Quick Pic: Track All The Paper!

Tracking repair papers that we have ordered.
Tracking repair papers that we have ordered.

Erin came up with a great idea to track the repair papers that we order. Each time we order a new paper she snips a small sample piece and attaches it to this grid that she created. There is room in the description area to list the vendor, the item number from their catalog, the price and when and how much we ordered it.

This has helped a great deal especially in re-ordering paper that we may not order on a regular basis. It’s also fun to see these all together to get an idea of the color ranges and weights of the repair tissues we have. It provides more information than a spreadsheet alone could provide. It’s a good thing!



FY 2014 By The Numbers

It’s annual report writing time! Since we shared our stats in the past years, I thought we would write again this year as well. I love statistics, probably a little too much.

A year in a tweet.
A year in a tweet.

Due to the renovation and the resultant problems, our productivity is slightly down because we had to close the lab for a month due to the Great Flood of 2013. We had a couple smaller leaks due to the fact we have had no roof on the building next to us, and we have lost two of our rooms. Ahhhh, renovation. All things considered, I think have done remarkably well in keeping up our productivity.

Fiscal Year 2013-2014 Statistics

Last year 17,134 library items came through Conservation. The numbers break down in this way:

1,126 books repaired
2,873 pamphlets bound
533 flat paper repairs
4,755 protective enclosures*
7,817 items recovered from mold/water
86 exhibit mounts (356 hours of exhibit support)

65% of the work came from special collections
35% of the work came from the circulating collections

28% of our total output was creating custom enclosures
46% of our total output was removing mold from manuscripts

68% of non-enclosure work was Level 1 projects [less than 15 minutes]
20% of non-enclosure work was Level 2 projects [15 minutes to 2 hours]
4%  of non-enclosure work was Level 3 projects [over 2 hours]

*CoLibri has declined significantly now that new publisher’s bindings with book jackets come shelf ready with a protective cover.

Of course, not everything we do necessarily results in a tic mark on a stat sheet. We revamped our student job duties to free up more time for our technicians. We added a “Boxing Day” a week to Tedd’s duties to keep up with all the boxing requests from Rubenstein Library. We did a lot of giving back to the conservation community by presenting at AIC, ALA and the Triangle Research Libraries consortium, and three of us developed new workshops. Two were presented for the North Carolina Preservation Consortium, and one for Paper & Book Intensive. We’d love to see other labs tweet out or share their stats.

“Experiment Day”–A New Way to Learn

As you know, we like to stop our production work every now and then to learn something new. In June we sent representatives to both the American Institution for Conservation and the Canadian Association for Conservation annual meetings.

This was the first year we sent someone to the CAC conference. Grace attended and brought back information including an interesting use of  magnets to hang a traveling exhibit of vary large artwork. What she liked most about the CAC conference is that the specialties do not break up into separate sessions like we do at AIC.

Erin shows us Bill Minter's tip on using a screen to tear Japanese tissue.
Erin shows us Bill Minter’s tip on using a screen to dry tear Japanese tissue to use for repairs.

Erin and I discussed the sessions we attended at AIC including the Book and Paper Group Tips Session (always a favorite). Erin had the great idea to have an “Experiment Day” to try some of these tips. She worked with Rachel to get supplies and organize a few of the tips that seemed most useful. Rachel demonstrated a hinging technique she uses that is similar to the one Terry Marsh offered (read by Anisha Gupta) at the tips session. Erin then demonstrated other tips including a dry tear technique presented by Bill Minter, and a technique for relaxing lined artwork presented by Betsy Palmer Eldridge. It was a fun way to bring back information from a conference and experiment a little to see if we can integrate some of these techniques into our workflows.

Rachel demonstrates a hinging technique used for float mats.
Rachel demonstrates a hinging technique used for float mats.


1091 Project: 5 Days of Preservation

1091 graphicKevin Driedger, author of Library Preservation 2, had a brilliant idea to ask institutions with preservation and conservation responsibilities to post at least one picture a day this week on the theme, “This is what preservation looks like.” Everyone tagged their posts with #5DaysOfPreservation. Search the hashtag on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook and you will see hundreds of images from across the country. He’s also collected the entries on a Tumbler.

For our contributions we divided the post responsibilities between Conservation, Preservation and the Digital Production Center. On Monday, we visited Conservation as they made custom enclosures for some very old pin cushions.

On Tuesday we visited Winston Atkins, Preservation Officer, as he was working on reconciling the just-ended fiscal year budget. As he reminded us, “What we do is administration, after all.” That is one of the hidden secrets of library preservation, we do a lot of paperwork, research, writing, program administration and attend a lot of meetings to gather information to help form our vision for the preservation program’s future.

On Wednesday, we went over to the Digital Production Center to see Zeke digitizing the Duke Chronicle, our campus student newspaper. This digital collection has proved to be one of our most successful projects, and more issues will be available soon.

Thursday we were back in the conservation lab with our student, Wolfgang, who was putting CoLibri (TM) covers on books from our New & Noteworthy collection. These covers protect the publisher’s dust jacket, are non-adhesive and take just a couple minutes to complete.

On Thursday we got two more posts from the Digital Production Center. Mike was working on preparing digital files for transfer into the Duke Digital Repository.

And Alex was working on reformatting videotape to preservation standards.

Friday was a flurry of activity. We found Beth and Rachel changing out the board shear blades in the conservation lab.

And finally we visit the not-so-attractive but vitally necessary job of insect monitoring.

Overall I think Kevin’s idea was a huge hit, and we should all do this again. So often preservation and conservation are hidden in basements or offsite, and I sometimes thing that even our own colleague may not know what we do every day. #5DaysOfPreservation demonstrates the wide variety of services we provide for our institutions and how we contribute to the accessibility of our collections. Let’s go see what Parks Library Preservation’s contributions were this week. What did you do post? Put your links in the comments.


Quick Pic: Touring Conservation

Yesterday a colleague brought his six-year-old son to Conservation for a tour. We all showed him things were were working on including Star Wars: The Blue Prints. He apparently had such a good experience he wrote about it in his journal. His dad shared a picture of his entry with us, and gave us permission to post the picture. Enjoy!

"July 2 2014 It was cool at Duke we soo [saw] a lot of pepole. We I soo [saw] a Star Ware book. Dad showed a Bat Man comix. Whe soo a leter from George Washington in 1773."
“July 2 2014
It was cool at Duke we soo [saw] a lot of pepole. We I soo [saw] a Star Ware book. Dad showed a Bat Man comix. Whe soo a leter from George Washington in 1773.”

Making Burritos In Conservation

It’s been a while since we talked about the renovation project, mostly because of this. But yesterday I was working on a short video to explain how to make a “burrito” and was reflecting on why and how these came to be.

Our renovation project came at us fast due to a major gift that allowed us to accelerate the renovation schedule. We had just over a year to plan and move the special collections stacks to make way for demolition. That is not a lot of time to move an entire library of rare, valuable and decidedly fragile materials.

The library approached us with a problem. Many of the older flat archival boxes were too large for their contents. Staff were concerned that moving these off site would cause damage when the objects shifted around inside the boxes. Could we come up with a low cost, low tech, fast, anyone-can-do-it solution?

We sat down as a lab to brainstorm ideas. There was no way to pay for and manufacture hundreds of corrugated-board spacers for all of the boxes we needed to move off site. After a lot of thought, we developed “the burrito.”

These are made of  buffered 10-point folder stock and tissue paper. They are non-adhesive, easy to make, fast and just about anyone could make them. We pre-cut the folder stock to the standard box sizes and trained the Rubenstein staff to make the burritos.

These are meant to be a temporary solution. However, I’ve seen some of these boxes come back and I have to say they are working pretty well. They aren’t as sturdy as a corrugated spacer, and some of them aren’t quite the right size for the space they were meant to fill, but for the most part they are doing what they were designed to do. I think it is a solution that works, and could be a good one for small institutions and organizations who may not have a lot of resources, or for anyone faced with a mountain of boxes that need spacers in a hurry.

What do you think? Have you come up with a solution like this that you want to share?


Our First Adopt-a-Book Repairs

By Erin Hammeke, Senior Conservator

gulliverDUL recently launched an Adopt-a-Book program and I just completed the conservation treatment of some our first adoptees. Jonathan Swift’s “Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World”, otherwise known as Gulliver’s Travels, was printed in four parts in London from 1726-1727 and our set was bound into two full-leather volumes.

Both volumes had loose or detached boards and had previous leather spine repairs. I secured the attachment of loose boards by using a treatment technique called a board tacket. This repair requires lifting small patches on the spine and inside of the board and reattaching the board with discrete stitches or tackets formed between the text and board with linen thread. I put the lifted patches back down with adhesive and applied small tissue repairs to the joints, end caps, and spines. The two volume set looks better now and is much safer to handle.

Thanks to our anonymous donor for adopting Gulliver! We look forward to seeing more Adopt-a-Book items make their way through the lab.

gulliver bt 2
Gulliver’s Travels before treatment.

Gulliver's Travels before treatment.
Gulliver’s Travels before treatment.

Gulliver's Travels after treatment.
Gulliver’s Travels after treatment.

Gulliver's Travels after treatment.
Gulliver’s Travels after treatment.

Decades of Dust

Henckel press3
Beth vacuums dust from the Henkel press.

Today is a big day in the library and it is graduation weekend. You want the library to look its best all of the time but especially so at times like these.

While Meg was installing the new exhibit, we noticed that a few feet away our Henkel press was really dusty. I got out the trusty HEPA museum vacuum and cleaned a lot of dust from the press. I suspect the dust on the Swiffers may now be archival since it dates to the old hallway area that is now under construction.

Duke University acquired the press in 1931 from the Henkel family. It is the press that the Henkel family used to print most of their early 19th Century books. Ambrose Henkel purchased it sometime before 1810 for $135.00. The screw was made by Henry Ouram in Philadelphia. The press is constructed in the style of Adam Ramage, also of Philadelphia, who is credited with making about 1,250 of these “lightweight” presses.* It is now clean and ready should a certain famous rock musician decide to visit the exhibit.

*This information is from the sign on the press, author unknown.

Quick Pic: Examining Scrolls

examining a scroll
Examining a long Japanese scroll.

Today we got to use our new sit-stand table to roll out a Japanese scroll. We are excited about our new tables, they replace low tables that were immobile and difficult to work on. These have wheels and fit through the doors, so they can go anywhere in the lab and can adjust from a sitting height to chin-height. They are perfect for large objects like this Japanese scroll.

Here left to right are Lauren (Rubenstein), Grace (Conservation), Andy (Rubenstein) and Kris (DUL International Studies) are all helping to identify this object. I love when we can bring in experts from around the library to discuss treatment and housing options. Conservation is truly interdisciplinary in that way, and its one of the most satisfying parts of our work.

Duke University Libraries Preservation