Columbia Awarded N.Y.S. Preservation Grants

January 2000 The New York State Program for the Conservation and Preservation of Library Research Materials has awarded funds for two cooperative projects managed by Columbia, and for three projects managed by other New York libraries in which Columbia will participate.

For the first two-year cooperative project Columbia will film brittle serials published by Standard & Poor's and the Fitch Publishing Company in New York City between 1926-1960. The titles to be filmed were selected by Columbia and the New York Public Library because of their valuable content and rapidly deteriorating paper.

The second project, the Preservation Re-Recording of Immigrant and Ethnic Oral Histories, will involve materials from Columbia, Cornell, New York University, SUNY Albany, and the University of Rochester. Over the next two years, Columbia will preserve 1,200 hours from its Language and Culture Archive of Ashkenazic Jewry collection. The collection consists of 5,700 hours of interviews made after World War II with native speakers of Yiddish originally from 603 different areas in Eastern and Central Europe, many of whom were the last survivors to speak Yiddish as their mother tongue. Topics include all areas of social life and Yiddish culture, commentaries on the interaction of different cultures, and lengthy stories and life-histories recounting experiences during the Holocaust and emigration to America. The timing of this project is critical since these recordings were made in the 1970s on acetate recording tape which has an average 20-year life expectancy. The materials chosen in the collections will be re-recorded in such a way that as little as possible of the recorded sound will be lost.

Finally, Columbia will also participate in three New York State projects being managed by other libraries. The first is a one-year project being run by New York University to microfilm 10-12 brittle serials. None of the participating libraries has a complete run, but by working together, the libraries will be able to assemble and film the entire titles. Next is a project run by Cornell to microfilm materials from medical archives in New York City, to which the Health Sciences Library will contribute. The third is a project managed by the New York Public Library to microfilm brittle volumes from former Soviet Central Asia. Columbia's contribution will be 200 post-World War II volumes in Uzbek, including belles-lettres, official histories, and materials relating to the development and social profile of Uzbek collective farms.