Preservation Week: Digitization Prep

It’s Preservation Week! Each day we are showing examples of how the conservation department supports the library and its mission. We’ve seen Mary getting items back into circulation, Beth in an important meetingRachel showing off a Nobel prize, and Erin undoing some worm’s evil work. In our final post for the week, we will talk about how Conservation supports training and the digitization of collections .

Helen Lee mends manuscript material ahead of digitization.
Undergraduate student Helen Lee applies heat-activated repair material to mend some manuscripts.

Collection materials are constantly being imaged over at the Digital Production Center to provide greater access to scholars around the world. All those materials undergo careful review by our staff before going under the camera, and some items need stabilizing repairs in order to be handled and imaged safely. The sheer quantity of requested material can easily overwhelm our full-time staff, so sometimes our part-time student employees can help with the quicker repairs. Helen Lee (pictured above) has been working in the lab for the past three years and has been trained in several kinds of paper repairs ideal for digitization prep.  Today, she is using strips of pre-coated Japanese paper, which we make in the lab, to mend tears on archival material. She uses a small heated tacking iron through a barrier of silicone-coated paper to apply the repair strips.

Helen is graduating this semester and we are so sad to see her go! But it is rewarding to see students head off on new adventures and hopefully some of the preservation training she received here will come in handy along the way.

Happy Preservation Week!

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