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Preservation of Sci-Tech Materials Survey Results
Just over a year ago, the ACRL Science and Technology Section
conference program committee for 1995 sent out a brief questionnaire
to sci-tech library listservs on the current status and importance of
preserving the record of science and technology. The results of that
survey are summarized below.
To learn more about the issues involved in this critical area and to see
how librarians and archivists are dealing with the preservation sci-tech
materials, please join us at our ALA conference program, "Preserving
the Record of Science and Technology: A Call to Action", Monday, June
26th from 8 - 11 am at the Hotel Intercontinental, Grand Ballroom in
Chicago. This program is co-sponsored by STS and the ALCTS
Preservation and Reformatting Section and the Collection Development
and Management Section.
The program will focus on issues in the preservation of science and
technology materials. Speakers will analyze the scientific process and
the resulting documentation, report on the preservation status of
sci-tech materials, and discuss models for a disciplinary approach to
Helen Samuels, Institute Archivist, Massachusetts Institute
of Technology: "What is the Record of Science and Technology"
Joan Warnow-Bluett, Associate Director, Center for History
of Physics, American Institute of Physics: "The Role of Discipline
Samuel Demas, Head, Collection Development and Preservation, Cornell
University: "Building Alliances for Disciplinary Preservation"
Poster sessions on current sci-tech preservation efforts will follow to
stimulate informal discussions among attendees on cooperation in
preserving the records of different disciplines.
1994 STS Preservation Survey Results:
Many thanks to the 37 respondents who contributed to this survey.
1. Please describe your institution's current or planned
preservation project(s) of science and technology materials.
Bucknell University: Currently writing a disaster response plan, which
includes prioritizing collections to be rescued in emergencies, and steps
to be taken to protect the collection and prevent damage.
Columbia University: Current proposal to microfilm 800 serial volumes
in the hard sciences taken from holdings of the eleven comprehensive
research libraries in New York State and filmed by Columbia. Recently
received funding from the Commission on Preservation and Access to
investigate a variety of means for scanning large color maps.
Cornell University, Mann Library:
1. Four year project to identify and preserve the regional natural history
literature of the northeast bio-region (New England States, PA, NJ, NY,
Ontario, And Quebec.
2. Multi-year project to preserve and enhance access to the core
historical literature of U.S. agriculture. Have received funding from NEH
and another agency for scanning and production of microfilm.
1. Planning to identify and preserve the core historical literature of
home economics in the next few years.
1. Have already identified and preserved the most significant historical
literature concerning agriculture in NY.S. Have developed and tested a
methodology for identifying and preserving state and county level
publications on agriculture.
2. Have already identified and preserved the most significant historical
literature in most (but not all) areas of entomology (in western
Kansas State University: Plan to microfilm the "American Miller " upon
receipt of a grant.
Linda Hall Library: Purchases replacement microfilm and photocopies
for brittle materials.
Missouri Botanical Garden: Planning a joint project with the New York
Botanical Garden and other botanical libraries for the preservation of
botanical literature that are in danger of deteriorating.
National Agricultural Library: Have an electronic preservation
committee whose charge is to coordinate efforts within NAL to identify
materials in the collection for electronic preservation; to develop a
program for monitoring the quality of electronically, archivally stored
materials and for periodically refreshing the data; establishing a liaison
and working with LC and NLM and other federal libraries to share
information on preservation responsibilities with a minimum of overlap,
handling archival copying, and sharing storage facilities.
MIT Burndy Library: While in the process of cataloguing the collection
they are doing a condition survey. Re-housing pamphlets, etc., and noting
any volumes that require binding repairs or replacement. Re-housing all
the manuscripts in the collection into acid-free folders and boxes, and
mylar L-envelopes as needed.
National Library of Medicine: Has an institutional mandate to preserve
the biomedical literature. In the past 7 years has microfilmed about
45,000 volumes and are continuing to microfilm about 5,000 volumes
per year. NLM's History of Medicine Division is concerned with the
conservation and preservation of rare and historically valuable
Novacor Research Library: A not-for-profit Sci/Tech library in a
for-profit organization. Main concern is preservation of those materials
which detail the scientific experiments, tests, etc. The library
microfiche and store offsite all lab notebooks and internal reports. They
also backup databases daily to CD ROM.
Oregon State University, Guin Library: Actively collects grey literature
on the Columbia River Salmon, and preserves it through simple binding.
Some special items--rare books--are kept in a special case and
occasionally boxed if necessary.
Penn State: Digital scanning project of an archival collection of
Pennsylvania agricultural county agent reports from 1912-1983. To
date over 68,000 pages have been scanned.
In Oct. 1994, the University Libraries will begin a two year preservation
microfilming project to reformat 1050 volumes in the area of the
history of rural America, including early American agricultural journals,
early monographs, Penn State masters theses and dissertations on the
history of agriculture and agricultural education.
Rhodes University, JLB Smith Institute of Ichthyology, South Africa:
This special library devoted to the study of ichthyology, fisheries and
aquaculture has an archive of unpublished correspondence, manuscripts,
memorabilia, original artworks (mainly now in published books), original
photographs, press cuttings, negatives, photographic slides etc relating
ichthyological research in South Africa and to some extent African
countries to the north. This material is soon to be housed and catalogued
on a computer system (UREKA) in the Cory Library at Rhodes University.
Here it will be stored in temperature and humidity controlled
environment in a fireproof room in as optimum conditions of "acid free"
as is affordable.
The Institute also houses a massive reference collection of fish (4.5
Kilometers shelf space). These are catalogued on computer and
preserved in ethanol under optimum conditions with an elaborate fire
San Diego Natural History Museum: Working on improved archival
housing of materials, including UV blocking and also a long-range
preservation plan in preparation of a building expansion.
Stony Brook Engineering Library: Participated in a project to microfilm
old sci-tech journals not available in microfilm format.
SUNY Albany: Participating in joint science serials microfilming project
UC Santa Barbara Map Library: Requested funds for preservation of air
photos (color transparencies made from nitrate negs).
University of Florida, Gainesville: Microfilming of Florida Geological
Survey publications (completed). Microfilming of UF Engineering &
Industrial Experiment Station publications (planned). Microfilming of
pre-1958 UF Theses and Dissertations (planned).
University of Utah: Recent project: Flattening and encapsulation of
University of Washington Health Sciences Library: Emphasis on
prevention of deterioration and in disaster planning.
USGS NMD Reference Collection: Conservation and preservation of the
topographic map collection (over 300,000 maps dating from late 1870s
2. Please rank what is most important to preserve
(1 most important - 8 least important)
*2.77- Local documents
3.0- Other: large folded paper, maps, charts, patents, photographs,
negatives, engraving woodcuts, preprints, reprints, fishing gear,
5.05 -Non-print materials: Computer databases, floppy disks, laser
discs, cd-rom, internet resources, microfilm, fiche, slides, recordings,
videotapes, artwork, spatial data, software
*Based on ranking totals for 37 respondents. Not all categories were
given a rank by all respondents.
3. Please describe the rationale for your rankings (ie., institutional
priorities, lack of preservation in this area, etc.)
(12) Institutional priorities
(4) Unique collecting areas
(2) Importance of retrospective materials for each discipline
(2) Regional responsibilities
(2) Difficulties in preserving certain kinds of materials (e.g. large
One comment each for the following:
oJournal literature most important in biomed. area
oPast preservation surveys
oNecessity of planning cooperative preservation of books and journals on
a national level
oLack of preservation in this area
oLack of funding and staff for preservation activities
oShould preserve materials that will never be put in electronic format,
e.g. grey literature, "little titles"
oImportant to preserve books because they are general reviewed and are
a compendium of information on a subject.
4. Are there any sci-tech fields that should receive immediate
(3) Botanical literature
(2) Folded maps in the back of publications
(2) Geological materials
(2) Electronic resources
oTechnology manuscripts and rare books
oBrittle and acidic journal collections
oGraphic materials that don't microfilm well
oSci-tech journals in all fields
oOrganized snap-shots of Internet resources
oLocal historical atlases in marine science
oMining, mechanical, chemical and geological engineering
oElectronic materials pertaining to Computer Science
oFields where scientific interest has died out
oLocal environmental documents
5. Please list any science and technology preservation projects that
you are aware of being conducted outside your institution.
a. Oregon State University Library is currently scanning the Linus
Pauling papers and creating a searchable database of correspondence and
b. RLIN provides information on member institutions that have
microfilmed titles for preservation.
c. Penn State's optical scanning project of historical steel workers and
agriculture department documents.
d. Univ.of Nevada-Reno has done some work with maps in the back of
publications. Some years ago, Denver Public Library had a project to
preserve maps in backs of USGS pubs.
e. NAL- Univ. Pitt. Library School - Michigan State joint project to
examine the use of images in information retrieval and scanning of
botanical prints and photos of plant insect pests and diseases.
f. Columbia University - Map Preservation project of older New York
State museum publications.
g. CIC project - local agricultural materials.
h National Institute for Conservation - natural science materials.
i. Motion picture films and photographic technology (no institution
j. SLA, Div. of Physics, Math and Astronomy - microfilming observatory
6. Are you or your institution interested in participating in a
cooperative preservation initiative? Is so, please be sure to
include your name and address with the return of this survey.
Brown University - Eric Shoaf
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Library - Margaret Henderson
Columbia Univ. - Janet Gertz
Cornell Mann Library - Sam Demas
Emory University - Bob Greene
Illinois State Univ. - Pat Dolan, Beth Schoberand (Biol., chem. math ed)
Kansas State Univ - James Mason, Diana Farmer
Linda Hall Library - Nancy Day
Michigan Tech. Univ. -Janet Anuta Dalquist
Missouri Botanical Garden - Connie Wolf
MIT Burndy Library - Christine Ruggere
National Agricultural Library - Maria Pisa
NLM - Carol Unger
Oregon State Univ. Marine Sci. Library - Janet Webster
Penn State - Sue Kellerman
Princton, Chemistry Library - Lois Nase
Rhodes Univ., JLB Smit Inst. of Ichthy. - Margaret Crampton
San Diego Natural History Museum Library - Ann Payne, Sally Shelton
SUNY Albany - Veronica C. Cunningham
SUNY Stony Brook - Dianne Stalker
Univ. of Kentucky, Ag. Library - Toni Powell
Univ. of Florida, Gainesville - Vernon Kisling
Univ. of Maryland - C.E.E.S. - Chesapeake Biological Labs - Kathy Heil
Univ. of Wash Health Sci. Library - Nancy Ottman Press (setting policy
for preservation of electronic formats)
Univ. of North Carolina, Geology Library - Miriam Sheaves
USGS National Maps Division - Mary E. Graziani
Co-Chair, STS 1995 Conference Program Planning Committee
Weber State University
Ogden, UT 84408-2901