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PRESERVATION Question. During the aftermath of the deacidification contract withdrawal, we heard that alternative testing criteria might be more useful than the standard MIT fold tests and other conventional testing methods. Specifically, Harvard chemistry professor Andrew Barron, and Dr. Christian Herren, a Swiss chemist, have suggested more modern testing methodology. Are your scientists looking into that?
Response. Yes. In fact, the Library used the molecular level chemistry methods that you are referring to in the early stages of development of the DEZ process. Our recent RFP also required all offerors to submit chemical test data for consideration by our evaluation panel. We utilized information from both chemical and physical testing methods because of the complementary functions of the two approaches.
Based on a sophisticated evaluation using these testing methodologies, the Harvard University libraries have selected Akzo's DEZ process for preserving their collections. Andy Barron has expressed interest in closer collaboration with the Library of Congress after he publishes the initial findings resulting from his recent tests.
On behalf of the Swiss National Library and the Swiss National Archives, Christian Herren, at the Propellant Plant at Wimmis, is emphasizing fundamental chemical properties of cellulose in determining the efficacy of the Akzo and FMC processes. As at Harvard, the Swiss have considerable resources in terms of sophisticated chemical research equipment and technical staff to conduct their study. They hope to complete their preliminary evaluation by the end of March this year.
The Swiss also acknowledge the complementary nature of chemical and physical testing methods. As a result, they are developing an agreement with the Library of Congress that will enable chemists from both countries to compare data from these two methods in order to permit all of our institutions to make the best possible decisions about mass deacidification.
QUESTION FROM MR. PORTER Question. It is my understanding that there were apparently two competing technologies for the Library's earlier RFP. There may be others in the field. How is the Library working with the private sector to encourage the development of these technologies? How is the Library helping the private sector to meet the Library's specifications?
Response. There were actually three firms that submitted proposals to the Library's Request for Proposals: Wei To Associates, FMC Corporation, and Akzo Chemicals.
After the cancellation of the procurement, the Library developed an action plan to address the remaining problems with the one process which demonstrated at that time the potential to meet all requirements. Library staff conducted an exhaustive survey to identify all potential competing technologies, including meeting with the principles of nine institutions and firms offering or developing deacidification services. The Library publicly announced its continued strong commitment to the use of mass deacidification as a major component of its preservation program. Preservation staff met with some, and offered to meet with all, firms to provide a detailed and comprehensive description of the Library's deacidification requirements.
The preservation staff are maintaining contact with firms offering deacidification services; and, as processes develop to the stage where they can demonstrate the potential to meet all essential deacidification requirements, the Library will offer to test and evaluate treated materials submitted to it and will publish the results.
NATIONAL TRANSLATION CENTER
Mr. Fazio. We talked a lot about the National Science Center. How is the National Translation Center doing?
Dr. BILLINGTON. We project for this year that it will come close to breaking even. It is not quite there—our projection is about $30,000 down but we project it in the black for next year. There has been tremendous effort made on it this year.
Mr. Fazio. You have done a little marketing?
United States, such as Johns Hopkins, Harvard, Yale, et cetera, are awarding contracts to one of the vendors-Akzo.
We are hopeful that the other bidders that participated in our procurement will get additional contracts. I am not currently aware that any of them are being shown the same level confidence that the Akzo process is at this time.
Mr. Fazio. We will be monitoring their experience very closely
Mr. HARRIS. Yes. The Librarian is asking you to unfreeze $375,000 so that we can proceed as vigorously as possible in th next few months to pursue the resolution of the problems with t? Akzo process.
Mr. Fazio. We will certainly try to make a decision on that so
Dr. BILLINGTON. That is, of course, not part of the appropriatic request this year.
Mr. Fazio. That is not fiscal year 1993 funds?
Dr. BILLINGTON. This is an authorization of money already ap priated.
Mr. HARRIS. In the first one-year phase, we are asking you to freeze $375,000. We estimate that only $72,000 of that ar would go directly to Akzo to pay for approximately 12 test
Mr. Fazio. Where would the rest go?
Mr. HARRIS. The remainder of the $375,000 would go for t cal support and consultant fees and supplies such as buying c stration sets of books that we have to have in the first ro procurement, laboratory analysis, transportation back and dozen times.
We have a breakdown which we would be glad to give you Mr. Fazio. We will take a look at it and give you our r. [The information follows:]
Library of Congress-Mass deacidification program
WON 175967190 Bicat owsia
he will just co ap
Dr. BILLINGTON. Down from $94,000 in 1991. We project a $17,000 loss this year and a $30,000 profit next. In any case, Don Curran can give you more details if you want them.
Mr. CURRAN. As you know, the effort here is to provide what amounts to a new service for the Library of Congress. That new service, in the first instance, is not so much to deal with the existing file of 400,000 records that we received from the Chicago Library.
It is to encourage the scientific community in the United States to actively participate in the process by beginning to contribute translations into English of various scientific materials that they have done themselves, from German, from French or whatever. We then become the distributor of that information and offer it for sale to the rest of the interested community, primarily not so much in the library communities but in the industrial scientific community. We have sent out solicitations to participate.
One of the key issues to deal with is copyrights. We have entered into an agreement with the Copyright Clearance Center who represent the original intellectual copyright owners, who are primarily European Journals, and we pay them a use copying fee. We have crossed that bridge which we consider a crucial first step.
We are now trying to get contributors to begin to participate, Federal agencies and the rest of the people who have made these translations into English. That is a matter of encouraging them to participate in this effort. We sent out 50,000 solicitations. We are going to meetings and trying to build up this cadre of participants and offering for sales indexes to the file. So we are trying to get into business this year.
We are having some success but getting into business takes time. Our sales revenue for this year is down somewhat from our original forecast in part because of getting it in place. This is an experiment. It might not work. We are going to find out whether it works or not. There are people who are genuinely interested in this.
Mr. Fazio. Where are you finding the most interest?
Mr. CURRAN. It didn't exist. The groundwork for this kind of a technical active exchange is now being laid and we will find out whether there are enough active participants to reach that crucial mass where we can sell $300,000 worth of these services to make it pay for itself. We hope we can because we believe it is a useful thing for American business to make it work. We are giving it our best shot.
Mr. Fazio. I think we should break for lunch now and return at 3:30, when we will continue and complete the Library's budget request. We made a lot of progress, but we may have a different mix of people here at 3:30. We have made enough progress that we can give ample time to our outside witnesses. So I will see you all after
SUBSIDIZATION OF CARD SERVICE
Mr. Fazio. We can begin again. Thank everyone for their patience.
I want to ask a question about the catalog card sales. Last year we began subsidizing the distribution of catalog cards to the amount of $622,000 and, of course, when we did that we asked the Library to make this a temporary step, and, apparently, the request this year is for something close to half that, $319,000, with the objective that it be discontinued in 1994.
I am wondering how we are actually bringing this about. It is appreciated that we are moving in the direction of the compliance with our request, but I was interested in how you are doing it. What are we gaining?
Dr. BILLINGTON. First of all, that isn't exactly the objective, but it is the reality that card sales are declining, and the unit costs are going up to such a high degree that we raised the question last year as to the extent to which the general taxpayer wants to subsidize this. This is a very painful thing because it is an historic service, but the fact is that fiscal 1991 regular card orders decreased.
Despite the very heavy additional subsidy the committee granted us last year, the regular card orders decreased by 23 percent, this followed a similar decline in 1990. The reduction of eight staff positions is a direct result of declining card sales.
As of the first quarter of 1992, we project a further decline of 29 percent. And it seems that rather than continue the heavy base costs that are involved in this, if it is the pleasure of this committee to keep the service going, we ought to encourage the many who still depend on this service to find alternative sources of satisfying the same needs. But it is increasingly expensive and the market seems to be on a steady downward turn.
So it seemed better, rather than to continue with heavy subsidies for a service that seems to be in an inevitable decline, to try to increase the number of libraries which can satisfy their need for cataloging data by other means. If the committee approves of this, we will try to get in touch with our partners and help them find alternative ways of satisfying this need.
It is a very painful thing. It has been an historic service, but there comes a point in which the decline is so precipitous that it is better not to prolong the death and try to concentrate our efforts on helping the patient adjust to something else.
Mr. Fazio. It is painful, but I think we are trying to help you deliver the message to the extent you can. I would want to confirm, in effect, our approval of the approach you are taking so there isn't any impression that this becomes more of an ongoing thing.
We have some questions that we will have placed in the record. [The questions and responses:]
CATALOGING DISTRIBUTING SERVICE Question. For the record, indicate the number and type of customer for these cataloging sales and the sales to each. Identify the “utilities” separately on this tabulation.
Response. In 1991, the Cataloging Distribution Service's active customer base in