Join the Preservation Underground

When they’re not busy discovering moldy bananas in books, building storage boxes for pink dragons, or digitizing somewhere around 5,000 broadsides, the Preservation Department here at the Duke University Libraries is going to be keeping us up-to-date on their work through their new blog, Preservation Underground. We hope they have as much fun with theirs as we have with The Devil’s Tale—and we really hope the bananas keep to the produce section from now on.

And yes, they’ll still be writing the occasional guest post for us about RBMSCL materials in the conservation lab. Take a look at their fine work on the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum.

2 thoughts on “Join the Preservation Underground”

  1. What about the Blaeu Atlases that required conservation? What kind of conservation? Cleaning? What brought about the need? Why Blaeu? Why not some of the Confederate imprints printed on wall paper? As I remember them in the1990s, they were at their best, requiring nothing because of the original quality of their condition? Who can improve on the quality of Dutch printing and parchment binding? Any suggestions?

  2. @John, the Bleau Atlases were chosen as part of a multi-year condition survey we are conducting in the RBMS collections. We use three main criteria when deciding priorities: value, use and risk. With the data we collected so far, and in conjunction with the Head of Collection Development, we chose to bring these to the lab. You are correct that these are beautifully printed on very fine paper. The fold outs, however, have been mis-folded several times, making them vulnerable to tearing and loss (and very wrinkled as they now have several folds rather than one, which can lead to further damage). Each volume needed dry cleaning and multiple minor page mends.The vellum-over-boards bindings are quite vulnerable to fluctuations in environmental conditions. We have constructed custom enclosures for each volume to keep the boards from warping.There is a lot of need in our collections as you know. Our surveys, knowledge of the materials, and close working relationships with RBMS librarians and staff help us identify items for conservation.Beth Doyle, Collections Conservator

Comments are closed.