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Digital Project Prep in the Time of Quarantine

Like many other libraries we are pushing to get as much material digitized and online for fall term instruction as possible. Conservation, however, is not yet back on site but our services are still needed. I came in this week to work on some items that needed humidifying and flattening, and to do some quick repairs to get these camera ready.

removing rusty staples
Removing rusty staples.

This collection had a lot of rusty staples that needed removal.

testing media
Testing solubility of media.

There are several Western Union telegrams and other correspondence that were crumpled and torn that are too fragile for imaging. These had a variety of media that looked suspect including early mimeographs, stamp ink, copy pencil, and other writing inks. These were tested prior to humidification.

humidifying crumpled paper
Humidifying chambers.

Even though the media was somewhat sensitive to water it felt OK to humidify these as long as I kept watch over them to make sure there was no media migration. I started with one telegram to see how it responded to humidification. When that went well the remaining items were put into the chamber for a few hours to relax. They were then dried under felts overnight.

Since these were very modern materials we decided to use our home-made heat set tissue for the repairs. These were stabilized and sent over to the Digital Production Center for imaging today.

It feels good to be working in the lab again, although a bit strange to be here with no one else around. Hopefully soon it will be safe enough to bring more of the Conservation staff back to the lab. Until then we will have to see each other in Zoom.

zoom tip
Zoom tip: Create a face near the camera to talk to so you don’t stare at yourself all of the time.

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