Infinity (Fall/Winter 1999 Volume 15 Number 2)

SAA Preservation Section Affinity Newsletter 15:2


The Newsletter of the SAA Preservation Section         Fall/Winter 1999 Volume 15, Number 2

In This Issue:


The Preservation Section enjoyed a good meeting in Pittsburgh. Committee reports were given and the following election results were announced: Sarah Talley (Utah State Archives & Records Services) Vice Chair/Chair-elect; Clark Center (University of Alabama), Member-at-Large; and Sarah Wagner (National Archives), Nomination Committee. Barbara Paulson, National Endowment for the Humanities, gave an update on the Division of Preservation and Access. The section meeting program concluded with a presentation by Ellen McCrady providing insight into preservation challenges and Bruce Arnold giving an update on the status of the American Society for Testing & Materials Paper Aging Research Program.

Thanks to the efforts initially begun by Nancy Marrelli in 1997, and followed by Sharla Richards, Julie Graham, Sheila McAlister, and members of the Outreach Committee, the Preservation Section webpage is a reality. Julie Graham has done a wonderful job in designing the page. Thank you, Julie! You can locate the Preservation Section home page at Take a moment or two and look it over and give us your feedback by answering the on-line survey. Let us know your thoughts.

Another accomplishment is the release of the publication, Selected Readings in Preservation 1997/1998. It is located on our website, This is an annotated list of selected sources released in a given calendar year on archival preservation. Special thanks goes to the contributors to this issue of Selected Readings in Preservation including: Jeremy Brett (National Agricultural Library), Clark Center (University of Alabama), Evelyn Frangakis (National Agricultural Library), Janice Mohlhenrich (Emory University), and Holly Robertson (University of Georgia). The Publications Committee welcomes your comments or contributions to Selected Readings in Preservation. Contact Clark Center with comments, suggestions, or if you would like to volunteer to contribute to the next issue.

The Education Committee has also been hard at work. Under the leadership of Glenda Stevens and Anke Voss-Hubbard, two pre-conference workshops have been proposed for the Denver meeting. We will keep you posted. Also, they have been gathering, identifying, and will be making available model forms, policies, and procedures, to be include in a new policy/forms manual being published by SAA.

Preservation Section members came up with five proposals which were submitted for consideration for the 2000 meeting. Thank you Linda Overman and Carolyn Schumacher for coordinating this effort.

We have a very active and ambitious section. As you can see, we are accomplishing a lot thanks to your volunteer efforts. This section is your forum and everyone is encouraged to participate. If you would like to have the opportunity to contribute to the section in a meaningful way, you are encouraged to join one of the committees. Please communicate your interests to me directly or to Sarah Talley, our Vice Chair, or to other members of the Steering Committee (Sharla Richards, Clark Center, Anke Voss-Hubbard, Glenda Stevens, Linda Overman, Robin McElheny, and Sheila McAlister) whose names and contact information are provided on our website.

We look forward to hearing from you!


  • Pamela Hackbart-Dean (University of Georgia) Chair
  • Sara Talley (Utah State Archives and Records Services) Vice Chair/Chair-Elect
  • Robin McElheney (Harvard University) Immediate Past Chair/Chair, Nominating Committee
  • Sharla Richards (Preservation Consultant) Member-at-Large
  • Clark Center (University of Alabama) Member-at-Large
  • Glenda Stevens (Texas Christian University) Chair, Education Committee
  • Sheila McAlister (University of Georgia) Chair, Outreach Committee
  • Linda Overman (Alabama Department of Archives and History) Chair, Program Committee
  • Clark Center (University of Alabama) Chair, Publications Committee
  • Newsletter Editor Anke Voss-Hubbard (Eastern Illinois University)
  • Council Liaison Fynnette Eaton (Smithsonian Institution)

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Steering Committee Meeting

August 27, 1999, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Those who attended: Pam Hackbart-Dean, Clark Center, Sheila McAlister, Glenda Stevens, Carolyn Sutcher Schumacher, Charlotte Brown, Evelyn Frangakis, Julie Graham, Nancy Marrelli, Diana Hevener, and David Haury.

Reviewed 1999/2000 Goals: Brenda Nelson-Strauss from the Chicago Symphony, Rosenthal Archives would like to form a dialog with the SAA Preservation Section and the Music Librarians Preservation Committee. Will have Outreach Committee check into this further.

Fynnette Eaton would like to discuss the Preservation Section's interest in serving as an unofficial subcommittee for the SAA Standards Committee. It has come to the attention of the Standards Committee that many of the reports coming for their review and approval are related to preservation. Therefore, it would be beneficial to have the Preservation Section select a few of its members to serve as reviewers. Fynnette will further discuss this proposal with Pam Hackbart-Dean.

Education Committee (Anke Voss-Hubbard and Glenda Stevens): Models of Preservation Policy and Procedure documents project was discussed. There was not a very good response for call of copies of preservation policies and forms. Will ask those who completed the Preservation Management Training program for copies of policies they completed for that program. Will work with SAA/ARMA joint policies and forms manual project to provide preservation forms and policies for their publication. Deadline for submission is November 1, 1999. This document will be available in hardcopy and on CD-ROM. Further discussion with David Haury regarding content will be completed at the Education Committee meeting. Plan to proceed with Health and Safety workshop proposal for Denver meeting. The instructor's requested compensation still needs to be discussed with SAA Preservation Council Liaison Fynnette Eaton and SAA Executive Director Susan Fox. Evelyn Frangakis has been in discussion with the SAA Education Department regarding holding a week-long Preservation Management Institute in College Park, Maryland in the spring 2000. Will keep Steering Committee updated on progress of discussions.

Publications Committee (Clark Center): The Selected Readings in Preservation for 1997/1998 is complete. It will be made available via the SAA Preservation Section website. Work on Selected Readings in Preservation for 1999 will begin shortly. Recruitment is needed for this committee. Recommendations include: Sharla Richards, Christine Wiseman (SOLINET), Blythe Lee (Amigos), Sarah Talley (Utah State Archives) and Gregor Trinkaus-Randall (Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners).

Program Committee (Linda Overman and Carolyn Schumacher): Nancy Marrelli would like to resubmit a program proposal on A/V materials. Alfred Lemmon plans to resubmit a program proposal on acquisition and preservation. Charlotte Brown and Glenda Stevens plan to pull together a session on needs assessments. The SAA Congressional Papers Roundtable recently completed a survey that would complement this session. All proposals submitted for Preservation Section sponsorshipwill be reviewed by the Preservation Section Program Committee. Titles and brief descriptions will be forwarded tothe Steering Committee for approval. The Program Committee will prioritize proposals for the SAA Program Committee if more than three proposals are submitted. Deadline for program proposals is October 8, 1999.

Nominating Committee (Robin McElheny): There needs to be a better effort to hold contested elections for Vice-Chair, Member-at-Large and Nominating Committee. The committee for 1999/2000 consists of Robin, Mary Lynn Ritzenthaler, and Sarah Wagner. The ballot will be in the summer 2000 issue of Infinity.

Outreach Committee (Sheila McAlister): The webpage is in its test phase. To review, please go to Susan Fox has been contacted for permission to mount the website. We have initial approval. The Steering Committee needs to review the website for the final time and make comments. As soon as the webpage is mounted, announcements need to be made regarding its availability (as well as the Selected Readings in Preservation 1997/1998). Announcements should appear in Infinity, Archival Outlook, CoOL, the Abbey Newsletter, ConDist, and Archives Listserv. A survey will be developed regarding the website and run in Infinity. It will be necessary to get feedback from section membership on how useful the website is for their needs, is it easy to navigate, important information, etc. The committee would like to design a brochure to distribute to archival education programs/preservation programs regardingthe section. The benefits of being a member of the section, etc. Charlotte Brown has a list of educational programs that can be targeted. At the Denver Steering Committee meeting, the website will be revisited. Also to be discussed is whether the web evelopment/maintenance should continue to be part of the Outreach Committee's responsibility or be shifted to the Publications Committee.

Denver meeting: Suggestions for the section meeting program should be made to Pam Hackbart-Dean. Possible topics include: Moving an archives/special collections library.

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Section Seeks New Editor!

The SAA Preservation Section Steering Committee is soliciting candidates among the section's membership to fill the role of editor of Infinity, the section's newsletter. Potential editors should possess the following attributes: familiarity with or willingness to learn desktop publishing software and standard word processing programs, experience in editing text and proofreading, the ability to meet deadlines, strong organizational skills, the capability to work with minimal direction, and an interest or desire to learn layout, design, and desktop publishing.

As an ex-officio member of the Steering Committee, the editor reports to the committee at the annual meeting. The appointment is for a minimum of two years.

Infinity represents the voice of the Preservation Section in the archival world and serves as the means of disseminating essential information about professional matters to all its members.

Individuals who wish to apply for this position are requested to submit a letter of interest with a brief statement explaining their qualifications and their interest in serving as editor. These letters should be sent to Pam Hackbart-Dean, SAA Preservation Section Chair, Richard B. Russell Library, University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, GA 30602- 1641 or by e-mail:

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SAA Announces 1999 Preservation Award at Pittsburgh Meeting

The Storage Guide for Color Photographic Materials

by James M. Reilly (Image Permanence Institute)

The Storage Guide for Color Photographic Materials is an impressive and useful guide for anyone who is responsible for color photographs and is a key publication for archives who hold color photographs in their collections.

James M. Reilly of the Image Permanence Institute brings us yet another useful guide to help archivists preserve photographic material and manage photographic collections. In 1993, Reilly authored the IPI Storage Guide for Acetate Film (IPI, 1993). Like that earlier effort, the Storage Guide for Color Photographic Materialsincludes an informative text and a laid-in cardboard wheel which helps disseminate new research compiled form 1993 to 1996 on the storage and management of color materials.

The publication is clearly written covering such topics as the history of color, stability, the technology of color photography, the causes of fading in dark storage, the effects of different factors that influence stability, storage enclosures, air pollution, and environmental controls. In addition, the publication includes a handy wheel to help determine the environmental storage conditions, and a bibliography that cites a number of key works.

In summary, this publication has already been noted for its value in reviews and seen as "required reading for all who have a professional responsibility for storing color images." (Abbey Newsletter Vol 22, no. 2, 1998).

It should also be noted this publication would not have been possible without the assistance of IPI staff and the New York State Program for the Conservation and Preservation of Library Research Materials.

SAA Preservation Award Committee

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March 28, 2000, 8:45 a.m - 5:00 p.m.
National Archives Building
700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC

The National Archives and Records Administration's Annual Preservation Conferences cover topics on the creation, use, exhibition, care and handling, conservation, duplication, and long-term storage of information on paper, film, tape, and disk.

This year's Conference will bring together conservation scientists, preservation professionals, and conservators to discuss technical issues related to deacidification. A number of deacidification methods exist to preserve library and archival paper records. Selecting deacidification as a treatment option involves understanding the distinction between various methods and what they accomplish, and a careful assessment of the materials to be treated. Concerns that often guide the decision include: the nature and condition of the paper substrate; the media and other non-paper materials that may be part of the items; the dimensions, format, and quantity of items requiring treatment; the intrinsic value of the material; the efficacy of the proposed method; and evaluation of one's resources. Technical issues relating to these concerns will be the focus of the program. An opportunity to discuss products and services with various deacidification manufacturers will be available during the lunch break and at the end of the conference.

Preregistration is required. The Registration Fee is $75.00. Please send check payable to: National Archives Trust Fund and/or obtain registration information from: Eleanor Torain, Conference Coordinator (NWT) 8601 Adelphi Road, Room 2807 College Park, MD 20740-6001 Telephone: 301-713-6718; Fax: 301-713-6653 E-mail:

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Call For 2000 Preservation Award Nominations

The SAA Preservation Publication Award Committee would like to encourage members of the SAA Preservation Section to submit their nominations for the 2000 Preservation Publication Award. Established in 1993, this award recognizes and acknowledges the author(s), editor(s), or organization for an outstanding preservation-related work of relevance to the archives community published in North America during the previous year. Eligible publications include articles, reports, chapters, and monographs in print, audiovisual, or electronic formats published in 1999. More information on SAA awards in addition to a nomination form is available on the SAA website at:

Nominations and copies of the material must be postmarked by February 28, 2000. Nominations will not be considered unless all materials, including other supporting documentation, are postmarked by that date. Requests for additional nformation and/or nomination forms should be addressed to:
Chair, Awards Committee
Society of American Archivists
527 S. Wells St., 5th Floor
Chicago, IL 60607-3922

Your nominations are essential to the award process. The SAA Preservation Publication Award Committee looks forward to seeing your nominations in February.

SAA Preservation Award Committee

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The Nominating Committee is seeking nominations for next year's election. In 2000, the Section will elect the Vice Chair, a one-year office; one Member-at-Large, and one Nominating Committee member, both two-year positions. Please use the nomination form on page 8 to recommend individuals for consideration by the Section's Nominating Committee.

Thank you.

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Editor's Note: The following articles by Bruce Arnold and Ellen McCrady are a summary of their presentations to the Preservation Section Business Meeting, August 27, 1999, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

ASTM Paper Aging Research Program

by Bruce Arnold, American Society for Testing & Materials

ASTM (The American Society for Testing and Materials) is nearing completion of a six-year research program. The goal is creation of three accelerated aging test methods for reliable prediction of the life expectancy of any printing and writing paper, regardless of its composition. The program cost is approximately $4 million USD. 33 organizations have provided those funds. They range from pulp and paper companies to library and archive organizations.

Three separate test methods are being pursued. They utilize elevated temperature, elevated light flux, and elevated concentration of common atmospheric pollutant gases to accelerate aging. Five laboratories are engaged in these scientific studies. The Canadian Conservation Institute in Ottawa, ON and the U.S. Library of Congress in Washington, DC are undertaking the temperature studies. The USDA Forest Products Laboratory in Madison, WI and The Finnish Pulp & Paper Research Institute in Espoo, Finland are working toward a light aging method. The Image Permanence Institute at the Rochester Institute of Technology is developing the pollutant gas method. The temperature and pollutant studies will be complete by the end of 1999. The light aging work will be complete in late 2000.

In order to ensure that the research could be reproduced, fifteen papers were specially produced for the program. The array of paper included both acid and alkaline papers. At one end of the fiber scale was mechanical pulp (the typical fiber in newspapers) in which all of the tree's lignin remains in the pulp. At the other extreme was pure cotton fiber. Between, was a selection of pure chemical wood pulps with all lignin removed and contemporary lignin-containing pulps known as BCTMP (for Bleached ChemiThermoMechanical Pulp). This array of fibers was felt to represent a good cross-section of those found in commercial papers today.

While it is too early to draw final conclusions, the results to date suggest there is good probability that scientifically sound test methods will be forthcoming from this program. If that be so, it will be possible for both producers and users of these papers to move from current composition based standards to those that are based only on specific performance requirements, regardless of the life requirements for the given paper.

When the five laboratory reports have been peer reviewed, they will be published in appropriate scientific journals. It is then that ASTM will write new standard test methods.

Trends In Preservation

(Mostly in Libraries)

by Ellen McCrady, Abbey Publications

Administrative Trends: Preservation is becoming more integrated with the other functions in the library which has improved decision-making. For example, Janet Gertz's article, "Is Digital Conversion Really Part of Preservation?" in v. 23 no.2 of the Abbey Newsletter describes many situations in which digital projects help-or do not help-the cause of preservation, and vice versa. Conservators are taking on more preservation functions, or moving into preservation positions, in their institutions. Even in this period of prosperity, university libraries are short of money for preservation. Two reasons for this are the exponential increase in prices for technical serials, and the expansion of digital functions and projects at the expense of preservation.

Remote storage: Offsite storage of library materials in specially-built warehouses is a strong trend now. It began at Harvard University about 15 years ago, based on the principles used in the Newberry Library's storage wing in the 1970s. The idea is popular because a) so many libraries are running out of room, b) remote storage is cheaper, and c) it provides relatively fast access while enhancing preservation since many of the sites provide a stable environment and other protective features.

Selection for Preservation: In the past, practice tended to lag behind theory. Now it appears to be catching up, because of the need to decide what goes into remote storage, and to justify the costs of deacidification, book repair, or digitization programs.

Deacidification: Interest has flagged in recent years, though Yale University recently started a program. The Bookkeeper method leads the pack now, because the Library of Congress tested and selected it. Major libraries in Europe are now choosing it as well. But new methods continue to appear.

Permanent Paper: The international standard (ISO 9706), based on the U.S. standard (NISO Z39.48), was re-approved this past summer for another five years, with few if any changes. Now that a way has been found to make groundwood papers with a calcium carbonate filler, however, there is pressure from industry to omit any mention of lignin in permanence standards. Instead, they urge adoption of a standard based only on accelerated aging. A large research program is now underway to see if this might work.

For unstable and valuable photographic materials, cold storage seems to be the way to go, now that the problem of staging the removal of stored materials to a warm room has been solved by special box-and-bag enclosures. Cold storage can provide a lifetime of hundreds of years even for unstable photographic materials.

Electronic Media (Sound, TV, Tapes, CD-ROM, and Computer Records): Preserving electronic media is much more costly than preserving paper, but it can be done reliably for important files (like JSTOR, an electronic collection of back issues of journals maintained by OCLC) if every element of the recording system is well documented and the information is copied at intervals.

Mold and Sick Buildings: This is the next big frontier in preservation. We need to focus on buildings and people, as well as collection materials and RH, because they are all related. More research is being done nowadays, and the different professions that deal with mold are talking to each other at conferences on bio-aerosols, medical problems, indoor air quality, building structure that will discourage mold growth, cleanup methods and so on. We need to learn new approaches that are more effective.

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SAA recently announced that our distinguished chair, Pamela Hackbart-Dean (University of Georgia), will be teaching the following workshop this spring:

Preservation: Surveying, Selecting and Holdings Maintenance, will be offered on April 28, 2000, at the Spring Meeting of the New England Archivists in Lowell, Massachusetts. The Registration Deadline is March 27, 2000.

During this one-day workshop, participants will: learn the role of surveys in preservation planning; determine fundamental selection considerations; review the nature of materials found in archives and the preservation problems they pose; review the factors that cause the deterioration of materials; focus on holdings maintenance procedures; and establish criteria for evaluating materials and supplies used for holdings maintenance activities. Surveying, selecting and holdings maintenance, recognized as basic components of archival preservation management, are critical aspects of archival arrangement and description. The workshop is designed for archives staff as an introduction to preservation issues and the holdings and maintenance activities performed during arrangement and description.

The instructor for the workshop is Pamela Hackbart-Dean, archivist and assistant department head, Richard B. Russell library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia. Hackbart-Dean manages preservation, cataloging, and digitization projects and prepares preservation policies and procedures, including disaster plans. Please visit the SAA Website at for further registration and hotel information.

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The Nomination Form appears in the original hardcopy version of the newsletter only.

In 2000, the Preservation Section will elect the following officers: Vice Chair/Chair-Elect (The Vice Chair assumes the position of Chair after serving one year in the Vice Chair/Chair-Elect position); a Member-at Large (two-year term); and one Nominating Committee Member (two-year term). Please use this form to recommend individuals for consideration. Provide as much information as possible about each person, to assist the Nominating Committee in evaluating potential nominees. Attach additional sheets if needed. Return this form by March 1, 2000 to Sheila McAlister, Russell Library, University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, GA 30602-1641.

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REMINDER Annual Meeting of the Society of American Archivists

August 28-September 3, 2000 Denver, Colorado

Updated NEDCC Preservation Manual Now Available In Print

The Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) announces the availability of the printed version of the third edition of its publication, Preservation of Library & Archival Materials: A Manual, in hard cover. The manual is approximately 400 pages in length and consists of a series of 50 technical leaflets. The manual is available online at If you want more information about ordering the printed version, contact Jamie Doyle, Development & Public Relations, Northeast Document Conservation Center, 100 Brickstone Square, Andover, Massachusetts 01810; Tel: 978.470.1010; Fax: 978.475.6021; or email at:

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Many thanks to all of you who contributed to this issue of Infinity, the newsletter of the Preservation Section of the Society of American Archivists. The newsletter is currently published twice a year and the deadline for the next issue (Spring/Summer 2000) is June 16, 2000. I urge all of you to contribute your news and comments to Infinity. Please contact me with your ideas and proposals for future issues. I look forward to hearing from you.

Anke Voss-Hubbard History Department Eastern Illinois University 600 Lincoln Avenue Charleston, IL 61920-3099 Tel: 217-581-7286 (w) 217-348-1969 (h) Fax: 217-581-7233 Email:

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© Society of American Archivists Preservation Section. Created March 28, 2000; updated March 29, 2000