Category Archives: Uncategorized

Pleasures of (Recomposing) the Text

Lucy Schultz, a volunteer with the collaborative preservation lab since June of 2009, has just published a reflection on working with her hands in the service of repairing books.  Lucy is a UC scholar of composition history and an emerita faculty member.  We are so grateful for her work (and her mention of the lab)!

Find the article at your library today!  UC staff, faculty, students, and affiliates can view the article by following the link from http://aj2vr6xy7z.search.serialssolutions.com/?V=1.0&N=100&L=AJ2VR6XY7Z&S=AC_T_B&C=composition+studies.

Cover of composition Studies.

Cover of composition Studies.

Title page of composition Studies.

Title page of composition Studies.

 

 

 

Congrats on 10 Years of Service!

Yesterday, two of the Preservation Lab’s workers were recognized for 10 years of hard work and service at the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.  Veronica Sorcher, Senior Conservation Technician, and Alex Temple, Preservation Lab volunteer.  Having previously been a University of Cincinnati student, Alex Temple worked in the Preservation Lab for many years as a student worker while also working part time at the Public Library.  We’re lucky to have Alex continue on in the lab as a volunteer even after graduating!

Thanks for all your years of hard work and dedication to preserving our library’s cultural heritage!

Alex Temple

Alex Temple, assisting with a special collections storage move at the Public Library.

img_2297

Veronica Sorcher, Senior Conservation Technician looks at digital prints through a Carson Microbrite Plus microscope.

Veronica at work

Check out the microscope at http://www.carson.com/products/microbrite-plus-mm-300/.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Connections. Collaboration. Community. Oh My!

Each year, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) holds an annual conference bringing together colleagues from over 120 countries to experience international librarianship.  Past conferences have been held in Istanbul, Singapore, Berlin, and Bangkok.  In August of 2016, IFLA hosted their annual conference in Columbus, Ohio titled, Connections.  Collaboration.  Community.

On August 19th, as part of the University of Cincinnati Libraries tour, the Preservation Lab was honored to welcome our international librarian colleagues for a visit to our lab where we discussed our role in collaborative preservation within Ohio – and locally as a conservation lab serving two institutions.

During our 40-minute tour, we highlighted treatments for special collections and discussed the importance of treatment documentation.  Ashleigh invited guests to see in-process treatments and demonstrated filling paper losses using leaf casting techniques on a suction platen.  Jessica walked visitors through the lab’s treatment documentation process in the conservation lab’s digital photography studio.  Teaming up on preservation were Holly and Hyacinth who showcased preventative storage enclosures and exhibition mounts.  They worked in conjunction with Veronica who carefully hot-stamped bookmarks to make keep-sake souvenirs for guests to take home from the lab.

IFLA 2016

Conservation Technician, Jessica Ebert discusses conservation photographic documentation during an IFLA Langsam Library Tour.

IFLA 2016

IFLA tour guest communicates with Alex Temple, lab volunteer, with translation assistance from library staff member Yu Mao

We’re absolutely honored to have participated on this year’s American IFLA post-conference activities and were delighted to present about the work our collaborative lab conducts to preserve both academic and public library materials.

Next year, IFLA’s annual meeting will be held in Wroclaw, Poland.  Click here to learn more about this international professional library association.

If you’re interested in hearing more about the Cincinnati IFLA tours, check out the UC Libraries blog and Ohio Library Council’s website.

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

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

Mounting a Microscopic Book

One of the treasures I was recently asked to prepare for display was a book called The Smallest Book in the World. The library owns two copies printed by German typographer, Josua Reichert. The tiny book contains typography that was uniquely designed specifically for the binding. Each page contains a CMYK colored alphabet letter in an exquisitely designed font. While not currently the smallest book in the world, it is probably the smallest traditionally printed edition!

Continue reading

Paper making in the lab

In April the Provost Office awarded the lab funds to purchase paper making equipment through the Third Century Faculty Research Materials Grant.  Over the next six months the lab intends to establish a workflow for paper making so that we may begin producing our own archival quality papers for conservation treatments.  With the grant monies we purchased a Hollander beater in July, and yesterday the other pivotal piece of equipment arrived, a hydraulic press.  The beater masticates fibers, that with water, create a fiber slurry that is poured into a mould.  Each mould forms a single sheet of paper that is then pressed to remove the excess water –  further bonding the fibers and creating a smooth surface.

More information as we begin our experimentation!

Beater on cart

hydraulic press

Our hydraulic press was made specifically for the lab by our amazing UC carpenters

Holly Prochaska (UC) — Preservation Librarian

We love artists’ books: the finished boxes!

You may recall that back in July I blogged about these two beauties that came to the Lab for custom enclosures.  They both returned to PLCH at the beginning of September in their custom enclosures, so I thought I’d share what type of enclosures we came up with to address all the fragile elements of these particular artists’ books. Continue reading

Frankenscores!

If you read our last blog post you know all about the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County’s collection of music scores we’re working on here at the Lab. Check out the frankenscores we received in the latest batch – just in time for Halloween!

Music score repairClearly some previous owners worked hard to bring these back to life!

Veronica Sorcher (PLCH) — Conservation Technician