Throughout 2020, CLIR will do a weekly #TBT post on social media, highlighting key activity from each year since its founding in 1956. We’re posting the source material here, for people who want to read more!

newspapersJuly 30, 2020: In spring 1986, following publication of the report Brittle Books, CLR’s Committee on Preservation and Access became the independent Commission on Preservation and Access, created to guide the national preservation effort in response to the acid paper problem. Funding for the Commission’s first three years was provided by CLR, the H.W. Wilson Foundation, eight universities (Columbia, Yale, Indiana, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Michigan, Princeton, Harvard, and Stanford), and participants in the New York State Preservation Program. Read more.

abstractJuly 23, 2020: In 1985, CLR announces an ambitious $4.7 million research program, with initial funding from the J. Paul Getty Trust, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Pew Memorial Trust. The agenda, focused on information characteristics, users’ requirements, and the structure of information systems, is intended to bridge the gap between specialized basic research in information science and the development and applications work that had characterized past CLR programs. “There will be a new emphasis on building the background of facts and conducting the careful analysis required to shape future information services, and on creating the management capacities to provide those services, with special attention to the long-term interests of scholarship, universities, research, and society,” noted the 29th annual report. Read more, pp. 9-15.

markupJuly 16, 2020: In 1984, CLR awards $50,000 to the Association of American Publishers (AAS) to develop a standard set of codes for identifying various portions of manuscripts in electronic form, building on past work by the Graphic Communications Association, American National Standards Institute, and the International Standards Organization (ISO). By June 1986, AAS had published a provisional standard, Basic Author’s Guide to Electronic Manuscript Preparation and Markup, and had presented its recommendations to NISO and ISO. In October 1986, ISO approved International Standard 8879, Information Processing—Text and Office Systems—Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML), for broad use in conventional and electronic publishing. Photo by Mike Cowlishaw, CC BY-SA 3.0. Read more.

pegs in woodJuly 9, 2020: In 1983, CLR awards $82,652 to the Library of Congress for work with the Research Libraries Group and Washington Library Network to create protocols for a standard network interconnection (SNI) that would permit linking large bibliographic databases. Protocol specifications were completed that year and participants were prepared for full SNI testing. OCLC ultimately joined the effort, and by June of 1986, the first application of the link, transferring authority records, was in the early stages of operation, and work on a second application, the transfer of bibliographic records, was under way. Read more.

small infinityJuly 2, 2020: In 1982, CLR publishes Book Longevity. Reports of the Committee on Production Guidelines for Book Longevity,  based in part on a survey of more than 430 publishing companies to gather information about their use of acid-free paper, awareness of the need for permanent paper, and willingness to identify acid-free publications on the copyright pages of their new books. The committee’s findings had a significant impact on raising awareness and on publishing industry practices. On March 7, 1989, New York Public Library hosted a “Commitment Day” ceremony honoring 46 prominent authors and 40 publishers who had signed the “Declaration of Book Preservation.” Most of the commercial printing papers produced today are acid free, alkaline, or permanent. Read more.

UCLAJune 25, 2020: In 1981, CLR commits $742,000 to establish the Professional Education and Training for Research Librarianship (PETREL) Program. The program is prompted by a recognition that library science degree programs were not providing the kind of training needed for many research library positions. CLR awards funds to three library schools: the University of Chicago Graduate Library School, the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at UCLA, and the University of Michigan School of Library Science. CLR supports the program for three years. Two of the schools incorporate the special program into their regular curriculum. Read more.

archives June 18, 2020: In 1980, with funds from the Exxon Education Foundation, CLR grants $30,000 to the International Council on Archives for projects related to worldwide preservation and use of archival sources with special attention to the Global South. The grant covers (1) preparation of a records management manual designed especially for use in then recently independent countries; (2) a symposium in Rio de Janeiro to address matters related to the responsibilities, professional environment, and status of archivists in Latin American countries; and (3) the preparation of three separate curricula, to be available in English, French, and Spanish, to aid in the education and training of subprofessional, archival personnel in developing regions. Read more.

Library and Archives CanadaJune 11, 2020: In 1979, CLR awards a grant of $23,000 to the National Library of Canada (now Library and Archives Canada) to enable it to publish, in computer output microfiche, bibliographic records produced in the CONSER (Conservation of Serials) project. CONSER was a cooperative file-building effort initiated in 1974 to develop a shared database of serials records. CLR funded and managed the project for several years, using the resources of 14 libraries in the United States and Canada, and the online computer facilities of OCLC, Inc. By 1979, OCLC had assumed the management role. Photo courtesy Library and Archives Canada. Read more.

James E. Shepard statueJune 4, 2020: In 1978, CLR brings its decade-long College Library Program to a close. CLR had initiated the program to support libraries seeking to take a more active, meaningful role in undergraduate education. In partnership with the National Endowment for the Humanities, CLR established a fund, initially investing $250,000, from which matching grants could be made to individual colleges and universities for activities to provide cohesive links between library services and classroom instruction related to the humanities or areas of the social sciences that use humanistic methods. The program awarded grants to 35 college and university libraries in 25 states. North Carolina Central University (NCCU), pictured here, was among six HBCU recipients. (Statue of NCCU founder James E. Shepard; photo via Wikimedia RDUpedia CC-BY-SA-3.0.) Read more.

Global partnersMay 28, 2020: In 1977, CLR concludes the second year of a three-year, $72,000 grant to the International Council of Archives (ICA), to strengthen its secretariat. During the three years of grant support, ICA revised its constitution and dues structure, extended its membership geographically, established regional branches and professional committees, and implemented a variety of projects and publications designed to assist archival development throughout the world. Read the 1977 annual report.

May 21, 2020: In 1976, CLR celebrates its 20th birthday. In his introduction to the 1975–76 annual report, CLR president Fred Cole writes, “The Council has long held the view that many of the needs of libraries and therefore of their users can best be served through the activities of a national library system composed of cooperating networks of various kinds and drawing upon centralized resources. … Because of its flexibility and relative independence as a private, operating foundation, the Council has often been in a position to coordinate some of these developments, to act as a mediator or catalyst when required, and to work toward ensuring that emerging systems will be compatible and contribute to an evolving national system.” Read the 1976 annual report.

LC computer center staffMay 14, 2020: In 1975, CLR awards grants totaling more than $1.5 million for projects that would lead to the development of national library services, to produce “the most efficient and economical library services to users.” Among the 11 grants awarded that year were funds to develop the Western Interstate Bibliographic Network, revise the Anglo-American Cataloging Rules, support the ongoing work of ANSI Committee Z-19, and further develop Stanford’s BALLOTS (Bibliographic Automation of Large Library Operations Using a Time-Sharing System). Read more.

chance changeMay 7, 2020: In 1974, CLR launches the Academic Library Management Intern Program, which awards up to five internships annually to outstanding mid-career librarians, each of whom works closely with the director of an academic library of acknowledged administrative excellence. During their year, the interns have a unique opportunity to observe the techniques used by top management for dealing with day-to-day problems and to help find solutions to those problems. The interns take part in special projects that are helpful to their host institution and also increase their management skills. Over two decades, 55 librarians participate in the program. Read more.


NEDCCApril 30, 2020: In 1973, CLR awards a two-year matching grant to the six-state New England Interstate Library Compact for establishment of the New England Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) in North Andover, Massachusetts. The center was initially a workshop where, on a fee basis, techniques of document preservation, repair, and restoration were applied to materials submitted for treatment by institutions in the six states. Services were eventually extended beyond New England, and the center was completely self-supporting at the end of the two-year grant period. (Pictured are paper conservators Bucky Weaver and photograph conservator Gary Albright; photo courtesy NEDCC.) Read more.


catalog card printerApril 23, 2020: In 1972, CLR awards the Ohio College Library Center (OCLC) $75,000 to expand its cataloging operations. At the time, OCLC offered online cataloging service to some 50 member libraries in Ohio. Its success attracted wide interest, and other library groups sought its help in replicating the system elsewhere. OCLC was also developing plans to launch modules for serials control, technical processing, remote catalog access and circulation control, and bibliographic information and subject access retrieval. Read more.

books and moneyApril 16, 2020: In 1971, CLR President Fred Cole introduces CLR’s annual report with an essay that has special relevance to the present. By 1970, higher education was facing reductions in federal and state funding. Citing a study prepared for the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education and the Ford Foundation and published that year, The New Depression in Higher Education, a Study of Financial Conditions at 41 Colleges and Universities, Cole emphasizes the impact on libraries. He writes: “Through every available means we must work to produce a greater understanding of the significance of libraries in our society, particularly in every aspect of our educational systems. For today more than ever libraries are the bedrock of education, of cultural and scientific advancement. The library community knows this, of course. But do users? Do those upon whom libraries depend for support?” That year CLR awarded $1.4 million to support 32 new projects on behalf of research, academic, and public libraries. Read more.

Our entry for 1970 was published on Feb. 13; scroll down!

tapeApril 9, 2020:
In 1969, CLR awards the Library of Congress $25,000 for a pilot project to convert retrospective cataloging records to machine-readable form. Over the previous years, CLR had supported the development of Project MARC (MAchine Readable Cataloging), which distributed standard cataloging information in machine-readable form. But the MARC program focused on current cataloging only, and there was an urgent need to convert earlier cataloging records to machine-readable form. (Photo of 9 track tape via Wikimedia Commons.) Read more.

booksApril 2, 2020: In 1968, CLR awards the San Antonio Public Library System $22,500 to explore the feasibility of books by mail as a regular feature of public library service in San Antonio and Bexar County, Texas. The experiment was a success; by 1970, San Antonio Public had permanently installed books-by-mail as a service to the user, and books by mail accounted for some 17% of total loans. Read more.


IBM 7094March 26, 2020: In 1967, CLR awards $250,000 to MIT to help support work on Project Intrex, which sought to develop and test a remote-access computer-based catalog, as well as the ability to research and retrieve information in graphic form electronically. (Photo of IBM 7094 operator’s console courtesy Arnold Reinhold via Wikimedia Commons.) Read more.


Union cat


March 19, 2020: In 1966, with support from a $244,651 grant—CLR’s largest to date—the massive third edition of the Union List of Serials in Libraries and the United States and Canada was published. The last edition had been published in 1943. The guide was critical to providing information necessary for the cooperative use of serials through interlibrary loan. Read more.


AAS Taipei CenterMarch 12, 2020: The boom in Far Eastern Studies after WWII led to greater demand for collections in this field, but many works were expensive, scarce, or out of print. To alleviate the situation, in 1965, CLR grants $10,000 to the Association for Asian Studies to help establish the Chinese Materials and Research Aids Service Center in Taipei, Taiwan. The center encouraged republication in Taiwan of out-of-print works, provided information to libraries on what was available on the Taiwanese market, prepared bibliographical and research aids, and served as an agent in securing books and periodicals. Read more.

coverMarch 5, 2020: 1964 saw publication of the landmark “King Report.” Known formally as Automation and the Library of Congress, a survey sponsored by the Council on Library Resources, Inc., the report endorsed the benefits and feasibility of automation in the Library of Congress—and perhaps of a national system of interlinked research libraries. The seven-member survey team, chaired by Gilbert W. King, comprised experts in the application of computers, mathematics, operations research, and human engineering to data processing systems. The study was supported by a $100,000 CLR grant made in FY 1961. Read more.

sheet music

Feb. 27, 2020: Until the 1960s, music had been largely neglected in national and international bibliographies. In 1963, CLR grants $27,300 to the Music Library Association to record the holdings of American libraries for inclusion in the International Inventory of Musical Sources, a bibliography and finding list of manuscripts and printed works that then extended to 1800. The inventory was compiled under a joint commission sponsored by the International Musicological Society and the International Federation of Music Libraries. About 150 American institutions cooperated in preparing the bibliography. Read more.


Seattle exhibitionFeb. 20, 2020: In its largest award in fiscal year 1962, CLR grants $162,258 to Bolt Beranek and Newman Inc. for Research on Concepts and Problems of Libraries of the Future. With the proliferation of information in the 20th century, traditional methods of information management had become inadequate. More work was needed in technical storage and retrieval to make collections useful. The quest for a “push-button library” was under way. The CLR-funded research, under the direction of J. C. R. Licklider, looked at the functions that needed to be fulfilled by library systems; possible technologies to support their operations; an analysis of aims, methods, and problems in information storage and retrieval; and specific problems of man-machine communication and artificial intelligence. Read more.

LC PRTFeb. 13, 2020: We’re leapfrogging a few years to acknowledge a significant anniversary. Fifty years ago this month, CLR awarded $95,000 to the Library of Congress (LC) for equipment to furnish its new Preservation Research Office. The office—really a laboratory—was created to do both basic and practical research, primarily focused on issues relating to paper preservation. The laboratory continues its work today as LC’s Preservation Research and Testing Division (pictured left), under the leadership of CLIR Presidential Fellow and incoming Board member Fenella France. Read more.

Intectron Inc.Feb. 6, 2020: In 1961, CLR funds eight grants relating to microcopying, including a $177,209 award to the Bell & Howell Company to develop a step-and-repeat camera for producing microimages by xerography. Although microfilming had been in use for some time, numerous problems with the medium had surfaced, ranging from the physical and bibliographic standards governing their manufacture and processing to problems with the reading equipment necessary for their use. Photo at left shows optical bench used as part of a study of factors involved in photocopying at high ratios of reduction. Read more.

globe and card catalogJan. 30, 2020: In 1960, CLR grants funds to the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) to convene the International Conference on the Principles of Cataloging in Paris in October 1961. The 105 participants, drawn from 53 countries and 13 international organizations, approve the Paris Principles, which become the basis for subsequent work on the revision of cataloging codes in many countries. Read more.

IBM 1620Jan. 23, 2020: In 1959, CLR funds a study to explore whether subject analysis, which relied on human labor, could be mechanized. PI Don R. Swanson, an information scientist most known for his work in literature-based discovery in the biomedical domain, publishes his findings in the 1960 Science article, “Searching Natural Language Text by Computer,” and lays the groundwork for subsequent research. Read more.

Image of Cataloging Persian Works book coverJan. 16, 2020: CLR awards 31 grants in 1958, including one to Nasser Sharify, Deputy Parliamentary Librarian of Iran on leave, to develop a standardized code—which had not previously existed—for cataloging Persian publications. The American Library Association publishes the code in 1959. Read more.

William BarrowJan. 9, 2020: In 1957, CLR awards one of its first four grants to William Barrow for research on causes of and remedies for book stock deterioration. His transfer of knowledge from chemistry to restoration becomes a key contribution to the field of conservation. Read more.

CLIR logoThe Council on Library Resources, Inc. (CLR) came into being on September 18, 1956, the date of its first meeting. Read this brief history of CLR, by Deanna Marcum.