Category Archives: Preservation

Preservation Week, Pass It On


Today starts the first ever Preservation Week brought to you by ALA’s Association of College and Research Libraries among others. This idea stems from a 2005 national survey of repositories by Heritage Preservation in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Among the findings: 26% of the responding institutions have no environmental control for their collections; 80% of responding institutions had no emergency plan that included collections; and 77% of institutions do not allocate funds in their budgets specifically for preservation.

These numbers are eye opening, but we at Preservation Underground also know that there is a lot to do within our personal collections to ensure the longevity of our own collections. During this first ever Preservation Week we will bring you tips to help you do just that. These tips will focus on books, paper and photographic documents. Later in the week we will touch on textiles and digital materials.

The theme “Pass It On” is applicable both to our personal collections and to our personal stories. Do you have a preservation story to tell? We would love for you to share it with us, pass it on.

Resources

NEDCC “Resources for Private and Family Collections”
Library of Congress “Caring for Your Collections”
National Archives “Storing Family Papers and Photographs?”
Library of Congress “Frequently Asked Preservation Questions”

Celebrating 10 Years of Preservation: 10 years, 10 People

This year marks the Preservation Department’s tenth year serving the Duke University Libraries. We are planning several events to mark the occasion which will include exhibits, an open house, and interviews with staff members.

We will start our staff interviews with our longest-serving team member Winston Atkins, Preservation Officer for the libraries. Winston came to Duke from NC State a decade ago and was tasked with starting the Preservation Department. You can also find this and other videos at our Duke University Libraries You Tube channel.

We would love to hear from you if you have favorite Preservation, Conservation or DPC story to share, or would just like to give us a shout out and let us know how we are doing. Contact me and I’ll compile them for a blog post later.

May Day S.O.S.

Heritage Preservation has for the past several years promoted May Day as the day to think about disaster preparedness in cultural institutions.

To honor May Day we offer resources for you to kick start your disaster plan and recovery efforts. Online disaster planning and recovery advice is everywhere but you need to be an informed consumer when looking at many of these sites. Here are a few that we find useful. Listing does not imply endorsement of any product or company.

Disaster Planning and Response

Council of State Archivists Pocket Response Plan

A free template for creating a folded plan with phone numbers and contact information. It folds down into a business card-sized document.

Northeast Document Conservation Center D-Plan
A free, online template that can be accessed 24/7 from anywhere. You can also print out the plan in case your power is out.

Heritage Preservation: Disaster Wheel and Field Guide to Emergency Response
The wheel is great to have on hand for first responders, especially if they may not be materials experts. The Field Guide is one of the best fill-in-the-blank plans you can have…easy to use, customizable and affordable.

Western Association for Art Conservation “Salvage Operations for Water Damaged Collections”
A classic how-to for several types of materials you may find in museums, libraries and archives. Originally issued in 1988 on water-proof paper, the update in 1997 includes more modern materials. You can always print it out on your own water-proof paper.

Other Resources

Lyrasis Disaster Resources

Includes information for families and personal papers.

Library of Congress Preservation Directorate Emergency Preparedness
Useful information, some of which is hard to find including recovery information should you be hit by a volcano eruption. Don’t say it can’t happen.

Conservation On Line Disaster Preparedness and Response
Loads of information geared towards the professional conservator and preservation administrator.

ProText React Pak and Rescube
Should disaster strike, you need supplies on hand. You can purchase a kit such as the React Pak, or create your own using this as a guide. Put your supplies together now before something happens, and be sure anyone can get to them in an emergency.

Confessions of a Conservation Librarian

Yesterday I said to myself, “Self, you haven’t backed up your computer files lately. Perhaps you should.” To whit I replied, “Meh, maybe after I download this software so I can stream videos.”

Of course my computer crashed this morning. I tried rebooting, rebooting again, and again. Nothing. All those files and images…perhaps they can be saved but my luck doesn’t normally run that way.

*Sigh* How many times during the semester do I tell my preservation students about the fragility of electronic media and documents? How many times in my professional life do I tell people that they really need to back up their files regularly because you don’t know when a problem will strike and you risk losing everything? I told you so…and I told myself so.

So, loyal readers, go to your computer right now and back up your files. Go. Now. I’ll wait for you to come back….there, don’t you feel better?

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.

What’s In Your Disaster Kit?


A confluence of events including the upcoming May Day events, Preservation Week, this weekend’s weather and the subsequent adventure getting to work today prompted me to check the supplies in my personal disaster kit.

Good thing I did, the batteries for my flashlight are nearly dead, my old goggles have developed some weird oily/sticky film (those are not going near my eyes), and my respirator’s strap has broken. Those will all get replaced. I got a small first aid kit for Christmas, that would be a good addition. I also need to put a pocket disaster plan in there (Duke library staff can get one from the Preservation Department). And where did the pair of warm socks wander off to?

As we make our way towards hurricane season I’d like to remind everyone to check the supplies in both your personal kit and in your library’s disaster supply closet. Restock or replace what is missing or damaged now. Don’t wait until there’s a problem to find out your batteries are dead or your warm socks are missing.

Last Minute Preservation Gifts

Taking a cue from the Goodson Blogson we present our first preservation holiday gift guide. If you don’t know what to give that conservator or preservation librarian in your life, never fear, Preservation Underground is here.

Books
You can never have too many, right? With so many to choose from where do you start?
Preservation: Issues and Planning by Paul Banks and Roberta Pilette. A well written collection of essays that provides an overview of what library and archives preservation programs entail.
Science for Conservators volumes one through three. Organic chemistry for non-scientists. A must for any conservator.
ABC of Bookbinding by Jane Greenfield. A clearly written thesaurus of bookbinding terms and book structure history.

Emergency Supplies

Too depressing you say? Preservation people eat, sleep and live this stuff.
React Pak will have you recovering from that pipe leak fast. Of course, you can put your own together and customize it any way you want.
Emergency Response Salvage Wheel from Heritage Preservation. It even has a magnet on the back to hang it on your fridge.
Hard core gift givers will purchase the Heritage Preservation combo pack which includes the Field Guide to Emergency Response and an Emergency Response wheel. Heck, they’ll even thrown in Working With Emergency Responders: Tips for Cultural Institutions for free when you buy both.
For the Bookbinders in Your Life
Face it, people who actually MAKE things are hard to buy for. Here’s a few ideas to get you started.
Diary Blocks for 2010. Sure, you could buy a wall calendar at a big box store, but then you wouldn’t be able to put a beautiful binding on it.
Blank Book Kits are great for those of you writing that great American novel by hand.
Decorative Blue Paper for your favorite Duke or UNC Chapel Hill Fan. You prefer Wolfpack red? no worries, there’s paper for that, too.
Bone Folders make great stocking stuffers or hostess gifts. Trust me, they do, especially when they are this lovely.
Life Long Learning
Who can ever know enough? give them the gift that keeps on giving.
Book binding classes can be found for every skill level.
Calligraphy classes can help with that handwriting, you have to fill all those blank pages somehow.
Interested in audio visual preservation? digital preservation? there are classes for that, too.
After Dinner Mint
Finally, when all seems lost and you need just one more perfect gift, how about a unique hand made book bound into a mint tin? You know you want one.
Happy holidays to all. May your winter break be free of frozen pipes and lumps of coal. What would you like to find in your stocking this year?
Listing does not imply endorsement by Duke University or Duke University Libraries.

Preservation Lunch ‘n’ Learn

Join us as we watch “Don Etherington: A Sixty-year Odyssey in Bookbinding and Conservation.” Mr. Etherington has worked tirelessly as a conservator, educator, writer and leading voice in conservation theory and practice. He has been a teacher and mentor to many conservators working in the field today and has led an enormously interesting life from apprentice bookbinder to proprietor of Etherington Conservation Services (now part of the HF Group).

This video is part of the Syracuse University Library Brodsky Series for the Advancement of Library Conservation. Follow this link for more on the series and past speakers.

December 10th
Perkins Library, Room 217
Noon-1:15 pm
Bring your lunch.
All are welcome.

Preservation Is Interdisciplinary

Academic research has become more and more interdisciplinary. Whether you are studying the Brain and Society, or you are Engineering World Health, it is not enough to stay in your ‘silo’ for four years and hope for the best. That is true for the Preservation Department as well.

We work across the Duke University Library system to preserve materials from all subject areas so they can be accessed by patrons on campus and around the world. We have worked on model airplanes and pink dragons from the Hartmen Center, football programs from the University Archives, Louisa Whitman letters to her son Walt Whitman from the Rare Book, Manuscript and Special Collection Library, and of course thousands of items from the circulating collections.

The Preservation Department is breaking new ground in the types of services it can provide for the Library. The newly named Verne and Tanya Roberts Conservation Lab has equipment that enables us to do conservation treatments on paper based materials such as books and manuscripts. With the equipment in the Digital Production Center we can now help provide easier access to non-print media such as photographs and moving images.* Our strong tradition of caring for paper-based materials has expanded to include providing access to collections through the digitization process. We take an interdisciplinary approach to our work so that you, our patrons, can do the same.

*See Duke Digital Collections for more online collections.