Infinity (Summer 2003 Volume 19, Number 1)

SAA Preservation Section Affinity Newsletter 19:1


The Newsletter of the SAA Preservation Section         Summer 2003 Volume 19, Number 1

In This Issue:

From the Chair

For the Society of American Archivists' Preservation Section, this has been an active year in programs, projects, and publications. The effort of the Section Steering Committee and a variety of section members are all building momentum for our Annual Meeting.

SAA Annual Meeting Preservation Programs Behind the scenes, the Preservation Section has been ramping up for much more than "fifteen minutes of fame" when the Association holds its annual meeting in Los Angeles August 18-24. Six of nine program sessions proposed by the Section were accepted for the Annual meeting, but when you look at the conference agenda, the number of sessions with a preservation component shows that SAA members in all areas of archival practice are interested in preservation activities.

On August 18-19, four preconferences will have a preservation focus. The sessions will deal with "Oral History: From Planning to Preservation," "Archival Perspectives in Digital Preservation," security issues, and "Preservation Management of Machine-Based Audiovisual Collections."

A late addition to the conference agenda, which may be of interest to the preservation and digitization communities, is the FREE full-day Symposium, "Copyright in A Digital World" featuring six nationally-recognized speakers addressing a variety of copyright issues.

Scheduled for August 20, this is a "traveling symposium" that premiered at the Institute of Museum and Library Services' "Web-Wise" conference in February, and will also be held at the upcoming AASLH and ALA conferences. Please contact Amy Lytle at or 800/848-5878, ext. 5212 for more information or to register, as seating is limited and registration is required.

A total of ten program sessions, addressing funding, audio, film, and electronic records preservation, and a number of viewpoints on digital preservation will be held. A session on Preservation Needs Assessments on Friday will address an important new initiative, the Heritage Health Index, and will feature the premiere of a new video, "The Preservation Survey: A First Step in Saving Your Collections." Once again, our Program Committee Chair, Linda Overman, has been "a true star" in seeing these programs through the development and selection phases.

Preservation Section Meeting
Our Section Meeting, scheduled for 8:00-10:00 a.m. on Friday, August 22, will include presentations on "The Next Wave of Statewide Preservation Planning," featuring speakers from the very successful California Preservation Program. Other discussion topics at the meeting will include updates on a variety of issues related to disaster preparedness, response, and recovery. In addition, Chairs of the Education, Outreach, Newsletter, Nominating, and Web Committees will report. If you have other topics you would like to see covered at the business meeting, please contact me at 800/848-5878, ext. 6071 or

Bibliography to Be Published
The SAA Preservation Section publication "Selected Readings in Preservation," prepared by Elli Bambakidis, has been a great effort, and the bibliography will be published in time for the Annual Meeting. Elli has compiled a list of important publications from 2000-2002 in her effort to restart this annual publication.

I want to express my appreciation to all Preservation Section members for your work throughout the year. Whether you attend the Los Angeles meeting, or purchase audiotapes of sessions of interest, I think you will see that preservation is central to the mission of SAA, and this section helps to "keep it in the spotlight."

Tom Clareson, Manager Education and Planning Digital Collection and Preservation Services OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc.

Preservation Section leadership

  • Thomas F R Clareson, CHAIR (OCLC Information Center)
  • Susan W. DuBose VICE CHAIR/CHAIR ELECT (The Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts)
  • Doris A. Hamburg, MEMBER AT LARGE (National Archives and Records Administration)
  • Cathy Lynn Mundale, CHAIR, EDUCATION COMMITTEE (Atlanta University)
  • Diane Vogt-O'Connor, CHAIR, NOMINATING COMMITTEE (National Archives and Records Administration)
  • Sheila McAlister, CHAIR, OUTREACH COMMITTEE (University of Georgia)
  • Elli Bambakidis, CHAIR, PUBLICATIONS COMMITTEE (Dayton & Montgomery County Public Library)
  • Linda Overman, CHAIR, PROGRAM COMMITTEE (Alabama Dept. of Archives and History)
  • Julie L. Graham, CHAIR, OUTREACH COMMITTEE & WEB LIAISON (University of California, Los Angeles
  • Clark E. Center, Jr., NEWSLETTER EDITOR (University of Alabama)
  • Tom Connors (2000-2003), COUNCIL LIAISON (University of Maryland)

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The results of the special election are as follows: Susan W. DuBose was elected Vice Chair/ Chair Elect and Doris A. Hamburg was elected Member-at-Large. Congratulations to both!

Report Regarding Salvage and Recovery of Flood Damaged Materials in Central Prague

At the request of the U.S. Embassy and the Municipal Library of Prague, I spent the week of November second visiting cultural institu-tions in the City of Prague. The purpose of the visit was to inspect flood-damaged materials, to discuss salvage and recovery methods and to provide suggestions regarding short- and long-term solutions to preserve and conserve paper-based materials damaged by the flooding in August 2002. The visit was funded by a grant to the Municipal Library from the U.S. Embassy with additional funding from the Getty Conservation Institute.

At this time, drying and disinfecting materials are of primary concern. The National Library and the National Archives, neither of which sustained major damage to their collections, have received a grant to test various methods for each process. Drying methods being tested include vacuum-freeze drying, heated air drying and vacuum pack drying; disinfection methods under consideration include use of a pre-existing ethylene oxide chamber at the National Archives and possible use of microwaves. No mention was made of gamma radiation. Drying using sawdust and hops has already been ruled out. Czech firms that do not specialize in drying books and paper have offered their services and are being considered. There are several vacuum-freeze dry units in Europe, some of which have very small capacities that may eventually be used. A small advisory committee consisting of conservators and preservation officers will review results from the tests and make non-binding recommendations. The Czech government is expected to announce a new governmental body to coordinate recovery efforts on or about December 15, 2002.

The feasibility of establishing one central treat-ment facility is also being discussed. Possibil-ities include an empty "clean" building in Mora-via and a Dutch suggestion to create a modular facility that could be transported to different sites following other disasters. Treatment at individual facilities is also being considered.

The Municipal Library and the Architectural Archives of the Technical Museum were among the collections holding institutions hardest hit in central Prague. The ground floor of the Municipal Library was flooded by ground water; performance halls in the building were flooded with up to 9 meters of water. These two halls are venues for musical and theatrical performances that provide significant income to the institution. They are already in the process of being renovated following the flood. Two branch libraries were completely devastated. One of these housed the Library's rare book and print collection as well as the conservation workshop. All of the circulating and general reference materials, library furnishings and technical equipment from these two branches were lost. Damage to one building is so severe that it will be demolished. Virtually all of the rare books and prints were salvaged. Materials were rinsed in clean water, packed into crates and frozen. They are currently housed in a freezer warehouse at minus 25(Celsius along with flood damaged materials from at least three other institutions located in Prague. A few tools, a sewing frame and a board shear were salvaged from the conservation workshop.

The Municipal Library currently employs two book and paper conservators, one of whom is still a student at a Czech conservation school. The National Library is providing space and equipment located at the depository in Hostivar to these conservators. The conservators are drying individual volumes using two vacuum-packing machines that belong to the National Library's well-equipped lab. They currently have one to two thousand bags, and I believe that a few thousand more may be on the way, thanks to Blue Cross of Great Britain and Ireland. Two part-time assistants are due to begin working with the conservators shortly. This is a slow, labor intensive drying technique. Its current virtues are that it provides a sense of movement for the institution since it was a readily available technology and that it is a very gentle drying technique. Rare books in the Municipal Library's collection are almost always in original, unaltered bindings and manipulation of the bindings as they dry may aid in saving both materials and structures.

Many materials belonging to the Architectural Archives of the Technical Museum were housed in an old barracks located very near the river. Storage conditions prior to the flood are described as fair to poor; collections were known to be dirty and mold damaged to some degree. The river overflowed its bank where the barracks was located, and flood damage to the collections is severe. Collections include many original architectural drawings in a variety of media on cloth and paper as well as blueprints, photographs, documents, glass plate negatives and a large collection of wooden, plaster, and paper architectural models. Some paper models were completely lost. Work is by Czech and European architects; many of the drawings for competitions are unique and of unrealized designs. Some materials have been reformatted over the years; others have not.

The sole conservator for the Museum is working in a small space in the basement of the Museum. She is washing and flattening material as she thaws small groups of plans and drawings. Both institutions are moving small groups of frozen materials from the warehouse freezer to chest freezers at their facilities for drying and treatment.

Goals for both institutions include drying and disinfecting all salvaged materials. Conservators and administrators assume that many materials will not be fully conserved and expect that boxing and reformatting may be the extent to which the majority of collections may be preserved. Everyone is also well aware that the preservation and conservation efforts will continue for many years.

Immediate priorities for both institutions include identification of drying and disinfecting methods and contracting with appropriate vendors. Once work spaces are located, they must be equipped and staff increased. Cost of freezer space is prohibitive at approximately $2,000US per month for the entire warehouse, making fast efficient drying for most of the collections desirable as long as curators, conservators and administrators are confident that methods will not be harmful to their individual collections.

For the Municipal Library, priorities also include reopening the two branch libraries and renovating the ground floor space in the central library. The hope is that many of the general collections can be replaced by donation. The Director has located a building in central Prague that could serve as a treatment facility. Lease or purchase of that space will be quite costly because of its location. Adequate equipment and supplies will be an additional expensive. The U.S. Embassy provided an immediate grant of $30,000US and the Library has raised additional funds. The Ministry of Culture can not at present promise large sums since the Czech government is more immediately concerned with restoring services, housing families displaced by the flood, etc. The Director hopes to launch an appeal to private and corporate funders as well as to international sources. He has estimated the funds required for the Municipal Library alone to restore the performance halls, reopen the branches, pay freezer fees and begin the conservation effort at 1.3 million US dollars. Additional funds are likely to be required to fully preserve the damaged collections.

My role during the week included providing technical advice on working practices in relation to health and safety practices, efficient use of work space, production methods and techniques for conserving water and mold damaged materials, and providing instruction and information on new techniques and equipment for drying and treating over-sized materials. Discussions with the U.S. Ambassador and the U.S. Cultural Affairs Officer centered on the current state of the recovery effort at the Municipal Library as well as basic information about preservation and conservation. Discussions with book and paper conservators at the school in Litomysl centered around the ethics of selection of materials to be conserved, current trends in conservation in the United States and techniques that are likely to be useful as the students begin to treat materials damaged by the flood.

The individuals I met during my visit were well informed, engaged and making great efforts to approach this monumental task with professionalism and good humor. At this time, the greatest need of collections-holding institutions is financial assistance. Once the drying and disinfecting processes are well underway, technical and physical assistance are likely to be appropriate. Training opportunities may be limited at this time, since conservators are needed on site to manage the limited preservation programs underway and to begin to plan for later extensive efforts.

I greatly appreciated the opportunity to meet with staff at the Municipal Library, the Technical Museum and other institutions in Prague as well as to talk with conservation students at the school in Litomysl. I hope that my encouragement and advice was as helpful to them as the tours and discussions were informative for me.

Deborah Wender Director of Book Conservation Northeast Document Conservation Center Andover, MA

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Preservation News & Announcements

August 1-3, 2003 "The Document Imaging and Document Management Course" will be held in Los Angeles, CA. For more information see the Website:

August 4-8 and October 13-17, 2003 "Digital Preservation Management: Short-term Solutions to Long-term Problems" will be held in Ithaca, NY at Cornell University Library. For more information see the Website:

August 6, 2003 "Grant Writing For Digitization And Preservation Projects," Sponsored by SOLINET at Atlanta, Georgia. To register or for more information, see the website at

"Electronic Document Imaging" will be held in Cheektowaga, NY on August 7 and in Salamanca, NY on August 7-9, 2003. To register, see the New York Archives Website: August 08, 2003 "Attack of The Giant Mold Spore," Sponsored by SOLINET at Rock Hill, South Carolina. To register or for more information, see the website at http://www.

August 12-13, 2003 "Disaster Preparedness and Response for Records Managers" in Dayton, OH and in September (date to be announced) in Kansas City, MO. Contact Marybelle Yeazel at Tel: 937-225-2852x426 or Email:

August 13, 2003 "Disaster Preparedness for Federal Managers and Staff" will be offered by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in Central Islip, NJ. Contact Jill Snyder at Tel: 781-663-0148 or Email:

"Digital Imaging for Federal Managers" August 14, 2003 in Fort Worth, TX and September 18, 2003 in Philadelphia, PA (Center City). Contact David Weber at Tel: 215-671-1175 or Email:

August 19-20, 2003 "Digital Imaging of Library Materials," Sponsored by SOLINET at Miss. State, Mississippi. To register or for more information, see the website at http://www

August 21, 2003 "Commercial Library Binding," Sponsored by SOLINET at Gainesville, Florida. To register or for more information, see the website at http://www.

August 23-28, 2003 "Preserving Photographs in a Digital World" in Rochester, NY. To register: Tel: 585-271-3361x420; Fax: 585-271-3970; Email: For more information see the Website: or

September 11-12, 2003 "Fundamentals of Book Repair," Sponsored by SOLINET at Bowling Green, Kentucky. To register or for more information, see website at http://www.

September 15-18, 2003 "Symposium 2003 Preservation of Electronic Records: New Knowledge and Decision-Making" to be held in Ottawa, Canada. For further information please contact: Symposium 2003 Program Coordinator, Canadian Conservation Institute, 1030 Innes Road, Ottawa ON K1A 0M5 Canada; Tel: 613-998-3721; Fax: 613-998-4721; E-mail: cci-icc_publications; Website: symposium2003/index_e.shtml.

September 15-19, 2003 "The Preservation Management Institute for Library and Archival Collections" is being sponsored by Rutgers University, in New Brunswick, NJ. For details on this phased, three-part course taking place as follows: Session I, 10/28-11/1; Session 2, 4/7-11, 2003; and Session 3, September 15-19, 2003, see the Website:

September 24-25, 2003 "Digital Library Program Development," Sponsored by SOLINET at Spartanburg, South Carolina. To register or for more information, see the website at _home.cfm

September 30, 2003 "Protection for the Light Sensitive: Care of Photographic Materials" will be held at the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts (CCAHA) and will be held in Philadelphia, PA. For additional information, please contact: Preservation Services Office; Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts (CCAHA); 264 South 23rd Street; Philadelphia, PA 19103; Tel: 215-545-0613; Fax: 215-735-9313; or E-mail:

September 30-October 5, 2003 "The National Preservation Conference" will be held in Denver, CO by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in partnership with the Colorado Historical Society. For more information see the Website:; Tel: 800-944-6847; or Email:

October 1-4, 2003 "Book Collections Maintenance and Repair Workshop" will be held in Mount Carroll, IL. For more information see the Website:

October 8-11, 2003 "Preservation of Plastics" will be held in Mount Carroll, IL. For more information see the Website:

November 12, 2003 "Protective Enclosures for Simple Storage Solutions" is being offered by the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts (CCAHA) and will be held in Philadelphia, PA. For additional information, please contact: Preservation Services Office; Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts (CCAHA); 264 South 23rd Street; Philadelphia, PA 19103; Tel: 215-545-0613; Fax: 215-735-9313; or E-mail:

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Society of American Archivists Preservation Section

Annual Election 2003

The Nominating Committee (Diane Vogt-O'Conner (Chair), NARA; Steve Dalton, NEDCC; and Glenda B. Stevens, Dole Institute, KU) is pleased to present the slate of candidates for the following positions:

  • Vice Chair/Chair Elect : Sheila McAlister
  • Member-at-Large: Shelby Sanett
  • Nominating Committee member: Barbara Rust

Please review the biographical notes on each of the candidates and indicate your selection on the ballot on page 6. Please note that you may select only one candidate per office. Write in candidates are welcome. Please mail this original ballot to Diane Vogt-O'Connor, Chair of the Nominating Committee at NARA, Archives II, Office of Regional Records Services, 8601 Adelphi Road, Room 3600, College Park, MD 20740-6001. You may contact Diane by telephone: 301-837-3089 or email: if you have questions about the submission of your ballot.

Election results will be announced during the Preservation Section Business Meeting being held on Friday morning, August 22, from 8:00 to 10:00. The nominating Committee wishes to thank all the candidates for their willingness to serve the Preservation Section.

Your ballot must be mailed no later than August 8, 2003 for it to be counted.

For Vice-Chair/Chair Elect: Candidate-Sheila McAlister Since 2001, Sheila McAlister has been the Project Manager and Digital Metadata Coordinator for the Digital Library of Georgia, a GALILEO initiative based at the University of Georgia that assists Georgia's libraries, archives, museums, and other institutions of cultural heritage with creating online access to materials about the state's history and culture. A certified archivist, Sheila is active in both the Society of Georgia Archivists and the Society of American Archivists. In 2002, she was elected Member at Large for SAA's preservation section and has been a member of the section's steering committee since 1999. Prior to her position at the Digital Library, she was the Electronic Access Coordinator for the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies at the University of Georgia and was responsible for automating the archives' descriptive practices, processing electronic records, and coordinating its digital projects. She has presented on digital libraries and archival description for the Georgia Libraries Association, GIL Users' Group, University System of Georgia Computing conference, and the South Carolina Archival Association. This summer she will be teaching two workshops for SOLINET, Introduction to Metadata Standards and Digital Library Program Development.

For Member at Large: Candidate-Shelby Sanett Shelby Sanett is Imaging and Preservation Services Manager, Amigos Library Services, Dallas Texas. Shelby coordinates the activities of Amigos' Imaging & Preservation Services (IPS), a non-profit, grant-funded service providing preservation information, support and training to librarians and archivists in the Southwestern US, primarily Arizona, Arkansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. IPS provides information, disaster planning and recovery assistance, training and site surveys, as well as developing state and local cooperative networks and serving as an advocate for preservation regionally and nationally. Shelby holds an MLIS degree from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). She is an investigator on the InterPARES Project where her research interest is in the area of preservation policy. She also holds an MBA from the University of Phoenix. Shelby has made numerous presentations at regional, state, and national library and archive conferences and library schools, published recent articles on preservation of electronic records, and presented talks on her research at conferences in the United States and Europe.

For Nominating Committee Member: Candidate-Barbara Rust Barbara Rust is an archivist at the National Archives-Southwest Region, where she has worked since 1976. Barbara holds certifications as an archivist and records manager. She is a member of the Society of Southwest Archivists and the Texas State Historical Association, where she serves on a TSHA archives committee. Her publications include "National Archives-Fort Worth Branch," A Guide to the History of Texas and "The Right to Vote: The Enforcement Acts and Southern Courts," Prologue: Quarterly of the National Archives. She has presented papers at meetings of Organization of American Historians, American Society for Legal History, Arkansas Historical Commission, and a Mississippi River Conference.

Ballot not included for online version of Infinity Newsletter

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Society of American Archivists Preservation Section. Created 30 May 2004