Category Archives: Renovation

(Re)Encapsulating a Lot of Maps

Have you noticed that the most simple-seeming projects always turn out to be more complicated than you think? As part of our preparations to move our collections to our renovated library, we are trying to free up space in the flat files. Our flat files contain broadsides, maps, posters, artwork, etc. Many of these items are large and flat and should be in the flat files. Many are flat but are small enough to fit into standard manuscript boxes or pamphlet binders.  Last November we embarked on a project to help the Rubenstein Library move as many of the smaller maps as possible into enclosures to free up space in the flat files. Sounds easy, right?

First Challenge: To Keep the Old Encapsulation or Not

I am an advocate of NOT encapsulating materials unless it is necessary to facilitate handling. Polyester is expensive, and it can add a lot of weight to the stacks. It can also make handling difficult for patrons as they sift through a stack of slippery encapsulated documents.

Many of these maps didn’t need to be encapsulated. They are in good condition and a folder inside a box would suffice. However, in order to finish the project by the move date, we would need to utilize our student assistants and our volunteer. If we decided to de-encapsulate materials, it would mean a conservator would have to evaluate the condition of each item to determine its disposition.  There simply wasn’t time to do this.

In consultation with Rubenstein staff, we decided the maps would stay encapsulated in their old polyester if possible. We would replace the polyester only if an item didn’t fit its current encapsulation, or if the old polyester was too damaged to keep.

Second Challenge: All That Tape!

Almost all of the maps have been previously encapsulated using double stick tape to adhere the two pieces of polyester together. While this is a common method of encapsulation, it poses one big problem. A document can shift to the edge and become stuck. This poses a particular hazard for brittle materials. Lucky for us, most of our maps were encapsulated with a generous amount of space between the object and the tape.

We decided that we could ultrasonically weld between the object and the tape, trim the tape off, and voila! A retrofitted encapsulation.

Brittle map edge is stuck to the tape.
Brittle map edge is stuck to the taped polyester sheets.
Third Challenge: Size Matters

As we looked through the thirty drawers of materials it became clear that some of the old encapsulations just weren’t working. There were several items that had  encapsulations that were too small. Some large folded items were put still folded into an L-sleeve encapsulation. Handling is awkward, and unfolded these items became too large for either the manuscript boxes or the flat files.

Rubenstein staff decided on two standard manuscript box sizes and two standard pamplet-binder sizes.  Anything that could go into one of these would do so. Any folded item would be unfolded. If an item was too big for a box, it would remain in a folder in a flat file. If it was too big to lay flat in the current flat files, we would wait to encapsulate it until we were in our new space with our new, bigger flat files. There are a few items that are  in too bad of a condition to safely re-encapsulate. These will come to conservation for treatment first.

maps
Maps in new manuscript boxes.
Fourth Challenge: The Weird Stuff

There is a lot of weird stuff in libraries and not everything in the map drawers are maps. As we work our way through the map collection we are setting these oddities aside for curatorial review. Some will end up back in the flat files, some will be the responsibility of Collection Development to deal with.

The Project So Far

To date we have encapsulated 1,865 items.  By our estimates we are about 90% finished, but what is left is some of the oddball items that need special attention by conservation, curators and by technical services. Technical services will also have to update the new locations, which they will do during the reclass project. Did I mention Rubenstein is also doing a huge reclass project during the move? We don’t believe in doing only one huge project at a time, that would be too easy.

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Tableaus of all kinds

tableau 2

Summer is gallivanting into Durham, and with it comes the promise of a new beginning for the Rubenstein, one involving fresh paint, new shelving, and a touch of tenacity. In a month, we’ll begin moving our materials and ourselves into our beautifully renovated home. Some Rubenstein spaces—like the Gothic Reading Room—will remain lovingly preserved, testaments to the memories that came before and to the new scholars who will soon discover them. Others will be similar in name only. I’m looking at you, Rubenstein stacks.

I’ve heard a lot about the pre-renovated Rubenstein stacks during my nearly two years here. The creaky elevators, the nooks, the crannies, the many doorways. These quirks are part of the collective Rubenstein conscious, and they’re spoken of fondly, frequently.

ranges

And while we’re sad to lose those charms, we’ve also been granted an opportunity to refine systems, to make materials more visible and easy to locate. We’ll no longer have a maze of classification schemes but one: Library of Congress. All of our print materials will be clustered by size: double elephants will chill next to double elephants; folios next to folios; mini materials next to mini. This is all great news for those of us lacking inner compasses. It also brings us to a logical question: how do we go about mapping locations for thousands of materials in this brave new world?

shelves

Easy! We turn to Tableau, a nifty data visualization service the lovely folks at Data Visualization introduced to us. Tableau allows subscribers to turn data into graphic representations that move far beyond bar graphs and pie charts—although it does have options for those as well.

Because we’re moving to a standard classification scheme, we now have more ways than ever to visualize our collections: we can look at overarching trends using the main classes of LC (e.g., “P” for Language and Literature or, “N” for Fine Arts); we can also get more granular than that. Within LC, there are subclasses that further delineate topics. PR—English Literature—is a subclass of Language and Literature, as is NA—Architecture—for Fine Arts. We can even delve deeper than that, looking at how many items are within a specific range of class numbers (e.g., PR1000-PR1100). With Tableau, we can then turn these data points into visual c(l)ues:

tableau
Click through to see the tableau in its full-sized beauty

 

tableau 2
Another visualization representing the same data.

This visualization breaks out our print holdings first by size designation (12mo = duodecimo; 8vo = octavo; 4to = quarto), then by subclass. Looking at this, we know that we have substantial chunks of duodecimos classed in “B”—Philosophy, Psychology, Religion.  We can also see that there are relatively fewer quartos and folios classed in Philosophy, Psychology, Religion. By doing this legwork, we know that we should probably leave extra space in the duodecimo section for materials classed “B.” Conversely, we also know that we won’t need to leave quite as much room in the folio areas for materials classed similarly.

Using a data visualization service has allowed us to be more accurate, more efficient, in our planning today so we won’t have to do as much shifting in the future. (Sorry wonderful colleagues! I can’t promise that we’ll never do shifting.) My own hope is that by doing this methodical (and methodological!) plotting today, the new stacks will be spoken of with the same fondness as the old stacks—albeit with less reverence toward crannies.

Anxiously awaiting our renovated space? It’s coming! From July 1st-August 23rd, the Rubenstein will be closed as we move into our permanent home. On August 24th, we’ll reopen to one and all.

Thanks to Mark Zupan and the Duke Libraries Renovation Flicker page for the excellent pictures; thanks also to Data Visualization for showing us its cool offerings!

rube on the move

Post contributed by Liz Adams, Collections Move Coordinator

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Christmas Came Early

As many readers know, we lost our photo documentation room in November 2013 to a renovation-related flood. We got it back for a on December 15, 2014 only to lose it again to another renovation issue on January on January 29, 2015. Today we got it back, and this time for good (everyone knock on wood). It is such a gift to not have our dirty room doubling as a photo doc room as well. Here’s the before:


The dirty room doubling as photo doc room.

Here is the dirty room today.

The dirty room all cleaned up.
The dirty room all cleaned up.

And here is the photo doc room.

The photo doc room, semi-cleaned up.
The photo doc room, semi-cleaned up.

We still have to put the photo doc set-up back in place, but what a great present to get this room back today!

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Our new home: A sneak peek

Gothic Room

It’s confession time: I started working at the Rubenstein after we moved onto the 3rd floor of Perkins. This means that I never gazed up at the ceiling archway of the Gothic Reading Room, and I never wandered our old stacks, traveling the well-trod paths—literally and figuratively– of those librarians who came before me. Our impermanent home is the only one I’ve known. And in truth, I’ve always had a hard time imagining what came before and what comes after. Architectural plans, while incredibly helpful, don’t always capture grand staircases and hidden crannies.

Rare Book Room
Rare Book Room

 

 

Luckily for all of us, Kat Stefko, the head of Rubenstein Technical Services, and I recently returned to our once and future home. We put on our fanciest construction gear and walked around the floors, all the while marveling at the differences in scale between our temporary location and our new one. Check out the maps cabinets! They are the very definition of bright young things.

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maps cabinets (sideways!)

 

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With a handy ruler, we were also able to measure the shelf clearance for our new manuscript shelving units. I’m happy to report that our larger manuscript boxes will fit safely and snuggly on each shelf. Can you imagine these filled with boxes?

liz-blog-photo-3

And just because I mentioned the scale earlier, look at how tall these units actually are! I’m not a small person, but these are the equivalent of two of me. (Don’t worry, fellow staff members and curious readers: our ladders will be sturdy and strong.)

Although we at the Rubenstein love a good field trip, we didn’t tour the stacks just to tour the stacks. We wanted to gain a better sense of how to move our materials from our current abode to our new one. As July 1st swirls closer, we need a solid moving plan, one that takes into account tight turns and elevators, lines of visibility and door widths. Our spaces aren’t quite complete, but we found it incredibly helpful to walk the pathways we’ll take in July, to imagine materials moving at fast clips down hallways and into elevators. It was all enormously satisfying: we know that we can make this move happen, and we’re well on our way to figuring out how to do it.

rube on the move

Post contributed by Liz Adams, Rubenstein Move Coordinator. 

 

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We’re on the Move!

data visualization

 

While we at the Rubenstein were unable to commemorate the New Year with a ball (or perhaps pickle?) drop, we do have a lot to be excited for in this newest of years. After a stint on the third floor of Perkins, we’re finally making the trek to our permanent location—a location that while physically close, has occasionally felt as though it were light years away. In July 2015, the staff and collections of the Rubenstein will move (ourselves) home.

Perhaps because we conquered a move once before, we’re feeling ambitious, even a little daring. In addition to moving nearly 18,000 linear feet of onsite material (plus offsite material!), we’re also reclassifying our entire print holdings into a single, unified system: the Library of Congress classification. No longer will we have 120+ different call number systems, ranging from Riess C246I to E F#1275. Now, all our call numbers will follow the same alphanumeric system, one that is used by the larger Duke Libraries system. Here’s how the two call numbers above might be classed in the future:

calll numbers

A brief lesson about Library of Congress classification: those lines of alphanumeric text all have specific meanings outlined the Library of Congress classification schedules and its associated texts. The first lines of letters and numbers (e.g., HV6533) always refer to the subject of the work. In case you were wondering, HV refers to the subject “Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology.” The subsequent lines are then used to provide additional clarity, narrowing in on topics, geographic locations, authors, title, and even formats. The LC classification thus packs a huge amount of information into a scant amount of space.

So how will this help the Rubenstein (and you)? By moving to a single system, we’re making our collections more browsable, both for staff and for researchers. Since every call number has a subject associated with it, we can conduct both granular and broad searches in our catalog (and if you’re staff, in the stacks). We’re also making it easier for our staff to pinpoint the locations of items. With 120+ call numbers, there are lots of pockets in the stacks where an item might live. Library of Congress will not only unify our call number system but will also create stronger shelving practices. There will be a place for everything, and everything in its place.

Some of these advantages won’t be felt until we move into our new space and finish out the reclassification project. Others are already making their presence known. Because our call numbers are now tied to specific subjects, we can use our current data to pinpoint collection strengths, weaknesses, and gaps. We’ve been able to develop some very cool data visualization:

data visualization

While we knew (and probably could have guessed) that a substantial proportion of our print work falls into Language and Literature, other topics are a little more surprising. Who knew we had works about general Agriculture (S), Plant Culture (SB), and Animal Culture (SF)?  I certainly didn’t, but now that I know, I might just be tempted to brush up on my knowledge of farm life.

There’s still a lot to do, but we’re making steady progress in our reclassification project and our many other move preparation projects.  And we’re very happy to say the Rubenstein Library is on the move!

rube on the move

A special thanks to Noah Huffman and Angela Zoss in Data Visualization for creating the incredible visualization featured in this blog post. It’s a real beauty.

 Post contributed by Liz Adams, Collections Move Coordinator at the Rubenstein. 

 

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Rubenstein Library Renovation Update: Winter Break

Workers repair and clean mortar over the main library entrance. Click on the image to see more photos of the Rubenstein Library renovation on our Flickr site.
Workers repair and clean mortar over the main library entrance. Click on the image to see more photos of the Rubenstein Library renovation on our Flickr site.

 

Finals are almost over and Duke students will soon be heading home for the holidays. That means it’s the perfect time to get some major construction activity out of the way.

Here’s a look at some of the library renovation work that will be happening over winter break:

December 17 – 21: Power will be disconnected to the two elevators located behind the Perkins Library Circulation Desk.  Also during this period, power to the air handler serving the Divinity Stacks closest to the Rubenstein Library will be off. Power to the Languages Building will be interrupted during this time but will be restored by a temporary generator.

December 18 – 19: Workers will be testing upgrades to the fire alarm panels intermittently. Anyone present in the library will hear a “This is a test” announcement before the fire alarm is sounded. Library staff and patrons do not need to evacuate the building during these tests.

December 21:  All power to Perkins and Bostock Libraries will be off from 6:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. The library is normally scheduled to be open 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. that Sunday but will be closed instead.

December 29 – January 2: The tower crane foundation between Perkins Library and the Divinity School (located in the loading dock area) will be removed. This work will involve breaking up the concrete with a hydraulic ram.  The work will be very loud and create vibrations that will be heard in both Perkins and Divinity.

Free earplugs are available at the Perkins Library Service Desk on the first floor for library users who are bothered by the renovation noise. We thank you for supporting our progress and apologize for any inconvenience.

In order to make all members of the Duke community aware of the major activities and potential noise issues associated with the Rubenstein Library renovation, we will be posting regular announcements of upcoming renovation work on this blog. If you have questions, please contact Aaron Welborn, Director of Communications, at 919-660-5816, or aaron.welborn@duke.edu.

You’re Invited! Open House for The Edge, Jan. 14

You’re invited to a Duke University Libraries Open House!

Help us celebrate the completion of

The Edge Overlay Image

Wednesday, January 14, 2015
1:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Bostock Library, First Floor

Remarks at 1:30 p.m. by Deborah Jakubs,
Rita DiGiallonardo Holloway University Librarian
and Vice Provost for Library Affairs

  • Tour the new spaces, labs, and project rooms
  • Meet and mingle with library staff and The Edge support teams
  • Learn how The Edge can support your research and project work
  • Free giveaways
  • Enjoy refreshments by Parker and Otis
Floorplan of The Edge on the renovated first floor of Bostock Library

Floorplan of The Edge on the renovated first floor of Bostock Library

About The Edge
To meet the needs of interdisciplinary, team-based, data-driven, and digitally reliant research at Duke, the Duke University Libraries have transformed the first floor of Bostock Library into a new academic service hub. With digital tools and collaborative workspaces, reservable rooms for project teams, and expanded technology and training facilities, The Edge: The Ruppert Commons for Research, Technology, and Collaboration is an attractive new research community destination in the heart of campus.

For more information, visit library.duke.edu/edge.

Mark your calendar and join us 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. on January 14!

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Working While Lab-less

While we are out of the lab we have been staying busy with projects that do not require access to water, large equipment, and other tools and supplies that we normally use. At first it felt that we had to stretch to find projects to work on. As it turns out, we have more than enough to keep us, our students and volunteer busy, including some large-scale projects.

Beth surveying Music Library materials.
Beth surveying Music Library materials.

We are working on surveying the locked stacks in the Music Library. Rachel and Beth have created and tested the survey tool, and they are now in the midst of collecting item-level condition data. At the end of this project we will write the report and use the data to address some issues in this collection. We already know there is a lot of boxing needs, and there are a fair amount of brittle pamphlets that we need to discuss with the Music Librarian.

We started a re-encapsulation project in the Rubenstein Library map collection. In the past, these maps were encapsulated using the double-stick-tape method. The margins are much bigger than they need to be because they wanted to be sure the maps didn’t get accidentally taped into the polyester.  While the impulse was a good one, many of the maps have shifted in their packets and are stuck to the tape. In addition, the library needs to make room in the flat files for items that can’t fit in standard manuscript boxes. Since we are moving into the new space in the fall of 2015, now is the time to address these issues.

Lauren works on re-encapsulating maps.
Lauren works on re-encapsulating maps in Rubenstein Library.

We moved the polyester ultrasonic welder to a consultation room in Rubenstein Library to be closer to the maps. We are welding inside the tape, trimming the tape off, and putting the maps into large, flat manuscript boxes. Our students and volunteers have been doing most of this work with support from Rachel and Beth. There are an estimated 1,200 maps in these cabinets. This project will continue through the spring of 2015.

Erin prepares Duke Chronicles for digitization.
Erin prepares Duke Chronicles for digitization.

Erin has been working on preparing the next set of Duke Chronicles for digitization. The next set are from the 1940′s-50′s and have been bound together. The paper is fairly brittle, but remains flexible. Erin is going through each volume to stabilize any large tears. It’s also a time to find any missing volumes or pages and alert the digitization team.

Before the move, Tedd prepared several text blocks to the point of casing-in. He’s been working through these as well as making four-flap boxes for the Rubenstein Library.

It’s been a challenge to work in this space, but we are finding ways to be productive. I am finding that being more visible is a good thing for Conservation. We are seeing and talking to colleagues we normally wouldn’t see in the basement. That said, we are all looking forward to getting back to the lab. We will return next week if the construction is on schedule.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rubenstein Library Renovation Update: Nov. 7-21

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Construction on Rubenstein Library continues

This week the Conservation Services department moved all of their equipment and staff from the lab to a new location in Perkins Library. There will be construction taking place in their space to repair the ceiling, so the conservation lab will be temporarily housed in Perkins Library Room 118. The work should be completed by December 12, when Conservation will move back into their lab space.

Apart from the conservation lab, construction workers are continuing to make progress on numerous other projects. The following renovations will be taking place over the next two weeks:

1. Installing vapor barrier primer
2. Installing the fire pump room
3. Hard ceiling framing
4. Interior wall framing
5. Installation of elevator 4-1
6. Mansard roof panel installation on the East Elevation
7. Reroofing the 1st floor, West Elevation (flat roof)
8. Foundation modification for elevator
9. Installation of roof tile at the West Elevation
10. Storm drainage installation
11. Elevator 4-3 foundation prep

Free earplugs are available at the Perkins Library Service Desk on the first floor for library users who are bothered by the renovation noise. We thank you for supporting our progress and apologize for any inconvenience.

In order to make all members of the Duke community aware of the major activities and potential noise issues associated with the Rubenstein Library renovation, we will be posting regular announcements of upcoming renovation work on this blog. If you have questions, please contact Aaron Welborn, Director of Communications, at 919-660-5816, or aaron.welborn@duke.edu.

Moving The Lab: “At Least We Have Windows”

This week we moved out of the lab so that the construction crew could proceed with the Rubenstein Renovation Project. They need to remove our ceiling, take out old HVAC ducts and water pipes, and install new ducts and pipes. We have known for about a year that we would have to move out. The serious “down to brass tacks” planning started about five or six months ago.


Packing up the lab.

Our temporary space is a conference room and not designed to be a conservation lab. The challenge for our planning was to stay productive while working in a space about a third the size of the lab that has no water, sink, fume hood or the other equipment we have come to rely on. We also needed to figure out where and how to store our large equipment; negotiate storage space for library materials that are awaiting treatment; collaborate with our colleagues to adjust workflows; and physically move important files and materials that we wanted to move ourselves.

The plan involved moving some materials to locked stacks, move as much large equipment and supplies as could fit into our dirty room and computer nook, moving  supplies and equipment to our new room, and moving the remaining furniture to off site storage. It’s a good thing we specialize in organized workflows.

Moving Day

Moving Day came this past Monday, and continued through lunchtime on Tuesday. Most of the day went off without a hitch, and the small glitches that did occur were quickly remedied. It was an all-hands-on-deck situation with both planned and on-the-spot move assignments being made. Everyone worked together to ensure the safe move of all of our stuff, and what a lot of stuff it was.

Moving the large board shear.
Moving the large board shear.

There are so many people to thank that helped us in our move. Staff from the library helped by making space for us to store materials, by moving meetings to other rooms, by coordinating movers, etc. We had three people from Rubenstein Library come and help us pack when we needed extra hands. The Lock Shop even came over to take the door off the hinges so we could get the board shear through the door.  Everyone we asked seemed more than happy and willing to help us in our time of need. I am so thankful that we work with such amazing and helpful colleagues.

Our Temporary Lab
Our temporary lab is cozy, but at least it has windows!
Our temporary lab is cozy, but at least it has windows!

Our new space is small, but our planning has paid off. We have five benches for all the staff, students and our volunteer to share. We moved the large board shear, a couple of shelving units,  secure storage units, and several book trucks into the space. We also made sure to have room to move around and maneuver trucks to benches. The best part of the new space is that we have windows! Not since our original lab space have we been able to see the outside world during work hours. We will enjoy every minute of those, especially if this beautiful weather continues.

What We Are Learning

While it is difficult and stressful to move, we are learning there are other benefits besides the windows. First, moving gave us an opportunity to clean out stuff we no longer use or want. Everyone needs a good clearing-out now and then to create space and reduce clutter.

Now that we are in our temporary space, more people are becoming aware of Conservation because we are in a much more public space. We are interacting with library staff that we would normally not have a chance to talk to since we are more visible. Additionally, several people have stopped by to see our space. We are thinking of hosting a pop-up open house next week just for fun since so many people are curious about who just moved into Room 118.

You can see more images of our move  on Flickr.

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