Conference Notes: International Council on Archives, pt.2

Written by Annie Peterson, Preservation Librarian, Tulane University

Day 2: July 15

The second full day of the conference opened with “Approaches to Preservation,” where three institutions presented their different ways of addressing AV preservation. Hannah Palin, University of Washington Libraries, spoke about “The Magnetic Media Crisis: A Collaborative Approach.” Washington, and the wider Pacific Northwest region, has few professionals whose positions are fully dedicated to AV preservation, so there was a need amongst many institutions to pool resources where possible to preserve content that would otherwise be lost. Palin surveyed institutions in Washington about their AV holdings and then worked across institutions to establish Moving Image Preservation of Puget Sound (MIPoPs), which includes digitization capabilities and is focusing first on regional content on magnetic media, with a pilot project digitizing local public access television. Kim Tarr, New York University, spoke about “Practical Considerations for Outsourcing Video Preservation Projects,” focusing on an outsourced approach to preservation. Tarr talked about NYU’s Video At Risk project’s RFP guide and template for video digitization, a helpful guide for institutions starting the outsourcing process. Erica Titkemeyer, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Chris Lacinak, AVPreserve, talked about the Southern Folklife Center’s (SFC) holistic approach to preserving their AV collections in “Planning End to End for Digitization: Paths for Access and Preservation.” SFC is currently working on a project that considers not just the digitization portion of AV preservation, but also processing prior to digitization, digital preservation, and access to digitized content. SFC is currently working on prioritization, developing workflows, and project planning, and over the next 3 years will serve as a testbed for sustainability and scalability of this approach.

In the second morning session, “Access and Use,” Lourdes Loca, Iinstituto Mora, started off with “Documentaries and Research: Documentation and Access,” speaking about the epistemological value of images and the importance of documenting research at a research-focused organization. Sonia Yaco, University of Illinois Chicago, followed with “Collections to Curriculum Crosswalk,” describing a tool that she built to match course content to collections to increase student exposure to special collections. Megan McShea , Archives of American Art, rounded out the program with “Putting Archival AV Media Into Context: Processing Mixed Media Manuscript Collections.” McShea’s Project tackled a problem faced in many archives: AV materials are mixed in with processed collections but remain unprocessed, creating hidden backlogs, or AV-heavy collections are set aside and seen as difficult to process without specific expertise. The project created guidelines for processing mixed collections, available at .

In the first of the two post-lunch sessions, “Bless this Mess: Imperfect Solutions for Imperfect Situations in Digital Video Preservation” the three speakers highlighted that perfect is the enemy of good. Christian B. Lopez, University of Georgia Libraries, spoke about challenges faced when working towards established standards for a large amount of content with minimal staff, such as the challenges of LTO tape without IT specifically dedicated to it. Juliana M. Nykolaiszyn and Sarah Milligan, both from Oklahoma State University, spoke about digitizing MiniDV and taking action on your AV content. The discussion in the session was refreshingly open and honest about how institutions are doing what they realistically can now instead of waiting to achieve absolute perfection, which would probably come too late anyways in the face of degralescence, harkening back to Michelle Krasowski’s talk on day 1 about achievable standards.

The final session of day 2, “Project Reports” included two reports of projects at academic institutions, the first from University of Maryland Libraries, “Is This Enough? Digitizing Liz Lerman Dance Exchange Archives” from Bria Parker, Vincent Novara, and Robin Pike. The three presenters spoke about their experience outsourcing a collection of videotapes, detailing the process of prioritization, pilot project, and decisions made about standards and metadata. Michael Moosberger spoke about his success in increasing AV preservation efforts at Dalhousie University in “Action After Years Of Neglect: The Dalhousie University Archives’ Audiovisual Reformatting Project,” which included significant support across administrative levels at the institution.

The different models presented in the final session, combined with the project reports from earlier sessions, gave all of the conference participants a wide range of approaches to consider for their own institutions. Each presenter had a different experience with prioritization, access, digitization, and all of the other components involved in planning and executing an AV preservation project, but there were lessons to be learned from each one. Discussions and Q&A’s on the second day of the conference confirmed that other attendees also found discussions of alternative standards to reach for and ways that institutions are actually completing work, as opposed to seemingly unachievable standards frequently discussed, a refreshing and absolutely necessary conversation to have.

For more info on the 2015 ICA-SUV conference see

Editor’s note: Part 1 of this conference report is online.

Conference Notes: International Council of Archives, pt.1

Written by Annie Peterson, Preservation Librarian, Tulane University

The International Council on Archives Section on University and Research Libraries (ICA-SUV) recently held its annual conference in Chapel Hill, NC. The theme of the conference was “Audiovisual Archives in University Archives and Research Institutions, and it was a small, well-curated conference that provoked great discussions in and outside of the sessions.

Day 1: July 14, 2015

The conference opened with keynote speaker William R. Ferris, Joel R. Williamson Eminent Professor of History; Senior Associate Director of CSAS; Adjunct Professor in the Curriculum in Folklore.  Ferris made clear the importance of preserving our audiovisual heritage for scholarship by talking about the work that he did to document the American South. He invoked an African proverb that says when a man or woman dies a library burns down, but Ferris added that archivists preserve that knowledge so that it can carry on. Ferris’s talk was an inspiring start to the conference, setting the stage for the importance of what would be discussed for the next few days, and reminding us all of the reasons that we work to preserve collections.

The first session of the day, “Making the Case for Media Preservation: Context, Tools, and Strategies,” offered a slightly more grim outlook of the state of things, but with some hope for the future. In “Why Media Preservation Can’t Wait: The Gathering Storm,” Mike Casey, Indiana University, reinforced the urgency of the problem that we face in AV preservation, talking about degradation and obsolescence, or, degralescence. Casey set the expiration date for media at 2028 for the purposes of his discussion, and the date carried through the conference as a date we should anticipate that digitization will be either impossible (there will simply be no equipment available for transfers), or prohibitively expensive.

Chris Lacinak followed with a talk about the Cost of Inaction Calculator, a tool to help us quantify the loss that Casey spoke about for communicating the value at stake to administrators or other stakeholders who need data for decision-making. Casey and Lacinak both then provided examples of how some institutions are working to address the problem, with a number of different approaches to tackling everything in-house, outsourcing, a combination of the two, or collaborating across organizations.

In the first afternoon session, Skip Elsheimer of A/V Geeks, Josephine McRobbie, and Jason Evans Groth, both from North Carolina Sate University Libraries, presented on “A/V Geeks at the Hunt Library: What Obsolete Media Can Still Teach Us.” At NC State’s Hunt Library, the three presenters  had worked together to organize a series of screenings of historic education films from the collection of A/V Geeks. Elsheimer worked with faculty or scholars to provide historical context for the films, and spoke in the session about the importance of making archives relevant and providing access after digitization: if content is digitized and then not made accessible, it’s gone from one shelf to another. McRobbie and Groth talked about the many details that were considered in planning the event in order to make it a success in Hunt Library’s unique space, such as measuring sound levels throughout the open library as the screening was happening to ensure that it was not too disruptive, and using physical artifacts (films and other media) in a show-and-tell session to incorporate the original media into the events (the films are projected digitally in Hunt Library). The session included a screening of a 1948 educational film “How to Judge Facts.” 

The first day of the conference concluded with the session  “Standards and Assessment.” Seth Anderson, AVPreserve, opened the session with “Applying ISO 16363 to AV Archives.” ISO 16363 is the standard for audit and certification of trustworthy digital repositories. Anderson said that the standard can provide guidelines for thinking about digital preservation, strategic planning, and larger concepts associated with digital preservation. Michelle Krasowski, Internet Archive, presented a contrasting view of media preservation from what had been previously been discussed at the conference in “Archiving for All: Working Towards Inclusive Digitization Standards.”  Krakowski spoke of a more flexible approach to standards because communities with fewer resources are excluded by standards that are difficult to attain, putting the history of those communities at risk. The Internet Archive has a Community Media Archive of community access television, and has built up in house digitization capabilities for optical discs, audio cassettes, and some video. Not all of the content is digitized to the highest “preservation quality” standards, but it is now accessible and would otherwise not be seen. Josh Harris, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, concluded the session with “The Current State of Media Preservation:  Assessment as a Pathway to Meeting the Challenge,” in which he described the media census at the University of Illinois that identified AV assets across campus (>400,000), and propelled forward UIUC’s media preservation efforts including in-house reformatting. Harris noted that programmatic approaches to AV preservation are still slow, and more action must be taken swiftly to address the challenges that we know exist.

Day 1 of the conference gave a great overview of the challenges faced by academic libraries and other cultural heritage institutions, and provided examples for different ways forward. The sessions were tied together with a common thread of the importance of providing access to the amazing content that is held across all types of institutions, and the critical role of librarians and archivists in acting swiftly to preserve our AV heritage.  Stay tuned for a wrap up of day 2 of the conference.

Leaving Las Vegas: ALA Annual Conference Roundup, round 1

Wherein we distill thoughts on ALA Annual 2014. First up, a couple of non-preservation sessions. The preservation notes will be posted soon.

On Introverts

Jennifer Kahnweiler, PhD,  author of A Quiet Influence: The Introverts Guide to Making A Difference, gave the ALCTS President’s Program keynote on the power of quiet influence and the strengths that introverts bring to the workplace.  When asked to raise their hand in response to the question, “How many of you are introverts?” roughly 95% of the audience agreed. This is not a surprise to anyone in Libraryland, right? What is different is that Ms. Kahnweiler, who self identifies as an extrovert, is not out to make us into something we are not or to imply, as so many do, that being an introvert is a bad thing or that we should necessarily change into extroverts. She was here to instead help us realize our strengths and help us identify how we can use those strengths to better navigate our work.

By definition introverts are energized from within while extroverts get energized by people and places around them. Neither is a bad way of being, they are just different. Let us remember, too, that while you may have tendencies one way or the other, we often possess qualities of both the introvert and the extrovert and some of us have learned to “turn on” one or the other when the situation requires.

The characteristics of introverts are:

  • Analytical
  • Patient
  • Think before they speaking
  • A sense of both humility and privacy [which makes them terrific librarians I suspect]

Introverts are found in every industry and they can exact influence even if they are not in positions of power by challenging the status quo and inspiring change. Introverted leaders tend to be more analytical and listen more to their employees. According to Kahnweiler, we need introverts’ quiet influence now more than ever.

Challenges for introverts in the workplace include:

  • People exhaustion
  • Having to make fast decisions
  • Teams
  • Selling yourself
  • Putting on a happy face (she says the question introverts hate most is “what’s wrong?” because they tend not to demonstrably show their emotions)

How introverts can successfully navigate the workplace

Kahnweiler suggests ways that introverts can successfully navigate the workplace. If you manage introverts, these are good things to realize and provide space for if you want the most out of your staff. She stresses that introverts make an impact by quietly influencing people. These “ripples of influence” can change the workplace and make a huge impact on individuals and organizations.

Preparation—Taking time to adequately prepare for meetings or presentations helps alleviate anxiety.

Taking quiet time—Introverts are thinkers and need time and space to think through problems and find solutions.

Engaged listening—Listening provides a chance to build rapport and understand issues and concerns at a deeper level. Engaged listening is about connecting to the other person, not making the conversation about yourself. Of course, if all you do is listen, you run the risk of being perceived as not having an opinion or an idea. You also run the risk of being the person in the office people come to so they can vent, which can be stressful. Key tips: don’t multi task, bracket your thoughts (take random thoughts and put them in a ‘parking lot’ so you can concentrate on listening and being present), ask yourself “what can I learn from this?,” and move your body and be healthy.

Writing–Introverts can use writing as a way to gather thoughts and express ideas.

Thoughtful use of social media–She urges introverts to start with just 15 minutes a day and try social media as a way to build community and make connections. This is one part of her talk that really didn’t wring too true for me personally. I find that librarians and archivists have embraced social media with vigor, but then that is the pool in which I swim so maybe more people than not feel social media is too stressful.

More on Introverts

Susan Cain, “The Power of Introverts” TED Talk (February 2012); an animated version from RSA Shorts is here.

Bryan Walsh, “The Power of Shyness” Time Magazine February 26, 2012. [Walsh erroneously used “shyness” when he means “introvert.”]

Tumblarian Talk

This was a great conversation starter, I only wish the session lasted longer. My library is new to Tumblr and we are trying to build our community there. We will be participating in the #5DaysOfPreservation event the week of July 14th to help build that presence but I wanted to attend this to find out more.

If you are on Twitter, search #tumblariantalk for posts from the panel discussion. The panelists started with very brief statements with the conversation following. The panelists’ slideshows are online. A list of Tumblarians including some on the panel can be found on The Lifeguard Librarian’s site.


Ian Stade, Hennipin Co Library

Show unique items
Timely topics, post content that relates
Guest posts from interns and volunteers
Partner with researchers to show their work and interests


Colleen Theisen, University of Iowa Special Collections and University Archives

They have five Tumblrs with special collections content, organized by single collection, theme or department
Reblogs across tumblers
Feeds Instagram directly to Tumblr
Participate in common themes such as Miniature Mondays and Throwback Thursdays to create quick content
Don’t forget to use hashtags


Katie Anderson, Rutgers Special Collections (Paul Robeson Library)

Survey says 27% public and about 30% academic and special collections are using Twitter [see the survey information on slideshare]
Enable questions and submissions to facilitate conversation
Use your Tumblr description to market yourself and say something about who and where you are (many people ignore this)


Rachel Dobkin,

Tumblr is a project of LIS-GISIG students, their motto is “Making gov docs sexy since 2012”
Gets content from a variety of government blogs and social media
Defines government documents as anything any government agency ever touched even a little bit
Highlights data, services, health, archives, etc.
Information activism is an interest for her and trying to get more people involved
Hunts down documents when she reads in the news that “data or documents aren’t available”
Posts about every day
NASA pics are most popular


Daniel Ransom, Holy Names University

Tumblr is a mix of personal and professional acct
Alternative to using exclusively twitter or other format
Likes Tumblr for its responsiveness
Easy to connect to other librarians and the tone is generally positive


Molly Wetta, Lawrence public library

Focus is on readers advisory
Tries to post twice a day and wants half to be original content
Highlights local events and does readers advisory posts that relate
Produce readers advisory charts and graphs, insanely popular
Book reviews are popular


Audience discussion

How do you measure “success” with social media?

  • Weekly stats
  • Google analytics (add Google analytics id)
  • User quotes, collect the anecdotal evidence when you get it
  • No analytics for rss and reblogs
  • Journalists can find your posts and get you visibility
  • Questions through Tumblr are as valid as in person reference questions

Responding to criticism, some do, some don’t. Most of the Tumblarians on the panel were trying to make special collections accessible and don’t get a lot of negative feedback.

When you reblog, try to add info or sources that you may have that can add to the conversation.

How do you engage with students directly? Enable questions, put email on account, keep track of local community tagging trends.

Censorship, should we or no? Mostly no, one person did take down one post by request, she had permission to post a photo but made it into a gif and the person who gave permission didn’t like that and requested they take it down.



AIC 2012 Notes: Conservators and Social Media

Conferences are not all about the sessions.

The Good News: AIC’s Conservators Converse has done a great job of blogging talks from the annual conference. If you are looking for the Book and Paper Group sessions, the Electronic Media Group sessions, the Photographic Materials Group sessions, or any other session, you can easily find them (filter by category for ease of finding what you want). This is a fantastic way to share the event and kudos to them for wrangling so many people to blog the sessions.

The Bad News: You can now find almost all of the sessions on the Conservators Converse blog, which leads very little for me to post here. So what is left for me to talk about?

Let’s start with the session I participated in, “Communicating Conservation.” The panel was expertly put together by Nancie Ravenel, author of Social Media for Collections Care wiki. The panelists discussed how they use various social media and gave tips for effective blogging. Melissa and I focused on what platforms we use and why, who our audiences are and some of the ideas we have come up with that have been successful. Our presentation is available online. The presentations have been written up for Conservators Converse by Rose Cull (thanks Rose!). There is a good discussion going on over there and I encourage you to chime in. I wrote more about the resulting discussion and my lingering questions over on Preservation Underground.

Issues I’m Still Mulling Over

As a blogger both here (the “personal” me) and as part of my institution (the “professional” me), I am stuck on this idea of participation and how we can increase readership and response. It is called “social media” after all, which implies something beyond the simple act of writing. It’s been difficult with this blog to inspire conversation, although we have some loyal readers and responders and we are thankful for all of them. But all bloggers hope to spark ideas, share experiences and talk with people. How can we get more readers to comment or even to write guest posts? What content really gets your attention? Without feedback we are just shouting into the wind and expending energy that we could better channel elsewhere.

Which leads me to the next point, that of eyeballs, attention spans and the proliferation of really interesting blogs. When Holly and I started this blog there were not many preservation blogs out there. There were some, mostly personal blogs, but not too many that discussed issues or trends in the profession. Now we are competing with so many really great blogs that I wonder if we have hit a saturation point and capturing anyone’s attention will be increasingly difficult. Are there too many blogs out there now? Are we simply competing with them or is there more opportunity to collaborate across blogs (I would personally love that)?

Why are so many organizations reluctant to post their social media guidelines? I was asked during the discussion if my library has posted it’s blogging guidelines, they have not. I am in conversation with the key people who have the authority to make that happen, let’s just say the guidelines are still not available. You can find some on Nancie’s wiki, and Rose pointed to this link, but as we were putting our library’s guidelines together the organizations we found  sharing their documentation were mostly small public libraries. Why don’t we share more with the public and with our colleagues? this came up at the Great Debate, too. I realize there are privacy issues, and sensitive subjects, and it’s hard to stick your neck out in a profession that loves to judge and question. But I do think we should continue this discussion of why we use social media, what best to do with it, and how we can share more.


AIC 2012 Notes: Book and Paper Group Business Meeting

The Book and Paper Group held its annual business meeting on Thursday, May 10th. I estimated about 60 people were in attendance (a very, very small number of the membership…this will be important later).

AIC Annual Meeting 2013

Next year we will be in Indianapolis, IN*. The theme of the conference is “The Contemporary in Conservation.” To me that means plastics, modern adhesives, maybe trends in conservation either at the bench or in our programs. What does it mean to you? I’d like to explore education (both for conservators and for our target audience) and advocacy (for conservation, conservation education, etc). Get your paper ideas in!

BPG Budget

As usual we gnashed our teeth about the budget and the fact that since we have spent down our reserves as we were told, we now have little in our wallet should we need it. Our esteemed secretary asked us to consider ways we can raise funds.

The issue of the cost of the Annual came up and whether it is time to move to an electronic version to save money. The BPG Annual takes a very large portion of our available funds each year. We discussed (again) moving to an electronic version of the Annual with a print on demand option. The erroneous argument that printers want 1K orders before printing came up, as did the persistence of digital data (at least that part did at our table). These are both valid arguments, but not insurmountable problems if we do a little homework.

Print On Demand The argument that printers require at least a thousand print orders for the publication before working with you is incorrect. I talked with a friend who works at a large commercial bindery that also offers POD services. If you want more than 1,000 issues is is cheaper to print your publication traditionally, but if you need less than that number POD becomes a viable option even for very small orders. He said they would print one copy of that is all you wanted, although a hundred or two or three would be more affordable per piece.

Print As Archival Record The internet is not an archive, I think we can agree on that. With no print back-up we risk losing the work of our membership to the vagaries of the internet if we go e-only. That said, JAIC is deposited in JSTOR, which is a trusted repository for electronic publications. Does the BPG Annual meet the criteria of JSTOR? I’m not sure, but we should find out because depositing it with JSTOR and allowing POD for print is a great idea and would save us a lot of money.

My Proposed Solution Let’s investigate the following hybrid solution:

  • Move the Annual to an e-publication with the option for POD for those members who want print.
  • BPG should print (pick a number) Annuals for deposit in traditional repositories that will commit to their preservation.
  • AIC/BPG should deposit the Annual to JSTOR so that the preservation of the electronic publication will be assured.

A couple of caveats:

  • A hybrid approach (e-preferred publication in JSTOR with POD option) only works if JSTOR will take our publication. We need someone to investigate that (heck, all AIC interest group publications should be there).
  • If JSTOR will not take our publication, we could still offer an e-preferred/POD option if we deposit enough paper copies in trusted libraries/archives that will commit to their long-term preservation and access.
  • POD publications should be easy to order if you want one now or in the future.
  • BPG should foot the bill for POD requests since the Annual is a benefit of our membership. If BPG feels members should pay for their own POD copy as was suggested at the meeting, they should reduce our dues accordingly. Hey, maybe with less expensive dues we could gain membership. Win-win!

Discussion Groups

This is where things get interesting…voting on implementing changes when less than ten percent of your membership is at the meeting seems shaky and is a constant problem (7:30 a.m. meetings could have something to do with it).

New discussion group guidelines were proposed that laid out how much time should be devoted to speakers vs. discussion, and some other things I neglected to write down (sorry…if you were there, please fill us in). The guidelines were proposed because the discussion groups in the recent past have done more programming with less time devoted to discussion and are becoming indistinguishable from the regular program.

Much discussion ensued since “guidelines” are often interpreted as “rules” and the point of the discussion groups is to be more free-form and flexible in their programming. As someone who has done a lot of discussion group planning I see it as a failure of the co-chairs if enough time is not allotted for discussion. There are many ways to put a discussion program together, but you cannot have a discussion if you are left with little or no time to actually talk to each other. I don’t think we need rules  from above on how to plan our discussion group meetings but I was in the minority and the guidelines were approved.

The majority of the members present approved a new discussion group, the Art on Paper Discussion Group (APDG). This presents a conundrum as we now have three DG’s and our agendas are already pretty full. BPG offered two programming scenarios for vote (only two, really? I could think of at least one more scenario that wasn’t mentioned): Given that BPG will maintain 1-1/2 days of regular programming (therein lies the rub) we could have 1 of the 3 DG’s present each year, which means your group only meets every three years; or we could have 2 of the 3 DG’s meet each year with one having the year off. This one (2/year with one taking the year off) is the one that won the vote.

So, I guess I’ll attend 2 out of every three AIC conferences since LCCDG is the primary reason I go to AIC any more. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate all the hard work that goes into planning discussions, and programming is difficult. I’ve been there and done that and it is often a thankless job. But we will never be free of conflicting interests at a large conference, so using the straw-man argument that we want to reduce conflicting schedules and therefor relegate one interest group to oblivion every third year further marginalizes library and archives conservators in my opinion. I could go on, but I won’t. It is done, and now it remains to be seen what happens from here. Go forth and discuss.

*Home of Shapiro’s, the best damned corned beef sandwich EVER!

ALA Midwinter 2012: Preservation Administrators Interest Group Meeting Roundup

Written by Laura Bedford and woefully late in posting by me. Sorry Laura for the delay, and thanks for your notes. By sharing information like this, especially when travel budgets are so tight, we all benefit.

Preservation week  April 22-28, 2012

Two websites:

  1.  ALCTS website (  – for institutions to grab materials off for their own sessions;  it will contain a map of events for preservation week – you input info and it’s updated. (thru ALCTS)
  2. @ your library pass it on website (  – more for the public – what’s going on during the week, including  family focused events and activities.

@your library  will have different daily content focus:    AV, quilts, comic books, slides,  digital photos, family docs; it will include both video and print content.

There will be 2 webinars during Preservation Week  –  Tuesday : textile collections care;  Thursday:  digital photo conservation.

Also look to @facebook and

Preservation week national spokesperson – Steve Berry.  He’ll speak on Monday 1/23 about his “ History Matters”  organization created by him and wife.

There’s a Preservation Week booth for the first time at ALA – will be continued through other meetings, staffed by volunteers.

IMLS Fellows

  • Annie Peterson –  IMLS Fellow at Yale, MLIS at Urbana-Champ, intern at UCLA and George Blood
  • Nick Szydlowski – IMLS Fellow at NYPL; IMLS at Simmons, works at MIT.
  • Kimberly Tarr – NYU moving image program; prior A/V project at Smithsonian’s NMAH; auditing NYPL audio spaces.

All will be presenting at ALA Annual in Anaheim on their fellowships.  Also Evelyn Frangakis from  NYPL will be organizing a memorial for Jan Merrill-Oldham  at PAIG at Annual – contact her if you want to be involved.

Managing an efficient local book scanning workstation

Roger Smith – Head of the Preservation and Digital Library programs at UC San Diego

UCSD just completed contract with Google – selecting material for digitization to fill in gaps in rare materials that weren’t sent thru the google process.  Working through a rights checklist assessment process, determining what will be viewed at a local level or publicly.  Asking questions to find out what materials fall in private and public levels.   Why are we digitizing – for preservation, access, both? What costs are associated with collaborating with other institutions?  Focus on managing assets going forward.  He looked system wide in UC’s,  starting with combined metadata repository, in efforts to break down silos within UCSD.

Setting yourself up – currently he has one scanner, buying a second.  What level of work you expect to do  should drive what and how many scanners you purchase.  What special needs do the materials entail – what about automated features?  What is the budget?  UCSD chose manual page turning feature, to be able to send special collections material thru it.  What’s your time frame?  Important to get a loaner from a vendor first, or plan site visits to check it out and talk to other customers – like at ALA.

Proposal management –get buy in from other depts.; create a proposal mgmt process from the library to help other depts. go thru and manage their expectations; define the purpose, value, audience, timeline, collection description, number of objects, condition, metadata, staffing, funding and approval tracking.  Many depts. came with good ideas but didn’t have answers to questions at the offset – needed to go thru proposal mgmt process before beginning.

Continue reading

Conference Report: GBW Standards of Excellence

Post contributed by Karen Jutzi, Conservation Assistant, Special Collections, Yale University Library Preservation Department.

The 30th annual Guild of Book Workers Standards of Excellence Seminar was held October 6–8 at the Park Plaza Hotel in Boston, MA. Four optional tours of area facilities were given on Thursday: North Bennett Street School & the Boston Athenaeum;  Margaret Clapp Library at Wellesley College; the Museum of Printing History & NEDCC; and ACME Bookbinding & Harcourt Bindery. I attended the tours of the Museum of Printing History and NEDCC, where we were shown the imaging facilities and the paper and book conservation labs.

Thursday evening’s opening reception was held at M.I.T.’s Hayden Library. During the reception, the Wunsch Conservation Lab was open to tours, which were given by Nancy Schrock, Bexx Caswell and Ayako Letiza. There was also a selection of items from the Hayden Library’s special collections laid out for our perusal.

Presenters at this year’s Standards were Katherine Beatty, Dan Essig, Todd Pattison, and John DeMerritt.

Katherine Beatty demonstrated the construction of an Islamic bookbinding. Katherine holds an MA in paper conservation from Buffalo State College. She studied Islamic bindings with Yasmeen Khan at the Library of Congress. Katherine constructed an Islamic bookbinding from start to finish:  from the method of sewing the text block, through a demonstration of the intricately woven chevron endbands, to the construction of the leather case with its distinctive fore-edge flap, to the elaborate cover decoration.

Todd Pattison, Collections Conservator for Harvard College Library, presented a 19th century cloth reback with board reattachment.  Todd demonstrated the entire treatment (with a little help from a hair dryer to hasten paste drying) within his 2.5-hour session, noting that at Harvard the expected treatment time is usually less than 2 hours. To create a more sympathetic reback, he tears the cloth, and leaves material in the joint. When the spine piece is reattached, the torn edges of the cloth fit back together and create a less obvious repair.

John DeMeritt, an edition binder from California, demonstrated a “modified” Bradel binding he uses in his work. From what I could tell, what made it modified was his use of jaconet instead of paper to connect the boards. He prefers to use jaconet for strength. In this particular binding he also used Bristol board instead of binder’s board, which (after lining and covering with book cloth) created rigid but very thin covers.

All in all, a very interesting series of tours and sessions.





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