The ICSA FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) Page.


On auctions, what do you and collectors look for? I know there are collectors, but I get no action.
What is 'BB'??
The BBs spine number, is B the second edition, C the third, etc?
What is 'BOLO'?
What is 'CESOM'?
What is this 'Collectors Guild'?
Who decides what is 'common'?
If all are under copyright, why do I see reprints and pdfs on the web and elsewhere?
You have direct contact with the copyright holder. What, if any, are the copyright restrictions?
What is the digitization process used?
Do you accept donations?
Do you sell the duplications in your collection?
What is 'ED'?
What is 'GS'?
What is 'HB'?
What is 'HT'?
What is your relationship to the Internet Archive and Google?
What is 'ICS'?
What is 'ICS-C'?
What is 'ICS-GB'?
What is 'ICSA'?
What is 'ITC'?
What is 'ME'?
I have the letter 'N' on a BB. Does this have a special significance?"
How do you decide the order of restorations?
What is this 'Paperback Shelf'?
Penn Foster claims to be descended from the ICS and to own all the copyrights. Your position?
What is 'PF'?
What is 'REF'?
What exactly is your relationship to the ICS?
You offered a 'stocking stuffer' of ICS matierials. Will you do so again?
Do you have the tests?
What is 'TP'??
Can you help me with finding my ICS transcript?
Two watermarks?
What is my copy worth?

I have the letter 'N' on a BB. Does this have a special significance?
    Both TP and the BB could have an 'N' Strike. When lessons were written, or rewritten, the N was used. Normally lessons were simply revised, indicated by a 'dashed' number; -1, -2, etc. Judging by the Collectors Guild auctions, they are not a premium.
    TPs could have:
   #1. The underline N. This was known as a 'scratch' copy, sent to interested persons for review and revision.
   #2. The stuckout N. This was known as a 'final scratch' copy.

    BBs could have:
   #1. The underline N BB. This was also sent out to interested persons, but with a much wider audience for review.
   #2. The struckout N BB. The spine would have the underline, but a dash would strike out the letter on the title/cover page. These were simply extra underline Ns being used up.
   #3. The N BB. Normally the school would have more TP than BB. They would use up the old edition TP, but use the new edition BB. When the old TPs were used up, the BB would 'lose' the N.

What is my copy worth?
There is no guide. As a general rule, our acquisition guidelines are: $10 for a missing REF in restorable condition, $5 for a missing BB in restorable condition, $1 for a missing TP in restorable condition, and $3 for a missing ASC TP in restorable condition.

Note that the Collectors Guild values are half these acquisition values, on average, in MINT condition.

Do you have the tests?
Maybe. If we do, they are in the file.

Do you have sell the duplications in your collection?
Yes and no. Check the Collectors Guild entry.

How do you decide the order of restoration?
The students select from the 'restoration candidate' list.

You offered a 'stocking stuffer' of ICS matierials. Will you do so again?
No. Not any more. And when the 'grab bag' disks are gone, no more will be created. But we will be happy to build any custom disk packs a Patron wishes. Patron should check the 'Disk Store' off the main site menu to see if any of the grab-bag disks will suit, and the costs of a custom disk.

Do you accept donations?
Yes, on physical materials. We will also do the winnow. No COD or Postage Due accepted. Contact us via the guest book for postal address.

Please note that we must keep 'original hard copy' of any such donation, if we desire to put the donation online. We may 'copy and return', or accept digital but only for our physical collections.

We report all donations to the IRS. For each ICS TP we do not have, the report is $5 per. For each ICS BB we do not have, the report is $10 per. For each ICS Reference we do not have, the report is $15 per. For each ASC TP we do not have, the report is $10 per. Specials and Green Stock are on a case-by-case basis.

We also report back to donators what we find and what we reported to the IRS.
Sometimes on electronic materials.

If somebody restores a work, they are required to submit the restoration for watermarking. See the ME policy below. Please note that an approved (with watermark) may make a work 'common'.

You have direct contact with the copyright holder. What, if any, are the copyright restrictions?
Thank you for asking.

*All* REFS (References) are copyright clear, as they were refiled as 'public domain' due to age and liability issues thereto. These filings were done by the ME in both the US and the UK. We do host these as they become available.

The HBs are UK/GB only registered, and are under active copyright.

TPs and BBs are in three 'groups' when it comes to the copyright status.

    The first two groups are the ME groups.

    The first group were copyrighted in the UK/GB, These can be recognised by an ITC UK/GB copyright notice, or no copyright notice at all. Publishment in the United States has no bearing on the copyright. The copyright laws are different between the UK/GB and the US. ALL pre-1951 TPs and BBs with the UK/GB ITC copyright notice, or no copyright notice are under ACTIVE copyright, and the American courts have recognized this.

    The second group were joint ITC copyrighted, both in the US and the UK/GB. These can be recognised by a joint copyright notice. Publishment in the United States, the UK/GB, and other countries has no bearing on the copyright. These works were declared in the Public Domain by all parties.

    The third group is the 'Penn Foster' group, which have a US only copyright notice. 'Penn Foster' agreed not to use, or claim any of these materials, although there were 1950s registration filings in the United States. 'Penn Foster' did create some materials, under the ITC brand from 1951 through 1991, but in the 1996 sale, they declared them all to be public domain.

The ICSA does NOT claim any copyrights, we enjoy permissions to use from the Majere Estate.

The ME refuses any request to reproduce any materials for financial gain. Generally, reproduction for research, museums, libraries, et cetera is allowed.
    (update: This includes any costs to reproduce, as this has been abused. One person was charging $40 per disk, claiming the price as pure costs. Prosecution by the ME was successful.)

UPDATE: 20130611. Update of the ME policies per duplication and digitization of any ITC work. This policy is also applied to the ASC works.
    Duplication is permitted, whole, for scholarly research, museums, libraries, restoration groups, etc., with the following restrictions.
    1) Not for profit. Profit includes any cost recovery, shipping and handling, postage, etc. The material duplicated must be made available for FREE. Totally FREE.
    2) If a watermark (from The Majere Estate, The Librum, The ICS Archive, and/or The Hathir Trust) is present it must be preserved.
    3) Should an individual or group or other 'legal entity' desire to distribute self digitized ICS materials, they may if they comply with #1 and #2, and place the ME watermark thereon. This watermark is available upon request. Failure to add the watermark, meant to only show active copyright, is and will be considered a violation of #1. While not required, a copy of said restoration is requested to be made available to the ICSA. A sent copy, will have an ICSA watermark applied (either as under active copyright or under public domain) and the copy returned.
    4) Web sites, to include social media sites, libraries, museums, restoration groups, etc., who wish to host said materials may if they obtain permission of the ME, and comply with #1, #2, and #3. Back link is not required.

On auctions, what do you and collectors look for? I know there are collectors, but I get no action.
The primary information looked for is the course or spline number. To break them down:

REF: The 'spine' number is the primary key. Sometimes the copyright date and title page title to differentiate different issues.

BB: The 'spine' number is the primary key. Sometimes the copyright date and title page title to differentiate different issues.

TP: The 'course' number is the primary key. Sometimes the copyright date and title page title to differentiate different issues. Cover color seems to have no bearing.

ACS TP: The 'title page title' is the primary key. Sometimes the copyright date and cover title to differentiate different issues.

A suggestion for auctioneers. There quite a few collectors for TP/BBs. They look for the course numbers / spine numbers via search engines, usually on eBay. If you do not list the numbers, you will have no interest. And have pictures of the spine, title page, and copyright page, if applicable.

'Alternate' or 'odd' editions can go quite handsomely on auctions, and they are always found by the addition of the spine, title page, and copyright page. In 2011, two such TPs have been sold at over a thousand dollars... In 2012, four. So far, in 2013, one TP, one BB, and one ASC TP.

If all are under copyright, why do I see reprints and pdfs on the web and elsewhere?
The copyright owner is the Majere Estate, not us. Should we observe such, we normally alert the offender. Generally this is enough. We may report observations to the Majere Estate.

Generally, the Majere Estate will grant NON-COMMERCIAL use rights to any party if they ask. While the Majere Estate has not pursued all for-commercial-gain infringers, the Majere Estate has prosecuted several cases, and won every one.

Penn Foster claims to be descended from the ICS and to own all the copyrights. Your position?
There is a grain of truth in the decent claim, but let this cut/paste from our history page show the flaws in that truth.

As for the copyrights, please forward any such claim, for us to forward to the Majere Estate.

- 1891: In an editorial for the October 1891 edition of "The Colliery Engineer," the editor announced an arrangement between the journal and a Alexander Dick to conduct a school of mining. The school would be known as "The Colliery Engineer School of Mines". A Thomas J. Foster championed the school.
- 1894: The International Textbook Company incorporated the school, The names 'Colliery Engineer School of Mines', 'School of Mines', and the International Correspondence School were used interchangeably.
- 1895: The school became officially known as the International Correspondence Schools of Scranton, Pennsylvania or ICS for short. On the original incorporation papers, however, it is called "The International Correspondence School, United States".
- 1902: The Colliery Engineer School of Mines and ICS part amicably. Foster goes with Colliery.
- 1996: 'The International Correspondence School, United States', went into bankruptcy.
- 2003: The Colliery Engineer School of Mines is renamed to 'Education Direct', moving from correspondence to online, and expanded it's offerings.
- 2006: Education Direct renamed to 'Penn Foster Career School'.

Today, PF is just a trademark, held by a holding company. It has been exchanged, leased, etc many times over the years to various parties.

12. What exactly is your relationship to the ICS?
The ICSA was under the Librum, which is under Amana University.

Amana University, the ICSA, and HT are recipients of rights usage with/from the ME (U.S. and U.K.).

To reiterate: The ICSA has no affiliation with PA, ICS-C, ICS-GB, or 'The University of Scranton'.

The BBs spine number, is B the second edition, C the third, etc?
Usually, but not always. BBs were grouped TPs, and sometimes the contents would be rearranged.

On TPs, the -1, -2, -3, etc, in the course number usually indicate editions.

What is this 'Collectors Guild'?
The 'Collectors Guild' is an ad-hoc association of ICS and ASC collectors.

Generally, there are two types. The first, and most common, is the ORIGINAL works collectors. The second, are the 'content' collectors.

We maintain lists sent by these collectors. Should something come available on these lists, then we alert the collector.

NOTE: There are Guild Rates, which is the common valuation at Guild auctions.
    The Collectors Guild Forum will not be reactivated.
    The first reason is that a member was stalked. There is no doubt that the member, MTC24x7, was targeted from the forum. It could have been much worse for her.
    The second reason is that we were spending too much time moderating against all the blustery, the in-fighting, the one-up-man-ships, etc. Several hours a day to moderate that 'shize' is just not worth it.
    The third reason is that we frankly can not find a good solid forum software that has the functions we would need, has adequate security, is not a resource hog, and is user/moderator friendly enough.
    It has been previously decided to put a combined BOLO (Be On The Lookout) list online, and that we would maintain it. 'Wish' lists are/will be accepted, matched, and coordination provided for such exchanges. 'Gottem' lists are/will be accepted, and used to fill match. BUT: Wish and Gottem lists will not appear online, as they caused such strife in the forum.
    As the Forum software is down, there may be no more auctions.
    Again, please send in your BOLO, Wish, and Gottem lists. We use them too, to comply with the 'three to be common' rule.

Who decides what is 'common'?
We, ICSA does.

As a general rule, whatever has been restored and is online here at the site is 'common'.

There is also a 'restoration candidate' rule. We must have three copies on our shelves to make a work eligible to be restored as 'common'. The spine/title/copyright pages must match. Non-match are considered separate works.

We have a LOT of 'ones' and 'twos' on the shelf that are NOT restored or available online due to this rule.

Also by this rule, we may have five or six copies of a work, as their spine/title/copyright pages are different.

At present, no list of these exists, they are alphabetically arranged in boxes.

Should we have more than 'threes', the extra copies are usually put up on auctions.

If/when a work is restored, we release all but one of the originals. By the agreements, we must maintain one archival hard copy.

There are two exceptions to the 'restoration candidate' rule. First is the Handbooks. Second are the References. As we can, these are restored.

There is also another exception to the 'common' rule. If an entity does self restore a work, and the ME does release, the work may be declared 'common' by the ME.

What is this 'Paperback Shelf'?
The Librum started the Paperback Shelf. ICSArchive inherited it. The concept is to duplicate a 'paperback trading shelf' often found in libraries, where you would leave one, and take one. While there is no hard demand for an exchange, it is strongly encouraged for 'related' works. Please contact via the guest book to coordinate any donation.

Items in the Paperback Shelf include:
   #1. Paperback Shelf direct donations. Will be hosted on our site, not linked.
   #2. A Librum work that has 'paid out', i.e. sold enough registrations to pay for it's restoration. Note that some are sometimes duplicated in both locations, to utilize The Librum's search engine and Research Desk.
   #3. A work not restored by the Librum or ICSArchive, but part of the collection, or related. Both The Librum and ICSArchive must maintain a hard copy of any restored work. If we do not have a hard copy, and a restoration by a third party is available, and we have permission, it may be posted here.

What is the digitization process used?
The same process that is used by the Librum, with fewer steps.

1) Work is declared 'restoration candidate'.
2) Student selects the work. (Two TPs or one 'Librum' candidate.)
3) Student scans the work, using the three methods required by the course, selecting the best result.
4) The scan, if in PDF is broken out to jpg pages, and watermark applied to the individual pages. Adobe PDF's watermark is not used due to ease of removal.
5) Page scans are run through a selection of automatic cropping software packages, and best taken. This allows the watermark to 'float', thus defeating most watermark removal systems.
6) Manual overview of page scans to manually straighten, editing, retouch, cropping, etc.
7) Pages are repackaged into a PDF, using several such packages, and best one taken. Other optimizations are also performed.
8) Manual overview of pdf to manually straighten, etc.
9) PDF burned on disk, disk combined with hard copy, and placed in physical archive.
10) Optimized pdf copied to offline host.
11) (Librum works). 60 day limitation software applied, limited edition copied to offline host checkout works directory.
12) (Librum works). ATOCI created and added to offline host Offline host search engine updated.
13) (Librum works). Offline host Research Desk updated with work.
14) (Librum works). Offline host Reference Desk updated with work.
15) (Librum works). Paypal integration.
16) During automated site updates the offline host editions update the online host.

Can you help me with finding my ICS transcript?
No. If you are a former ICS student seeking transcripts, please contact Penn Foster at: 1-800-275-4410 or 1-570-342-7701. We understand that these records are on microfilm, and you can get a printout of your records for a fee.

What is 'REF'?
    The oldest works are the 'Ref' (References). These are normally hard bound collections of lessons. They may also be 'treatise' or 'Reference Guide' (such as the Women's Institute volumes, or the Shop and Foundry Practice volumes.) works. A picture of a standard is at the top of the Reference page. These are public domain, and are restored and placed onsite as we get to them. These works were used in the 'course in a box' program, and were replaced by the BBs and TPs. Generally, the courses were not numbered, but the volumes were.

What is 'BB'??
    The next oldest of our materials are the 'BB's (Blue Book). These are normally soft faux leather, in two colors, a dark blue and a black. These are normally bound copies of TPs. A picture of a standard is at the top of the Blue Books page. These must comply with the 'three copies to be common' rule. These would be sent to a student via one of four parcel post companies in the 'course in a box' program. The 'course in a box' program was used when the student was not in a 'stamped delivery addressed' location. BBs could also be bought as a 'premium' to replace the flimsier TPs. Generally, the courses showed a course number. (Tip: collectors will wet the thumb and rub the cover, if any dye comes off, it is likely a illegal reproduction done in the 1960s.)

What is 'TP'??
    The most common materials are the 'TP' (Training Papers). These are normally staple bound paperbacks, with various color covers. These may contain a single lesson or multiple lessons. Pictures of standards is a the top of the Training Papers page. These must comply with the 'three copies to be common' rule. The light weight was intentional, to take advantage of lower postage costs to 'stamped delivery addressed' locations. They always have a course number.

What is 'HB'?
    The most sought after works are the HB (Hand Books). They are also called 'Little Giants'. These are roughly 3"x5" soft faux leather pocket reference booklets. A picture of a standard is at the top of the HB page. These are under active international copyright, but we have permission to restore any we find. To the best of our knowledge, we have a complete set of the 'standard' ones (see the Little Giants flyer), and quite a few of the non-standard limited editions. We are always looking for more of the non-standard ones for restoration.

What is 'GS'?
    The GS (Green Stock) catagory can be confusing. They may be a dark green TP cover format, a dark green BB format, standard Ref format, flyers, brochures, etc. Some are internal to the company such as price lists and instructions to sales personnel. Some are for advertising and distribution. Generally speaking, the 'three copies to be common' rule applies. (Tip: many collectors wet their thumb and rub the cover of BBs and TPs to detect illegal reproductions make in the 1960s. Both inks will rub off, but original's ink will be 'blueish' on the thumb.)

What is 'ICS'?
ICS: 'International Correspondence School, Scranton Pennsylvania', but officially trademarked as 'International Correspondence School, United States'.

What is 'ITC'?
ITC: 'International Textbook Company'. The first entity of the ICS Family. Officially the printing plant in Scranton Pennsylvania.

What is 'ICS-GB'?
ICS-GB: 'International Correspondence School, Great Britain'. Also called 'International Correspondence School, United Kingdom', but the official registered trademark is 'Great Britain'.

What is 'ICS-C'?
ICS-C: 'International Correspondence School, Canada'.

What is 'PF'?
PF: 'Penn Foster'. A trademark leased out to various entities over the years. At present there are three major (Penn Foster College, Penn Foster High School, Penn Foster Career School) and about a half dozen smaller schools who utilize the trademark. The trademark holder is the Princeton Review. (On May 18, 2012, the Princeton Review brand name (and subordinate brands, including 'Penn Foster') and operations were bought for $33 million by Charlesbank Capital Partners, a private-equity firm. The company is now private, and is no longer affiliated with its former parent, Education Holdings 1, Inc.)('Education Holdings 1, Inc' was the prior holder, was fined $10million (link), and just exited bankruptcy (off site link)).

What is 'CESOM'
CESOM: 'Collery Engineer School of Mines'. Forerunner of ED. A separate specialized school at the formation of the ICS Family. Later broke away. Later name changed to ED.

What is 'ED'?
ED: Education Direct. Formally CESOM. Later PF.

What is 'ME'?
ME: 'Mayere Estate'. Purchaser of all United Kingdom ITC copyright registrations.

What is 'ICSA'?
ICSA: International Correspondence School Archive'. This site.

What is 'HT'?
HT: Hathi Trust. HathiTrust is a partnership of academic & research institutions, offering a collection of millions of titles digitized from libraries around the world. Many of non-'common' works may be found here.

What is your relationship to the Internet Archive and Google.?
Not a good one. The ME has withdrawn permissions of new rights usage from both of them.

Two Watermarks?
More than two. There is the ME watermark, the Librum's watermark, two ICSA watermarks, and the HT watermark. More than one watermark may be on works. Normally this is an ICSA laid over a Librum. Usually this is done to avoid having to redigitize an original, as the watermark is applied direct to the page image, and can not be easily removed. If an ICSA Public Domain watermark is laid over a ICSA Active Copyright watermark, it is piracy. When a work is declared public domain, it is reworked.