Infinity (Fall/Winter 2004 Volume 19, Number 2)

SAA Preservation Section Affinity Newsletter 19:2


The Newsletter of the SAA Preservation Section         Fall/Winter 2004 Volume 19, Number 2

In This Issue:

From the Chair

In the first few months as the Chair of SAA's Preservation Section, I have been overwhelmed by the readiness of section members to help me find my way in this position. I was put on a "fast track" to the Vice-Chair/Chair Elect position in 2003 when Tom Clareson, Manager, OCLC Digital and Preservation Cooperative, moved quickly to the Chair position to fill a resignation. I am particularly grateful to Tom for his advice and guidance.

As Preservation Section Chair, and simply as an archivist, I was thrilled to see national attention brought to the preservation of our nation's documentary heritage in US News & World Report's 70th Anniversary Issue on "American Milestones: 100 Documents that Define Our Nation" in September. I was also pleased to hear that SAA President Timothy Ericson's letter to the editor expressing praise for the issue was published. I only felt disappointment when I heard that Mr. Ericson's attempt to use his letter to bring some attention to the declining resources available to statewide archives programs was left on the cutting room floor by USN&WR. In the public eye it continues to be "sexy" to talk about preservation, but not how this valuable work is funded. But even in this time of tight budgets, I see continuing evidence that the archival community is filled with individuals dedicated to the preservation of the vast variety of materials that make up our documentary heritage.

This dedication is evident in the excellent session proposals that were submitted to the Preservation Section for endorsement. The proposals covered a wide array of topics, from the preservation of specific formats to the creation of policies to ensure the preservation of entire collections. Preservation Section leaders and members worked hard to see that many preservation topics were represented in the session proposals. I recently heard from the Program Committee that two of our endorsed sessions were accepted for the meeting in Boston: "Preservation Policies for Digital Resources" and "Preserving Moving Images: Assessing Risk and Value."

I was also informed that the Program Committee accepted a number of other preservation-related sessions. These sessions are:

  • ERAPNET: Seeking and Supporting Best Practices in Digital Preservation and Archiving (this is being presented by a European consortium)
  • Us, Them, We: Strategies for Creating Successful Collaborations with Vendors for Sound Preservation Projects
  • A Report on a Project to Collect, Describe, Preserve and Make Accessible the Desegregation-Era Records of the Boston Public Schools
  • Digital Preservation in Institutional Repositories
  • Materiality, Meaning, and Metadata: The Importance of Physical Form

As I read the titles of these sessions, it is evident digital issues continue to be in the forefront of the minds of the archival community. Archivists are challenged to educate themselves in the ever-changing complexities of the digital world and to integrate it into preservation planning efforts. Preservation Section members come to mind as some of the leaders in archival digital education. I hope that the Preservation Section can provide SAA with leadership in their digital preservation and education initiatives in the coming year.

Preservation will always be at the heart of our calling as archivists. I look forward to working with the Preservation Section this year to bring our commitment to this issue into the SAA spotlight. In the next issue of Infinity I will bring you more detail about our annual section meeting at the 2004 SAA meeting in Boston. In the meantime, please feel free to contact me with any suggestions/ideas for the Preservation Section.

Susan DuBois Tel: 215-242-2343 Email:

Preservation Section leadership

  • Susan DuBois, CHAIR
  • Sheila McAlister, VICE CHAIR (University of Georgia) mcalists@UGA.EDU
  • Shelby Sanett, MEMBER AT LARGE (Amigos Library Services, Inc.)
  • Doris A. Hamburg, MEMBER AT LARGE (National Archives and Records Administration)
  • Julie Graham, CHAIR, OUTREACH COMMITTEE (University of California, Los Angeles)
  • Susan Koutsky, CO-CHAIR, EDUCATION COMMITTEE (University of Maryland)
  • Rebecca Hatcher, CO-CHAIR, EDUCATION COMMITTEE (Northeast Document Conservation Center)
  • Tom Clareson, CHAIR,, NOMINATING COMMITTEE (OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc.)
  • Linda Overman, CHAIR, PROGRAM COMMITTEE (Alabama Dept. of Archives and History)
  • Julie Graham, WEBMASTER (University of California, Los Angeles)
  • Clark E. Center, Jr., NEWSLETTER EDITOR (University of Alabama)
  • Christopher A. Paton, COUNCIL LIAISON (2003-2006) (Georgia State Archives)

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SAA Preservation Section Meeting

August 22, 2003 Summary by Tom Clareson, 1/20/04

Tom Clareson, Manager of Education & Planning in the Digital Collection & Preservation Services Division at OCLC Online Computer Library Center, who served as Preservation Section Chair in 2002-2003, led the SAA Preservation Section Meeting, beginning at 8:10 a.m. on August 22, 2003.

Clareson explained that 2002-03 had been a transition year for the Preservation Section of SAA. Elected chair Anke Voss-Hubbard had to resign and Clareson went from serving as vice-chair to immediately serving as chair. Funding cuts have resulted in the fact that many colleagues on the Steering Committee and many other key Section members were unable to attend the Conference as well. Other section members faced organizational changes, funding cuts, and similar concerns at our institutions. Even with these obstacles, the SAA Preservation Section made great strides and contributions this year:

  • Officially, seven programs sponsored by the Preservation Section made it on the Conference Agenda this year. But the influence of our members and preservation as a topic was far wider, with a total of five pre-conferences and ten programs focusing on preservation.
  • For the first time in three years, we have a “Selected Readings in Preservation” bibliography, compiled by Elli Bambakidis with assistance from other section members and interested groups. Copies were available at the meeting, and it will be mounted on the Section Website.
  • The Infinity newsletter, published twice annually, will soon make its move to be exclusively an e-publication.

With all of these activities and the “products” and benefits coming from the Committee, Clareson urged members to think of our work in the Preservation Section not as a burden, but as an added resource which can provide all of us information and tools to help us achieve our preservation mission more easily, and better. He also asked members consider lending their strengths and ideas to the work of the section.

Clareson announced the new chair and vice-chair for the Section:

Susan Dubois, Field Services Officer at the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts (CCAHA) in Philadelphia, will become chair at the end of this meeting. Susan was unable to attend this conference, and Clareson communicated the discussions, program ideas, and needs of the section to her.

Sheila McAlister, Digital Librarian at the University of Georgia and a long-time leader in the section, was been elected vice-chair and will become chair at the end of the 2004 Boston Conference. Clareson had spoken with Sheila in Atlanta two weeks prior to the SAA Conference, and she was concerned not to be attending, but her institution was not allowing out-of-state travel for budgetary reasons.

Clareson then focused on the sections efforts at this conference:

  • On Wednesday, 93 people attended the “Copyright in a Digital World” symposium, which featured a great deal of discussion on preservation and digital projects and their attendant copyright issues.
  • Thursday afternoon, two sessions sponsored by the section competed with each other, but both drew sizable audiences. “New Sources for Archival Funding” featured presentations by the Grammy Foundation, National Science Foundation, the Getty Foundation, and IMLS, and was coordinated by our long-time section leader, Diane Vogt O’Connor. “Going through the Stages: From Model to Practice in the Open Archival Information System” featured a presentation from section member Nancy McGovern.
  • Coming right up after the SAA Preservation Section meeting was the session “18th Century Documents and 21st Century Technology: Preserving the Charters of Freedom” featuring a team of speakers from the National Archives.
  • After lunch on 8/22 was a session on preservation needs assessments, and 8/23 featured both Julie Graham leading a session on moving image preservation, and a variety of speakers delivering the program “Digital Preservation: Longevity, Image Quality and Metadata.”

Clareson introduced the SAA Preservation Section’s Council Liaison, Chris Paton, to report on current Council activities. Chris reported that the SAA Task Force on Electronic Publications said stop paper publications, beginning in Spring 2004, partially to speed member access, and partially to achieve a reduction in costs. A section member asked about long-term preservation of the publications, and was told that this was addressed in the new policy developed by the Task Force. Clareson thanked Paton for her report and her representation of the section.

Next, Clareson asked for committee reports from those committee members who were present.

  • Education committee – Cathy Mundale detailed the activities of the committee and discussed plans for the group to be more active in 2003-04.
  • Nominations committee – Diane Vogt-O’Connor. She detailed Susan DuBois and Sheila McAlister’s new roles. She also discussed the election of Doris Hamburg as Member-at-Large for the Section and Shelby Sanett’s continuing appointment as Member-at-large. Also at this point, Vogt-O’Connor, in her role as Chair of the Standards Committee, talked about the work of the SAA Standards Committee to expand the SAA Standards for Archival Description manual to include more preservation and building standards, especially in the face of outsourcing. Standards Committee members were asked to identify assistance from each section. From Preservation, Sheila McAlister and Glenda Stevens volunteered to author or update sections, and it was reported that Stevens had completed work on a section about particulates. Vogt-O’Connor asked for a motion to endorse the publication of the work of the Standards Committee (approved), and asked that the work be publicized via the Section website and newsletter.
  • Elli Bambakidis provided the Selected Bibliography on Preservation, covering writings of the last three years. Clareson asked members, if they see any need for additions or clarifications to the document, to contact Elli or my by September 15.
  • Linda Overman, Preservation Section Program Committee Chair, was unable to attend the conference, but was recognized by Clareson for her work in developing the slate of Preservation-related programs and preconferences for the 2003 Los Angeles SAA Conference.
  • Clark Center, Newsletter Editor, was unable to attend the conference, but had produced two issues this year, and is planning to make the newsletter electronic for next year’s issues.
  • Julie Graham, Outreach Committee Chair and Preservation Section Webmaster, was unable to attend the Preservation Section meeting because of her duties on the Los Angeles Local Arrangements Committee.

Clareson moved on to the programmatic portion of the meeting. Bonnie Curtin and Joe Herring of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) provided the first update on Preservation Funding Initiatives.

Curtin discussed grants from the NEH Division of Preservation & Access, including:

  • Research and Dissemination – extending technologies for use in humanities field.
  • Stabilization – Actions to create suitable environments for humanities collections. These grant amounts can range from $75,000-500,000, with a 1-to-1 match. This category has been newly opened for libraries and archives to apply. Because the grants are very detailed and the program has an October deadline, Curtin suggested applicants might want to go for 2004 funding. Uses of the funding can include modified Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) and other environmental improvements including fire suppression.
  • Preservation Assistance Grants – the next deadline for this category is May 15, 2004. This funding category is directed toward small and underserved cultural institutions. There will be new grant guidelines available in January 2004. This program has gained a great deal of popularity, with 400 applications in 2003. Curtin suggested that consulting applications need to have appropriate consultants (archivists) for their projects. She also noted that this category would need panelists in 2004.
  • Herring said that “meat and potatoes arrangement and description projects” are still fine for funding, and that this area was not receiving as many applications as some others.
  • Both Curtin and Herring discussed the “Save America’s Treasures” grants, funded by the National Park Service. NEH participates in the program to assist in administration and awards. The next deadline is May 2004. These grants are given to organizations for the preservation of cultural buildings and cultural materials. Awards are given to museum and library collections in the amount of $50,000 – $1 million with a 1-to-1 cost share. The current cycle (2004 deadlines) has not been announced yet.

Diane Vogt-O’Connor noted that the Save America’s Treasures program also had archives among its awardees in recent years.

Clareson distributed a handout and some notes from Jane Long, of Heritage Preservation, who heads the Heritage Emergency National Task Force. To summarize, the Heritage Emergency National Task Force was created in 1995 in recognition that no one agency or organization can alone provide expertise and resources for the cultural community in times of disaster. It is an informal partnership of 34 government agencies and national organizations, sponsored by Heritage Preservation and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). General activities of the Task Force include providing expert information and resources to institutions and public; promoting preparedness and training for archives, museums and libraries, and fostering cooperation from among government agencies and preservation organizations and between cultural institutions and first responders. This last activity is the basis of a series of “Alliance for Response” forums to be held in Dallas, Boston, Cincinnati, and New York in 2003-04.

In addition, Nadina Gardner of Heritage Preservation discussed the two field tests of the Heritage Health Index Survey.

Finally, Clareson introduced Julie Page, Preservation Officer at the University of California, San Diego, and Barclay Ogden, Preservation Director at the University of California-Berkeley to tell the SAA Preservation Section about statewide preservation efforts in California.

The program began in 1989 with funding from the California State Library for training sessions on the CALIPR collection survey method. Forty-five libraries implemented the survey. Following the CALIPR project, there were Statewide Preservation meetings and a plan was published in 1995 (available in paper and now on the Web). In 1997, Amigos Library Services developed a California Preservation Planning Survey to identify important program aspects. The survey results led to the building of a strong statewide program. California is now in the 3rd year of the program, funded by State LSTA money for $150,000/year. The program features a distributed and mosaic approach Task Force members currently have liaison with 30 other organizations, especially those related to disaster recovery and other preservation issues.

For the California Preservation Program, the main areas of focus are education and training (Task Force members teach disaster workshops with the objective to have written disaster plans in place at end of the 6-week training series (a 50% success in this program is seen as very good). The group also provides surveys and consulting, beginning with building risk surveys. The Task Force has a trained cadre of surveyors, who also do preservation needs assessment surveys focusing on collections. Another area of emphasis is regional disaster preparedness with shared disaster supplies in cargo containers in various regions of the state. Finally, the California Preservation Program has a clearinghouse of preservation information for non-specialists, available via the Web, and a toll-free number answered by Julie Page.

Two other new elements in the program were discussed:

  • Involvement in proposals and projects funded by State of California LSTA finding. Task Force members assist to ensure preservation elements covered guidelines development for the state grants.
  • NEH Preservation Assistance Grants – California Preservation Task Force members want to do similar regrants in state. Immense overhead when you touch money, so offering services, such as on-demand preservation assistance consulting services.

After the presentation, there was a great deal of discussion. Nadina Gardner of Heritage Preservation asked what is the point of entry? Page answered that e-mail; disasters were the most common initial contacts. Diane Vogt-O’Connor asked if there were resources available to show how program is done, such as a syllabus.

Page and Ogden also were asked how they might serve their constituencies better. For example, if there are tiny organizations with some archival materials (such as Diocesan archives). Page remarked that the smaller institutions are pleased to have names of resource people, especially of those familiar with collections. Others asked if the program evaluated and recommended services (which they did not, but they provided models of Contract and RFP design), and if the Task Force members had institutions with new plans test the plans once they were completed (the Task Force ask libraries to do this if they have completed the plans before 6 weeks/next class).

Another specific question dealt with a bomb threat and staff not being allowed into their building -- where to congregate, count staff, etc. Page suggested development of business continuity plans and working with local emergency managers on a campus and county-wide basis.

At the end of the presentation, one audience member suggested that, to help activate Statewide Preservation programming, there needs to be at least one full-time position in each state.

As the end of the meeting drew near, Clareson asked for announcements, questions, and discussion -- comments the audience had on needs of the section, today’s program, or other areas? He also called for brainstorming for program suggestions, with proposals due to SAA by October 7. What program ideas do we have from this group?

There was a call for a Program on statewide preservation – “where are we now” from states across the U.S. Another suggestion was a series of joint ALA/SAA/AAM programs, with program ideas going to all Program Development committees. Pat Morris of South Carolina suggested a program on storage and collection space with new buildings; preservations implications for space. Another request was a program on different types of disaster and how to respond.

Gregor Trinkaus-Randall gave the group program committee information for the August 2-8, 2004 SAA meeting in Boston. He said that the program application form was online. Program endorsements from need to be from the section of origin, must submit to section steering committee, then programs are ranked by November 7. Section Program committees look at audiovisual requirements. Finally, Solveig deSutter of the SAA offices discussed the need for pre-conference proposals from the sections. Clareson thanked the audience for their support and attendance at the meeting, and adjourned at 10:05 a.m.

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News & Announcements

Attack of The Giant Mold Spore. Wednesday, March 3, 2004 at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA from 9am - 4pm. $115 SOLINET Members ($105 early bird, $140 late registration), and $155 Non-SOLINET, ($145 early bird, $180 late registration). Any institution within Virginia qualifies for the member rate.

Integrated Pest Management: Beating The Critter Jitters. Wednesday, March 24, 2004 at Columbus-Lowndes Public Library, Columbus, MS from 9am - 4pm. Cost is $115 SOLINET members ($105 early bird, $140 late registra-tion), $155 Non-members ($145 early bird, $180 late registration). Any institution within Mississippi qualifies for the member rate. For more information or to register, contact Vanessa Richardson at 800-999-8558, or visit the SOLINET website at for full descriptions and online registration.

School For Scanning: Building Good Digital Collections, June 2-4, 2004. The Palmer House Hilton, Chicago, IL . Presented by the Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) For more information, see

March 1-3, 2004 “ECURE 2004 (Preservation and Access for Electronic College and University Records Conference).” Tempe, AZ. For more information see the Website:; or Email:

March 3-4, 2004 “Intermediate Book Repair.” Bowling Green, KY. For more information see:; Tel: 800-999-8558; or Email:

March 8-11, 2004 “Mold, Moisture, and Remediation Workshop.” Cincinnati, OH. For more information see:; or Tel: 513-742-2020.

March 24, 2004 “Integrated Pest Management: Beating the Critter Jitters.” Columbus, MS. The workshop will focus on the Integrated Pest Management approach, which emphasizes non-chemical methods of pest control. For more information see:; Tel: 800-999-8558; or Email:

April 22-25, 2004 “Preserving the Historic Road in America. Portland, OR. For more information see: or call Syd Scott at 202-588-6204.

June 7-18, 2004 “Modern Archives Institute.” Washington, DC. A 2-week class in archives administration, this class surveys basic archival functions, including acquisition of archival materials, appraisal and disposition, arrangement, description, preservation, reference service, and outreach. Cost: $665. Tel: 202-501-5390, ext. 279. Fax: 202-208-1903. Email: Web site:

August 2-8, 2004 "Society of American Archivists Meeting." Boston, MA. Contact SAA at 527 S. Wells St., 5th Floor, Chicago, IL. 60607; Tel: 312-922-0140, Fax: 312-922-1452, Email:, Web:

April 27-28, 2004 “Disaster Preparation & Response for Records Managers.” New York, NY. A 2-day workshop offered by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). Covers disaster planning and disaster mitigation, disaster response, and disaster recovery. Cost: $300. Contact: Jill Snyder at 781-663-0148 or
This workshop is also being presented on the following dates and places:

  • May 7-8, 2004 Myrtle Beach, SC. Contact: Gina C. Williams at 404-763-7064
  • May 26-27, 2004 Buffalo, NY. Contact: Jill Snyder at 781-663-0148 or
  • June, 2004 (date to be announced) Albuquerque, NM. Contact: Records Management 303-236-0822 or
  • June 8-9, 2004 Seattle, WA. Contact: Bonnie Olsen at 206-526-6501 or
  • June 11-12, 2004 Cherokee, NC. Contact: Gina C. Williams at 404-763-7064 or
  • June 16-17, 2004 Denver, CO. Contact: Records Management at 303-236-0822 or
  • June 23-24, 2004 Philadelphia, PA. Contact: David Weber at 215-305-2004 or
  • August 6-7, 2004 Tallahassee, FL. Contact: Gina C. Williams at 404-763-7064
  • August 10-11, 2004 Dayton, OH. Contact: Marybelle Yeazel at 937-425-0624 or
  • August 17-18, 2004 Atlanta, GA. Contact: Gina C. Williams at 404-763-7064 or
  • August 25-26, 2004 Waltham, MA. Contact: Jill Snyder at 781-663-0148 or
  • August 26-27, 2004 Chicago, IL. Contact: Joseph Suster at 773-948-9040 or

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Society of American Archivists Preservation Section. Created 14 April 2004