University of California Preservation Program Summary Report 1987-99

University of California Preservation Program
Summary Report for Fiscal Years 1987-99

The University of California Preservation Program (UCPP) began in 1986 as a phased implementation of Conservation of the Collections, a supplement to The University of California Libraries: a Plan for Development, 1978-88 (UC Office of the Assistant Vice President Library Plans and Policies, 1985). An initial appropriation of $200,000/yr was provided the program for deacidification of collections with a plan for expansion to $1,000,000/yr as soon as then-developing deacidification technologies proved themselves technically and economically viable.

Major developmental setbacks delayed a viable mass deacidication technology until 1998-99. For the interim, the resources of the UCPP were directed to meeting the preservation needs of books and documents whose already deteriorated condition left them unable to benefit from deacidication treatment, and to building an infrastructure capable of supporting a major deacidification program for the collections. Major achievements (itemized below) included training for preservation staff on all UC campuses, disaster preparedness for all UC collections, needs assessment and planning for a California statewide preservation program, major contributions to national preservation development and planning, and most important of all achievements, accomplishment of much preservation work, beginning with preservation microfilming and expanding thereafter to include a wide range of preservation treatments needed for UC collections.

In July 1999, as part of a large reorganization of university wide library committees, the UCPP was succeeded by the Preservation Advisory Committee (PAG), which reports to the UC Collection Development Committee (CDC). The PAG is responsible for recommending to CDC overall directions for preservation activities in UC and future use of the funds originally appropriated for deacidification of collections (reduced to $177,000/yr by FY1998-99 following several years of UCOP cost savings).

Major achievements of the UC Preservation Program, 1986-99:

  • Disaster preparedness and response. Plans were developed for all UC libraries and for the northern and southern regional library facilities, protecting the enormous investment UC has in its library and archive collections. Supplies adequate to salvage 100,000 wet volumes have been stockpiled; staff throughout UC libraries have been trained in collection salvage, and can be called upon to assist one another in emergency situations.
  • Reformatting. 10.7 million pages (approximately 36,000 volume equivalents) of materials too damaged and deteriorated to benefit from mass deacidification were preserved through microfilming, photocopying, treatment, and replacement. Throughout the years of the UCPP, most funds were dedicated to addressing directly the preservation needs of materials identified by all campuses.
  • Preservation training for UC staff. In 1985-86, the NEH awarded UCPP with funding for a two-year project to provide in-service training for eight UC librarians to assume responsibilities for preservation administration in UC libraries. In 1990, NEH again funded UC to train and/or upgrade training for 15 conservation technician from UC libraries. In 1996, the UCPP itself funded UC staff training in the use of scanning technologies for digital imaging.
  • Liaison work with the UC binderies. UC libraries spend some $3 million/year on library binding services, by far their largest preservation expenditure. Throughout the UCPP years, major efforts were made to economize on binding and binding preparation costs, to develop binding services needed by UC libraries (e.g., preservation photocopying, manufacture of phase boxes, recasing of volumes with intact sewing structures), to develop standardized products and unit prices, and to standardize management reports. The first ever University wide binding policy was developed and implemented (, and a comprehensive binding process improvement project led to many improvements and cost savings ( The UCPP sponsored independent testing of UC binding products to compare the quality of UC binding products with those commercially available. Several formal reviews of UC binding services have been conducted to ensure that UC libraries are being served well.
  • Statewide and national training. The success of the UC conservation technician training project prompted NEH in 1992 to award UC with funds to conduct a national conference to develop training materials and plan training for conservation technicians working in research libraries nationwide. A 450 page training manual was produced by this project and subsequently made available by the ARL, Collection Conservation Treatment: a resource manual for program development and conservation technician training (1993). Within the next two years four more successful projects based on the UCPP model to train technicians were conducted in four regions of the country; with NEH funding in 1993, the UCPP implemented one of those follow up regional projects, training eight conservation technicians from libraries other than UC in California and Hawaii.
    In addition to conservation technician training, UC received LSTA funding to offer internships in preservation administration to mid-career librarians from California libraries and archives. In 1993-95, five librarians and archivists participated in the multipart internships, loosely modelled on the successful earlier UCPP training program in preservation administration.
  • California preservation program planning. Beginning in 1990, the State Library awarded UC several contracts to identify, quantify, and help prepare a statewide preservation program plan. The first of three outcomes of that work was development of an automated preservation needs assessment instrument, Calipr (, which has since received attention and use worldwide. The second outcome was a compilation of preservation needs and priorities for 41 libraries and archives statewide. The third outcome, based upon the statewide needs assessment, was The California Preservation Program (Sacramento, California State Library, 1995). Funding for this program has been incorporated in the Library of California, and is being implemented in several stages.
  • Digital preservation. In addition to training UC staff in use of scanning technologies mentioned above, the UCPP, jointly with DLA and the UC Printing Dept., conducted a series of tests in 1996-97 that evaluated Xerox Documents on Demand technology to supplant optical photocopying. Guidelines for image capture and document navigation were developed, but the technology ultimately was not used due to an inability to export the files and prohibitive costs.
    Selection criteria for digitization of UC collections were developed and adopted by UCPP and CDC to guide campus and university wide document conversion projects ( Again with CDC, a charge for a university task force on digital archiving was developed and submitted to the UC Library Planning and Action Initiative project in 1997; the proposal was tabled with an expectation that the California Digital Library would take responsibility for digital archiving.
  • Research and development. As a consequence of close liaison work with the UC binderies, the UCPP played leadership roles in three research and development projects with national significance. In response to problems with adhesives for bookbinding noted by the UC binderies in 1991, an international investigation of adhesives was undertaken and reported in Polyvinyl Acetate Adhesives for Double-fan Adhesive Binding; Report on a Review and Specification Study. (Edina, MN: Library Binding Institute, 1992). UCPP staff led the investigation, blind-tested bookbinding adhesives in wide use, and confirmed the superiority of internally plasticized PVAs for bookbinding applications.
    In an effort to reduce costs for binding without compromising the value of library bindings to enhance the service lives of books, binding structures and methods other than the commonly accepted products of the industry were investigated and reported in Performance Measures for Library Binding (Edina, MN: Library Binding Institute, 1995). Again with UCPP leadership, this study identified several practices then common in the library binding industry that could be eliminated without compromising the quality of bindings for some categories of library books.
    These two studies led to the establishment of a joint industry/library committee to create a joint National Information Standards Organization/Library Binding Institute standard for library binding. The UCPP underwrote the chairmanship throughout the five years of active committee work, which led to the preparation, adoption, and publication of Library Binding (Bethesda, MD; NISO Press, 2000 – ANSI/NISO/LBI Z39.78-2000).

Respectfully submitted,

Barclay Ogden
Director, 1986-99

16 October 2000

Last reviewed: March 4, 2004