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II. Record of the Conference

This record is a distillation of the sense of the meeting, which encompassed a variety of views as well as significant common ground It is not a formal position of the Commission on Preservation and Access or any other organization.

The general plan of the Bellagio meeting was to begin by exploring how the various issues of preservation had manifested themselves in the United States and the several European countries. It seemed important to outline the problem of brittle books, the measures taken to estimate its size, to find or create organizations for processing material to be preserved, to raise awareness of the problem and to secure funds for these tasks. The experience of various countries with different technologies of preservation also had to be reviewed, while the critical issues of how to select the books to be saved needed to be explored This range of discussion was necessary to provide a common ground on which it might be possible to take specific steps toward the goal of the meeting: to begin to build a European-centered effort that can effectively collaborate with scholars and libraries in the United States while still addressing preservation issues that may be unique to some of the participating European countries.

The U.S. Experience

Several conference participants gave brief reports on preservation needs and activities in the United States. These were not systematic surveys, but the observations of scholars, librarians and technical specialists who were in a position to have a good overview of the situation.

For many years librarians and scholars had noticed that the pages of some of the books in their libraries were turning brown and becoming brittle, but the magnitude of the problem and its cause were not fully appreciated until the mid-1980s. Several assessments of the extent and seriousness of deterioration eventuated in the creation of the Commission on Preservation and Access to serve as an advocate for public and private development of a coherent national plan to save the intellectual legacy threatened by acidic paper embrittlement. The Commission’s strategic approach gave a high priority to capturing the contents of three million brittle books over 20 years, through a cooperative U.S.-wide microfilming effort that was named the Brittle Books Program. This strategy of reformatting is but one component of a broadly conceived preservation plan to save published and documentary knowledge recorded in any format. The plan includes newspapers, special collections of manuscripts and archives, mass deacidification, the conservation of selected artifacts and encouragement of publishers to use acid-free paper, as well as training for preservation personnel, state and regional consultation services, professional conferences and research and development activities. The microfilming component of the plan explicitly includes provision for access–that is, for storing the preserved material in a safe place and making copies available to anyone for a fee that covers costs This feature–wide and easy access–was an important factor in justifying federal governmental support of the Brittle Books Program In 1988, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), a federal government agency, was authorized to strengthen an existing preservation program that has, each year since then, been funded at between 12 and 17 million dollars. The money provided by Congress to carry out the U.S. national preservation plan is administered through the NEH, which receives and reviews with the aid of scholars and other experts proposals from individual libraries or consortia of libraries that hold the books to be saved.

Though it was a landmark, this federal action was not the start of preservation of endangered material in the U.S. More than 20 years earlier, both university and national libraries had begun to struggle with the problem but had made little progress on an overwhelming problem because of inadequate resources. Surveys of library collections had shown that 80 percent of the books in research collections were printed on acidic paper, and that 30 percent of the volumes were already embrittled beyond redemption by deacidification or paper strengthening processes. The magnitude of deterioration made it clear that there was neither time nor money enough to save all of the embrittled material: choices had to be made.

There is little dependable evidence on the amount of overlap among the collections of major research libraries in the U.S. The best available estimate is that approximately 80 million volumes in these libraries are embrittled, and about ten million of these are unique The objective of the Brittle Books Program is to preserve one-third of this ten million In order to eliminate duplication of effort at different libraries and to ensure convenient retrieval of preserved material, the program has developed a simple, standardized on-line capacity to indicate intent and commitment to film and the existence of a master copy. There is also agreement among participating libraries on technical standards for microfilm and on minimum standards for bibliographic control.

At the time the NEH program was being proposed to the Congress, preservation microfilming was being carried out as a cottage industry with a series of small shops in a few university libraries, and by a few commercial publishers. The costly standards for archival filming and the limited market for infrequently used research materials had discouraged the development of any significant preservation filming capacity in the for-profit sector.

Given the size of the task, it was necessary to move beyond the cottage industry and develop a nonprofit agency that could capitalize on the economies of scale afforded by a centralized production facility. With the aid of private foundation funds, the first such facility, MAPS The MicrogrAphic Preservation Service, was established in the northeast region. It rapidly grew into a national facility as institutions realized that transporting books to a central location was more efficient than enlarging local facilities or creating new ones in every library Furthermore, when it became apparent that substantial funds would be available on a continuing basis from the federal government, two major micropublishing companies with years of experience in high-quality microfilming established preservation filming divisions. These three facilities–two commercial, one non-profit–provide a substantial portion of the necessary capacity for the U.S. 20-year plan.

The Commission never considered microfilm to be the preferable medium for use or dissemination, but only as the most dependable, widely understood and proven technique for a holding action until superior technology could replace it. The largest part of the cost of reformatting is the selection, transportation, preparation and handling of books for copying by whatever means. These factors suggested continuing to use film for storage until alternative technologies became economically competitive and yielded a product of at least equal quality in a mass-production mode.

The Commission has sponsored a number of research and development projects to explore convertibility between paper and film on the one hand and electronic media on the other. Experiments underway or completed have demonstrated the feasibility of scanning a book directly to produce a digital electronic copy, or scanning microfilm for the same purpose. Demonstrations have also shown that the digital copy can drive a high-speed printing process that produces a facsimile of the original (paper) book and the digital copy can also be transmitted over networks to remote users. Producing microfilm for long-lasting storage from a digital copy also seems feasible.

Digital technologies have significantly greater reliability of reproduction and ease of transmission, and they promise vast enhancement of access. Still, there are technical obstacles to overcome before a major shift from film to digital media can occur Briefly, there are three principal challenges: improving the quality (resolution) of the scanned electronic product currently available to the user; storing the scanned material in a form that will be accessible hundreds of years from now; and putting into place distribution systems to provide access at any distance.

One obstacle (that will disappear as technology advances) is that books can be scanned at a much higher resolution than can be reproduced on the computer screens in common use today. Even finer resolution lies ahead Higher resolution in scanning costs a bit more but is judged as worth it, since it will ultimately enable higher quality resolutions for use Furthermore, since the chief cost of conversion from paper to digital is the labor of handling the book a governing axiom for preservation is to scan at the highest level possible, so that it will not be necessary to copy a book–in any medium–more than once.

Ensuring longevity poses different problems. Electronic technologies change rapidly and images stored in digital form today may not be accessible even five years from now. Rather than a property of the medium, longevity becomes a matter of keeping up with changing hardware and software through periodic “refreshing”, or copying to new equipment Longevity will depend upon institutionalizing a process of inventory management designed to insure that preserved materials are always stored in ways that current technology can retrieve.

Providing worldwide access depends on putting the necessary infrastructure in place and standardizing its usage. There is much to be learned about the best ways to store, share, index and access digital information over networks. It is essential to agree on standard ways of exchanging information over networks. The complex issues surrounding control of intellectual property and fair treatment of copyright holders as well as users need attention.

Progress is being made in all these areas, but preservation technology is still in transition, and microfilm’s stable and standardized properties, together with its convertibility to other media, recommend its continued use.

It should not be necessary to use a single medium for every function Instead, one might, for example, choose microfilm for archival storage of little used materials, but then convert the information to electronic form for dissemination and for printed copies on demand. Alternatively, one might create microfilm from electronically scanned materials because microfilm storage is cheaper, more standardized and longer-lived. For the time being, a mixed and flexible technological strategy seems optimum.

The Commission has appointed a series of scholarly advisory committees, which include some librarians and archivists, to offer guidance on selection for preservation in such fields as art history, literature, philosophy, and medieval studies, on the theory that various fields of learning may have different needs and, hence, different strategies may be appropriate. While these committees have not fully solved the selection question, the various fields have chosen different types of material as most important for preservation. The experience of these committees has been instructive: they have made slow progress because of the inherent difficulty of the task but also because they have had to work through their resistance to the very idea of making choices, to acknowledging that not everything can be saved, and recognizing that delaying the choices would only insure a larger (and more random) loss.

The lessons that the Commission has learned from its efforts may have some relevance to the European situation: cooperation among autonomous and historically proud libraries is both essential and difficult. Long-term goals and long-term vision are necessary. The incredible force of custom and tradition can make scholars and librarians resist microfilm as a means of access and impel them to try to keep fragile books on the shelves and in circulation. These old habits persist despite mounting evidence that scholars are demanding increased access while suffering from decreased ability to travel to collection sites and space limitations are increasingly acute in libraries. The Commission’s governing strategy rests on three principles: separate the tractable from the intractable; encourage cooperation and sharing responsibility; and ensure broad access to preserved material. systems, shorten the useful life of electronic storage to less than that of conventional books. The need for internationally connected data banks is clear and the efforts of the European Register of Microfilm Masters (EROMM) are supported by the corresponding German register (GEROMM).

Criteria for the selection of items to be preserved are still not fixed, and are controversial. Discussion about criteria for selecting books to preserve should remain open, never ending, pluralistic, even chaotic–not unsystematic or unstructured, but productive and fruitful. Such discussion should not be limited to scholars nor even dominated by them All interested parties should be involved but especially librarians and archivists whom scholars have reason to trust. It could be unreasonable to build collections or to preserve books exclusively according to the wishes of scholars.

The German Research Council (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) provides financial support for the preservation of newspapers, journals, yearbooks, parts of special collections, and central disciplinary libraries. On the other hand, one cannot be optimistic about obtaining governmental support for large-scale programs of the sort needed Ministerial proposals for funding preservation have so far been pitifully inadequate. The current financial situation of the German federal and provincial governments precludes any vision of a society preserving the entire intellectual heritage.


An important project on mass deacidification is being conducted jointly by the Swiss Federal Archives and the Swiss National Library (BAR/SLB) It is one initiative in an overall preservation plan that includes improving environmental conditions of storage, research on paper conservation and restoration of individual items of special value. The deacidification project sought a single system that would be able to accommodate large quantities of archival and library material without prior selection and would leave an adequate alkaline reserve in the paper. Needless to say, a satisfactory system would not damage the material being deacidified or be dangerous to handle. A request for proposals brought forth five processes: Wei T’o, Booksaver, Battelle, FMC/Lithco, and Akzo/DEZ.

Two systems seemed promising enough to deserve testing. Lithco (a liquid treatment) and DEZ (gas) were put through a series of tests in the fall of 1991, with rather disappointing results. The Lithco process originally employed fluorocarbons as a propellant, but had to find a substitute since those compounds had been banned by a recent Swiss law The substituted chemical apparently was responsible for unsatisfactory results, including incomplete treatment, intolerable damage of the material (leaching inks, staining paper)’ and strong odor. The extent of such damages led to the conclusion by BAR SLB that the Lithco system–as it had been proposed and tested–had little chance to be improved. The vapor deacidification process of DEZ also had deficiencies including insufficient homogeneity of treatment, iridescent spots and odor. Damage to the material was less severe and the chances for improvement of the DEZ process were estimated as much higher. All the tests had shown that deacidification and buffering extended the life of paper, which encouraged BAR SLB to proceed with further evaluation.

In the spring of 1992, BAR SLB began a cooperative test program with the U.S. Library of Congress (LC). The single test run that has been completed so far showed no significant improvement in the DEZ system BAR/SLB are still convinced of the possibility of mass deacidification, but experience to date has shown very clearly that even the most advanced systems still need a lot of development.

Perhaps the initial ambition to test all material through one system of deacidification without prior selection is unrealistic Nevertheless, the exploration of deacidification systems and their evaluation will continue in the hope that it can take its place in the armamentarium of preservation along with microfilm, digitization, and environmental control.


Oxford University recently conducted a survey of the condition of collections at its 122 libraries and archives. The data have not been fully analyzed, so only tentative conclusions can be reported Chief among these is that the greatest amount of damage in the collections is to the bindings. More than a quarter of a million volumes (out of a total of 97 million) are estimated to show major structural damage, while nearly three-quarters of a million show minor structural damage–due principally to heavy use and frequent handling. There appears to have been a substantial increase in the research use of the collections in recent decades. There is also heavy structural damage in the maps collections, in prints and drawings, and especially in the manuscripts collections where unbound modern materials are very vulnerable. Rather surprising, however, is the tentative finding that brittle paper was encountered in less than five percent of a small sample of books (compared to 17 percent found in a survey of the British Library in London) and that the Oxford sample was less acidic than the London one, possibly a result of underheated storage conditions.

A coordinated microfilm project involves the British Library, the libraries of Oxford University, Cambridge University and Trinity College, Dublin, as well as the National Libraries of Scotland and Wales The project is supported by grants from the Mellon Foundation and administered by the National Preservation Office. Microfilming began at the six depository libraries in 1989. Now any library in the U.K. and Ireland can apply for a matching grant to preserve material that is of national importance, dates from between 1830 and 1900, and is printed on paper that is brittle or at risk. Projects must meet technical specifications for film, deposit a master negative in central storage, contribute records for inclusion in the National Register of Preservation Microforms and make adequate provision for access for users, including loan and duplication of microfilm. Examples of materials accepted for filming include fiction, trade journals, pamphlets, popular periodicals, folklore and city directories.

The Bodleian Library itself is concentrating on preserving collections of modern manuscripts and trade journals from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Much effort has to be expended on searching a wide variety of sources to be sure of avoiding duplicate filming of the trade journals The manuscript collections are unique, however, and do not require searching.


The problem of decaying books in Dutch libraries came to national attention in 1990 through the results of a survey of a large number of Dutch collections conducted by the Advisory Council for Libraries and Archives (RABIN). It found that at least three million books in these collections are in such poor condition that they will be lost if no action is taken; some of them are already beyond rescue. Dutch libraries hold a total of about 70 million volumes, and the RABIN survey probably underestimates the proportion of threatened material Books published before 1800 suffer from damaged covers and bindings, whereas decaying acid paper is much greater and more serious in post-1800 publications The difficulties involved in conserving paper are paralleled by those related to preserving audiovisual media and providing access to them, especially in large corpora such as the Netherlands Film Museum, and the film and videotapes of the Netherlands Broadcasting Production Units Furthermore, not only do the media themselves age, but the equipment needed to use them becomes antiquated as well. The condition of many of the storage areas in libraries leaves much to be desired. The inevitable conclusion is that the problem is enormous, structural in nature, and requires both national and international approaches. It is difficult to estimate the long-term cost of preservation but approximately 100 million guilders ($50 million) will have to be made available in the short term.

The recommendations of RABIN outline a national policy for the conservation of library material whose goal is to locate, record and conserve at least one copy of every printed or audiovisual item permanent to the Netherlands. It would include items produced in the Kingdom itself works produced by Dutch nationals abroad, and works of foreign origin on subjects directly relevant to the Netherlands.

Criteria for deciding what should be saved must be based on the interests of society and scholarship, and scholars must become more widely involved in the decisions. If the “80/20 rule” applies (80 percent of the requested information derives from 20 percent of the collection), it does suggest that not all information warrants heroic efforts to preserve it. In the exact and the social sciences, much of what was published in the 19th century has been incorporated in more recent publications. In the humanities, the problems are more complex Historians tend to want to preserve everything, and for specialists in art and literature the physical form of the object can play an important role.

Selection criteria would ensure that one copy of all relevant Dutch material is preserved. The actual selection could be implemented by committees composed of librarians and archivists, technical experts, scientists and scholars. It is very important to have scholarly users involved and to use their (probably) conflicting views constructively. In addition, the plan envisions a central registry of preserved materials, central storage and restoration, mechanisms for coordinating preservation actions and subsidies for special collections.

Discussion of the European Experience

The extent of deterioration in European collections may not be quite as great as reported from surveys of U.S. libraries, but there is considerable uncertainty about some of the results from some collection surveys because of recognizable defects in methodology Germany and Switzerland have about the same proportion of deterioration as the U.S., while Sweden and England report lower rates. In some countries, particularly Italy and Spain, the extent of the problem has not been well assessed.

International cooperation is important. One possibility is for each country to take responsibility for conserving the publications that have appeared within its own borders. If every country would do this, the result would be an international collection of relevant national publications. But an international policy ought to be more than simply the sum of national policies. Certainly, national bodies should play a major role, but international associations of scholars must be involved.

There was general agreement that most users of libraries as well as many librarians are not aware of the extent and seriousness of book deterioration. Especially puzzling and troublesome is the unawareness (and sometimes unconcern) of scholars themselves. It is uncertain whether this condition is due to scholarly parochialism, to the changing attitudes of younger scholars toward old books and early references, or to scholars’ belief that “someone will provide” for their information resource needs–libraries, for example. Even active attempts to raise scholarly awareness in the United States through the efforts of professional associations or scholarly societies have met with disappointing results. This apparent lack of concern provokes the question: If scholars are not taking active responsibility, how can we expect the general public or the government to support efforts to save knowledge? Scholars, it was pointed out, are ordinarily very narrowly focused on a sub-specialty or a specific topic and become aware of the need for preservation only when they come upon an instance of deterioration in the portion of the collection that they use.

There was not complete agreement about the necessity or desirability of involving scholars actively in the selection process. Official archives, it was said, cannot select in the way scholars might wish Archives are “the memory of government” and record retention is made by the producers, not the scholars, according to predetermined schedules Counter-arguments to this opinion remarked that government archives were only one kind of archive and perhaps did have special problems; but who should determine schedules of retention, even in government archives? Should not historians be given a voice in the matter? They have made useful contributions in cases where retention schedules had to be worked out without a precedent–as was true of some scientific laboratory archives. Cooperation between archivists and scholars will generally be rewarding.

Other voices stressed the importance of involving scholars in selection decisions; even if they have difficulty agreeing their advice can be useful. Scholars should take the longer historical view and alleviate concern about present trends in influencing selection. Every library is itself a result of a long series of choices, many of which reflect the idiosyncratic judgments of scholars that do not agree with those of other scholars.

In any case, it is the responsibility of scholars to develop an informed interest in the preservation of the intellectual heritage and to “carry the message of preservation into the chambers of power.”

The portions of the academic community that have a broader view of university resources are the administrative heads such as rectors, presidents, chancellors, chairmen and their immediate associates–those who have responsibility for the larger environment of scholarship Currently this stratum is oblivious to the problem, but can be alerted through professional associations and articles written especially for them.

Some optimism about raising awareness is warranted. For example, a newspaper preservation project in Sweden had strong public support because of the wide interest in the material. Genealogists and family historians have been very supportive of archival preservation in England. Archives, it was argued, are different from library collections and may need to be approached differently. Archives contain unique, non-duplicated material in non-standard formats, have a more complex informational structure than books and are not susceptible to bibliographic control and demand more complex retrieval systems. Mass deacidification may be the best approach to archival preservation Still, deacidified material still would exist in only one (and perhaps a quite fragile) copy so that its use might have to be severely limited–or else be copied in order to satisfy wider demand.

The matter of access is significant. One of the most important factors in obtaining funds for preservation from the U.S. Congress is the promise of wider availability of preserved material–the greatest use for the greatest number of people. This concept of “democratization of access” runs counter to often-cherished exclusivity of special collections, whose caretakers may be so interested in having a unique possession as to endanger its survival because of inadequate resources and technology for stabilization Even then, the usefulness of such conserved collections is compromised by the fragility of the deacidified paper.

The urgency of preservation in the face of massive, irreversible and already advanced decay of library collections is unquestioned, and debates over appropriate technology should not distract attention from the necessity to act. Collaboration among countries is a necessity, though every country should recognize its responsibility for its own heritage and should strengthen its own internal efforts first.

Exploring Emergent Issues

The reviews of European and U.S. experience with preservation brought forth both commonalities and differences and raised issues that warranted further exploration, three in particular: the seeming lack of awareness of preservation problems on the part of library users; the appropriate role for scholars to play in preservation; and the procurement of needed resources. The discussion of these three issues developed some further common ground.

Increasing Awareness
In Europe and North America there must be a concerted effort to bring preservation problems to the attention of library users–scholars in particular, but others among the public at large who may have occasion to use books from the endangered era The prime need is for a vivid statement of the general case for preservation–a statement that can be adapted to various national, regional, professional and popular audiences. The statement should contain examples of “shocking losses,” and must make clear that concern with preservation is not just the preoccupation of librarians, archivists or a narrow group of savants. It would be particularly useful to have a film like Slow Fires2 made for European contexts and distributed by educational television.In addition, national and pan-European groups must be organized to undertake both advocacy and education. This process should begin as soon as possible in order to exploit the sense of purpose that has coalesced during this conference. One possibility is to create a European commission on preservation and access with strong national subgroups or correspondents. Such a transnational group would probably need the auspices of an existing international body to serve as its roof” in the beginning. That choice requires further exploration.

The new preservation groups should direct their advocacy and educational activities to a variety of audiences: international cultural organizations, associations of university administrators, parliamentary commissions, ministerial offices, publishers, groups of librarians and archivists, professional societies and the general public. It is imperative that the message be put persuasively before the public at large since only widespread support will produce governmental action. As far as possible, advocacy and education should be both personal and specific, as well as reaching out through professional journals or newsletters, professional meetings, university newspapers, and, especially for the public at large, the mass media: newspapers, educational television, and magazines of general culture.

Because the structure of print repositories, educational institutions and cultural ministries varies markedly from country to country, the new preservation groups will need to develop a variety of strategies. The experience and judgment of preservation experts in each country (or region) will always be needed to discover where and how to work most effectively within particular structures.

Scholars’ Role
Scholars, and other library users as well, must share with librarians and other custodians the difficult decisions about what is to be given priority in preservation. For the purposes of such collaboration, it is essential to break the habits that separate library users from library keepers. It will also be important to penetrate the boundaries between traditional academic disciplines and between conventional library classifications.Scholars and other library users must also become informed advocates for the cause of preservation. Scholars can be particularly effective within educational institutions and in dealing with governmental agencies. They must do whatever can be done to inform and motivate their colleagues and students.
Procuring Resources
Since the task of preservation is so vast, more resources are needed than can probably be obtained. Hence, the question becomes: what resources can be made available and how can they be most intelligently allocated? Although funds should be sought from private donors, foundations and corporations, only governmental agencies can command resources sufficient to support large-scale and long-lasting preservation programs. Non-governmental sources are more likely to support preliminary organization or narrowly focused projects than continuing operations of preservation programs. If the national or transnational groups are to be effective, there must be a reliable source of funds for staff, however small, as well as for operations.

Ensuing discussions explored these points further. The participants confirmed the primary necessity to raise scholars’ and librarians’ awareness of the deteriorating books problem, the need to collect “shocking case” examples of lost European materials and to prepare a pan-European “statement of the need to act ” The conferees explored ways of developing a professional network of librarians, archivists and scholars, with slightly different approaches being proposed for various countries. An essential feature of such a network would be a small core of individuals–one from each country–who fully understood the problem and were willing to take responsibility Existing professional networks could be tapped for amplifying the initial group.

Yet the need for some central focus and leadership reasserted itself frequently, and the need for funders, governments and other organizations to have one focal point kept coming to the fore. The discussion touched upon the desirability of simultaneously establishing national organizations and linking them for common efforts. The possible usefulness of existing international organizations was extensively explored. The advantages of non-governmental sponsorship were weighed against the need for large resources and public institutional collaboration.

Gradually the discussion shifted from the concept of a professional network to an organizational structure, and there began to be mention of a hypothetical organization–a “European Commission on Preservation and Access ” Since the array of suggestions for constituting such an organization included both complementary and contradictory ideas, a subcommittee of conferees–seven persons in all–was appointed to sort out the alternatives and to present a coherent plan to the plenary session.

Following the adoption of the resolution and recommendations in the next section, the participants held further discussions and elected Drenth, Jouve and Martin to form the ad hoc committee. Alison de Puymège agreed to act as the secretariat.

III. Resolution and Recommendations of the Conference

The following resolution and recommendations were adopted unanimously during the conference.


The members of the Conference, having reviewed and discussed the studies undertaken by the [U.S.] Commission [on Preservation and Access] to assess the nature and extent of the threat posed to the world’s accumulated knowledge by the rapid decay of acidic paper, and to test this effect and potential of the remedies available,

Affirm and endorse the work of the Commission in that behalf, and commend the sense of urgency with which the Commission is seeking to advance international means to minimize loss, and to promote more effective means of storage, conservation and preservation, to insure access in the future.

The Conference accordingly urges that a European counterpart be established, and, to that end a working group be appointed to explore the possibility of engaging support from European and international organizations.


1) The European conferees at Bellagio should select from among themselves a chair and two members of an ad hoc steering committee that will supervise the process of constituting a European commission on preservation and access. The final commission should be an independent body that is endorsed by a wide range of existing cultural institutions and that is perhaps materially supported by two or three of them in the early stages of its development. In its final form, it should also include some representation from the U.S. Commission.

a) The steering committee should invite three other interested and influential persons, not present at Bellagio, to join it. This should be done by July 20, 1993.

b) The augmented steering committee of six should then canvass all participants at Bellagio for nominations to the board of the European commission. These nominations will be reviewed by the steering committee, which will then elect a board of not more than 15 members This election should take place by October 15, 1993. Once the board has been elected, it should meet to decide both how best to proceed with the formal and legal establishment of a European commission and how to conduct its own business in the future. The steering committee will be dissolved with that first meeting of the board.

c) While it is soliciting nominations for the board, the steering committee should draft a strong statement of the case for the work of preservation in general and of a European commission in particular.

d) It is expected that the steering committee will have some modest administrative expenses, for which it should seek financial support from the U.S. Commission on Preservation and Access.

2) The board should move expeditiously to establish itself as a legal entity and to appoint and secure financial support for the staff necessary to accomplish its purposes.

3) All of the European conferees should find ways to carry what has been accomplished at Bellagio back to their home countries and home institutions. They should involve a wide range of colleagues in the work of preservation and should take whatever steps they can to publicize and to advocate that work.


2. Slow Fires: On the Preservation of the Human Record is a documentary on the deterioration of books and other scholarly materials that is threatening the libraries and archives of the world. Cooperatively funded by private and public agencies in the U.S., the film was shown extensively on public television when it was first issued in 1987. It is distributed in both U.S. and European video formats by the American Film Foundation, Santa Monica, CA.

Commission on Preservation and Access
1400 16th Street, NW, Suite 740
Washington, DC 20036-2217 (202) 939-3400

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.

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