All posts by Beth Doyle

Quick Pic: When Life Gives You Watermarks

I’m always amazed at what our library collections hold. This absolute gem of a book came to the lab for repair from the general collections,  Watermarks In Paper in Holland, England, France, etc., by William Algernon Churchill (reprint of 1st edition; 1967).

Aren’t these watermarks terrific? I love the elephants with their trunks coming out of the top of their heads.

from rags to riches to rags
Flyleaf
watermark of two elephants on either side of an elaborate letter R
1786, Map engraved in Amsterdam, w/m of Adriaan Rogge.
watermark of a beehive with four bees flying around, centered inside a wreath of flowers
1683-1902 [C & I Honig]

Quick Pic: When Life Gives You Cephalopods

cephalopod illustrationToday was a busy day in the lab. We had 25 people come through on three tours, and we had to help set up for a tour in another department. Today is also the due-date for our performance evaluations. When life gives you a Friday like that, finding a beautiful illustration of cephalopods is a gift. I especially like the center illustration of the eyeballs.

This is one book in a serial on biodiversity. It is French, dated 1889, and beautifully illustrated. Some volumes in this series are available in Hathi Trust. I also found the page on mollusks, which was equally beautiful. This one is getting a custom box to keep it safe.

Library Conservation is Like a Box Of Chocolates

box of damaged microfilmWe’ve written about the life of a library collections conservator and how you are often required to know about more than just book conservation. Today was no different.

I talked with one of the Music Library staff this week. They had a damaged microfilm and wondered if we could fix it. The film had lost its reel, and someone in the past folded it into about six sections and stuffed it back in the box. This caused it to crack at the folds.  Luckily we have the terrific Sonya in Microforms who is an expert in microfilm. I asked if she had some splicing tape, and indeed she did. She gave me a tutorial on how to use it along with a roll of splicing tape. Until today, I had never spliced microfilm, nor did I know the sprockets on 35mm microfilm don’t really matter in terms of how the film physically runs the through the machine (unlike motion picture film–the things you learn!).

positioning the break attaching splicing tape

I came back to the lab and carefully eased out the folded sections (who said being a photo major in the ’80’s would never prove useful?). I then matched the pieces and spliced it together at the broken folds. I put the roll on a new reel and sent it back to the Music Library. Hopefully it will run through the reader now without further damage.

putting on a new reelThe other thing I learned today was how to change the toner in our copy machine.  I’ve never had to do that before today, either. It’s been an amazing day of skill building.

 

New Conservation Exhibit: How a Book is Made

Our new exhibit focuses on how a book is made “from the ground up.”  In the exhibit you will see examples of binding structures dating from the 4th Century C.E. to the 21st Century C.E. Also in the display is a selection of tools used by bookbinders, and an overview of how a book is made.

The exhibit is open during regular library hours. It is located on the first lower level of Perkins Library, just outside the Verne and Tanya Roberts Conservation Lab (Perkins Library 023). Please stop by and let us know what you think.

 

Quick Pic: A Face Is Worth At Least Two Pastedowns

Sometimes I get a wonderful surprise when I’m doing the final quality check for items leaving the lab. This item that Mary recently finished is a good example of the value added that an in-house conservation lab provides.  By repairing these in the lab, we can be much more thoughtful about saving unique and interesting bindings. The book is now headed back to the shelf and ready for its next reader.

Last Minute Gifts for Your Conservator Friends

It’s that time of year. The time to rush around frantically looking for gifts for your friends and relations. If you need some last minute ideas, any of these would be a lovely gift for your conservator friends

What’s On Your Wall?

 

http://www.thamesandhudson.com/Bitten_By_Witch_Fever/9780500518380

“Bitten by Witch Fever” is a beautiful book about the history of arsenic in wallpaper. The book contains 275 facsimile samples of wallpapers that were tested and found to contain arsenic. The book explains the manufacture, uses and effects of arsenic. Arsenic, it’s not just for silking documents anymore.

Bitten by Witch Fever
by Lucinda Hawksley
Thames & Hudson (2016)

 

Can you see me now?

 

http://www.techconnect.com/article/3059271/computers-accessories/68-off-amir-3-in-1-cell-phone-camera-lens-kit-deal-alert.html

Conservators love their tools. These little clip-on lenses fit on your smart phone. The pack comes with three lenses: 180 degree fish eye, 0.36x wide angle, and a 25x macro lens.

We are starting to see some images by colleagues using the macro lenses in their work. Pretty impressive for $26.

Amir 3-in-1 clip on cell phone camera lens kit

 

 

 

What’s your favorite tool?

IMG_1325.jpgShanna Leino makes wonderful tools. This little steel micro chisel is a workhorse of a chisel. It can be used on paper, leather, binder’s board, and wood. Henry says, “I use it all of the time!” Can’t argue with that.

Steel micro chisel (the website says “sold out” but there’s always Ground Hog Day to shop for).

 

 

 

Beyond Words

 

https://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Words-Illuminated-Manuscripts-Collections/dp/1892850265/

“Beyond Words: Illuminated Manuscripts in Boston Collections” is a companion catalog to a multi-institutional exhibit of illuminated manuscripts that is taking place this fall. Gorgeous reproductions of over 260 manuscripts from the collections of Harvard University’s Houghton Library, the Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum, and more.

This is conservator eye candy!

Beyond Words: Illuminated Manuscripts in Boston Collections
Jeffrey F. Hamburger, editor, et al.
Mcmullen Museum Of Art, Boston College (October 15, 2016)

 

 

Got paste?

 

We all miss the classic Cook-N-Stir. So far, we haven’t found a good alternative. Is this it? Maybe not, but the video alone is fun to watch.

Not sold in stores! “Designed to stir every inch. The silicone feet & orbital turning action ensures no spot in un-stirred.” It’s only $16.99. If anyone tries it for paste, please report back.

Gem Sauce Blender
Your Wish Store

The Best Presents Are Those That Make You Feel Good

Image result for library book tree
https://jamesonlawlibrary.wordpress.com/2014/12/19/oh-christmas-tree/

If you want to do one simple thing to make all of your conservator friend happy, this is it. Stop making holiday trees out of library books! Just stop.

 

 

 

Seriously.

 

 

 

 

book, book tree, tree, portage library
http://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2010/12/christmas_tree_made_of_books_a.html

 

 

 

Please.

 

 

 

booktree
http://blogs.library.duke.edu/blog/2013/12/11/oh-christmas-tree-oh-christmas-tree/

 

Just stop.

 

 

 

 

Wishing everyone a very happy holiday and winter solstice. May you have a joyful and peaceful new year!

 

Nominate Someone Deserving

It’s ALCTS preservation award nomination season! The deadline for nominations for all of these awards is December 1, 2016. If you know someone outstanding in the field, please get your nomination in on time. My favorite time of the year is when we honor, acknowledge and thank someone for their dedication to the field and to us all who work in it.

There are more ALCTS awards than are copied below, including awards for publication, innovation and collaboration. Please visit the ALCTS awards website for more information. Follow the links below for instructions for submitting nominations.

The Paul Banks and Carolyn Harris Preservation Award

This award was established to honor the memory of Paul Banks and Carolyn Harris, early leaders in library preservation. The award will be given to recognize the contribution of a professional preservation specialist who has been active in the field of preservation and/or conservation for library and/or archival materials.

Criteria

Criteria for selection of the winner will be determined by the person’s accomplishments, as they relate to preservation leadership in such activities as:

  • leadership in professional associations at local, state, regional or national level;
  • contributions to the development, application or utilization of new or improved methods, techniques and routines;
  • evidence of studies or research in preservation;
  • significant contribution to professional literature;
  • training and mentoring in the field of preservation.

George Cunha and Susan Swartzburg Award

This award honors the memory of George Cunha and Susan Swartzburg, early leaders in cooperative preservation programming and strong advocates for collaboration in the field of preservation.

The award, sponsored by Hollinger Metal Edge, acknowledges and supports cooperative preservation projects and/or rewards individuals or groups that foster collaboration for preservation goals. Recipients of the award demonstrate vision, endorse cooperation, and advocate for the preservation of published and primary source resources that capture the richness of our cultural patrimony. The award recognizes the leadership and initiative required to build collaborative networks designed to achieve specific preservation goals. Since collaboration, cooperation, advocacy and outreach are key strategies that epitomize preservation, the award promotes cooperative efforts and supports equitable preservation among all libraries, archives and historical institutions.

Criteria

The award jury will consider:

  • a project emphasizing collaboration or partnership
  • collaboration extending the preservation vision beyond the circle of preservation specialists and foster action to raise awareness and set priorities, projects, and programs into motion
  • nomination of an individual or group for cumulative achievement as a mentor or advocate of collaborative preservation.

Any person or group is eligible for this award; membership in the ALA organization is not required.

Jan Merrill-Oldham Professional Development Grant

The award was established in 2011 by the Preservation and Reformatting Section (PARS) of the Association for Library Collections & Technical Services (ALCTS) to honor the career and influence of Jan Merrill-Oldham, distinguished leader, author, and mentor in the field of library and archives preservation.

For three decades, Ms. Merrill-Oldham was instrumental in the development of standards and best practices, writing more than forty publications including co-authoring the Guide to the ANSI/NISO/LBI Library Binding Standard, a document used by almost all libraries and commercial library binders. Ms. Merrill-Oldham served on key committees within ALCTS, ALA, the Association of Research Libraries, the Council on Library and Information Resources, the National Information Standards Organization and many others. She educated and mentored countless preservation librarians and conservators and her support for students and dedication to the field serves as a model to all of us. In September of 2010, Ms. Merrill-Oldham announced her retirement after a long and notable career in library and archives preservation. In December 2010, she was named the recipient of the ALCTS Ross Atkinson Lifetime Achievement Award. This award recognizes Jan Merrill-Oldham’s wide ranging contributions, deep commitment to the field of library and archives preservation, and her undying support of young professionals by supporting participation in an ALA Annual Conference.

It is important however to encourage new and young preservation librarians and staff to further pursue their professional development. A significant part of that involvement is attending the ALA Annual Conference to network and learn from colleagues. Ms. Merrill-Oldham dedicated herself to mentoring young professionals and it is in recognition of that service that an award that supports professional development and involvement by librarians and paraprofessionals new to the preservation field be established.

The Jan Merrill-Oldham Professional Development Grant is awarded by the ALCTS Preservation and Reformatting Section to provide librarians and paraprofessionals new to the preservation field with the opportunity to attend a professional conference and encourages professional development through active participation at the national level. The grant is to be used for airfare, lodging, and registration fees to attend the ALA Annual Conference.

Criteria

Criteria for selection will be determined based on the following:

  • Have five or fewer years of experience in the field of library and archives preservation.
  • Currently work as a librarian or paraprofessional within a library or archives preservation department or who has preservation responsibilities within their institution, or a person currently enrolled in a preservation-related graduate program.
  • Recommendations from colleagues.
  • Express desire as stated in a short essay (up to 500 words) on the following theme:
    How would receiving the Jan Merrill-Oldham Professional Development Grant further your professional development goals?
  • Willingness to participate in designated conference events:
    • Work with a member of the jury to identify relevant programs and interest group sessions to attend.
    • Attend the Preservation Administration Interest Group Meeting.
    • Attend a least one PARS discussion group meeting.
  • Submit a summary of the recipient’s conference experience to the ALCTS News no later than 30 days after the conference.

Members of the sponsor or its affiliated organizations are not eligible.

Got Something Big To Move? Grab the U-boat!

We realized we needed some sort of large cart to better move folders from the stacks to the reading room when we expanded our flat file storage to include super-oversized file drawers. After some investigation we settled on the “U-boat.” This custom cart was first introduced to me by Michele Hamill, Paper and Photograph Conservator in the Digitization and Conservation Services Department at Cornell University Library.

Cornell’s U-boat in action. (image courtesy Michele Hamill)

The cool thing about its design is the three-tiered storage system. The base is tall enough for a standard archival records box, the middle has a concave section to transport large folders, and the top is a large flat space to place oversize flat boxes. The best part? The top is removable! Once I saw it, I wanted it.

Today was the first opportunity for Conservation to really put the U-boat to use in moving oversize materials. We had to move three super-oversized folders from the lab to the third floor stacks. These folders are about 75 inches long and 50 inches wide, so we  brought down the U-boat to transport them.

img_3324
The U-boat ready to roll.

Once the folders were on the cart, we placed a large tube in the middle to stabilize the contents and keep the folders from slipping or folding over. Three of us escorted the cart upstairs to the stacks. Two people steered while one cleared the way and opened doors.

img_3325
The collections in their new super-sized home.
img_3327
The U-boat with its top shelf back in place.

The U-boat was custom made for us by G.S. Manufacturing . It arrived fully assembled and ready to go. While this is the first time I’ve used the U-boat, I often see it in use in the stacks for oversized flat boxes. Is it wrong to fall in love with a cart? Because I believe I have.

Saving Horace Trumbauer From 91 Inches of Tape

In 2014 we implemented our Adopt-a-Book Program. To date over 44 items have been adopted by 22 donors. We started this program as a way to raise money for the conservation of materials from across our collections, especially those that we might need to send out for conservation because of an object’s size or special needs.

One such project was adopted by Mrs. Georgeann C Corey in memory of George Nassif Corey (T’69). This architectural blueprint of Duke’s East Campus by Horace Trumbauer was created in 1924. At some point in its lifetime it was the recipient of a DIY repair with self adhesive tape and the adhesive caused a lot of staining and damage.

Duke University
Duke University East Campus as designed by Horace Trumbauer (1924) [recto; Image courtesy of NEDCC]
Duke University
91 linear inches of tape adorned this blueprint before treatment. That is just over 7-1/2 feet of tape! [verso; image courtesy of NEDCC]

This was a perfect item to put up for adoption due to its size, the amount of tape removal needed, and its need to be lined. This blueprint is 52-1/8″ by 40-1/8″. It is too large to fit comfortably in our washing sink, and we have no suction table or karibari board to facilitate the lining. We also wanted a digital image and facsimile reproduction made so that the original could be safely housed while the facsimile could be displayed.

Thanks to the generosity of Mrs. Corey, we were able to send this drawing to the Northeast Document Conservation Center for treatment. You can see from the images below that the treatment was truly transformative. NEDCC conservators removed 91 linear inches of tape, reduced the staining from the adhesive, washed it and repaired the tears and losses, and finally lined it with Japanese tissue. NEDCC digitally captured the drawings and made a 1:1 physical print of the file for us to use as our use copy.

Duke University
Trumbauer blueprint after treatment. [recto; image courtesy of NEDCC]
Duke University
Trumbauer blueprint after treatment. [verso; image courtesy of NEDCC]

This is one of many success stories from our Adopt-a-Book Program. We look forward to sharing others with you in the future.