#5DaysOfPreservation-Join In The Fun

Kevin over at Library Preservation 2 has a great idea. To read Kevin’s full post, go to Library Preservation 2. Let’s spread the word!


Here’s my idea. During the 5 working days of July 14-18, 2014 anyone (or any institution) with any bit of preservation responsibility take at least one picture each day of something that depicts what preservation looks like for them that day and post it online with the hashtag #5DaysOfPreservation  It could be copying files off floppy disks, repairing a book, participating in a meeting, attending to a leaky roof, inspecting film reels, showing off a new piece of equipment, or however preservation looks to you that day..

Just One Word: Plastics!

During the social media movement to Save the Georgia Archives from closing, this delightful photo was shared with the Facebook group as an example of the unique holdings of the Georgia Archives.  I’ve always been fascinated with William Barrow and his fantastic lamination machines, and thought it would be fun to share this here.

This vintage photo of an archivist at work is from Record Group 64, which holds the historic photographs of National Archives staff.

So what is this woman doing? She’s showing off the cellulose acetate used for the lamination of documents, of course.

via Georgians Against Closing State Archives.

Tools ‹ Preservation & Conservation Administration News — WordPress

The new issue of Archival News is out (v.17, no.1, 2012). The whole issue is dedicated to Jan Merrill-Oldham, and is worth a read.

Jan Merrill-Oldham, a leader in
library and archives preservation who
contributed immeasurably to the field,
was a mentor and motivator to many,
encouraging them not only to enter into
the field of preservation but to be movers
and shakers as she was throughout her
service. Her extensive writings gave
others valid resources to utilize in their
programs. Jan impacted and touched
many of our lives. We dedicate this issue
of Archival Products NEWS to honor
Jan and her lifelong contributions to
library preservation.

Signifying Excellence

“When access to content is no longer scarce, what are the services that will stand as the ‘primary measures of quality’ and ‘distinctive signifiers of excellence’ in the academic library?”

So asks Scott Walter, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in his guest commentary “Distinctive Signifiers of Excellence”: Library Services and the Future of the Academic Library.” If you haven’t read this short essay, I urge you to do so if only because this, I believe, is the new battleground for ARL Libraries in the never ending push to distinguish themselves from each other.

Once it was about how large your entire collection was, then it was how unique your collections were, especially your special collections. Now it appears that we are moving away from the physical stuff that we collect as a definition of who we are towards a definition of success that embodies the uniqueness of our services as compared to our peers. I’m not saying this is bad, I believe this may be a trend worth our attention if only because it is truly becoming harder to see our “stuff” as who we are in the age of format-neutral (read e-preferred) collecting policies and the push to share our collections digitally through in-house and mass digitization projects.

What does this mean for the preservation and conservation departments who are so used to counting things (number of books treated, number of flat paper treated, number of items deacidified, etc.) as a way to define success? While the ARL preservation statistics have been suspended in light of Lars Meyer’s “Safeguarding Collections…”, we are left adrift in our attempts to advocate for our continued funding. As we await a new ARL preservation statistics initiative (promised, but not yet delivered), this idea of conservation/preservation as a “distinctive service” is worth considering.

“…[I]n an era when everything we know about how content is created, acquired, accessed, evaluated, disseminated, employed, and preserved for the future is in flux, the research library must be distinguished by the scope and quality of its services programs in the same way it has long been by the breadth and depth of its locally-held collections.”

Is your elevator speech ready?

Upcoming Event: NCPC Annual Conference

The topic of this year’s North Carolina Preservation Consortium Annual Conference has been announced. If you are in the area why not spend the day thinking about how to better advocate for preservation? The food is always good at the Friday Center, too. A full announcement as well as more information on NCPC is on their website, and be sure to “like” them on Face Book.

Advocating for Collections Preservation

William and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
November 18, 2011    9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

The current economic and political climate for library, museum, archives, and historic site preservation is challenging.  Advocates are vital for the long term survival of art, literature, scholarship, research, history and heritage collections.  This year’s North Carolina Preservation Consortium annual conference addresses strategies for cultivating and preparing advocates to champion our preservation priorities.  How do we convince our leaders that collection preservation is vital to the mission of our institution?  How do we compel local, state, and federal politicians to vote for funding collection preservation?  How do we gain the support of the general public for collection preservation?  When should we ask an advocate to become a philanthropist?  Come to Advocating for Collections Preservation for answers these questions and more.


Ember Farber is the Grassroots and Advocacy Manager at the American Association of Museums.  AAM represents the entire scope of museums and advocates on issues of concern for the whole museum community.  The AAM Government Relations and Advocacy staff coordinates an annual Museums Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. and issues alerts on legislation that impacts museums.  Farber will provide an overview of the AAM advocacy program and present recommendations for winning support from local, state, and federal political leaders who make decisions on legislation and budget allocations that impact collection institutions and preservation granting agencies.

Julie Mosbo is the Preservation Librarian at the Morris Library, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and Chair of the Preservation Week Working Group in the Preservation and Reformatting Section of the Association of Library Collections and Technical Services, a division of the American Library Association.  Mosbo will deliver a history of, and share plans for, Preservation Week, a national public outreach program held in April to teach people how to care for their precious collections and in turn connect with the preservation of collections in cultural institutions.  The founding partners of Preservation Week are the Association of Library Collections and Technical Services/American Library Association, Library of Congress, Institute of Museum and Library Services, American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works, Society of American Archivists, and Heritage Preservation.

Eryl P. Wentworth is the Executive Director of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works.  She is also the Executive Director of FAIC, the Foundation for AIC.  The Foundation supports conservation education, research, and outreach activities that increase understanding of our global cultural heritage and continually strives to increase funding for grants and scholarships, to support a range of educational programs, and to help elevate the status of conservation in the eyes of the public.  Wentworth will speak on the benefits of Foundations and the cultivation of advocates to philanthropists who make significant and meaningful gifts to collection preservation.

Other Speakers 

This conference will also feature a “lightning round” of short presentations from several North Carolina collections professionals involved with preservation advocacy programs and projects.


The registration fee is $60.00 for employees of NCPC member institutions, individual NCPC members, and Friends of NCPC; $75.00 for non-members; and $50.00 for graduate students in collections programs.  This fee includes lunch, refreshments, and materials.  Please complete and mail a registration form with payment.  The form is available on the NCPC Web site at   http://www.ncpreservation.org

North Carolina Preservation Consortium 

The North Carolina Preservation Consortium (NCPC) is a 501C3 nongovernment, nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of collections in our state’s archives, libraries, museums, historic sites, records centers, and other heritage collection institutions. NCPC also informs the general public about preservation to safeguard private collections and family treasures. Our preservation mission addresses the proper care and handling of materials; storage and environmental control; disaster preparedness and recovery; the repair, reformatting and conservation of collections; and collection security. NCPC supports the preservation of information content, and the medium as artifact, in new and traditional formats for present and future generations.

Scan And Deliver Webinar Report

Last week I attended the OCLC Scan And Deliver Webinar. A recording of the webinar will be posted to the OCLC News website sometime in October.

The OCLC “Scan and Deliver Report” (PDF) came out early this year stemming from a working group that looked into streamlining special collections digitization requests. In short, the working group looked at scanning on demand for patrons requesting special collections materials and determined that best practice is prompt delivery. On page eight of that report is a three-tiered workflow for “user-initiated” digitization that includes three tracks, the inside track, middle track and outside track. Each track describes an increasing amount of commitment and resources and is designed to help institutions decide how to fulfill patron requests for digitized materials in the quickest, most efficient manner.

My notes from the webinar:

Introduction (I think this was done by Jennifer Schaffner, OCLC Research):

  • Access is the priority, delivery is the goal.
  • Let the context [of collection, of the request, etc.] be your guide.
  • Do the minimum necessary for delivery.
  • Be flexible, “jump the tracks” if you need to.
  • Each track outlines best practice within that track; the Inside Track is NOT a short cut.

Anne Behde, San Diego State University (representing the Inside Track):

  • Purchased a Bookeye book scanner for their rare book reading room; patrons take items they want to scan to the desk, desk staff approve request if the item is in good condition and train patron on using the Bookeye. The patron scans the item themselves. The scanner is set up near the desk for ease of watching out for the materials, and patrons are asked to record what they are scanning for the library’s statistics.
  • Take controlled risks.
  • Analyze your anxieties and roadblocks; is it fear or legitimate roadblocks that are preventing you from implementing a scan on demand program?

Julia Gardner, University of Chicago (representing the Middle Track)

Anne Blecksmith, Getty Research Institute (representing a hybrid of the Middle and Outside Track)

  • They developed a Digitization On Demand Team; interdepartmental team of everyone involved in the process of digitizing materials.
  • Their Specialized Photography group deals with rights, exhibits, graphics, etc.; the Digital Projects Team does the digitization on demand, mass digitization and collaborative digitization projects.

Much of the Q&A session was about the Bookeye book scanner which most of these institutions are using for their DoD requests and issues of metadata. I did ask whether anyone saw an increase in conservation needs after scanning, Anne Behde said that no increase has happened because they are careful with the pre-screening.

One person asked how this report works with the OCLC “Rapid Capture: Faster Throughput in Digitization of Special Collections” (PDF). There apparently was no connection, although the panelists all had a “hmmmm…” moment. I haven’t read that report, but I will to see if there are obvious connections or if they are in opposition of each other.

I think our institution and many others will likely go down this road. If you Google “Scan and Deliver” you will see many institutions already have. I’m interested in the patron self-scanning model in particular. Considering we already have a copier in our reading room, a planetary copier seems like a better choice overall. But I’m also interested in how this tiered service may be added to our existing digital reformatting program (which includes an Internet Archive station as well as a stand-alone department to digitize collection material).

If your institution has implemented Scan and Deliver in any form we would love to hear about your experience. What is the structure of your program, is Preservation, your rare book library, or your ILL department doing the scanning or are your patrons doing self-scanning? How do you feel about self-scanning and/or digitizing on demand from a preservation standpoint? Have you seen any increase in conservation requests from self-scanning?

Yale Preservation Lecture Series now online

Couldn’t dash up to New Haven earlier this year to catch Yale’s new Preservation Lecture Series?  Three lectures are now online:

Thanks, Yale!