Special Collections and Archives would like to announce that Collections Archivist Stephanie Bennett has been selected to attend an Image Permanence Institute (IPI) workshop, Preservation of Digitally Printed Materials in Libraries, Archives and Museums. Bennett was one of 15 participants selected from a pool of more than 50 applicants. The workshop, for which tuition of waived due to generous support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, will be held October 20-22, 20115, at IPI’s facilities at the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY. IPI is a nonprofit, university-based laboratory and recognized world leader in the development and deployment of sustainable practices for the preservation of images and cultural property.
In the 'Preservation' Category...
Today, Vicki, Patty, Mary Beth, Steve, Susan, Rebecca, and Molly sat in on the ASERL webinar Intro to Digital Preservation #1–Steps to Identify and Select Content, facilitated by Jody DeRidder, Head of Digital Services, University of Alabama Libraries. John Burger of ASERL said that more than 150 people were registered to listen in on this session. This is the first of three sessions on digital preservation.
The content of this webinar comes from the Library of Congress Digital Preservation Outreach and Education Modules. This consist of 6 modules covering: identify, select, store, protect, manage and provide. The goal is to provide a collaborative network to enable us to work together and face the challenges ahead.
This Intro #1 covered the “Identify” and “Select” aspects of the 6 parts. In order to identify materials for digital preservation, DeRidder suggests identifying the scope of materials eligible by creating an inventory. She suggested that “good preservation decisions are based on an understanding of content to be preserved.” Content categories include institutional records, special collections, scholarly content, research data, web content, and digitized collections. She stressed that the content of these materials is more important than format, but the format may make preservation more of a challenge. An inventory should be simple in format that is general with reiterations that become more focused on details.Inventory results should be: documented, usable, available, scalable, current (incorporated into current workflows). Sorting by content and file type will help prioritize equipment, planning, and future priorities. The process of selecting involves these steps:review the potential digital content, define and apply selection criteria, document and preserve, implement. Thinking about the mission of the institution, the collection development policy, the priorities, the uniqueness will allow the selection process to conform with the rest of the institutional standards. DeRidder stressed that this process is facilitated by open communication and knowledge withe incoming collections and donors. Starting the dialog early with potential digital contributors will allow you to block any incoming materials that do not warrant digital preservation. In the case of materials that are already in one’s holdings, selection for digital preservation begs the questions:does it have value? fit your scope? can you do it?
This webinar focused on the importance of putting a structure in place with the right people, clear policies and procedures, and organization. Open communication with the digital curator will answer the questions :does the content have value? Does it fit your scope? Whereas a conversation with an IT person will allow you to know ifit is feasible for you to preserve the content? Or is it possible to make content available?
DeRidder made a clear outline of how to go about identifying and selecting materials for digital preservation, but the prospect of actually implementing these steps is daunting. I am looking forward to the next to two webinars.
To borrow and slightly change a line from Ben Stiller in Meet the Parents, I’d say this workshop was “strong… to very strong.” The Preservation Institute is taught by top specialists from the Library of Congress. The Library of Congress brought out some of their big guns for this week-long workshop. The sessions were held in the James Madison Building, with tours to the Jefferson and Adams Buildings as well.
The institute is geared towards federal institutions, but there were non-federal libraries there as well (University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Public). The first day was great. Diane van der Reyden, Director of Preservation of the Library of Congress discussed preservation management. Some of her more interesting points were that the Library of Congress is still working on digitization solutions and have no definitive method. What!? That makes me feel a lot better as we at ZSR still try to improve digitization and incorporate best practices as we do this activity. Diane said the LOC doesn’t particularly like “machine dependent” formats-because without a specific machine, access in the future might be difficult. They have, however come up with some ingenious ways around this problem. IRENE is a machine which reads broken or damaged vinyl, acetate discs or wax cylinders and coverts this into an image which can then be converted into sound.
We also had presentations on pest controls, the environment, and disaster recovery from Nancy Lev-Alexander and Ben Bahlmann from the Preventive Conservation section and along the way, we got a tour of the LOC stacks (crowded with book trucks and books on the floor) and a balcony view of the circular LOC Reading Room. The Library of Congress has the same problems ZSR has: leaky pipes and a faulty HVAC system. Day one finished with a hands on disaster recovery exercise with Alan Haley, Senior Rare Books Conservator and Andrew Robb, coordinator of the LOC’s Emergency Response Team.
Day two featured a group of presentations on collections care, library binding, fundraising and exhibits.
We got a behind the scenes look at the Collections Care lab and various enclosures-such as one for a piggy bank from Lexington NC. A new Civil War exhibit called The Last Full Measure: Civil War Photographs (http://myloc.gov/exhibitions/civilwarphotographs/pages/default.aspx) features hundreds of ambrotypes and tintypes of soldiers. The exhibit is very poignant and has the feel of a shrine. An exhibit specialist described mounting The Last Full Measure and showed us samples of book cradles and document mounts we could make ourselves.
Day three saw us tackling digitization. We began with a presentation from the managers of the LOC remote storage facility at Fort Meade, Maryland. They have about six high bay facilities-each larger than ZSR’s one. We followed with a visit to the LOC Internet Archive project where they have 10 Scribe book scanners churning out digital copies of pre-1922 titles from their general collections.
So far, they’ve scanned over 93,000 titles. It was an amazing operation to see. They confirmed that standards for resolution are in flux, something we’ve begun to realize at ZSR. They’ve abandoned using uncompressed TIFF files ( a heresy they admitted, but they insist it is a good heresy) in favor of RAW files which they convert to the jpg2000 format. In the afternoon, we had presentations about Rare Book Conservation and had a visit to their lab where we saw samples of supported (case bound) and unsupported (Ethiopian) binding styles, leaf casting and numerous other unique treatments.
Day four was focused on paper and photographic conservation. We heard a presentation from Susan Peckham, Paper Conservator in the Conservation Division. Susan discussed paper history, paper composition, sizing, inks and printing methods. Susan also described problems with paper based collections such as foxing, light damage, ink burn-through, and the “inherent vice” of the wood pulp papers manufactured from 1850-1900. We also heard Dana Hemmenway, Senior Photographic Conservator. Dana described the structure of photographs, a history of photo types( daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, tintypes and paper photographic prints). She had examples of paper photo prints as well: salted paper prints, albumen prints, collodian, and silver gelatin prints. We also discussed their hazards and inherent problems over time. In the afternoon, both Susan and Dana held problem-solving sesions in the paper lab.
During the paper session, I was at a station with a 1780 letter written to George Washington. I was amazed at it’s great condition (which had been prolonged by a Library of Congress repair a hundred years ago called “silking”).
The final day I heard a talk on Digital Preservation from Leslie Johnston, Chief of Repository Development at LOC. Leslie defined digital preservation as “the broad range of activities meant to extend the usable life of machine-readable computer files.” Leslie was quick to point out the different between digitization-an activity primarily focused on access-and digital preservation. She made the pitch to replicate files in geographically dispersed locations, and on different storage media and systems in order to have the best chance for these files to survive. Leslie was all business. They use Jhove in the scanning and preservation of files by using format validation. Leslie also outlined how the University of Maryland is spearheading an area called “digital forensics” at their center which insures the security of digital materials that are transmitted. Matthew Barton from the Packard Campus of the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center in Culpepper, Va spoke on audio and sound preservation. Matthew’s presentation was delightful in describing their attempts to conserve audio recordings on was cylinders, lacquer discs, wire recordings, tape recordings and digital audio tape.
Amy Gailick, also from the Packard Campus, presented on moving image preservation and care. She described the film types and the very advanced cold storage area at the Packard Campus in Culpepper, VA. The have storage areas for some film materials at are held at 25 degrees.
In the afternoon, I met the closest thing to a Preservation Rock Star there is: Dr. Frenella France. Dr. France uses hyper-spectral imaging to examine documents and highlight early versions or corrections.
She has isolated a change Thomas Jefferson made to the rough draft of the Declaration of Independence and many other discoveries, such as Abraham Lincoln’s thumbprint on the Gettysburg Address. We also got a tour of the mass deacidification unit. This unit takes acidic books and ‘washes’ them in an alkaline solution which neutralizes the acidic materials in the paper. They were washing comic books the day we were there! As we were leaving the lab, we paused in the hallway by a bunch of old card catalog units. I glanced down and recognized a familiar last name…WOW!
One thing I was in awe of was the beauty of the Jefferson Building. Every inch is covered with hand-painted niches, tiled vaults, coffers with gold leaf, stained glass, sculpture and even WPA paintings.
What were the take-aways? I was able to have some of the staff read the ZSR Disaster Plan and COOP Plan and get constructive feedback. A discussion with the Internet Archive manager told me that the standards for digitization are in flux (something we suspected). Digital preservation will be more important as time goes on for all institutions as born digital material accumulates. I learned some easy-to-do techniques for preserving photographs and paper materials and got some great ideas for exhibits. And…..I’m glad I don’t live in Washington!
All in all, it was a very fruitful week.
From Monday through Thursday of this week, several ZSR Staff (Wanda, Mary Beth, Travis, and Craig) are participating in CERT Training. CERT stands for Community Emergency Response Team. The concept for this group was conceived after 9/11. The idea is to have a cadre of trained individuals prepared to respond in times of need. The CERT group is part of an outreach program from FEMA called the Citizen Corps. CERT groups are trained to increase community involvement and to assist first responders. Community groups are trained in basic fire safety, disaster preparedness, search and rescue, etc. in order to be available to a community in need. Wake Forest has, for some time, wanted such a team-and after this week, this team will exist.
On our first day, we received an overview from Darrell Jeter (Forsyth County Emergency Management) and Fire Safety from Jim Young, a Forsyth County Fire Educator. We touched on subjects such as tornado and flood safety, disaster preparedness and basic fire safety, In the afternoon, we all had the chance to extinguish a fire under the supervision of the WFU Police and our local WFU Firemen. It was fun to watch each group of two “buddies” approach a fire together and put it out using a fire extinguisher (watch Travis and Cindy).
The rest of the week, we’ll continue to learn and practice basic safety and disaster response techniques followed by a concluding ‘disaster exercise’ on Thursday. I’m sure others will post about this educationally active week.
I attended three sessions this year and was delighted that these focused on binding and books.
Martha Little spoke on “Evidence of Structure and Procedure in Books.” Martha has been the Head Conservator at the University of Michigan Libraries and Book Conservator at Yale. Her presentation was a kind of deconstruction of the historical book. It was partly taking books apart to understand them and partly examining stains, sewing and even pest damage. She literally took historic structures apart to understand them. This included a two-volume set of Homer which had been sewn together and a new leather cover applied to hide the fact. She told how two book scholars (Roger Powell and Berthe van Regemorter) examined an identical Ethiopian binding and came to very different conclusions about how it was made. Little made models of both these books to show us who was likely more correct in their theory (Powell). Martha tested adhesives using the reagent potassium iodide to show the presence of starch adhesives. She also made cord using linen thread which she plied together using a hand drill to make a heavy cord that could be used to sew signatures onto. Martha also examined how books were put together and successively re-sewn over time. She did this using a guide developed in England at Trinity College, by mapping sewing holes, saw kerfs, and tackets on the text block and book boards. Martha made a diagram from the sewing holes which showed the binding and re-sewing over time. A real lesson in book construction history!
Martha Little’s models of Ethiopian binding
Jeff Peachey gave a great presentation on Late 18th century French binding structures. Peachey is a book conservator in NYC and the inventor of several machines for binding and also makes a variety of well-respected leather paring knives. Jeff is also a book conservator of the first order-hence, his project was bolstered by historical research and hands-on knowledge of binding. Peachey conducted research of the Diderot Encyclopedie (we have a complete set in our collection) to determine how bindings were constructed in 18th century France. The Diderot is not a traditional encyclopedia, but a how-to manual complete with diagrams and illustrations of various processes. During his session, Jeff demonstrated how to construct one of these bindings taken from the pages of Diderot. He used demonstrations and pre-made models to do this, along with illutrations from the pages of Diderot. It was fascinating to see Jeff, demonstrate binding, tool sharpening, ploughing (plowing) and leather paring, as well as his model of 18th century binding.
Michael Burke presented the third session on Byzantine Binding. Michael currently teaches binding in England, but has also been involved in the San Francisco Center for the Book. His presentation used historic books from the Byzantine period (circa 300-1200 AD) to construct a model of this style of binding. The book has wooden boards, quarter-sawn and drilled. The text block is sewn up in halves and then joined together. This style of binding is beautiful, but and Michael was unsure why it was sewn in halves-no doubt a question lost to history.
I had several meals with Tony Gardner, President of the GBW California Chapter and former Head of Special Collections at Cal State, Northridge. Tony has experience working with his library development officer and shared how his institution conducted outreach using their collection.
I also had the opportunity to meet several suppliers:
Marge Salik and her daughter from Talas.
Nancy Morains from Colophon Book Arts Supply.
All in all, I attended a great series of sessions on book structure and history, made a number of good contacts and had some invaluable discussions with other professionals interested in binding.
I was able to complete two re-backs from start to finish this week. The two leather spines had dried over night. On the final morning, I still needed to paste down the inside joints or hinge of the books. I had lifted the paper a day earlier. so I tore strips of Japanese paper which I glued underneath the paste down on the covers. I overlapped this paper onto the text block. When both joints were set, we cut a piece of card with a notch in it and used this to hold the boards open while the joints dried.
When both joints were repaired with Japanese paper(Okawara), a piece of card held the boards open to dry.
A finishing touch was to tool the spine. A heated metal tool is rocked across the spine to incise a “blind stamped” line which makes the spine lok more finished.
My books are now done! It feels really good to have slogged through all these steps and have a good final result that will last for years to come.
We’re almost home-honest! This stuff takes time folks- I mean it is important, one of a kind, historical material and must be treated like your pet bunny rabbit when you were 6. The first order of business today was to sew the headbands. To do this, two colors of silk thread are sewn around a core of twine. This stabilizes the the text block to which it is sewn, and forms a very attractive counterpoint to the text.
When the sewing is completed, the ends of the cord are trimmed and the headband is glued down. A piece of Japanese paper covers the sewing.
I cut pieces of leather to match the tone and the size of each book it will be used to repair. Using leather dye and cotton balls, the leather is dyed to match the existing color of the book boards and allowed to dry.
Using a very sharp “skiving knife”-the edges of the pieces of leather are pared down very thin. This is hard, very hard-no amount of holding you mouth in a certain way will help. Practice, practice, practice!
The leather spine piece is then put on the book and reinforced by string, which reinforces the raised bands.
After a half hour, the ends are turned in and the book is left to dry under a weight.
This morning, we used a small tool to fray the ends of the cords we glued to the spines of our books yesterday. The tool is a small wooden peg with 3 sewing needles attached which separates the strands of the cords. These frayed ends will be glued to the boards of the book later.
Then, we mixed paste to use for the days work.
The ends of the frayed cords were then glued down onto both book boards. I slid a piece of release paper on top of it and pressed the books for about 20 minutes.
I used my lifting knife to lift the leather off the cover boards of the book.
All the books were then placed in a press. The spaces between the cords were lined with two layers of Japanese paper and allowed to dry.
A leather lining was made and pasted to the spine. This leather piece was pressed onto the spine and the space around the raised bands on the spine reinforced with string tied to the press.
Tomorrow-rebacking the spine with new leather.
I’ve lifted the spine of my leather books and cleaned off all the residue. Next, the spine is glued out and either cords or tapes are glued onto the spine as sewing structures. This allows you to re-sew the parts of the book that are weak or broken-and let’s face it, after 300 years, you’d be a little worn too!
Sewing is done inside the signature sof the book, and when you reach each cord or tape, you exit the interior of the book and sew out and around the tape or cord.
Next, paper tears and loose signatures are also re-attached to the text block. Tomorrow, we’ll fray the ends of the cords and attach them to the boards with glue. This will make a very strong bond which will hold the boards onto the book. All of the books I brought to the workshop had loose boards-which means, the were not attached to the book at all. When I’m done, they’ll not only be well bonded to the book, they’ll look good too. Stay tuned!
Wilkes-Barre(bear), PA…not your idea of a fun spot, eh?Mine either.This is a place that did have a thriving economy, but that was when coal was king.It’s located on the Susquehanna River in central Pennsylvania, and now it is definitely a city struggling to make it.I drove 8 hours up I-81 to spend aweek learning leather book conservation from Don Rash, a seasonedbookbinder, calligrapher and letterpress printer who studied with Fritz and Trudi Eberhardt, two well respected binders.Don owns 3 houses, all adjacent to each other: one is Don’s home, one is his workshop and the third is used for student housing.I have the luxury of coming to Don’s school- The School of Formal Bookbinding-on a slow week-so it’s just me and one other student.
We began the first day by discussing each book we’d brought and how we would approach the repair.I brought nine books from Special Collections dating from the 17th-19th centuries.Immediately. I realized I needed a tool which I didn’t have-a lifting knife.Don had a new one which he sold me.The lifting knife is used to “lift” the old leather spine from the book.Before we tackled lifting spines, we learned to sharpen our leather skiving knife and my new lifting knife on wet Japanese stones while Bill’s numerous cats watched.
First all the books were ganged together in a large “lying press” with wooden boards separating them.We then took each book and lifted the spines of each one-trying to keep the fragile leather in-tact if possible- if not possible, we tried to save the labels.This required running the lifting knife along the outer edges of the spine and gently encouraging it to release itself.Unless you were really lucky, you just ended up with leather crumbs.When most of the leather was removed, we applied a poultice (glop) of corn starch paste and let it sit for 15 minutes.Then, we used a bone folder to get the remaining leather bits off the spine.Finally, we let the spines dry then removed them from the lying press. Tomorrow…paper repairs, sewing and headbands.