Category Archives: Uncategorized

Know a Great Colleague? Nominate them!

It’s library award season! Time to nominate our hard-working colleagues to thank them for a job well done. The American Library Association has several awards that represent all facets of library work. Here are some that may be of interest to you, but be sure to look at the full list.  The award descriptions below come directly from ALA’s web pages.

Ross Atkinson Lifetime Achievement Award
Ross Atkinson

This award honors the legacy of Ross Atkinson, distinguished library leader, author, and scholar, whose extraordinary service to ALCTS and the library community at-large serves as a model for those who follow. The award is given to recognize the contribution of a library leader through demonstrated exceptional service to ALCTS and its areas of interest (acquisitions, cataloging and metadata, collection management, continuing resources, and preservation and reformatting).

For more information and application guidelines visit:
http://www.ala.org/alcts/awards/profrecognition/atkinsonlife

 

Hugh C. Atkinson Memorial Award
Hugh Atkinson

This award honors the life and accomplishments of Hugh C. Atkinson by soliciting nominations and recognizing the outstanding accomplishments of an academic librarian who has worked in the areas of library automation or library management and has made contributions (including risk taking) toward the improvement of library services or to library development or research.

For more information and application guidelines visit:
http://www.ala.org/acrl/awards/achievementawards/atkinsonmemorial

 

Paul Banks and Carolyn Harris Preservation Award
Paul Banks

This award was established to honor the memory of Paul Banks and Carolyn Harris, early leaders in library preservation. The award will be given to recognize the contribution of a professional preservation specialist who has been active in the field of preservation and/or conservation for library and/or archival materials.

For more information and application guidelines visit:
http://www.ala.org/alcts/awards/profrecognition/banksharris

Editor’s note: Why are there no pictures of Carolyn Harris online? If someone knows of one, let me know and I will add it here.

 

 

George Cunha and Susan Swartzburg Award
George Cunha

This award honors the memory of George Cunha and Susan Swartzburg, early leaders in cooperative preservation programming and strong advocates for collaboration in the field of preservation. The award, sponsored by Hollinger Metal Edge, acknowledges and supports cooperative preservation projects and/or rewards individuals or groups that foster collaboration for preservation goals. Recipients of the award demonstrate vision, endorse cooperation, and advocate for the preservation of published and primary source resources that capture the richness of our cultural patrimony. The award recognizes the leadership and initiative required to build collaborative networks designed to achieve specific preservation goals. Since collaboration, cooperation, advocacy and outreach are key strategies that epitomize preservation, the award promotes cooperative efforts and supports equitable preservation among all libraries, archives and historical institutions.

For more information and application guidelines visit:
http://www.ala.org/alcts/awards/profrecognition/lbicunhaswartz

Editor’s note: No Susan Swartzburg image online? I’m sensing a trend here. We need to better document the women in our field.

Esther J. Piercy Award

The Esther J. Piercy Award was established by the Resources and Technical Services Division of the American Library Association in 1968 in memory of Esther J. Piercy, editor of Journal of Cataloging and Classification from 1950 to 1956 and of Library Resources & Technical Services from 1957 to 1967. This award is given to recognize the contribution to those areas of librarianship included in library collections and technical services by a librarian with not more than 10 years of professional experience who has shown outstanding promise for continuing contribution and leadership.

For more information and application guidelines visit:
http://www.ala.org/alcts/awards/profrecognition/estherjpiercy

Editor’s note: Seriously. We have lost a big chunk of history…or herstory.

Jan Merrill-Oldham Professional Development Grant
Jan Merrill-Oldham

The award was established in 2011 by the Preservation and Reformatting Section (PARS) of the Association for Library Collections & Technical Services (ALCTS) to honor the career and influence of Jan Merrill-Oldham, distinguished leader, author, and mentor in the field of library and archives preservation. The Jan Merrill-Oldham Professional Development Grant is awarded by the ALCTS Preservation and Reformatting Section to provide librarians and paraprofessionals new to the preservation field with the opportunity to attend a professional conference and encourages professional development through active participation at the national level. The grant is to be used for airfare, lodging, and registration fees to attend the ALA Annual Conference.

For more information and application guidelines visit:
http://www.ala.org/alcts/awards/grants/jmogrant

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma Response Information

We have posted about hurricane awareness and disaster response before. With two major hurricanes hitting the United States so far this season, it is time to round up some information for those hit by these and other storms.

Help for Cultural Institutions

The National Heritage Responders (NHR) – formerly the American Institute for Conservation – Collections Emergency Response Team (AIC-CERT) – responds to the needs of cultural institutions during emergencies and disasters through coordinated efforts with first responders, state agencies, vendors and the public. Volunteers can provide advice and referrals by phone at 202.661.8068. Requests for onsite assistance will be forwarded by the volunteer to the NHR Coordinator and Emergency Programs Coordinator for response. Less urgent questions can also be answered by emailing info@conservation-us.org.

Cultural institutions in FEMA-designated disaster areas of Texas, Louisiana, Florida, and other impacted states and U.S. territories can apply immediately for NEH Chairman’s Emergency Grants of up to $30,000 to preserve documents, books, photographs, art works, historical objects, sculptures, and structures damaged by the hurricane and subsequent flooding. Applications for emergency grants are available here (Word Document).

If you are ready to start recovery you can use the Emergency Response and Salvage  Wheel ro recover collections. The Wheel is also available in an app on both Android and Apple devices. Many other useful apps are out there to help you find information or organize a response.

Local and state organizations such as state archives, museums, university libraries, etc., will have experts on staff that can help answer collection emergency questions. Many states also have state-wide preservation groups with experts who can help (e.g. the North Carolina Preservation Consortium, LYRASIS, Texas Library Association).

September is National Preparedness Month. Even if your institution was not affected by recent storms, now is a good time to review your current disaster plans and training.  The Alliance for Response links cultural heritage and emergency response representatives. There may already be a local AFR network near you or you could consider forming one.

https://www.usa.gov/hurricane-irma
Recovery Guidelines for Collections and Personal Items
Other useful information
 If you know of other useful resources, please leave them in the comments.

Quick Pic: When Life Gives You Watermarks

I’m always amazed at what our library collections hold. This absolute gem of a book came to the lab for repair from the general collections,  Watermarks In Paper in Holland, England, France, etc., by William Algernon Churchill (reprint of 1st edition; 1967).

Aren’t these watermarks terrific? I love the elephants with their trunks coming out of the top of their heads.

from rags to riches to rags
Flyleaf
watermark of two elephants on either side of an elaborate letter R
1786, Map engraved in Amsterdam, w/m of Adriaan Rogge.
watermark of a beehive with four bees flying around, centered inside a wreath of flowers
1683-1902 [C & I Honig]

Easter Bunnies

Today is Good Friday and we happen to have our three-volume octavo edition of Audubon‘s Quadrupeds of North America in the lab to get some stabilizing repairs and enclosures. The first volume of the set is absolutely teeming with prints of hares and rabbits and this seems like an auspicious day to share them. Audubon’s Quadrupeds first appeared in three folio volumes (under the title “The Vivaparous Quadrupeds of North America”) between 1845 and 1848. The first octavo edition was published by John James Audubon’s sons (John W. and Victor) following his death in 1851. Initially both editions were issued in parts. You can view full a full digitized version of this book here.

Last Minute Gifts for Your Conservator Friends

It’s that time of year. The time to rush around frantically looking for gifts for your friends and relations. If you need some last minute ideas, any of these would be a lovely gift for your conservator friends

What’s On Your Wall?

 

http://www.thamesandhudson.com/Bitten_By_Witch_Fever/9780500518380

“Bitten by Witch Fever” is a beautiful book about the history of arsenic in wallpaper. The book contains 275 facsimile samples of wallpapers that were tested and found to contain arsenic. The book explains the manufacture, uses and effects of arsenic. Arsenic, it’s not just for silking documents anymore.

Bitten by Witch Fever
by Lucinda Hawksley
Thames & Hudson (2016)

 

Can you see me now?

 

http://www.techconnect.com/article/3059271/computers-accessories/68-off-amir-3-in-1-cell-phone-camera-lens-kit-deal-alert.html

Conservators love their tools. These little clip-on lenses fit on your smart phone. The pack comes with three lenses: 180 degree fish eye, 0.36x wide angle, and a 25x macro lens.

We are starting to see some images by colleagues using the macro lenses in their work. Pretty impressive for $26.

Amir 3-in-1 clip on cell phone camera lens kit

 

 

 

What’s your favorite tool?

IMG_1325.jpgShanna Leino makes wonderful tools. This little steel micro chisel is a workhorse of a chisel. It can be used on paper, leather, binder’s board, and wood. Henry says, “I use it all of the time!” Can’t argue with that.

Steel micro chisel (the website says “sold out” but there’s always Ground Hog Day to shop for).

 

 

 

Beyond Words

 

https://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Words-Illuminated-Manuscripts-Collections/dp/1892850265/

“Beyond Words: Illuminated Manuscripts in Boston Collections” is a companion catalog to a multi-institutional exhibit of illuminated manuscripts that is taking place this fall. Gorgeous reproductions of over 260 manuscripts from the collections of Harvard University’s Houghton Library, the Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum, and more.

This is conservator eye candy!

Beyond Words: Illuminated Manuscripts in Boston Collections
Jeffrey F. Hamburger, editor, et al.
Mcmullen Museum Of Art, Boston College (October 15, 2016)

 

 

Got paste?

 

We all miss the classic Cook-N-Stir. So far, we haven’t found a good alternative. Is this it? Maybe not, but the video alone is fun to watch.

Not sold in stores! “Designed to stir every inch. The silicone feet & orbital turning action ensures no spot in un-stirred.” It’s only $16.99. If anyone tries it for paste, please report back.

Gem Sauce Blender
Your Wish Store

The Best Presents Are Those That Make You Feel Good

Image result for library book tree
https://jamesonlawlibrary.wordpress.com/2014/12/19/oh-christmas-tree/

If you want to do one simple thing to make all of your conservator friend happy, this is it. Stop making holiday trees out of library books! Just stop.

 

 

 

Seriously.

 

 

 

 

book, book tree, tree, portage library
http://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2010/12/christmas_tree_made_of_books_a.html

 

 

 

Please.

 

 

 

booktree
http://blogs.library.duke.edu/blog/2013/12/11/oh-christmas-tree-oh-christmas-tree/

 

Just stop.

 

 

 

 

Wishing everyone a very happy holiday and winter solstice. May you have a joyful and peaceful new year!

 

When Monday Turns Meta

mondays be like

We got a lot of rain in the wee hours of Monday morning. Housekeeping alerted the library, and our Preservation Officer and Head of Security sprang into action. The rain found its way from the roof down three levels to the sub basement. Most of the damage was to ceiling tiles, carpeting and equipment.

It could have been worse. Less than 100 collection items got wet. We set up drying stations in the lab and in the fume hood-room and quickly got to work. At one point we ran out of fans and put out a request to our colleagues. Within minutes we had more than enough to get the job done. We had to take only one book to the freezer.

Photo Aug 01, 10 31 53 AM
Rachel setting up drying stations in the fume-hood room.

Unfortunately the water found its way inside the walls of the Digital Production Center, Conservation and our disaster supply closet (oh the irony). Our vendor had to pull the baseboards out and cut holes in the wall to allow air to get inside to dry the drywall.

Photo Aug 01, 10 37 12 AM
Disaster supply closet
Photo Aug 01, 10 31 11 AM
Conservation Lab

We had more rain Tuesday night with additional moisture seeping through the walls. Looks like we will be working undercover for a while until they track down the problem. We’ve had some good practice at this sort of thing, so we know how to be productive even though the lab is a mess.

Photo Aug 01, 10 37 12 AM
Disaster in the disaster supply closet.
Outside our front door.
Outside our front door, before pulling up the carpet.

We are hoping for drier weather in the days to come, but July and August are our rainy seasons so anything can happen. Until then, we will do what we can and stay vigilant for more leaks.

*I realize this video has been said to be staged, but it is still pretty accurate to how we felt on Monday morning.

Extreme Enclosures, part 2

Written by Tedd Anderson, Conservation Technician

Welcome to Part Two of EXTREME ENCLOSURES:  Miniatures.

If you ever want to feel like some sort of extreme being (a giant, perhaps, or even better:  Andre the Giant), you may want to take a gander at the tiniest books that Rubenstein Library has to offer: the miniatures.  The raw power you feel when holding five leather bound books in the palm of your hand is astounding.  Rubenstein has almost two hundred miniature books.  These little guys, known as The Minis, are often bullied by the notorious “big boys of the stacks.” Once again, Conservation has to step in to take care of at-risk books.  We needed to help the Minis bulk up so they are not beat up by larger books or lost in the wild (albeit highly climate controlled) world of the stacks.

handful of miniatures
Do not let the sense of “being huge” go to your head when handling the miniatures.

The miniatures had previously been housed in folders within document boxes; usually a dozen or so in each box.   One may handle multiple volumes before finding the one they wish to access.  Once the desired volume is finally found, it can be easily lost due to its miniscule size.  To facilitate handling we wanted to house them individually in standard size corrugated clamshell boxes (aka “pizza boxes” or “drop spine boxes.”). First we had to decide on what that standard size would be.

The height of the standard box was set by the 8-inch-high shelves. To determine the width and depth of the standard box, I measured each miniature to find the largest amongst them.  I settled on a standard box that would measure 6 inches x 1.75 inches x 4 inches.  An added advantage to a standard box is the ability to batch tasks.  I would measure, cut, and crease 30 or so clamshells at a time, saving a lot of time.

batch of boxes
A pride of Minis in their new homes.

 

creased corrugated
The highly sought after “batch stack.”

Once I had the standard clamshells figured, I had to determine how to settle the books into their new houses without them rattling around.  I wanted to keep the inserts simple and intuitive.  After a few experiments, I chose a two-tiered system of spacers made from corrugated board adhered with double stick tape.  I added Volara and 10 point card stock tabs to further stabilize when necessary.  Watch as this Mini “Addresses of Lincoln” gets a house.

measuring
I used the Mini to determine the height and width of the first spacer.
spacers
Inserting the first spacer with double stick tape.

 

spacers
I used the space left in the box to determine the size of the 2nd spacer.
spacers
The Mini-Two-Tier-System™.

 

volara
Inserting Volara. Those Minis love a good foam party.

 

paper tab
I used the height and width of the Volara recess to determine the tab size.

 

paper tab
The tab allows for easy retrieval of the Mini.

When finishing up the nearly two hundred enclosures for all these vulnerable Minis I rejoiced.  Knowing how intimidating  other large volumes can be to the slighter books in the collection, it’s nice to know a conservation technician can make a petite book’s size anxiety just a little less extreme.  I am comforted that the Minis now rest easy: safely tucked away in their soft foam and supportive board havens, never to feel lost or intimidated again.

vulnerable mini
A vulnerable mini prior to receiving a house.

Several adequately housed Minis basking in their new security:

example

example pt

15 example pt4

12 example pt1


Be sure to visit part one of Extreme Enclosures: Boxing the Audubons.

 

 

The ‘Largest Sheet of Paper Ever Made and Printed’

Written by Rachel Penniman, Senior Technician for Special Collections

When two copies of a newspaper arrived in the lab I didn’t expect then to be terribly exciting.

Sigh, another brittle newspaper.
Sigh, another brittle newspaper.

They were folded and as is typical with old, acidic newsprint it had become brittle and split along the folds. After discussion with curator Andy Armacost we decided to carefully unfold and repair the one copy that was in slightly better condition.

02 Copy 2 BT detail
Looks like I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me.

Unfolding the newspaper revealed something quite unexpected: the paper was gigantic! What I expected to be multiple issues folded together was in fact a single extremely large issue.

03 Unfolded BT
I had to use a step stool just to get the entire sheet in the photo.

The Constellation: Illuminated Quadruple Sheet claimed to perhaps be the largest sheet of paper ever made and printed when it was published in 1859 in New York. Created as a one-time, limited edition of 28,000 copies, it had taken ‘eight weeks of unceasing labor of nearly forty persons to produce this MASTODON PAPER!’ To generate one issue, a single sheet of 70X100” paper was printed and folded into four leaves of 35×50” each. In comparison, the massive double elephant folio Audubon Birds of America volumes currently on display in the Mary Duke Biddle room are a paltry 26×39”.

04 the great wonder croppedIn total each copy of The Constellation has 49 square feet of paper! It is made up of 8 pages with 13 columns of text per page, and 48” per column totaling 416 feet of printing. Along with historical articles, essays, stories, and poems, there are four pages with numerous portraits and illustrations. Originally sold for 50 cents an issue, this copy was marked down to only 15 cents. This seems like a really good deal for what adds up to a small book’s worth of reading material.

The title banner and red ink noting the price reduction
The title banner and red ink noting the price reduction

Unfolding the paper also revealed the full extent of the damage. The main folds separating one leaf from another had degraded so badly that each leaf was held to the next with only a few inches of weak paper.

The only thing holding these two leaves together are a few inches of paper, habit, and hope.
The only thing holding these two leaves together are a few inches of paper, habit, and hope.

In order to allow for safer handling and easier storage, I got approval to completely separate each leaf. Working with individual leaves of 35×50” was much more manageable; though I still had to work on two folding tables pushed together with board across the top in order to have a large enough flat work surface.

Feeling a bit like Lily Tomlin’s Edith Ann character
Feeling a bit like Lily Tomlin’s Edith Ann character

Very carefully, bit by bit, I flattened the creases and mended the tears using a very thin toned Japanese tissue paper and wheat starch paste making the repairs almost invisible. Wherever possible, I reattached loose fragments of paper that I found loose in the old folder. With 49 square feet of paper work on, I did mending on and off for many weeks.

Tears along the folds
Tears along the folds
Tools of the trade: a tile for brushing out paste, Remay and blotter, acrylic blocks, bean bag weights, brush, Teflon folder, tweezers, scissors, and toned Japanese paper
Tools of the trade: a tile for brushing out paste, Remay and blotter, acrylic blocks, bean bag weights, brush, Teflon folder, tweezers, scissors, and toned Japanese paper
Can you spot the mends? No? Good!
Can you spot the mends? No? Good!

After mending, each leaf was encapsulated between sheets of Mylar using our ultrasonic welder. See this previous blog post for a video of our encapsulator in action.

It’s so big I had to drape it off the edge of the encapsulator and weld it in sections.
It’s so big I had to drape it off the edge of the encapsulator and weld it in sections.

Now that it’s finally finished, this huge newspaper is the perfect candidate for storage in the Rubenstein Library’s new super oversize cabinet drawers. It actually looks tiny in comparison to this large flat file drawer.

The new super oversize cabinets in the Rubenstein Library are ready to handle the biggest items.
The new super oversize cabinets in the Rubenstein Library are ready to handle the biggest items.

Part of a description of the newspaper on the back page reads:

The Publisher does not wish to conceal the honorable pride which he feels in presenting this magnificent sheet to the public. It is the off-spring of Invention, Taste, Enterprise and Herculean Industry; it is without a compeer or rival; and he believes it will never be excelled. It cannot be surpassed in typographical beauty – in its artistic splendor – in its general imperialism of thought and design. It will be the pride of every true-hearted American, and the wonder of the world; and those who are so fortunate as to obtain a copy will obtain a curiosity which they will keep and treasure with the utmost care.

I am very proud to have been able to help provide this curiosity with the utmost care its publisher desired. Though to be honest I would be happy to take a break from such oversize items and work on miniatures for a while.

 

Link to catalog page:

 

Making Burritos In Conservation

It’s been a while since we talked about the renovation project, mostly because of this. But yesterday I was working on a short video to explain how to make a “burrito” and was reflecting on why and how these came to be.

Our renovation project came at us fast due to a major gift that allowed us to accelerate the renovation schedule. We had just over a year to plan and move the special collections stacks to make way for demolition. That is not a lot of time to move an entire library of rare, valuable and decidedly fragile materials.

The library approached us with a problem. Many of the older flat archival boxes were too large for their contents. Staff were concerned that moving these off site would cause damage when the objects shifted around inside the boxes. Could we come up with a low cost, low tech, fast, anyone-can-do-it solution?

We sat down as a lab to brainstorm ideas. There was no way to pay for and manufacture hundreds of corrugated-board spacers for all of the boxes we needed to move off site. After a lot of thought, we developed “the burrito.”

These are made of  buffered 10-point folder stock and tissue paper. They are non-adhesive, easy to make, fast and just about anyone could make them. We pre-cut the folder stock to the standard box sizes and trained the Rubenstein staff to make the burritos.

These are meant to be a temporary solution. However, I’ve seen some of these boxes come back and I have to say they are working pretty well. They aren’t as sturdy as a corrugated spacer, and some of them aren’t quite the right size for the space they were meant to fill, but for the most part they are doing what they were designed to do. I think it is a solution that works, and could be a good one for small institutions and organizations who may not have a lot of resources, or for anyone faced with a mountain of boxes that need spacers in a hurry.

What do you think? Have you come up with a solution like this that you want to share?

 

Preservation Underground On Instagram

Our loyal followers will know that we contribute content to the Duke University Libraries Instagram page. Instagram allows us to post visual content quickly and is fun to use. It also reaches a different audience than our other social media sites.

Recently I’ve started using Instagram’s new video function to experiment with creating training videos. The app allows videos up to 15 seconds in length. It is a challenge to get your information across clearly and succinctly in such a short period, but not impossible. Mission accepted!

shelf
Using Instagram to record short training videos.

With the help of Amy at The Devil’s Tale, we created a short instructional on how to properly remove books from the shelf without harming the head caps or tearing a fragile spine. You can access that video here: http://instagram.com/p/juFiE6gw3q/

As a first attempt I think it works. The audio is a little faint, but then again we were in the middle of the stacks so I didn’t want to talk very loudly. I have some other topics to try. If it works, we may be able to move some of our care and handling training to an online version, which would catch more student assistants and new employees, especially those that work the late and weekend shifts.

If you are on Instagram, you can follow “dukelibraries” to see our posts. If you don’t use the app, you can find our posts on the Instagram website. There are a lot of libraries on Instagram, I encourage you to find and follow them. Are you using Instagram for your department? Let us know in the comments.