For a media story about the new preservation chief at the Library of
Congress, I'm looking for someone who can give me some background
info on this sort of position and what's challenging, interesting, &
fun about it, given the current state of preservation technology,
funding for preservation, etc. What sort of person does one have to
be to succeed at this?

Please note: I'm not looking for opinions on Olson, just the job.

Please contact me off-list at [log in to unmask]

Michael Erard

101 Independence Avenue SE
Washington DC  20540
Phone:  (202) 707-2905
Fax:  (202) 707-9199
Email:  [log in to unmask]

April 5, 2006

Press contact:  Donna Urschel (202) 707-1639, [log in to unmask]


Nels Olson has recently been named as chief of the Preservation
Research and Testing Division (PRTD) at the Library of Congress.

Dianne L. van der Reyden, director for Preservation for the Library
of Congress, said Olson, who has led several preservation projects
for cultural heritage, brings to the Library a unique combination of
experience and education, ranging from early studies in American
literature to posts as engineer and chemist.  Prior to the Library's
appointment, he served as assistant director for systems analysis and
integration at Illumina Inc., a biotechnology company in California.

"We expect Dr. Olson to bring much vigor and rigor to PRTD, expanding
the lab's expertise and equipment, and ensuring widespread research
to improve the Library's collections in all formats-traditional,
audio, visual and digital," Van der Reyden said.  "This includes
research into the stabilization of traditional vellum and leather
books, acidic and recycled paper, and vintage coatings or modern
inkjet dyes in photographs; audio and visual materials such as sticky
shedding videotapes and flaking lacquer disk sound recordings; and
digital media, characterizing optical disks to determine life

Olson also would lead PRTD in meeting new challenges in storage and
access research, and in developing a robust science fellowship
program.  "His experience puts him in good stead to enhance the lab's
capabilities to meet the needs of 21st century libraries, and we are
delighted to have him on board," van der Reyden said.

Olson, who started his academic career as an American literature
major at the University of Oregon, received a bachelor's degree in
biochemistry from Reed College in 1989, and a Ph.D. in organic
synthesis/analytical chemistry from the University of Washington in
1997.  Olson's work has led to several patents in new ways to analyze

In addition to Illumina Inc., he has worked at Molecular
Dynamics/Amersham Pharmacia Biotech; at the Royal Institute of
Technology, Stockholm; at Molecular Probes Inc; and at Microsoft Corp.

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ISSN: 0731-3527