Category Archives: Preservation Week

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!

Preservation Week: Going Down a Wormhole

It’s Preservation Week! Each day this week we are telling a short story about how the conservation department supports the library and its mission. We’ve seen Mary repairing circulating collection materials, Beth representing in the board rooms, and Rachel working on custom mounts. Today we will take a peek at something a little more… chewed.

book pages with worm holes

Erin Hammeke, Senior Conservator for Special Collections, is currently working on an 18th century Spanish history of North America from the Rubenstein collection, which was badly eaten by insects at some point before it was acquired by the library.

insect damage creating handling challenges for book pages.The insect damage is so extensive in places that the book is very difficult to handle without causing further damage. In order to make this item accessible to researchers, Erin is applying strong, but reversible, mends of Japanese paper to infill each one of the losses. The color of the repair blends nicely with the original paper, so that it does not distract so much from the text.

page after treatment

The conservation treatment of this item will take a considerable amount of time, but it will ensure that a valuable resource is made available to patrons for many years to come. With all the requests for special collections items, either by scholars in the reading room, for our exhibitions, or for digitization, we work closely with our colleagues in Special Collections to prioritize treatment and make treatment decisions.

Preservation Week: A Nobel Experiment

It’s Preservation Week!  This week, we are looking at the daily life of a conservation department and the work we each do in  support of the library and its mission. On Monday, Mary was repairing a book with very cool end papers. On Tuesday, Beth was in a meeting (surprise!).

Sometimes you need to bring in expertise when faced with a particular challenge. Rachel is working with Brad Johnson and Patrick Krivacka from the Nasher Museum of Art to build a custom mount for Kenneth Arrow’s Nobel Prize medal. Today was the medal’s first fitting. They also discussed the finish for the stand and came to agreement on the height of the frame.

Fitting the medal in the stand
(L to R) Rachel Penniman, Brad Johnson, and Patrick Krivacka discuss the fit of the display stand.

 

Kenneth Arrow was an economist, professor, and Nobel laureate. Arrow’s career is especially distinguished by his contributions to the theory of social choice, including his book Social Choice and Individual Values, published in 1951, and his contributions to general equilibrium theory. For these achievements, Professor Arrow has been awarded the Johns Bates Clark Medal (1957) and the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics (1972), which he shared with Professor Sir John Hicks.

We are very excited that we will have a custom-fit stand so that the Nobel medal can be displayed in classes, show and tells, and exhibits. Thanks Patrick and Brad!

Preservation Week: Sometimes You Get Doughnuts

It’s Preservation Week!  This week, we are looking at the daily life of a conservation department and the work we each do in  support of the library and its mission. Yesterday we saw Mary in repairing a book with very cool end papers.

As a department head my job is to make sure  we have the budgetary and human resources that we need to do our work, advocate for my staff and department, and make sure our priorities fit into the strategic direction of the library. To that end, I attend a lot of meetings.

Technical Services department head meeting
Technical Services department head meeting.

Duke Libraries has a culture of collaboration,  so we do a lot of talking with each other.  My standing meetings include departmental and individual staff meetings; Technical Services Department Head meetings; meetings with my supervisor; the monthly all-library staff meeting; the Multi-spectral Imaging team meeting; quarterly division meetings; and meetings with other department heads outside of Technical Services  usually over lunch or coffee. Then there are special meetings that are called around projects or initiatives, budget setting, and other administrative duties. Then there are the meetings that happen on the fly at the bus stop, in the hallway, or in the cafe line.

By attending these meetings I am gathering the information I need for the department to be successful, I’m building relationships across the library, and  I am also finding out what is happening in other departments that might impact our workflow. I know for some people all these meetings sounds like torture, but I rather enjoy getting together with colleagues to think about our collaborative future. And sometimes you get doughnuts.

Preservation Week: The Lab Is Hopping!

For Preservation Week we are sharing a “Day In The Lab” montage. Today the lab is full of activity and fun projects. Who would suspect that all of this goes on under your feet as you walk into the library? Hope you had a great Preservation Week.

Photo 1(3)
Jennifer is boxing up “Mr. Money” aka “The Man” from the Human Rights Archives. This is a very large puppet with a paper mache head and a PVC-pipe body.
Photo 3
Meg is washing a giant book, page by page.
Photo 5
Tedd just finished a fabulous box for our Cigarette Rolling Machine Patent Model. All of the wheels actually spin!
Photo 4
And Beth is outside vacuuming mouse poop droppings from a manuscript collection. This is how we get to see the outdoors during the day. Don’t be jealous.

Event: Digital Forensics, Emulation, and the Art of Restoration

By Winston Atkins, Preservation Officer

Ben Fino-Radin

Digital Forensics, Emulation, and the
Art of Restoration

 

Who: Ben Fino-Radin
When: Wednesday, April 24, 4:00 p.m.
Where: Perkins Library, Room 217 (Click for map)
Contact: Winston Atkins (winston.atkins@duke.edu)
This event is free and open to the public.

In 1991, from a basement in lower Manhattan, contemporary artist Wolfgang Staehle founded The Thing, an electronic Bulletin Board System (BBS) that served as a cyber-utopian hub for NYC-based artists integrating computers and into their creative practice.

The Thing emerged at a moment when contemporary artists were coming to grips with personal computers and the role they played in visual art. The BBS, which began as a temporary experiment, grew to become an international network of artists and ideas. Then the World Wide Web emerged and in 1995 Staehle abandoned the BBS for a web-based iteration of The Thing. The cultural record of these crucial early years, inscribed on the platters of the hard drive that hosted the BBS, was left to sit in a dusty basement.

Fast forward to 2013. Digital conservator Ben Fino-Radin reached out to Staehle to investigate the state of the BBS. Did the machine that hosted The Thing still exist? Could the board be restored to working order?

For scholars interested in the intersection of art and technology, the ability to investigate the contents of the BBS and observe its original look and feel would help flesh out the history of the emergence of personal computers and visual art. Unhappily, it was discovered that the computer that hosted The Thing BBS was at some point discarded.

Join Ben Fino-Radin on Wednesday, April 24th, to discuss the process of digital forensics, investigation, and anthropology involved in the process of restoring The Thing BBS from the scattered bits and pieces of evidence that managed to survive, and how this story serves as a case-study in the need for a new model of digital preservation in archives.

About the Speaker

Ben Fino-Radin is a New York-based media archaeologist and conservator of born-digital and computer-based works of contemporary art. At Rhizome at the New Museum, he leads the preservation and curation of the ArtBase, one of the oldest and most comprehensive collections of born-digital works of art. He is also in practice in the Conservation Department of the Museum of Modern Art, managing the Museum’s repository for digital assets in the collection, as well as contributing to media conservation projects. He is near completion of an MFA in digital arts and MS in Library and Information Science at Pratt Institute. He holds a BFA in New Media from Alfred University.

Find Out More

Ben Fino-Radin:

The Thing:

Rhizome:

  • Rhizome is dedicated to the creation, presentation, preservation, and critique of emerging artistic practices that engage technology.” (from the Rhizome mission statement)

Preservation Video Rodeo Roundup, pt. 5 (The Rest of the Videos)

Welcome to the final day of our Preservation Week video rodeo roundup. Today is a grab bag of preservation and conservation related videos, and a couple plain ol’ library videos, that we like. If you have found others you like that are in this same genre, please leave a link in the comments.

Book artist and author Bea Nettles on learning about preservation and how it has changed her work.

LYRASIS (formerly SOLINET) shows you how to safely remove a paperclip. I know you want to send this to all of your processors, don’t you? They will also show you how to remove staples.

Library security from the T.C. Beirne Law Library at the University of Queensland, Australia.

Just for fun: In 2009 to take a break from studying, an estimated 3,000 students created a flashmob at the UNC Chapel Hill Davis Library. Hmmm, today is the last day of classes here, I wonder if our students will do something like this?

Preservation Video Rodeo Roundup, pt. 4 (Insects and Disasters)

Welcome to part four of our Preservation Week video roundup. Today we have for your enjoyment some fun videos on not-so-fun topics: insects and disasters.

First up, my favorite insect video from the University of Florida Smathers Library Preservation Department. This, my friends, is why you want to keep the lid on the trash cans.

From our former colleague comes this humorous video. Thanks to UNC-Greensboro Preservation Committee for a fun look at insects in the library.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne Preservation Department recently put together some books on shelves to see what happens when a sprinkler head goes off. It’s always fun to watch books get wet.

After a flash flood hit the Hamilton Library on the campus of the University of Hawaii, the Conservation Department had to clean and repair the damage.

Just for fun: Mr. Bean tries to thwart security at his local library.

Preservation Video Rodeo Roundup, pt. 3 (Digital Preservation)

Welcome to part three of our Preservation Week video roundup. Today, some videos on preserving digital content. If you have favorite videos on this topic, please let us know about them in the comments section.

Team Digital Preservation always brings humor to the complicated issues of digital preservation. Tune in for their wacky, yet insightful, adventures.

Abby Smith Rumsey recently gave a lecture at Yale University titled “But Storage is Cheap…Digital Preservation in the Age of Abundance.” Well worth the time to view, and thanks to Yale for posting their Preservation Lecture Series videos online.

The Library of Congress presents basic issues of preserving digital content in this short video. Great for the non-preservation professional audience.

The Library of Congress talks to teens about longevity of digital media. We all need to do more to reach out to youth to get them interested now. Have you had success with this dear reader?

Just for fun: What would the help desk have looked like back when books were the new technology?

Preservation Video Rodeo Roundup, pt. 2 (Care and Handling)

It’s day two of Preservation Week. In today’s video roundup we share some of our favorite care and handling videos. If you have a favorite care and handling video, give us the link in the comment section.

The classic video is “Murder in the Stacks.” Thanks to Columbia University, this timeless (OK, maybe “historic”) video is now online for all to enjoy.

This video is one of the best, and shortest, care and handling videos we have seen. Produced by Middlebury College Preservation and Processing Unit (Department?).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kog2yXMRRfs

At George Mason University, taking care of books is FUN.

Daniel Ireton created this fabulous video…modern videos meet olde tyme production. Hey Daniel, what library is this?

Just for fun: A reminder that food in the library is generally frowned upon.