Recently I’ve had the opportunity to dis-bind a bound edition of our school newspaper, send it off for digitization and then to create a clamshell box to house the single pages when they return. The process of dis-binding bound newspapers is a very delicate one. In this case, The News Record 1971-72, was no exception. Newspapers, by their very nature are meant to be read and thrown away. The paper they are printed on is not meant to last and it fades and becomes acidic and brittle very rapidly. The solution to preserving the paper’s information back in the early 70’s, before digitization was even a thought, was to bind a couple years’ worth of the News Record together in a hard cover much like a large book. This was a good method for preserving a piece of U.C.’s history, however the binding was meant to be permanent and no thought was given to reversing the process at a later date.
If there’s one thing we really love, it’s sharing what we know with others. And one of the beauties of being in an academic setting is that opportunities to share sometimes fall right into our laps! We got a chance to play host to two classes of students from the College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning, who came to learn creative ways to present their work when they went out to hunt for jobs.
The one-hour sessions were packed with information and examples of staff work, from the simple to the sublime; in order to illustrate both what was possible at home with a few tools, and much more advanced projects to aspire to. The students were intrigued with what was presented to them, and asked thoughtful questions. They even promised to show us some of their work! (We have, as of this writing, already received our first image, and it is beautiful indeed.) We’re so glad they came; it’s always a pleasure!
Hyacinth Tucker (UCL) —- Binding Processor
Now on exhibit at the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County are a collection of stereoview photographs that were treated and rehoused in the Preservation Lab this past winter.
When you work for a large institution sometimes the work one does becomes very specialized and segmented. Often times preservation librarians do very little bench work, while the staff they work alongside spend the majority of their time at the bench or evaluating materials in preparation for the bench. Of course this is necessary to keep all the pieces of a lab in motion; but because one of the most important jobs of a preservation librarian is to advocate for the ongoing stewardship of the collection, and by extension the physical work done in the lab, it is important to me that I spend time at the bench.
One of my favorite aspects of this job is learning about cool old stuff. I have just had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with stereoscopic images. In the process of surface cleaning and rehousing this project, I saw a lot of cool images and learned about the use of antique stereoscopes.
Antique stereoscopes, also known as stereopticons or stereo-viewers, were popular in the late 1800s and early 1900s. A stereoscopic viewer is a special device that helps us see 2 mounted photographs as one three dimensional image. The way it works is a stereo-view slide is inserted into the viewing device, and the person viewing looks through the device while adjusting the distance of the slide. The slide is adjusted either closer or farther from the viewer’s face until it comes into focus. The two images appear as one 3D image to us when looking through the viewer because we are seeing two perspectives merge into one – not too different from the Magic Eye books that were popular in the 90’s filled with stereograms. The two perspectives are taken with a special camera that has two lenses that mimic how we see the world through two eyes. The lenses are spaced slightly apart, roughly similar to the distance of our eyes.
Many times we receive a project and when we tackle it, it turns out to be a multifaceted endeavor. These paintings turned out to be one of those cases.
A little math problem for you :
One of the trickiest things about making a cloth-covered clamshell box happens at the very end when all the pieces finally go together. You’re applying a fair amount of adhesive to a fairly large surface area and the moisture in it inspires the boards of the case and the trays to want to curve. To suppress this natural tendency and make sure the pieces stick together properly we have to use a lot of weights.
This past week the preservation lab hosted 3 classes with 3rd year fashion design majors.
The goal of the sessions were to familiarize the students with the basic parts of the book, explore different types of enclosures, and demonstrate how these simple structures can be “tweaked” to produce a wide range of compelling forms.
For library items that cannot stand by themselves because of their shape or size, placing them in an enclosure is a good solution to the problem. In this case we made a custom clamshell box with filler because the item, a book on monograms, is shaped like a spade.