Bonefolder Extras: How do Books Speak? A critical review of Julia Miller’s Books Will Speak Plain: A Handbook for Identifying and Describing Historical Bindings

Chela Metzger has written a reveiw of Julia Miller’s “Books Will Speak Plain” for Bonefolder Extra (the blog of The Bonefolder online journal) . Be sure to check it out.

Certainly Miller’s book is not entirely new in subject matter, but it offers a new and useful combination of information. Others have given us heavily illustrated books on western bookbinding history, like Szirmai’s The Archeology of Medieval Bookbinding, (1999) or Jane Greenfield’s ABC of Bookbinding (2002). And we already have a few handbooks, which focus on dating a national binding style, like David Pearson’s English Bookbinding Styles 1450-1800: A Handbook (2005). Arguments for including binding information in bibliographic description have already been developed by a few bibliographers, as Miriam Foot has shown in her excellent chapter on bibliography in Bookbinders at Work: Their Roles and Methods (2006). And in his short, highly illustrated Book as History: The Importance of Books Beyond Their Text (2008), Pearson has already argued passionately, as does Julia Miller, for the unique artifactual qualities of historic books in libraries. What Miller’s book does which is especially innovative is offer a set of carefully crafted tools to carry out the bookbinding documentation she has argued so passionately for.

via Bonefolder Extras: How do Books Speak? A critical review of Julia Miller’s Books Will Speak Plain: A Handbook for Identifying and Describing Historical Bindings.

New Publication on Microbiology

From Distlist instance 24:39. If anyone is interested in writing a review of this for PCAN, please contact its editors.

Cultural Heritage Microbiology, Fundamental Studies in Conservation Science edited by Ralph Mitchell and Christopher McNamara is now available from the American Society for Microbiology Press.

While research in microbial degradation is usually published in a wide variety of locations, this book compiles over twenty important publications involving research in the microbial degradation of
cultural material, encompassing painted materials, paper and manuscripts, textiles, synthetic polymers, wood and stone. Each section is introduced by a review that discusses past research as well as cutting-edge findings. Cultural Heritage Microbiology aims to provide scientists and conservators important publications describing major advances in the understanding of the microbial degradation of cultural heritage material. The book is available from ASM Press, Washington, DC 2010.

Reading Roundup

Some articles, blog posts, websites, etc. of note.

AIC K-12 Education Resources. A group of conservators have been working hard to find and post resources for educating young people about conservation. I admit, I have been on this email stream and had intended to help out, but time got away from me. This is a great start and thank you to Rachael Perkins Arenstein, Beth Edelstein, Sarah Barack and Joanna Pietruszewski for all of their hard work. And thanks to everyone who contributed content. This is an area that is near and dear to my heart, and I’m happy to see AIC supporting it.

White Paper on the ALA Midwinter Meeting This was up for discussion at ALA Midwinter. If anyone attended any discussions, we would love to hear a synopsis. The trend towards reducing travel funds will only hurt ALA if they don’t start addressing solutions (such as live streaming, using social media, etc.) to get people involved.

Beth Heller explains very well the many hats conservators have to wear when thinking about use, value and condition in her blog post “When Hats Collide.” Beth’s posts are always engaging, bookmark her!

An appreciation of Jan Merrill-Oldham upon her retirement from Harvard University Libraries. Jan also won the Ross/Atkinson Award this year. Congratulations to Jan and thank you for your dedication to the field and for setting many of us along our own career paths.

The Guild of Bookworkers has a blog now. We’ll add them to our blogroll, too.

Issue 17 of e-Conservation is out. They are also starting a blog which we will add to our blogroll.

The latest issue of The Bonefolder is now available online. Always a fun read and this issue is chock full of interesting articles.

Parks Library Preservation has started a supplier page on their blog. Thanks PLP! that was something we were thinking, but now we can bookmark yours.

And finally, who doesn’t need a tool doily? thanks Jeff Peachey for posting this.

Book Review: Preserving Archives and Manuscripts

Book Review by Kevin Driedger

I anticipated the new edition of Preserving Archives and Manuscripts by Mary Lynn Ritzenthaler because I occasionally teach an introduction to preservation course at Wayne State University. Most of the students in this class were in the archives program, while my experience and passion is very much in the library. Teaching students who were focusing on archives forced me to think about preservation in an archival setting and how it might differ from preservation in a library setting.

Early in the semester I assign the students to read two chapters on the nature archival materials as physical objects, and the causes of deterioration from the earlier edition of the Ritzenthaler book. My students and I have been deeply impressed by the depth of information found in these chapters.

I looked forward to this new edition for quite some time, hoping that it could perhaps serve as a course textbook when (if) I taught again. The first edition of Preserving Archives was published in 1993 and since much in the archives world has changed since its publication I was looking forward to studying the second edition. However, the new edition was announced on the SAA website as “forthcoming” and then mention of its publication vanished. Announcement of its publication finally reappeared early in 2010, this time with a February release date. Continue reading

Article on book conservation treatment in research libraries

I’m making an effort to catch up on some work-related reading and have discovered my stack of recent LRTS. I’d like to draw your attention to a recently published article that may be of interest: Baker, Whitney, and Liz Dube. 2010. Identifying standard practices in research library book conservation. Library Resources and Technical Services 54(1): 21-39.

Based on a 2007 survey of book conservation practitioners, the paper describes the field’s evolution over the past fifty years and identifies book conservation techniques the survey found to be routinely, moderately, or rarely employed in U.S. research libraries. The authors compare treatment techniques employed for special collections with those used for general collections.

I’m quite interested in reading the final version and hearing your opinions on it as well (full disclosure: I participated in the survey). What struck you as common to what you do in your shop? what’s different? any lessons learned or what piqued your interest? Let’s discuss.

ALA Midwinter!

It's a Material World

We’re in Boston for ALA Midwinter this weekend. There have been many great sessions and moments, from the tango dancing ode to Barclay Ogden at the Banks / Harris reception to the all too short Q&A period for the young Ithaka dudes who wrote “What to Withdraw” at PAIG to Dean Andrew Dillon joining in a discussion about the decision to end the Preservation and Conservation certificates in the iSchool at the University of Texas. [Update 01/20/2010: With the recent implementation of its new website, the iSchool has posted a revised announcement “Curriculum Revision and the CAS.”]

Sitting in the Curators and Conservators Discussion Group right now (with the rare free hotel wireless signal – thanks, Sheraton Back Bay!), I can report that Michele Cloonan is leading a great discussion on the post-UT landscape for preservation / conservation education (“Is there life for conservation after Texas?”) and the changing role of the conservation / curatorial relationship in various organizations. Michele shared a great recent (and free!) publication that I look forward to reading: It’s a Materials World: Caring for the Public Realm by Samuel Jones and John Holden (Demos Publications, 2008).

PCAN encourages you who attended ALA Midwinter, as well as those of you who could not make it but want to know more about the haps, to continue and evolve the discussion online. This is an exciting, frightening, pivotal moment for preservation and conservation — in the library and archives realms especially — and we can inform our future collectively. Please contact us to post your reactions and ideas, or simply to share information or resources you’ve recently discovered.