The Elves Have Left the Tugboat (or Thoughts on Binding Music)


Conservation does a lot of pamphlet binding for the Music Library. You would think that music scores would be fairly easy to work with, but then you would be wrong.

Scores come in a variety of sizes from miniature to over two feet tall. They often come with CD’s or multiple parts that need to go into a pocket. They can be folios printed on two sides that have been folded down the middle and stapled, or they may be printed as single-sided sheets that need to be put together in some way so the sheets don’t get separated. Scores can be adhesive bound, stapled through the fold, spiral bound or comb bound. Sometimes they are paginated, often they are not. Then there are the random arrangements wherein the musician decides on what order to play the piece.

There is nothing straight forward about getting music scores ready for the shelf. Reading music helps, and paying attention to the frontice material is a must.

Last year 30% of the pamphlets we bound came from our Music Library. Every now and then we get a title that we all fall in love with. If you have ever played Dead Elf Tugboat, we would love to hear from you!

The Internet Archive Arrives at Duke

It happened this week. The library has been contributing content to the Internet Archive through the Scribe Project at UNC as we mentioned in a previous post. On Tuesday we got our very own Scribe. We were giddy with excitement, until it wouldn’t fit in the door.

How many librarians does it take to get a 36″ piece of equipment through a 35″ door? Our head of Shipping and Receiving to the rescue! Thanks to Charles we got the door off its hinges and the Scribe into the Digital Production Center. Hoorah!

Stacy, Emily, Robert and Abigail from the Internet Archive went to work getting the system up and running. Soon it will be humming along, creating digital content at the estimated rate of up to 3,000 items per year. We will be focusing on materials from the Rare Book, Manuscript and Special Collection Library. With luck (and technical skill) the first books should be under the camera by the end of the day.

Update: Read more on the Scribe at the Devil’s Tale, the blog of the Rare Book, Manuscript and Special Collection Library.

Stop the Presses! EBF5 receives rave reviews

I always wanted to say that, even back when I worked for the local newspaper as a photojournalist. Now I just yell it randomly, like today when I bring you the links to the press we received for our EBF5 (2010 edition).


The Office of Communication Services produced a short video clip featuring interviews with library staff members who created edible books, including your humble blogger.

We were highlighted in Duke Today.

The Independent Weekly also highlighted us on Blink. Thanks Indy Week, we love you!

The Chronicle, our student newspaper, ran a photo of the event but didn’t put it on their website. Too bad! our edible books are so visual. If you would like to see it, we do have it pinned to our bulletin board. How very paper-y of us.

We were picked up in the blogosphere, too. BadgerBlog announced the event for us, thanks Badger! We were Tweeted by the Gothic Bookshop and many individuals in the library and outside of the library. Thanks for spreading the word, and I invite you to join us next year in person!

Phyllis Hoffman Celebrate Spring Magazine interviewed us for their spring 2010 edition. Again, you can’t link to any content, but trust me, it’s in there. Our portion is small, just a couple paragraphs, and they present their own ideas for real edible food based on book titles.

*Image: “In Defense of Food” by Amy Turner.

Edible Book Festival Coming Soon


We are less than two weeks away from the fifth annual Edible Book Festival. I hope everyone has their ideas ready and their chefs hats on. If you need inspiration, check out our past event photos or go to the International Edible Book Festival website.

EBF V will take place on April 1, 2010, from 2-3:30 p.m. in the Gothic Reading Room. Everyone is welcome to participate. There are two rules:

The book must be made out of food products.

All edible books must be “bookish” through the integration of text, literary inspiration or, quite simply, the form.

Bring your submissions to the Gothic Reading Room by 1:30 so we can get you checked in. Doors open at 2pm, there will be a silent auction to benefit the Library Memorial Fund, and voting for your favorite submissions in several categories.

See you there!

Image: Leaves of Grass by Judy Bailey

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!


Have you missed me? I’ve been out sick this past week and haven’t been able to post. Maybe I need more Beef Wine in my diet. While I catch up on what’s been happening around here, I thought I would give you a little luck charm for St. Patrick’s Day in case you aren’t wearing any green. We found this four leaf clover in Lloyd’s War Losses: WWII. Fun, and a bit ironic. You can see more of what we find in books on our Flickr page.

What Good Is A Box?

A brittle book from the general collections came in today whose binding is holding on only by its spine lining. The paper and sewing are brittle and several pages are loose. It failed even a single fold of a (very very tiny) double-fold test, so it is too brittle to repair. No problem, we’ll make a box and give the librarian the option of having a digital or paper surrogate made.

What caught my eye, however, was the note she wrote saying “Please repair spine, don’t put in a box since that won’t help.” Until we decide to make a surrogate, boxing actually does help:

  • It keeps a fragile book with loose pieces contained in one place
  • It provides protection from wear and tear
  • It reduces light exposure
  • It alerts a reader that this is a fragile book
  • It keeps a brittle book in the stacks and available for the next use (this book can still be used, as long as the patron is very careful…we trust that they will be)

We try to repair everything that comes to us but sometimes we just can’t and we need to do something else. Creating a protective enclosure is one of those things we can do to keep a brittle book in the collections.

Preservation Goes Social


These little things called blogs are really catching on in preservation-land. Preservation Underground was one of the first library preservation department blogs out there. Now we are finding ourselves in some very good company. To celebrate the spread of library preservation through this thing we call the internet, I want to point you to some other blogs you may find interesting.

Preservation and Conservation Administration News (check out their blog roll)

Parks Library Preservaiton (Iowa State University)

Preservation @ ZSR (Wake Forest)

Preservation Beat (University of Iowa)

Preservation
(UCLA)

IUL Preservation Lab (Indiana University)

Feel free to add more to this list, we’d love to give everyone their 15 minutes. There are a few departments using Flickr and FaceBook, too, although we are still one of the few. Thanks for reading!

Image from Duke University Libraries digital collection Ad Access.

‘From Caricature to Comic Strip’

On Monday we helped install the new exhibit in the Perkins Gallery. “Abusing Power” is curated by Neil McWilliam, Walter H. Annenberg Professor in the Department of Art, Art History & Visual Studies, and several of his students in his course “From Caricature to Comic Strip.” It coincides with another exhibit now at the Nasher Museum called “Lines of Attack: Conflicts in Caricature,” on display until May 16, 2010.

We love working with Meg Brown, Exhibits Curator for Perkins Library. Conservation creates many of the book supports you see in the exhibit space. We also help install the exhibits, being sure the items are well supported and in good condition for viewing. It’s great to work collaboratively in this way, and so much fun to see the new exhibit take shape. I especially enjoy seeing all of the students, faculty and staff stop to see what is happening in the space and what’s coming next. Frankly, I just love getting out of the basement and into the thick of things for a change.

I invite you to come by and see the wonderful display of 19th Century materials and learn a little about the evolution of caricatures as an art form. Be sure to check out Devil’s Tale for more on this exhibit. The online images from the exhibit were made in the Digital Production Center.

Exhibit Case Art


Some enterprising person left us a little something on the exhibit case over the weekend. Is this perhaps an ode to the great sculptor Alberto Giacometti and the recent record breaking sale of his “Walking Man”? Who knows, what I do know is it made me smile on this grey Monday morning.

I was able to take a couple of images before someone cleaned them up. Perhaps this artist is on the way to selling their artwork for $104.3 million per piece just like Giacometti. One can only dream.

Later today we will be helping to install the next exhibit called “Abusing Power: Satirical Journals from the Special Collections Library” which coincides with the Nasher Museum exhibit “Lines of Attack: Conflicts in Caricature.”

The Scribe Project

Starting in summer 2008, Duke Libraries Digital Collections Program has partnered with the Carolina Digital Library and Archives at UNC-Chapel Hill to pilot test their Internet Archive Scribe scanning station. Since then, we’ve digitized nearly 300 titles on the UNC-Chapel Hill Scribe, including Duke’s yearbook The Chanticleer from 1912-1995, Utopian literature, Victorian women’s literature, advertising publications, and other materials. All are freely available on the Internet Archive page for Duke University Libraries.

Conservation is helping with this project by inspecting items before they are sent out for imaging. We preview those books that seem particularly fragile to determine if they can be scanned safely. If the paper is too brittle or if the binding is too damaged we may not let it go. Saying “no” is fairly rare, however, as part of our mission is to make the collections accessible.

Once the books come back from the Scribe, we construct custom four-flap boxes (aka “tuxedo” boxes) for the items we flagged earlier. It just so happens that today is Boxing Day, so the books from this last shipment are in the lab getting fitted for their tuxedos.

Jill Katte, Coordinator, Digital Collections Program, contributed to this post.

Duke University Libraries Preservation