The Commission on Preservation and Access
International Series Focuses on Russia
report from the Deputy Director General of the Library for Foreign Literature in Moscow is the next in a series of International Program publications on preservation initiatives abroad. Preservation Challenges in a Changing Political Climate, by Galina Kislovskaya, presents a distinctly Russian perspective on the ways in which libraries and archives are attempting to adapt to widespread changes while seeking to maintain their services and introduce new technologies, all with decreasing financial resources.
The building of the “Cabinet of Curiosities,” in which the Library of the Academy of Sciences was located from 1728 to 1924.
In her report, Kislovskaya covers several issues of interest to the worldwide community: preservation policies and politics in Russian librarianship, preservation challenges, the status of the national preservation program, the value of preservation training, and national and international aspects of cooperation. The report illuminates how the substantial political, economic, and social changes in Russia today are directly affecting the preservation efforts of libraries and archives.
“For Russia, whose historical path badly needs continuity, protecting and preserving its cultural heritage has its own deep meaning,” writes the author, who recently was appointed chair of the section on preservation of the Russian Library Association. Her introduction goes on to state:
The outstanding Russian philosopher, G.P. Fedotov, wrote: “Russian life laughs at evolution and sometimes rips it apart only to tie up the torn thread once again.” To ensure success in social development, the current generation of librarians and archivists must assume the responsibility of preserving documentary sources. This is how to build a bridge between the past, present, and future.
This report is one of a series designed to provide a look at what is happening in libraries and archives around the world at a time when preservation activities are as varied as the countries in which they operate. The series began in January 1995 with an overview and has included reports from Bulgaria, Canada, Europe and Latin America. Preservation Challenges in a Changing Political Climate–A Report from Russia (20 pages, September 1996) is available for $10.00 (prepayment in check with U.S. funds required) from: Commission on Preservation and Access, 1400 16th St, NW, Suite 715, Washington, DC 20036. Commission sponsors receive publications at no charge.
Under a new arrangement, copies of this report will be reproduced and distributed throughout Europe by the European Commission on Preservation and Access, P.O.Box 19121, NL-1000 GC, AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands.
Phone: ++ 31 20 5510 839. Fax: ++ 31 20 620 4941. E-mail:
Translations to Advance Preservation Goals in Latin America
he National Library of Venezuela and the Commission’s International Program are joining in a translation project to provide essential preservation literature in Spanish throughout Latin America. With the collaboration of the Association of Iberoamerican National Libraries (ABINIA) and the IFLA-PAC Center for Latin America and the Caribbean, headquartered at the National Document Conservation Center of the National Library of Venezuela, the project will distribute translated documents to the main libraries and archives of all countries in the area, over 100 institutions in all.
Project directors also will collaborate with the leaders of a similar project launched jointly last year by the International Program and an interinstitutional alliance of organizations in Brazil, whereby key preservation literature is being translated into Portuguese. Both projects are supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
The scope of the material to be translated into Spanish has been identified by the IFLA-PAC Center as the most essential for preservation progress. It includes technical articles for conservators working directly in the treatment of works and management articles for preservation administrators. The project is expected to form the basis for an ongoing translation program with strong regional collaboration throughout Latin America. Work begins this month and will continue with Commission support for one year. Several Commission reports will be among the first U.S. materials to be translated.
Dariuch Turupial, director of the National Conservation Center of the National Library of Venezuela, anticipates that the program will contribute significantly to increase the level of knowledge of conservators in Latin America responsible for restoring valuable works. Leaders in that region have been working over the past six years to establish a permanent translation program. The goals are in keeping with UNESCO’s General Guidelines to Safeguard Documentary Heritage for the “Memory of the World” Program, which state “… the role of language in the provision of professional training should not be ignored….”
In issuing a contract for the project, the Commission recognized that a great deal of important preservation literature is available only in English, which puts many nations at a severe disadvantage. The Commission expects that the translations also will prove useful to institutions throughout the Caribbean, Spain, and even within the United States. It also is expected that the translated materials will prove useful for training activities.
Notebook Available from Cornell Digital Imaging Workshops
of Preservation and Conservation, Cornell University Library, has published Digital Imaging for Libraries and Archives by Anne R. Kenney and Stephen Chapman. This 200-page guide represents a greatly expanded version of the training manual used in Cornell’s series of digital imaging workshops, which were supported in part under contract to the Commission.
The notebook includes a theoretical overview of the key concepts, vocabulary, and challenges associated with digital conversion of paper- and film-based materials, and an overview of the hardware/software, communications, and managerial considerations associated with implementing a technical infrastructure to support a full imaging program. There are also chapters on the creation of databases and indexes, the implications of outsourcing imaging services, converting photographs and film intermediates, issues associated with providing long-term access to digital information, and suggestions for continuing education.
The guide is issued in loose-leaf format to facilitate updates and includes two formula cards designed to assist librarians and archivists with determining conversion, storage, and access requirements. The price of the guide is $75.00 plus shipping, prepaid. For ordering information, contact Mary Arsenault at Cornell. E-mail:
|Abstracts of the presentations at the Digitizing Workshop for College Library Directors sponsored by the Commission’s College Libraries Committee are available at the Web site: http://www-cpa.stanford.edu/cpa/misc/dtxtabst.html. The six abstracts were supplied by the authors to provide a quick overview of the event, which was held April 18-20, 1996, in Charleston, SC. Nearly 100 persons interested in digitization projects for preservation and access attended.|
|To update last month’s announcement, the Council on library Resources is supporting the creation and maintenance of a Web site on Fair Use, cosponsored with FindLaw and Stanford University. The site address is http://www.fairuse.stanford.edu.|
Preservation Science Research Initiative: Developments in Environmental Issues
The following two articles address environmental concerns identified as high priorities in the 1996-1997 agenda of the Commission’s Preservation Science Council.
Conference on Stability of Collections
ver the past years, scientists at the Smithsonian Institution’s Conservation Analytical Laboratory (CAL) have engaged in research on the effects of environmental conditions, especially temperature and relative humidity, on the stability of collection artifacts, with an emphasis on the mechanical properties of the constituent materials and the composite objects. There appears to be general agreement that the results of this research have enriched the understanding of the relationships between environmental conditions and object stability, and that they have significant implications for decisions on defining the appropriate environmental parameters for specific collections.
Nevertheless, the extrapolation of these research data to actual recommendations for collections environment parameters has led to a great amount of confusion, misunderstanding, and even controversy. The research data generated at CAL do not stand alone, but must and can be evaluated only in the context of results obtained in research at other institutions worldwide, pertaining to a wide spectrum of effects and processes involved in the interaction of collection items with the environment.
The Smithsonian has announced its intent to organize, in co-sponsorship with the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT), a three-day international conference on the collections environment, to be held in the fall of 1997 at the Institution in Washington, DC.
Dr. Frank D. Preusser, conservation scientist, has accepted the program chairmanship of the conference. During the rest of this year, Preusser will undertake a thorough worldwide review and assessment of research and data pertaining to the subject. Based on the results of this assessment, he will identify the issues that need to be addressed and discussed at the conference, and draft a preliminary program. At that time, a call for papers will be issued.
For information, contact: Office of the Director, Conservation Analytical Laboratory, Smithsonian Institution, MRC 534, Washington, DC 20560. Phone: 301-238-3700. Fax: 301-238-3709.— Adapted from Smithsonian Press Release
NYU Lecture on Long-Term Assessment
he New York University Bobst Library Preservation Department selected the assessment of long-term environmental effects as the first topic in the Barbara Lubin Goldsmith Preservation and Conservation Lecture Series. At the September event, James Reilly of the Image Permanence Institute, Rochester, NY, discussed the Time Weighted Preservation Index (TWPI), which is described in the Commission report, New Tools for Preservation: Assessing Long-Term Environmental Effects on Library and Archives Collections. The further development and practical application of the TWPI tool is one of several priority projects endorsed in August by the Commission’s Preservation Science Council.
The Barbara Lubin Goldsmith Preservation and Conservation Lecture Series will sponsor events semi-annually for at least two years. Future topics include the influence of design and binding on conservation techniques, environmental controls and HVAC systems, and theory and practice in modern book conservation. Barbara Goldsmith is a former Commission Board member. For more information, contact Kate Murray at NYU. Phone: 212-998-2562.
LC Accepting Applications for National Digital Library Work
ith a gift from Ameritech, the Library of Congress (LC) is sponsoring an open competition to enable public, research, and academic libraries; museums; historical societies; and archival institutions (except federal institutions) to create digital collections of primary resource material for distribution on the Internet in a manner that will augment the collections of its National Digital Library Program. The National Digital Library is conceived as a distributed collection of converted library materials and digital originals to which many American institutions will contribute. In the 1996-97 competition, applications will be limited to collections of textual and graphic materials that illuminate the period 1850 – 1920 and that complement and enhance the American Memory collections already mounted in the National Digital Library. LC participates in the National Digital Library Federation, coordinated by the Commission. More information about the Federation is available at the Website:http://lcweb.loc.gov/loc/ndlf/.
The deadline for applications for the LC awards, which will range from $50,000 to $75,000 for projects that can be accomplished in 12 to 18 moths, is November 1, 1996 (postmark). For further information, contact Barbara Paulson at LC. Phone: 202-707-1087. E-mail:
News from the College Libraries Committee
ollege Libraries Committee member Victoria L. Hanawalt has assumed the presidency of the 1996-97 OCLC Users Council following the resignation of William Crow. Hanawalt, College Librarian at Reed College, Portland, OR, also is chair of the CHOICE Editorial Board. As part of the current agenda of the Commission’s College Libraries Committee, she is working with Michael Haeuser, Head Librarian, Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library, Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, MN, to prepare an article on the results of a 1995 preservation survey of over 100 college libraries.
Workshop on How to Augment Fund Raising
s federal funds for cultural institutions are increasingly threatened in the current political climate, institutions must expand their fund raising to new horizons. The Southeastern Library Network, Inc. (SOLINET) and the National Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Property (NIC) are cosponsoring “Capitalize on Collections Care: A Fund-Raising Workshop.” Scheduled for November 19, 1996, in Atlanta, GA, the program will teach museums, libraries, and historic preservation organizations to make a fund-raising case using collections care. The program focuses on the private sector and state and local governments as new sources of support for collections care, conservation, and preservation.
The program teaches creative approaches to integrating collections care into basic fund-raising strategies such as annual appeals, capital campaigns, earned income, planned giving, and adopt-an-object programs.
For registration materials and more information, contact Lauren Fallon, SOLINET, 1438 West Peachtree Street, NW, Suite 200, Atlanta, GA 30309-2955. Phone: 404-892-0943. Toll-Free 1-800-999-8558. E-mail:
The Commission provides displays and informational handouts for meetings, training programs, and public relations events. Exhibits and materials are free to sponsors; others are charged a handling fee. An exhibit brochure is available from Alex Mathews. E-mail:
Commission on Preservation and Access
1400 16th Street, NW, Suite 715
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