Category Archives: Paper

Fun with VideoDoc: Lining a Oversized Map (Edition 3)

Before treatment photo, map with cloth lining.

A couple months ago the lab received an oversized map from the Public Library’s collection.  The map is from 1863 and depicts the businesses of downtown Cincinnati at the time.  The Public Library would like to digitize the map, however when it arrived in the lab it had a variety of creases, stains and losses.  It was also previously lined with cloth.  Conservator, Ashleigh, and Sr. Conservation Tech, Catarina, began the work of removing the map from the prior cloth lining, washing the detached sections of the map to assist in removing the prior cloth lining adhesive, and locally humidifying and flattening the creases and distortions in the paper (caused when the map was previously lined).

Next up, lining the map with kozo fiber tissue and a mixture of wheat starch paste and methyl cellulose.  For this, Ashleigh and Catarina created a make-shift light table, since the Lab’s was not large enough and began piecing the sections of the map back together.  I couldn’t not document this climactic part of the treatment, so I went a little crazy, threw my go-to documentation equipment out the window (i.e. our Nikon DSLR), grabbed my iPhone and made a little video to illustrate the process.  I hope you enjoy it!

*Please note, portions of this video have been sped up to shorten the length of the video…Ashleigh and Catarina work quickly, but not THAT quickly!

Jessica Ebert (UCL) – Conservation Technician

Fun with PhotoDoc – Edition 2

I’m back for another edition of “Fun with PhotoDoc”.  If you missed the first edition you can check it out here.  Originally I had planned for that to be a one-off post, but then I thought it might be fun to make this into more of a series, sharing interesting facets of photographic documentation (aka PhotoDoc) as they come up.  Really, it just gives me an excuse to share all the things about PhotoDoc that I think are just plain cool and to make gifs out of treatment documentation photos, which is so much fun!

This time around I wanted to share some interesting before treatment photos of two War Bond posters from the Public Library of Cincinnati & Hamilton County’s collection.  For both of these I photographed the posters using normal illumination and then used raking illumination to highlight tears, cockling and bends/breaks in the paper.

With this War Bond poster the raking illumination really shows off that large tear that extends from the center to the bottom of the poster. And while the normal illumination allows for better visibility of the water damage in the bottom left hand corner, raking light better highlights the resulting cockling and distortion of the paper in that area.

With this War Bond poster the raking illumination really shows off that large tear that extends from the center to the bottom of the poster. Under normal illumination this substantial tear gets lost in the pattern of the female subject’s dress. Also, while the normal illumination allows for better visibility of the water damage in the bottom left hand corner, raking light better highlights the resulting cockling and distortion of the paper in that area.

For this poster, raking light really highlights all the undulations and cockling that have been caused by the poster being partially adhered to a piece of board. You can also more clearly see the fairly large tear located under the word "Hun".

For this poster, raking light really highlights all the undulations and cockling that have been caused by the poster being partially adhered to a piece of board. You can also more clearly see the fairly large tear located under the word “Hun” under raking illumination versus under normal illumination.

Jessica Ebert (UCL) – Conservation Technician

Digital Print Crash Course

Digital print poster

Digital print poster

For 3 days in late October I joined a group of 15 conservation and archive professionals from as far away as Germany, Mexico City and the Northwest Territories of Canada for the “Identification and Preservation of Digital Prints” workshop at the Image Permanence Institute (IPI) at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

We learned about what curators might consider to be digital prints, what types of digital prints can be found within a collection, what their greatest vulnerabilities are, and how to differentiate between them. The workshop focused predominantly on the three most common types of digital prints: dye-sublimation prints, created through a process which uses heat to impregnate a surface with color; electrophotographic prints, which use toner-based colorants; and inkjet prints. We also discussed the best types of enclosures for storage, and how to use naming conventions to help collection curators and conservators identify these objects so as to best house, store, conserve and exhibit them.

Dye-sublimation prints are the least common of the three main types. The analog version of the process was invented for the textile industry and the digital version continues to be used to print images on fabrics as well as photo gifts like mugs. It doesn’t require liquid chemicals so it’s also popular for ID photos, photo booths, and instant photo kiosks in drugstores.  Generally speaking they can be stored and handled using the same guidelines as chromogenic prints as their vulnerabilities are similar. Light can cause fading over time, very high heat can cause bleeding. Most importantly though, while the clothes and mugs are obviously washable, the photos can delaminate in water, as shown below.

Dye-sub delamination

Dye-sub delamination

Almost everything printed on a copier or a laser printer is an electrophotographic print. They are ubiquitous in the documentation surrounding cultural heritage collections, if not in the collections themselves. The printing process is similar to that of photocopiers, though nowadays the image comes from a stored digital file rather than creating a photographic reproduction of an image. These kinds of prints are fairly stable. Though they can sometimes transfer with heat, or crack or abrade, their greatest vulnerability is the paper they are printed on, which can be almost any type of paper imaginable. In general they should be handled and stored the same way photocopies are stored and handled.

Inkjet prints show up as documents and ephemera as well as in the form of photographs and fine art prints. They can be made up of a broad range of papers and inks, many of them proprietary, which means it may be difficult to identify them accurately and their sensitivities to light, water, pollution, etc. can vary greatly. In general they are the most unstable of all the types of digital prints and therefore require the most care and attention for preservation efforts. We experimented to see how different inkjet prints responded to abrasion and exposure to water. From these tests we could see that even light friction or a tiny drop of water can be damaging to some types of inkjet prints. For a generalized approach to housing and storage of inkjet photos and art prints IPI recommends handling with gloves, using polyester enclosures and interleaving (paper enclosures can cause losses or burnishing), mounting with window mats, using UV glass when framing, and monitoring any exhibited prints closely throughout the exhibit. IPI’s handy mini-poster, Tips for Handling Inkjet Prints can even be printed out and included in enclosures.

Immersed inkjet print

Immersed inkjet print

It became very clear during this workshop that the term “digital print” can cover a dizzying array of objects. Curators, collectors and conservators like to have more specific descriptors for the media they are working with. For most purposes differentiating between electrophotographic, dye-sublimation, and inkjet prints in documentation is sufficient, but conservators in particular would benefit from even greater detail such as, “dye inkjet print on uncoated paper.” IPI strongly recommends that when new acquisitions are made a detailed document such as Martin Jurgens’ “Datasheet for Documentation of Digital Prints” from his book, The Digital Print: Identification and Preservation, be completed whenever possible.

Along with a very handy pocket microscope, digital print sample set, a color copy of the freely downloadable IPI Guide to Preservation of Digitally Printed Photographs, and a binder of the workshop’s Powerpoint presentations, IPI provided us with a tour of the online tools they have created. Their Graphics Atlas website, http://www.graphicsatlas.org/, is particularly useful for identifying different types of photographs and prints, and the DP3 (Digital Print Preservation Portal) website, http://www.dp3project.org/, is an excellent resource for information on preserving digital prints. While visiting I also purchased a copy of Meghan Connor and Daniel Burge’s book, The Atlas of Water Damage on Inkjet-Printed Fine Art, which I found informative. Seeing how a pocket LED work light like the Larry light could be used to generate different angles of light to help in print identification on the fly was extremely helpful too.

I can’t recommend this workshop highly enough. I learned a great deal over those three days in October. I am very grateful to the Image Permanence Institute, the Ohio Preservation Council, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, The Institute of Museum and Library Services, and my colleagues at The Preservation Lab for helping to make my attendance possible.

Veronica Sorcher (PLCH) — Conservation Technician

Polyester Encapsulated Page Binding *Part One: The Structure

The past two years have become an exploration into encapsulated page bindings!

Recently, I found myself faced with a fascinating scrapbook preservation project from the Public Library: the scrapbook of Althea Hurst.  I took the opportunity to further research encapsulated bindings made by other institutions to find an existing solution that would fit the needs of the Public Library’s scrapbook.

I didn’t know much about making an encapsulated binding before starting these projects, other than the bindings are usually time consuming and expensive due to the amount of welding and polyester film required.

Being a novice at the traditional encapsulated page binding, I started off with the following criteria in mind:

  • Something elegant to house an important object
  • Lightweight, protective, yet strong and supportive for large brittle books
  • Reversible for displaying pages, future repair, or digitizing parts

I figured, “This will be easy.  I’ll take a quick look to learn the structure of a traditional encapsulated binding and be on my way to preserve the attached parts.”

Little did I know, after reading a few articles and surveying a few structures – there isn’t a standard model.  There are many variations depending on how an object is used, as well as the condition of an object and format.  I was surprised to find that encapsulated bindings can be screw post bound or sewn in a variety of ways!

Here are a few case study examples:

Example #1: Larry Yerkes model, images from the University of Iowa Libraries’ website

UofM    UofIowahttp://digital.lib.uiowa.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/binding/id/55/rec/4

This is a full cloth covered binding that doesn’t reveal that it is an encapsulated page binding until you take a closer look inside.  I especially like that the pages are supported overall due the setback joint of the cover.  Also, the spine is covered, protecting the encapsulated pages from dust.

The drawback to this structure is it might take a little work to remove the case if the object needs to be disbound, thus requiring a new case for rebinding, resulting in an expense of time and resources.  However, I found it an overall elegant construction and took note of the protective paper endsheets.

Example #2: Oversized Classics Library Binding, bound by the collaborative Cincinnati Preservation Lab

THE PRESERVATION LAB: A collaboration between the University of Cincinnati and the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County Object Institution & Library: UC, Classics CALL #: Z114 .C46 v.1 SUBJECT: Oversized leather half bindings with paleography plates DATABASE ID: 765 ITEM #: i22790160 TREATMENT ID: 155 LIGHTING: EcoSmart 27-Watt (100W) Full Spectrum Craft CFL Fluorescent FILTER(s): none COMMENTS: Volume 1 (item record #: i22790160, database #: 765, treatment ID: 155) and Volume 2 (item record #: i22790172, database #: 764, treatment ID: 156) were both treated in similar manners - disbound, surface cleaned, text -washed, text encapsulated with hollytex hinge and bound, and plates guarded, resewn, and bound into a split board binding. Both the text & plates for each volume were boxed together in identical corrugated clamshell boxes. CREATOR: Jessica Ebert WEBSITE: thepreservationlab.org

THE PRESERVATION LAB: A collaboration between the University of Cincinnati and the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County Object Institution & Library: UC, Classics CALL #: Z114 .C46 v.1 SUBJECT: Oversized leather half bindings with paleography plates DATABASE ID: 765 ITEM #: i22790160 TREATMENT ID: 155 LIGHTING: EcoSmart 27-Watt (100W) Full Spectrum Craft CFL Fluorescent FILTER(s): none COMMENTS: Volume 1 (item record #: i22790160, database #: 765, treatment ID: 155) and Volume 2 (item record #: i22790172, database #: 764, treatment ID: 156) were both treated in similar manners - disbound, surface cleaned, text -washed, text encapsulated with hollytex hinge and bound, and plates guarded, resewn, and bound into a split board binding. Both the text & plates for each volume were boxed together in identical corrugated clamshell boxes. CREATOR: Jessica Ebert WEBSITE: thepreservationlab.org

The Lab’s first encapsulated binding project was to house a brittle oversized text from the University of Cincinnati’s Classics Library after it received in-depth treatment.  The first structure we experimented with was a modified full-leather-over-an-exposed-spine binding structure.  This structure was taught to the lab’s technicians Veronica Sorcher and Chris Voynovich at a course by Gabrielle Fox.  The sewn structure was altered from Gabrielle’s original form by using a cloth covering.  The textblock consisted of polyester leaves welded into folios with Hollytex hinges (a new technique I discovered last year – more on this in Part Two).  It was sewn with a single pamphlet stitch through each gathering, therefore, should a gathering need to be removed in the future, it could be cut out without disturbing the rest of the binding.  I found this solution extremely satisfying. The rounded spine structure complimented the second volume’s split board library binding well. It handled nicely and opened flat – perfect for a paleontology class to flip through while looking at a book of plates.

Example #3:  Binding by my predecessor, Kathy Lechuga, bound at the Preservation Lab in Cincinnati.

A000032750523 AT1 reduced    A000032750523 AT3 reduced

This is a traditional structure that is elegantly quarter bound with a cloth spine and marbled paper boards.   I like that this is a relatively quick structure to construct compared to the University of Iowa model.  This design is perfect for a thin group of lightweight paper as shown in the image above.  It’s a screw post binding which makes it reversible.  Since the spine is uncovered, it can easily expand if additional pages are added later.  This structure is reversible and adjustable without the need to construct a new binding.

In the above example, the screw posts are positioned on the inside of the cover.  There are no exposed screws on the outside of the book, so books adjacent to the binding on the shelf are not at risk to abrasion.  However, compared to the University of Iowa’s version, I noticed that the position of the posts places the cover’s joint at the edge of the spine, rather than set back.  This results in pages that are unsupported near the gutter when open.

In the above example, it’s not an issue for the pages to flex near the gutter.  I think this is a perfect structure for the needs of this specific object, however, I kept this in mind since flexing at the gutter might be problematic for an oversized heavy scrapbook with brittle pages that are crumbling.  To remedy this, the screw posts would need to be situated on the outside of the binding so the cover’s joint would be set back.  Unfortunately, some may argue screws on the outside of the binding aren’t quite as elegant.

After reading Henry Hebert’s extremely descriptive article in Archival Products News, I saw a beautiful example of screw posts on the outside of the binding and I really liked how the brittle pages were supported overall.  Was there a way to have the best of both worlds?

Example #4:  Ohio Book Store, Cincinnati, Ohio

VR_binding

http://www.ohiobookstore.net/images/VR_binding.jpg

Similar to Kathy’s version, this binding contains a few fancy additions: A reversible cloth spine and an extra flap to cover the screw posts.  This flap helps protect the screw posts from rubbing on the inside of the cover, as well as possibly preventing the screws from loosening overtime.

Example #5: University of Michigan Side Sewn Binding

EncapsulatedBindingInstructions_UM_AishaWahab-3

One of the final versions I came across was the side sewn cased-in binding introduced to me by my talented Buffalo State classmate, Aisha Wahab.  I loved that the binding was sewn.  In a pinch if I was out of screw posts I needn’t worry.  But more importantly, this binding is elegant, the spine protected, and perfect for housing thinner books that don’t need the thickness of the aluminum post.  The only issue – not as easily reversible as other bindings since the sewing was covered by cloth.

Through my research, I didn’t find a quick fix with a one-size-fits-all structure to meet my needs.  Instead, I was able to incorporate some of my favorite elements from each structure and create my own.

See below for a sneak peak of the solution for the Althea Hurst scrapbook.

Before Treatment, housed in acidic “vinyl” sleeves:

THE PRESERVATION LAB: A collaboration between the University of Cincinnati and the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County Object Institution & Library: PLCH CALL #: 977.178092 ffH966Zh 1938 SUBJECT: Althea Hurst scrapbook, 1938 - documents the journey of four Cincinnati school teachers - took a trip to Canada, Nortern Europe, Germany, Eastern Europe, and France. Scrapbook filled with photographs, brochures, notes and other ephemera. DATABASE ID: 1015 ITEM #: i83079427 TREATMENT ID: LIGHTING: EcoSmart 27-Watt (100W) Full Spectrum Craft CFL Fluorescent with sock diffusers FILTER(s): none COMMENTS: CREATOR: Jessica Ebert WEBSITE: thepreservationlab.org

THE PRESERVATION LAB: A collaboration between the University of Cincinnati and the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County Object Institution & Library: PLCH CALL #: 977.178092 ffH966Zh 1938 SUBJECT: Althea Hurst scrapbook, 1938 - documents the journey of four Cincinnati school teachers - took a trip to Canada, Nortern Europe, Germany, Eastern Europe, and France. Scrapbook filled with photographs, brochures, notes and other ephemera. DATABASE ID: 1015 ITEM #: i83079427 TREATMENT ID: LIGHTING: EcoSmart 27-Watt (100W) Full Spectrum Craft CFL Fluorescent with sock diffusers FILTER(s): none COMMENTS: CREATOR: Jessica Ebert WEBSITE: thepreservationlab.org

After Treatment:

THE PRESERVATION LAB: A collaboration between the University of Cincinnati and the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County Object Institution & Library: PLCH CALL #: 977.178092 ffH966Zh 1938 SUBJECT: Althea Hurst scrapbook, 1938 - documents the journey of four Cincinnati school teachers - took a trip to Canada, Nortern Europe, Germany, Eastern Europe, and France. Scrapbook filled with photographs, brochures, notes and other ephemera. DATABASE ID: 1015 ITEM #: i83079427 TREATMENT ID: LIGHTING: EcoSmart 27-Watt (100W) Full Spectrum Craft CFL Fluorescent with sock diffusers FILTER(s): none COMMENTS: CREATOR: Jessica Ebert WEBSITE: thepreservationlab.org

THE PRESERVATION LAB: A collaboration between the University of Cincinnati and the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County Object Institution & Library: PLCH CALL #: 977.178092 ffH966Zh 1938 SUBJECT: Althea Hurst scrapbook, 1938 - documents the journey of four Cincinnati school teachers - took a trip to Canada, Nortern Europe, Germany, Eastern Europe, and France. Scrapbook filled with photographs, brochures, notes and other ephemera. DATABASE ID: 1015 ITEM #: i83079427 TREATMENT ID: LIGHTING: EcoSmart 27-Watt (100W) Full Spectrum Craft CFL Fluorescent with sock diffusers FILTER(s): none COMMENTS: CREATOR: Jessica Ebert WEBSITE: thepreservationlab.org

The next hurdle to jump:

How do I encapsulate a scrapbook that houses a variety of adhered material, such as pamphlets, postcards, letters, maps, and more, and still make the parts accessible?!  See the  Polyester Encapsulated Page Bindings, Part Two.

Resources:

Ashleigh Schieszer (PLCH) — Conservator, Conservation Lab Manager

Preservation Week Fun!

One of the things I love most about working here in the Lab is that’s like the proverbial shark: always moving. We’re constantly learning and growing and trying new things; it’s great! We do, however, reside rather off the beaten path in the library, so it often happens that unless people have to come down for a specific purpose, they never know what we’re up to now.

Enter the annual Open House. You would think that after so many years, it would be pretty rank and file, but we’ve managed to keep the fun. This year, in addition to learning a few new things about the lab’s treatment reports on the UC Libraries’ Digital Collections & Repositories site and the hot stamper bookmarks that everyone has come to know and love, we focused on papermaking, highlighted by the opportunity to pull a piece of their very own.  Holly and Catarina walked our guests through the process, to great (and messy) results. People love the opportunity to mix it up and put their hands in things, and I would definitely call it a success.  On top of that, our conservator, Ashleigh, displayed an array of different types of paper and plant fibers that are used to make paper, and she demonstrated and discussed the different ways in which we use paper in the lab (mends, pulps fills, etc.). It was such a good time that I’m not sure how we’ll top it next year. No doubt there’ll be something fascinating going on. Stay tuned!

Jessica talking about the Preservation Lab's DRC and how/why we are sharing our treatment reports with researchers, patrons, and other conservation professionals.

Jessica talking about the Preservation Lab’s DRC and how/why we are sharing our treatment reports with researchers, patrons, and other conservation professionals.

Holly discussing the papermaking process and the different problems that can occur such as "papermaker's tears" and air bubbles during couching.

Holly discussing the papermaking process and the different problems that can occur such as “papermaker’s tears” and air bubbles during couching.

Catarina helping a visiting staff members couch her sheet of paper.

Catarina helping a visiting staff members couch her sheet of paper.

Ashleigh talking about paper sizing.

Ashleigh explaining paper sizing and why it’s done.

Book models and examples of paste paper.

Book models and examples of paste paper.

Hyacinth Tucker (UCL) — Binding Processor

Loopy

THE PRESERVATION LAB: A collaboration between the University of Cincinnati and the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County Object Institution & Library: PLCH CALL #: 529.43 F855 SUBJECT: Freeman's Almanacks from 1823-1829, all side sewn, some with threaded loops at top (to hook onto a nail in a wall), varying sizes, some missing covers, all received dirty/stained and torn edges DATABASE ID: 1124 ITEM #: i28069493 TREATMENT ID: LIGHTING: EcoSmart 27-Watt (100W) Full Spectrum Craft CFL Fluorescent with sock diffusers + reflector and foam board FILTER(s): none COMMENTS: CREATOR: Jessica Ebert WEBSITE: thepreservationlab.orgSome small booklets from the 1820s recently came to the Lab to be cleaned and prepared for digitization at the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. Ashleigh, our Conservator, noticed a couple of them had a small loop of string attached in the upper left hand corner.

WhatTheHeck

Well, the booklets are all copies of “Freeman’s Almanack”. Before the days of smart phone calendars and weather apps, before the days of catching the weather on the radio or TV, people had almanacs. In fact some people still use them today, though these days their scope has expanded and some of them can be many hundreds of pages, depending on the information they contain. Back in the 1800s they usually looked like small magazines. Published yearly, they contained articles and snippets of wit and wisdom the publishers thought their target audience (often farmers) might enjoy. Most important though were the tables, usually organized to represent a calendar month, giving times for sunrise and sunset, astronomical highlights such as eclipses, church festivals, planting dates, and what kind of weather to expect.

So what about the loops?

Well, the almanac would be something a 19th Century family might refer to often, perhaps even daily. Where do you put such a thing in your home so everyone can grab it quickly when they need it? You hang it on a nail of course! How do you do that? You make a little hole in the top left corner of the booklet, you run some string or thread through the hole to make a loop, and you pop the loop over the nail.

LoopyFrontoBack

Problem (and mystery) solved!

Veronica Sorcher (PLCH) – Conservation Technician

Saving the 70’s

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.

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Lab outreach

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.

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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

 

Oversized poster moves made easy!

The Preservation Lab offers a suite of services to our parent institutions, including conservation, storage and handling, pest management, and environmental monitoring. Recently we got to flex both our physical and mental muscles, assisting the Public Library with a special collections move. While there were many interesting objects that required special attention during the relocation, a collection of locally and historically significant oversized posters presented a fun and exciting challenge.

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We aren’t fooling – it is Spring Cleaning Time!

Are you the type of person who when Spring rolls around you get this sudden urge to organize and clean? No? Well, I am. Though I will admit it only comes in short bursts. Maybe there is just something about the change of seasons that makes me want to sort through things; this Spring I decided to tackle our stockpile of matboard. Does my sudden urge to clean and organize really have anything to do with the vernal eqinox? No, probably not. It is more likely due to the fact that we recently order a bunch of new Rising board and it has been sitting around for a couple weeks with no place to go. Enter, Jessica and her fit of cleaning.

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