conducted in hybrid environments, the importance of this distinction becomes even more meaningful. Thanks to several sharp readers for this clarification.
Digital Preservation Projects
University of Tennessee Completes Scanning of Music Collection
(This article was adapted from Final Report: Galston-Busoni Digitization Project, University of Tennessee Knoxville, Libraries, December 1, 1994, by Paula Kaufman, Dean of Libraries, and Tamara Miller and Joe Rader, Co-Principal Investigators.
The two greatest concentrations of materials by and about the musician Ferruccio Busoni lie in the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, (UTK) Libraries. This fact intrigues many people –; whether Busoni scholars or not –; and was a key factor in the selection of UTK’;s Galston-Busoni Archive for digitization under contract to the Commission.
In keeping with the donor’;s wishes, UTK Libraries had a vision of providing universal access to the archive via computer and telecommunications. In fact, this vision drove the development of the plan and the conduct of the project. While this original vision never was fully realized, the project accomplished two major objectives: preservation of the collection (close to 1,500 items ranging from one to 50 pages each) in digital format and education of staff on the technical process of digitization and its accompanying programmatic considerations.
The enormous diversity of type and format, and the various conditions of the materials in the collection made the Galston-Busoni Archive an excellent project to test the limits of the preservation and access technology. One senses this diversity when reviewing a list of the types of materials encountered by the UTK staff: large-format and miniature orchestral and other musical scores (printed and manuscript, in ink and /or pencil), correspondence on various papers with different color inks or pencil, photographs of many sizes and qualities, postcards with photos on the front and handwritten text on the back, yellowed newspaper clippings, printed performance programs, sketches for stage design, hand-drawn sketches, and a few other oddities.
While the UTK digitization team became ever more aware of the need for careful planning at the start, it also found at the end of the project that many questions remained. How will the image database be managed? How will local and remote users access the images? What provisions will be made for meeting users’; needs beyond their examining the images on a screen (i.e., printing online images)? In a sense, the digitization project raised as many questions as it answered.
A major conclusion from the project is that digitization cannot, at this time, substitute for any other form of preservation. It can, however, offer advantages and disadvantages not found in other existing forms. Thus, librarians, archivists, and other information professionals must decide what mix of technologies yields the most desirable and feasible results for preserving a given body of materials.
For more information, contact Tamara Miller or Joe Rader, University Libraries, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996-1000.
Penn State Libraries to Continue Scanning
A digital preservation project conducted under contract to the Commission at Pennsylvania State University has demonstrated that digital technology can effectively preserve brittle archival materials and provide enhanced and improved access. During the project, staff experimented in scanning deteriorated bound volumes, photograph negatives, and faded text documents to determine the most appropriate image-quality capture and facsimile-reproduction settings. The libraries also conducted cost studies to determine future library applications for digital scanning as a preservation and access tool.
Selected for reformatting were two highly acidic, heavily used archival collections: the Steel Workers’; Organizing Committee (SWOC) Papers and the Pennsylvania Agricultural County Agent Reports collection. In total, these collections contained 328,700 documents stored in a multitude of formats and on various paper types. (See the September 1993 newsletter for more information.)
As described in the project’;s final report: The past eighteen months can best be described as a period of intensive production scanning. The workflow procedures that were developed in early 1993 were streamlined, making the process more efficient.
It was found that a technician could capably scan at the rate of 115 pages per hour for (unbound) similar source documents and 75 pages per hour for a file containing a variety of formatted materials.
Project results include:
- the ability to apply digital technology to considerable format variations found among primary source documents,
- the capability to create representative image documents equal or better in quality than the originals,
- the ability to reconfigure portions of a dispersed archival collection (the SWOC materials) to create a virtual library collection while maintaining the original file integrity,
- the capability to provide improved access features of archival materials,
- the capability to transmit images over data networks,
- the ability to provide print-on-demand facsimiles without loss of quality,
- an increased understanding of the costs related to the digitization process, and
- opportunities to report project experiences and findings to the profession at large.
As a result of project experience, the University Libraries has granted financial support to continue scanning the remaining Pennsylvania Agriculture collection files and to explore new library applications of the technology. Two exciting applications currently under consideration are creating reproductions of out-of-print materials as a new acquisition option, and scanning brittle library materials to reproduce acid-free replacement facsimiles.
Brochures and question-and-answer sheets developed as part of an exhibit display are available from the Commission.
Statewide Preservation Plans Funded by NHPRC
The National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) has announced the availability of several statewide preservation plans that it has funded.
- Florida State Historical Records Advisory Board. Historical Records Advisory Board Strategic Plan. Tallahassee, FL: Florida State Historical Records Advisory Board, August 1994. Copies of this strategic plan are available by contacting Jim Berberich, State Coordinator, Bureau of Archives & Records Management, Department of State, The Capitol, Tallahassee, FL 32399-0250; or call (904) 487-2073.
- Michigan State Historical Records Advisory Board. Strategies to Preserve Michigan’;s Historical Records. Lansing, MI: Michigan State Historical Records Advisory Board, 1994. Copies of this plan may be obtained by writing the State Archives of Michigan, 717 W Allegan St, Lansing, MI 48918; or call (517) 373-6362.
- Oklahoma Historical Records Advisory Board. To Save Out Past: A Strategic Plan for Preserving Oklahoma’;s Documentary Heritage and To Save Our Past: An Executive Summary of A Strategic Plan for Preserving Oklahoma’;s Documentary Heritage, both June 1994. For copies of these publications, contact Thomas W. Kremm, Office of Archives and Records, Oklahoma Department of Libraries, 200 Northeast 18th St, Oklahoma City, OK 73105-3298; or call (405) 521-2502 (inside Oklahoma) or 1-800-522-8116 (outside Oklahoma).
- South Carolina State Historical Records Advisory Board. Palmetto reflections: a plan for South Carolina’;s documentary heritage. For copies of this document, contact Roy H. Tyron, State Coordinator, South Carolina Department of Archives and History, PO Box 11669, Columbia, SC 29211-1669; or call (803) 734-7914.
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.Deanna B. Marcum–President
Maxine K. Sitts–Program Officer, Editor