Infinity (Spring/Summer 1999 Volume 15 Number 1)

SAA Preservation Section Affinity Newsletter 15:1


The Newsletter of the SAA Preservation Section         Spring/Summer 1999 Volume 15, Number 1

In This Issue:

From the Chair

by Robin McElheny (Harvard University)

As you make your plans for SAA's upcoming annual meeting in Pittsburgh, I hope you will put the Preservation Section Business meeting on your schedule. While 8 to 10 a.m. on Friday morning, August 27th, may seem daunting, we have planned an information-packed session to inspire and educate.

Our program will feature two speakers: Ellen McCrady, Editor and Publisher of the Abbey Newsletter, will give a preservation update. Her presentation will be followed by a status report on the American Society for Testing and Materials Paper Aging Research Program by Bruce Arnold, Chair of the Paper Aging Research Program. In addition, Barbara Paulson, from the National Endowment for the Humanities, will give an update on the Division of Preservation and Access. As one of the largest sections in SAA, we encompass a broad range of interests and expertise in the preservation of historical materials. Our annual meeting offers the best opportunity for Section officers to hear from you about what activities will help you the most in your jobs as archivists. What kinds of information do you need and in what form would you like it? Citations to the latest preservation publications? Resource lists? Supplier lists? Hands-on workshops on photograph preservation or preservation project management?

For those of you interested in sharing your preservation expertise or experience, the annual meeting offers an opportunity to meet the Section committee chairs and to join a committee, of which the Section has four: Education, Outreach, Programs, and Publications. Please consider joining one of them if you have preservation expertise or experience to share, or if you have a particular project in mind to foster and disseminate preservation information throughout our community. If you are interested in learning more about the Section committees but will not be attending the annual meeting, please contact me at:, or contact Pamela Hackbart-Dean, Section chair-elect at:

I look forward to seeing you in Pittsburgh.

Preservation Section Leadership

  • Robin McElheny
    (Harvard University), Chair
  • Pamela Hackbart-Dean (University of Georgia), Section Vice Chair/Chair-Elect
  • Glenda Steven (Texas Christian University), Co-Chair, Education Committee
  • Anke Voss-Hubbard (Eastern Illinois University), Co-Chair, Education Committee
  • Tyler Walters (Institute of Paper Science and Technology), Chair, Nominating Committee
  • Tom Clareson (AMIGOS Bibliographic Council), Co-Chair, Outreach Committee
  • Sharla Richards (AMIGOS Bibliographic Council), Co-Chair, Outreach Committee
  • Kathleen Collins (Bank of America Corporate Archives), Chair, Program Committee
  • Scott L. Gampfer (Cincinnati Historical Society), Chair, Publications Committee
  • Sharla Richards (AMIGOS Bibliographic Council), Member-at-Large
  • Sarah Talley (Utah State Archives & Records Service), Member-at-Large
  • Charlotte Brown (University of California at Los Angeles), Chair, Task Force on Preservation Education
  • Anke Voss-Hubbard, Newsletter Editor
  • Karen Jefferson (Duke University), Council Liaison

Back to Top


March 25, 1999, National Archives Building, Washington, D.C.

By Sarah Talley (Utah State Archives & Records Service)

Speakers explored the uses of special types of archival storage spaces and shared ideas for adapting existing spaces. There are unique challenges associated with each of these alternatives. For example, How does water drain from an underground room? What are the risks of fire and fire suppression in caves and high density storage areas?

An Overview of Alternative Space Options for Libraries and Archives: Paul Banks (Consultant) surveyed current alternative space utilization for materials. The time-weighted preservation index (TWPI) demonstrates the effect of temperature and relative humidity control on the life expectancy of documents and may be used to justify funding for environmental control. Control is not achieved solely by mechanical systems. In the past, passive control was achieved by constructing buildings for maximum ventilation, siting buildings in shade or sun, or by using massive structures that retained heat or cold. Modern additions to these passive measures include use of airlocks, compartmentalization in stacks, insulation, and vapor barriers.

New NARA Facilities Standards: The draft of new standards for Permanent Records Storage and Presidential Libraries were reviewed by Richard Judson (NARA). Previously unaddressed issues such as building siting, fire suppression, and light exposure are included. The final document will appear in the Federal Register this year. Some examples of specifications and recommendations include: A licensed fire protection engineer should take part in design; Storage area size should be limited to 40,000 sq. ft. to limit losses; Building should be sited at least 5 ft. above and 100 ft. away from flood plains; Security system/contractor should be certified by National Underwriters; Storage and processing areas should be serviced by different HVAC units.

High-Density, Cool Temperature Storage at the Library of Congress: Doris A. Hamburg and Steven J. Herman (LC) described the development and construction of an off-site high-density depository at Fort Meade. As part of the development process, the Image Permanence Institute used the TWPI to evaluate the life-expectancy of collections in different environments. Conditions in the new depository will increase the LE of the items stored there six times. Special considerations include allowing items to adjust from cool temperature to normal room temperatures without stress or condensation and installing fire suppression systems effective for high-density storage.

Adaption of Underground Space: The facilities of National Underground Storage, Inc. were described by Tom Benjamin. Special benefits of underground storage are increased security from theft or vandalism, flexibility of space, limited temperature and RH fluctuation, and fireproof cave walls. There are also challenges, including time-delays in depositing and retrieving materials because the location is remote, limited access to water for employees and fire suppression, and remoteness from emergency services, including the fire department.

Working With What You Have - Existing Facilities: Ernest Conrad, P.E.(Landmark Facilities Group) described how small institutions can achieve proper environmental conditions for the storage of documents and books. The three steps in this process are: 1) Get data - monitor and evaluate the building. 2) Determine heat loads - people, transmission, infiltration, machinery, solar, outdoor air 3) Determine moisture influences - above (rain, gutters), within (sinks, toilets), and below (rising damp, spalling of paint or bricks). Design should be sustainable and affordable.

Building a Small Cold Storage Vault: A case study of a contractor-built cold photographic storage vault within an existing structure was described by Robin Siegel (National Geographic Society). A Bally box with a vestibule was set up in an open storage area. Materials were not stored there for several months so the operation of the unit could be observed without risking damage to the photographs. Special attention was given to airflow and RH.

The Cold Storage of Photographic Collections Using Conventional Freezer Technology: Mark McCormick-Goodhart (Old Town Editions, Inc.) presented a demonstration project utilizing microclimate packages for photographic materials and the sealed cabinet approach. McCormick-Goodhart and Henry Wilhelm had a walk-in commercial freezer with a vestibule constructed. Materials were stored in the freezer in special packages designed to keep them dry and to protect against condensation and other problems.

Special Challenges - Fire and Fire Suppression: Case studies of fires were presented by Tom Goonan (Tom Goonan Associates). Record materials create fuel for fires, therefore records storage areas, particularly high-density, present special problems. Roofs should be constructed so that they will not collapse on the sprinkler system during a fire. The size of storage areas should be limited to 250,000 c.f. with 4-hour fire walls between them so losses can be contained. Smoke detectors usually are not necessary in open stacks, but they are useful where compact shelving is used.

Sarah Talley, Preservation Archivist, Utah State Archives & Records Service, P.O. Box 141021, Salt Lake City, UT 84114-1021
phone: 801-538-3186 fax: 801-538-3354

e-mail: changes to on July 1, 1999!

Back to Top


In the early eighties, the Richard B. Russell Library, University of Georgia, staff acquired an addition to Senator Richard B. Russell's collection. These were materials from his local senatorial office/home in Winder, Georgia, and some of his family papers. While collecting these items, it was noted that more materials were available, concerning his father, a former state supreme court justice, and the Russells' family legal practice. These materials were deemed important for their informational and historical value. Unfortunately, the family was not ready to release these papers to the library at this time. The staff did, however, survey the materials and create a site plan, which documented the location and physical arrangement of the records. This was done so that the identified materials could be retrieved easily when the family was ready to make the donation.In the summer of 1997, the family consented to transfer these materials to the Russell Library. Their removal from the family homesite at Winder would mark the final installment of historical documents from the family. However, there were some preservation concerns that had to be addressed before the collection could be transferred to the library.

The following winter, the Russell Library staff began packing up materials that consisted of legal files, correspondence, political memorabilia, ledgers, and photographs from the carriage house at the senator's family home. The papers had been housed in the attic of the carriage house for over 80 years. The structure had served as storage for the law office and various family papers for several decades. As befitting the times, this attic had no environmental controls-no air conditioning, no insulation, no shades over windows, and no relative humidity control. As would be expected over the passage of time, the room was intensely dusty. These conditions presented serious preservation challenges. These papers were important to the library, so procedures had to be taken to enhance their life expectancy.

When the collection was initially inspected, silverfish were found living among the papers. There was also clear evidence of rodent activity, both past and present. A scientist from the microbiology department at the University of Georgia came to Winder and tested the papers for mold activity. Not surprisingly, the testing showed substantial, and more important, active mold growth.

Staff, with gloved hands and masked faces, carefully transferred each item into standard record storage boxes and moved them to the records house. This building is also located at the Russell family home site. There were fifty-two boxes of materials that need to be inventoried and "fumigated" before transferring the collection to the Russell Library.

After consulting several conservators around the United States and Canada, it was decided the best course of action was to create an anoxic micro-environment to eradicate the collection of silverfish. The Getty Conservation Institute, the Canadian Conservation Institute and the Georgia Institute of Technology have treated infested collections with this low oxygen method. The technique for carrying out this treatment is fairly simple. The staff placed each box of materials in an individual transparent EVOH barrier film envelope; next they placed Ageless? packets in the envelope; and finally, they sealed each envelope. The key element of this treatment, the Ageless? packets, is an oxygen scavenger patented and produced by the Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Company. These packets act by removing oxygen from a hermetically sealed package, thereby depriving insects of oxygen. Over a period of a few weeks, this treatment will cause the insects to dehydrate and die. There are more sophisticated methods that work quicker, but with the limited monetary and staff resources, this fit the libraries need.

While this technique will eradicate the silverfish from the collection, it will not eliminate the mold. This procedure, however, will allow the mold to remain in its dormant state. For the mold to remain dormant, the infested collection will need to be stored in a controlled environment. This would include good circulation of air, moderate temperature (68 degrees-72 degrees F) and moderate relative humidity, less than 60%.

The boxes of materials remained in their micro-environment for three weeks and then were transferred to the Russell Library. When the collection is processed, the manuscripts will be individually vacuumed using a type 1 HEPA filter to remove the dormant mold spores. The Russell Library chose to use this method to treat an infested collection because the process was simple and posed no threat of toxicity to materials or staff. In addition to being safe, the procedure was practical. Hilary Kaplan, Conservator, Georgia Department of Archives and History, provided training and advise to Russell staff in a one-day session and then staff proceeded with the project. Creating an anoxic environment may need to be done again, but hopefully not too soon!!

Pam Hackbart-Dean
Archivist and Assistant Head
Richard B. Russell Library
University of Georgia Libraries
706-542-0627 (fax)706-542-4144

Back to Top
Return to Infinity Index Page

SAA Annual Meeting Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, August 23-29, 1999

Preservation Section Meeting Schedule Friday, August 27

  • All-Member Business Meeting: 8:00-10:00 a.m.
  • Steering Committee Meeting: 6:00-7:00 p.m.
  • Committee Meetings: 7:00-8:00 p.m.

Pre-Conference SAA Workshops:

  • THE REFORMATTING CHALLENGE: MANAGEMENT ISSUES August 23, 1999 Instructor: Sally Buchanan & Jean Ann Croft


Do you remember chocolate coffee beans, REM music and mountains of homework assignments? Yes, it is hard to believe that the Preservation Management Training Program was completed a mere five years ago in Athens, Georgia.

To celebrate this fact, the graduates and the faculty of the program are invited to meet for breakfast in Pittsburgh. It will be a chance to meet and reminisce about the old days and discuss how this experience has improved your institutions preservation program. The breakfast will be on Saturday, August 28th at 7:30 am. We will meet at the Promenade Restaurant. Hope to see you there!

Pam Hackbart-Dean, University of Georgia
Tel: 706-542-0627 (fax)706-542-4144 Email:

Back to Top


I just finished looking over the most recent issue of Infinity, Newsletter of the Society of American Archivists Preservation Section and would like to share some thoughts about the note appended to "The General Preservation Survey" article. I understand the intention of providing the reader potential resources for preservation assessments by listing members of the Regional Alliance for Preservation and the Association of Regional Conservation Centers. It should, however, be kept in mind that such regional centers compete with individuals in the private sector for such opportunities. While it would be impractical to provide lists of individuals (and surely there would be inadvertent omissions), the American Institute for Conservation offers assistance in identifying conservation personnel specializing in general and collection surveys as well as treatment of individual items. Practitioners suggested by the AIC have all agreed to abide by AIC's Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Practice. Conservators listed with the AIC may be selected based on training and experience in a particular specialty as well as geographic region. AIC may be reached at Tel: 202. 452. 9545 Federal funding agencies may also assist in recommending appropriate preservation personnel to conduct surveys. While regional centers offer the convenience of providing a variety of services to the individual or institution, there are also benefits to be gained by selecting conservators who work independently.

Hilary A. Kaplan,Conservator Georgia Department of Archives and History 330 Capitol Avenue,Atlanta, GA 30334 404 656 3554,FAX 404 651 8471

Back to Top

News & Announcements

Northeast Document Conservation Center Presents

Preservation Options in a Digital World: To Film or To Scan A Workshop on Preservation Microfilming and Digital Imaging of Paper-Based Materials, September 21-23, 1999 At the Nebraska State Historical Society's Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center 1326 South 32 Street, Omaha, Nebraska And The Nebraska State Historical Society 1500 R Street Lincoln, Nebraska .The workshop is funded in part by the National Endowment forHumanities. The workshop is hosted by the Nebraska State Historical Society. The workshop will explore two reformatting technologies: preservation microfilming and digital imaging. The similarities and marked differences of the technologies will be compared and evaluated. The faculty will discuss lessons learned from preservation microfilming projects that can be applied to digital imaging projects.

Presented by: Susan Wrynn, Director of Reprographic Services, Northeast Document Conservation Center; Stephen Chapman, preservation Librarian for Digital Projects, Harvard University; Becky Ryder, Preservation Librarian, University of Kentucky; Bob Mottice, President, Mottice Micrographics, Inc.; and guest speaker, Jill Koelling, Assistant Curator of Photographs and Audio Visual Collections, Nebraska State Historical Society.

The flier with the complete agenda and registration form is on or call 978-470-1010.

NEDCC Offers its Preservation Manual On-Line at

The Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) announces the on-line availability of the third edition of its publication Preservation of Library & Archival Materials: A Manual, edited by Sheryl Ogden. The manual is approximately 350 pages in length and consists of a series of 51 technical leaflets. The printed version of the manual will be available in the summer of 1999. If you want more information about ordering the printed version, contact Gay Tracy at Northeast Document Conservation Center, 100 Brickstone Square, Andover, Massachusetts 01810; Tel: 978.470.1010 ext. 217; Fax: 978.475.6021; or email at:

1999 Save America's Treasures Grants Announced.

In a White House ceremony May 19, the First Lady announced grants totaling $30,000,000 to preserve sixty-two "nationally significant intellectual and cultural artifacts, and historic structures and sites." Grantees are located in twenty-four states, the District of Columbia and the Midway Islands. All grants must be matched 1-1with non-federal funds. These grants came from the funds appropriated to the National Park Service for this year; an additional $30,000,000 has been requested by the President in his budget request for FY2000. The list of the 1999 grant recipients that was provided by the White House can be found on the web site of Heritage Preservation at URL:

International Conference on the Conservation of Paper and Photographs,

November 16-18, 1999. The National Archives of Cuba and the Northeast Document Conservation Center, under the auspices of The Getty Grant Program, The ACLS/SSRC Working Group on Cuba, and The Christopher Reynolds Foundation, have organized another International Conference on the Conservation of Paper and Photographs. The conference will take place in Havana Cuba at the National Archives. Those interested in the conference can contact: Conferencia Internacional sobre Conservaci�n de Papel y Fotografias, Archivo Nacional de Cuba. Compostela N?906 esq. San Isidro, Habana Vieja 10100. C. Habana CUBA. Tel: 537 62 9470 or 537 63 6489, Fax 537 33 8089 Email:

Back to Top


The Nominating Committee (Tyler Walters, ) is pleased to present the slate of candidates for the following Preservation Section Steering Committee members:

  • Vice Chair/Chair Elect
  • Member-at-Large
  • Nominating Committee member

Please review the biographical notes on each of the candidates, and indicate your selection on the ballot on the reverse. Please note that you may select only one candidate per office. Write-in candidates are welcome. Please mail this original ballot to Evelyn Frangakis, National Agricultural Library, Rm 300, 10301 Baltimore Ave., Beltsville, MD 20705-2351. Evelyn must receive your ballot by Friday, August 14, 1998 for it to be counted. You may contact Evelyn at 301-504-6503 if you have questions about the submission of your ballot. Election results will be announced during the Preservation Section Business Meeting on Thursday, September 3rd, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. The Nominating Committee wishes to thank all the candidates for their willingness to serve and commitment to the Preservation Section.

For Vice Chair/Chair Elect

Candidate -- Pam Hackbart-Dean

Current Position: Archivist and Assistant Department Head, Richard B. Russell Library, University of Georgia Libraries, 1997-present. Previous Positions: Processing Archivist, University of Georgia, 1990-1997; Project Archivist for NHPRC grant, National Recreation and Park Association, Alexandra, VA, 1988-1990. Education: BA, History, Hendrix College; MA in history with a certificate in public history and archival management, University of Connecticut, Storrs. Graduate of SAA Preservation Management Training Program. Professional Activities: SAA. Preservation Section Education Committee co-chair, 1996-present; Selected Readings in Preservation contributor, 1994-1996; Manuscripts Repository Section Steering Committee, 1997-1999; Congressional Papers Roundtable Steering Committee, 1996-1998; Committee on Institutional Evaluations and Development, Program Presenter 1994, 1996, 1997. SGA. President, 1997, Vice-president, 1996, Archivist, 1993-1995, Newsletter editor, 1994-1995. Selected Publications: "Witty World of Cartoons: Acquiring, Preserving and Cataloging Cartoon Collections, Archival Issues (1997): (forthcoming publication); "A Hint of Scandal: Collecting the Paper of U. S. Senator Herman E. Talmadge--A Case Study, Provenance. (1995): 65-80; "Map Management for Small Collections," Provenance. (Fall, 1990): 52-59.

For Member at Large

Candidate -- Sharla Richards

Current Position: Preservation Field Service Officer, Southeast Library Network (SOLINET), Atlanta, GA, 1995-present. Previous Positions: Book Repair Technician, Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection, University of Texas at Austin, 1994-95; Preservation Practicum and Library Assistant, General Libraries, Preservation Department, University of Texas at Austin, 1994-95; Teaching Assistant, Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Texas at Austin, 1993-94. Education: BA, Speech Communication, Texas A&M University; MLIS, Endorsement of Specialization in Preservation Administration, Graduate School of Library and Information Science, Preservation and Conservation Studies, The University of Texas at Austin. Professional Activities: SAA: Preservation Publications Award Committee, 1998-current; Preservation Section Education Committee, 1997-current; ALA: Photographic and Recording Media Committee, 1996-current; PARS International Task force, 1998-current; Chair, Cooperative Preservation Programs Discussion Group, 1997-current; Chair, Photographic and Recording Media Discussion Group, 1998-current; Society of Georgia Archivists: SGA Newsletter, Preservation Section Editor, 1997-current; SOLINET, OCLC Information Update, Preservation Section Editor, 1997-current. Publications: "Workshop Follow-up Provides Continued Support and Measures Transfer of Training," CLENExchange, 14:1 (September 1997): 5-9; Contributor to the "1995-1996 SAA Selected Readings in Preservation." Infinity, 13:1 (Fall/Winter 1997): I-xxiii; "ALCTS/PARS Cooperative Preservation Programs Discussion Group, American Library Association Midwinter Meeting, New Orleans." Technical Services Quarterly (forthcoming).

For Nominating Committee

Candidate -- Mary Lynn Ritzenthaler

Current and Previous Positions: Supervisory Conservator in the Document Conservation Laboratory, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC. Before joining the staff of the National Archives in 1985, she served as Director of the Society of American Archivists NEH-funded Basic Archival Conservation Program (1980-84). Education: BA, English, Wayne State University; MLS with concentration in archives management, Wayne State University; studied bookbinding with Bill Anthony in Chicago. Professional Activities: Chair, American Institute for Conservation Book and Paper Group, 1998; Vice-Chair, American Institute for Conservation Book and Paper Group, 1997; Faculty, SAA Preservation Management Training Program 1992-94; member of the Guild of Book Workers; member of the International Institute for Paper Conservation. Selected Publications: Author, Preserving Archives and Manuscripts (SAA, 1993); co-author, Administration of Photographic Collections (SAA, 1984); has published widely in the fields of preservation and conservation.

Back to Top

From the Editor

From the Editor: Many thanks to all of you who contribute to this issue. The submission deadline for the next issue (Fall/Winter 1999) is November 12, 1999. I urge all Section members to contribute to Infinity. Please contact me with ideas and proposals for future issues. I look forward to hearing from all of you. New Address! Anke Voss-Hubbard, Historical Administration Program, History Department, Eastern Illinois University, 600 Lincoln Avenue, Coleman Hall, Charleston, Illinois, 61920-3099.