Preservation & Access International Newsletter No. 6


Number 6
June 1999


CLIR Board Approves New Agenda

Don Waters to Join Mellon Foundation

Preservation at the National and University Library of Slovenia

Repositioning Libraries in the Digital Age

News from the ECPA

Librarians and Scholars Meet to Discuss Modern Greek Materials

Forthcoming Publications from CLIR

Print and On-Line Resources

CLIR Board Approves New Agenda

At its spring meeting, the CLIR Board approved a new agenda that will broaden the organization’s international activity.

CLIR will more actively seek partners abroad for cooperation on issues relating to digital libraries, the economics of information, leadership, and resources for scholarship. Meanwhile, it will continue its traditional work to raise preservation awareness abroad.

The change reflects a broader rethinking of how CLIR does its work. Until now, much of its activity was divided into discrete programs, each headed by a program officer. But CLIR’s work cannot be so neatly circumscribed. Activities in digital archiving, for example, fit into the preservation and access program, but are also central to digital library issues. As such, CLIR will identify the issues or themes that seem most important for the advancement of libraries, archives, and other information organizations and make them a collective assignment to the staff.

The need for international partnerships and alliances is apparent in all of CLIR’s activities. Its decade of experience in the international community provides a strong foundation for broadening cooperation.

Several preservation microfilming projects have led to consideration of digital library projects as the next phase of activity. Building databases of preserved materials in various countries has led to conferences and projects that explore the possibility of sharing research resources internationally. When the Frye Leadership Institute was funded by the Woodruff Foundation, CLIR sought additional support to ensure international participation. Finally, there remains a need for activities to increase preservation awareness abroad.

CLIR’s international work began as a discrete program of its predecessor organization, the Commission on Preservation and Access. Over the past decade, with support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the international program has established relations with colleagues worldwide who share concern about the survival of our collective recorded history.

Hans Rütimann, who was instrumental in developing the international program a decade ago, will oversee CLIR’s international work as its new director for International Developments. He notes, “The international program of preservation and access has established a good foundation for expanding CLIR’s work abroad.”

Don Waters to Join Mellon Foundation
Donald Waters will leave his position as director of the Digital Library Federation in July to join the staff of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation as its program officer for scholarly communication.

Mr. Waters came to the DLF in October 1997 from Yale University, where he had been associate university librarian.

DLF Research Associate Rebecca Graham will serve as acting director until a successor is appointed.

Preservation at the National and University Library of Slovenia

Periodically, this newletter will report on the preservation and access activities of an important library providing leadership for other institutions in its region. In this issue, we feature the remarkably active and successful National and University Library of Slovenia. -Ed.

The National and University Library (NUL) in Ljubljana is the national library of Slovenia. Slovenia, one of the six republics of the former Yugoslavia, gained its independence as a sovereign state in 1991. The precursor of the national library was established in 1774. The library was given its current name in 1945, after World War II.

Although the NUL had attended to urgent preservation and conservation needs for decades, it was not until 1992 that the Preservation and Conservation Department was formally established, enabling more extensive preservation and conservation work. Currently, the department consists of the conservation and bookbinding sections. Microfilming is done offsite. A centralized microfilming project has been under way since 1986.

Surveying the Storage Conditions

The first task of the newly formed department was to assess storage conditions. The library building, erected in 1941, is considered to be a masterpiece of one of the country’s finest architects, Joze Plecnik. Although it has no environmental control system, storage conditions within the repositories are fairly good throughout the year, maintaining temperatures of 18-24 degrees Centigrade and 45-60 percent relative humidity.

The library’s main problem is a lack of space: the building was designed to hold 250,000 volumes, while the library’s collections now amount to more than 2.2 million volumes. Consequently, materials have to be stored in offsite repositories where relative humidity seldom falls below 70 percent. Just this year, several dehumidifiers were installed to improve housing conditions until materials can be moved to more suitable repositories.

New Library in 2005

Construction of a new library building is scheduled for completion in 2005. The new building, to be located near the present one, will be approximately 36,000 square meters. Books will be stored in three areas. The largest repository, for about two million volumes, will be situated underground. It will be equipped with a fully automated storage and retrieval system, which will enable the library to maintain a low temperature environment. The second area will consist of closed stacks containing bookshelves and compactus shelves that can hold about 500,000 volumes. About 200,000 volumes will be located in an open access zone. Until the new library is completed, the library will rent space to house a portion of its collection.

Although the new library will have sophisticated environmental, fire, and safety control systems, the National and University Library’s most precious pieces, which are kept as special collections, will remain in the old building. During the renovation of the NUL in 1998, a special vault was built to accommodate the library’s most valuable artifacts. The vault is controlled for light, temperature, and humidity, and is also fireproof.

Surveying the Collection

After assessing the storage conditions, the preservation and conservation department set forth to survey the condition of library collections. The first part of the project, a condition survey of medieval codices and incunabula, is under way; it is cofinanced by the Open Society Fund. Staff members are using Access software to create a database containing detailed descriptions of the degree of damage to the paper or parchment, ink, and binding. The survey includes brightness measurements of paper, since previous research at the library showed good correlation between a decrease in the degree of polymerization of cellulose and a decrease in brightness. Repeated measurements in the future will allow staff to monitor the rate of degradation of each paper manuscript and take timely action.

Based on the results of the survey, the library has launched a large-scale boxing program.

Raising Awareness (and Money)

Because of the difficult economic situation in Slovenia, resources for preservation and conservation activities are extremely limited. The problem is partially being solved by a campaign called “adopt a book,” which was started in 1993. Sponsors can adopt a book by contributing 1,500 to 15,000 DEM (about US $800-8,000). In return, the library organizes an exhibition once a year with sponsors receiving honorary diplomas. This has greatly raised awareness about book preservation among authorities and the public.


Since there are no training programs in paper and book conservation offered in Slovenia, the NUL regularly organizes short courses for its staff on different conservation topics, sometimes in cooperation with institutions abroad. Four years ago, the Preservation Department of the Deutsche Bücherei in Leipzig organized a three-month training course on book conservation. Also, in 1995, a workshop on leaf-casting techniques took place at the National and University Library of Slovenia. It was led by Dr. Helmut Bansa from the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek and was financially supported by the Government of Bavaria.

In October 1997 and December 1998, two two-week courses on late-gothic binding structures and limp vellum bindings took place under the supervision of Prof. Christopher Clarkson from the United Kingdom. The workshops were a joint venture of the National and University Library and the Slovenian National Archives and were financially supported by the Open Society Institute, British Council, and the Slovenian Ministry of Culture. Prof. Clarkson will supervise additional training courses this year and next.

The National and University Library regularly organizes training programs in the preservation of library materials for other Slovenian librarians as well. Recently, NUL constructed a Web page containing information on the proper handling and storage of a variety of library materials. NUL also encourages librarians to contact the Preservation and Conservation Department with questions regarding the preservation of library materials.


The collaboration of the NUL with the Pulp and Paper Institute and Department of Chemistry at the University of Ljubljana led to an extensive research project, which concentrated on the elucidation of autoxidative mechanisms leading to the deterioration of paper during aging and the development of new stabilizing treatments for papers containing iron-gall inks.

In 1998, Jana Kolar, head of the library’s Preservation and Conservation Department, received a Ph.D. in chemistry for her dissertation about the effects of conservation treatments on the stability of cellulose. The work is currently being translated into English.

The Preservation and Conservation Department is also involved in the international research project “Laser Cleaning of Paper and Parchment” (EUREKA 1725). This project aims to develop a prototype laser cleaning system for historical paper and parchment, including a catalog of working parameters to define the optimum conditions for application by parchment and paper restorers.


Microfilming of Slovenian periodicals and newspapers is an ongoing task of the NUL. Each year it produces 160 to 200 reels of microfilmed material, containing 150,000 to 200,000 frames.

Digitization projects

Digitization of medieval Slavic codices: This project will digitize medieval Slavic codices originally collected by Slovenian linguist Jernej Kopitar in the first half of the nineteenth century. The collection consists of 34 codices, containing about 13,000 pages, dating from the eleventh to fifteenth centuries. Most are written in Cyrillic script. Microfilm and paper copies of these materials are in high demand internationally. Scanning and publishing the materials on CD-ROM and mounting the database on the Internet will improve access for libraries, universities, and interested individuals. Project staff will digitize complete codices, format and edit the database, publish three CD-ROM discs (500 copies each), edit and print the accompanying manual, and mount the database on the Internet.

Electronic cleaning and archiving of older Slovenian sound recordings: Many sound recordings on phonograph records and music cassettes, particularly those from 1950 to 1980, have become inaudible. To restore their use, the library initiated a project for their electronic cleaning and subsequent archiving on CD. The project, to be completed at the end of 1999, involves several steps: identifying and selecting the material, detecting and documenting damage, documenting the new version, cleaning and re-recording, producing CDs, listening to and evaluating the CDs, and completing the catalog.

A regular update is available on the library’s Web site.

Contributed by Vilenka Jakac Bizjak

Repositioning Libraries in the Digital Age

The costs of scholarly publishing and developments in information technology have made it difficult for libraries to continue providing services in the same way they have for most of this century. The increasing cost of acquisitions has forced collection managers to make difficult decisions about what to select. Digital technologies have allowed unprecedented access to information and new ways of using it. The demand for digital resources is growing. But despite the promise for scholarly access, electronic resources are expensive and licensing arrangements can restrict resource-sharing agreements that have worked well for print materials. Libraries have been built on the philosophy of providing equitable access to information. How can they continue to fill their mandate in this changing environment?

Herbert Van de Sompel, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Ghent in Belgium, has focused his research on this question. He frames the problem by describing a model in which libraries receive input, in the form of acquisitions, to produce output, in the form of services to users. Libraries aim to optimize their service to users. Unfortunately, as the traditional scholarly communication mechanism has become increasingly commercialized, libraries find it more expensive to continue providing core materials, such as journals and abstract and index data. Van de Sompel is looking for new ways to receive input more economically-approaches that go well beyond creating consortia, adopting cancellation strategies, and shifting from acquisition to access. He is developing two strategies for libraries that share this underlying aim.

The first strategy aims to reposition libraries in the framework of scholarly communication. He is concerned that with the growth of digital information, libraries may risk being viewed as an irrelevant component in the production of scholarship. “If libraries are dropped from the information chain, the situation could become hypercommercial,” he says. “That would be a serious loss to scholars and researchers, since it would further limit the free flow of information.” He envisions a system in which each university or college library could provide an electronic archive for the scholarly production at its own institution.

Van de Sompel is developing a communication model that takes into account the many proposals that have sprung from three decades of heated debate on the future of scholarly communication. In his model, authors would submit their research to the scholarly archive of their own institution. The work could first receive some level of screening within the institution, but it would not be formally peer-reviewed. The library would guarantee the creation of metadata for the work-a function analogous to local cataloging. It might also assist in guaranteeing a level of consistency to its presentation and would operate the repository. These repositories of research would be available free of charge and their contents would have little value added in the way of editorial work, peer comment, or peer-review. To a large extent, the quality of a repository would reflect the institution’s commitment to the new communication framework and to its own faculty and their intellectual property.

The repository would represent the basic level in a pyramid of information. The same written work could eventually penetrate another level of the information pyramid. A peer-reviewed article might grow from it, or peer-review-as a separate document-might be connected to it. Access to such products might require payment. Van de Sompel sees the potential for many layers in the pyramid, with higher levels representing more value added and greater commercial involvement. But the fundamental layer of the pyramid could remain free to users if each institutional library would contribute to it. Clearly there are many political issues involved, and the concept would have to find or create its own market. All of this will take time.

Meanwhile, Van de Sompel has taken some practical steps. With Paul Ginsparg, creator of the Los Alamos xxx e-print archive, and Rick Luce, director of the Los Alamos Research Library, he is planning a meeting of technical experts from the United States and Europe. They will concentrate on such topics as establishing architectures for interoperable archives, identifying digital library services that can be built upon the archives, creating more open parallel tools measuring scholarly performance, and integrating the non-commercial and commercial layers in the information pyramid. Eventually, a cross-disciplinary demonstration system should be built to promote the so-called Universal Preprint Service.

Van de Sompel’s second strategy for optimizing input relates to reference linking. D-Lib Magazine recently published two of his articles on this topic. The first discusses linking frameworks in general.1 The second focuses on the SFX linking service created at the University of Ghent.2 Currently, the library automation teams at Ghent and Los Alamos National Laboratory are working to bring the initial SFX implementation reported in D-Lib to a more generic and professional state. The results will be demonstrated at the Library and Information Technology Association session on June 26 (2-4 pm) at the American Library Association meeting. Van de Sompel urges libraries to participate in the discussions on reference linking to work toward a framework that would allow libraries to establish their own linking services as a means to avoid a total dependency on commercial organizations in this area. He is trying to promote an open linking framework by way of the reference linking discussion list and meetings coordinated by NISO and CLIR’s Digital Library Federation.

Herbert Van de Sompel has been head of library automation at the University of Ghent for 15 years. He has received a grant from the Belgian Science Foundation enabling him to take a year’s leave to conduct his Ph.D. research. He is spending six months at the Research Library of the Los Alamos Laboratory in New Mexico with support from CLIR.

1. Herbert Van de Sompel and Patrick Hochstenbach. 1999. Reference Linking in a Hybrid Library Environment; Part 1: Frameworks for Linking. D-Lib Magazine Vol. 5, no. 4.

2. Herbert Van de Sompel and Patrick Hochstenbach. 1999. Reference Linking in a Hybrid Library Environment; Part 2: SFX, a Generic Linking Solution. D-Lib Magazine Vol. 5 , no. 4.

News from the ECPA

Preservation Management: Between Policy and Practice

An international conference on preservation management, jointly organized by The Koninklijke Bibliotheek (KB, National Library of the Netherlands), the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions Core Programme on Preservation and Conservation (IFLA-PAC), and the European Commission on Preservation and Access (ECPA) took place April 19-21. More than 130 participants from 25 countries were present at the KB in The Hague.

Bendik Rugaas, national librarian of Norway, set the tone of the meeting with his keynote address “Knowing what to throw away and knowing what to keep….” He argued that establishing priorities is a question not only of economics, but also of politics. Rugaas emphasized that managers of cultural heritage institutions should use interest generated by the advent of digital media and join forces to make politicians understand what is required to safeguard the cultural heritage. Several of the papers and the panel discussion repeated the theme of enlisting support through effective and well-targeted promotion of the cause for preservation. The projects presented showed a wide variety of preservation activities in European institutions. ECPA will publish the proceedings of the conference in late fall.

ECPA Creates Scientific Advisory Committee

The European Commission on Preservation and Access has established a Scientific Advisory Committee. Its task will be twofold: to advise the ECPA on publications in the area of preservation science and to set an agenda for future research in this field. The committee consists of five members: Lars Bjšrdal, Uppsala University Library, Sweden; Claire Chahine, Centre de Recherches sur la Conservation des Documents Graphiques, Paris, France; Franziska S. Frey, Image Permanence Institute, Rochester Institute of Technology, U.S.A.; Mogens S. Koch, School of Conservation, Copenhagen, Denmark; and Henk J. Porck, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, The Hague, The Netherlands.

The European Visual Archive

The European Visual Archive (EVA) is one of 20 projects that was selected to receive a grant from the Commission of the European Communities, within the framework of the INFO2000 program. INFO 2000 is a program to encourage the European content media industry to develop new multimedia products and services, and to stimulate user demand for these products and services. EVA aims to explore the requirements for digitization of photographic collections and for an open classification and search system.

The partners cooperating in this project are Antwerp City Archives, London Metropolitan Archives, Telepolis Antwerp, Netherlands Institute for Scientific Information, ECPA, and Gesellschaft für Multilinguale System.

For further information, see EVA’s Web site or contact the project coordinator, Guy Bruyneel, at Telepolis. Phone: +32-3-216 7641. Fax: +32-3-216 7904.

Librarians and Scholars Meet to Discuss Modern Greek Materials

In late April, a group of about 30 scholars and librarians from the United States and Greece met at the Library of Congress, in Washington, D.C., to discuss the state of library collections on modern Greece. The meeting was sponsored by CLIR and the Library of Congress.

Participants at the two-day working session considered some of the basic problems that hinder good access to research materials on modern Greece. For libraries, purchase and exchange arrangements have left much to be desired. Duplication of effort in cataloging is also a problem, as there are few effective mechanisms for cooperative cataloging of Greek materials. In most American libraries, there is inadequate Greek language expertise. For users, the difficulties lie in knowing what exists and how to obtain it. There is a dearth of information on what has been reformatted, and some original materials have become too fragile to use.

The meeting provided a forum for discussing these problems and how to begin addressing them. An immediate and positive result of the meeting was the formation of the bilateral Modern Greek Collections Working Group. The working group organized subcommittees on cataloging, journals and periodicals, archives, collection development (for example, to explore the possibility of exchanging copies of correspondence between President Jefferson and the Greek statesman A. Korais), and liaison with the Modern Greek Studies Association. Members of the working group will avail themselves of a listserv to coordinate the next steps, which include the following:

  • The Library of Congress will look into offering conservation training for Greek librarians.
  • The Greek National Library, with help from the National Book Center in Greece, will start a program for exchange of materials with selected institutions. The U.S. Modern Greek Studies Association will work with the National Library in setting priorities for exchange.
  • The Library of the University of Crete has done significant work on the transliteration of Greek catalog records. This information will be shared with a subcommittee of Working Group members who will carry the work to its next step: creating a database into which Greek records can be transliterated.
  • The Historical Archives of the National Bank of Greece and the Library of the Parliament will oversee Greek contributions of microfilm records to the European Register of Microform Masters.
  • Princeton University will host Greek librarians for three months’ onsite training.
  • Various members will seek funds to establish opportunities in Greece for training Americans in paleography.

Participants from Greece represented the National Library of Greece, the Library of the Parliament, the Benaki Museum, the Gennadios Library, the Moraitis School, the National Bank Cultural Foundation, the National Book Center of Greece, and the University of Crete. U.S. participants represented libraries at Harvard, New York University, Ohio State, Princeton, University of Chicago, University of Cincinnati, University of Michigan, University of Minnesota, and Yale. The New York Public Library, Library of Congress, Modern Greek Studies Association, and CLIR were also represented.

Updates on the activities of the working group will be posted later this summer on a Web site.

Forthcoming Publications from CLIR
Preserving the Whole: A Two-Track Approach to Rescuing Social Science Data and Metadata, by Ann Green, JoAnn Dionne, and Martin Dennis.

Securing our Dance Heritage: Issues in the Documentation and Preservation of Dance, by Catherine Johnson and Allegra Fuller Snyder.

Innovative Use of Information Technology by Colleges, Conference Report and Case Studies.

Print and On-Line Resources

NEDCC Manual Available on Web The third edition of Preservation of Library & Archival Materials: A Manual, edited by Sherelyn Ogden (1999), is now available on the Web site of the Northeast Document Conservation Center. The publication includes sections on planning and setting priorities, the environment, emergency management, storage and handling, reformatting, and conservation procedures.

IFLA Principles Translated into Russian IFLA Principles for the Care and Handling of Library Materials, copublished by the IFLA PAC Core Program and CLIR, is now available in Russian. With support from CLIR, the IFLA PAC Regional Center in Moscow translated and published the manual and will distribute it to 1,000 libraries, archives, and library schools in Russia, Mongolia, Eastern Europe, and the CIS. For information, contact Galina Kislovskaya.

IFLA Principles Available on Web The English version of IFLA Principles for the Care and Handling of Library Materials, compiled and edited by Edward P. Adcock with Marie-Therese Varlamoff and Virginie Kremp, is now available on IFLANET.

ICCROM Updates Directory The International Centre for the Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM), in cooperation with the Asociación para la Conservación del Patrimonio Cultural de las Américas (APOYO) and the Smithsonian Center for Materials Research and Education, has published the second edition of the Directorio de la comunidad profesional activa en la conservación del patrimonio cultural Latino Americano. The directory provides addresses for more than 3,000 institutions and individuals in more than 50 countries. For information on how to connect with this network of professionals, contact Amparo Torres.

UNESCO Adopts Czech National Library Guidelines The Czech National Library has produced a new edition of its CD-ROM, Digitization of Rare Library Materials. The CD offers techniques for digitizing library collections and archival holdings and making them accessible online. UNESCO has just adopted the structuring rules explained on the CD as a standard for its Memory of the World project. A shorter Internet edition is available on the National Library’s Web site and on UNESCO’s Web site or its U.S.-based mirror site (see below).

UNESCO Creates Mirror Site in U.S. A mirror for the UNESCO Web site, produced in cooperation with the University of Nebraska (United States), is now available. The mirror site should give a quicker response time to users of the UNESCO Web site in America and parts of Asia.

Council on Library and Information Resources
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Fax: (202)-939-4765 · E-mail: info@clir.orgThe Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) grew out of the 1997 merger of the Commission on Preservation and Access and the Council on Library Resources. CLIR identifies the critical issues that affect the welfare and prospects of libraries and archives and the constituencies they serve, convenes individuals and organizations in the best position to engage these issues and respond to them, and encourages institutions to work collaboratively to achieve and manage change.

Preservation and Access International Newsletter seeks to inform readers about preservation and access initatives worldwide and to provide a basis for the direct exchange of ideas and information.

Correspondence about this publication should be sent to Kathlin Smith, editor, or to the address shown above.

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Its duplication is encouraged.