Special items treated during FY2007 included presidential collections, such as George Washington’s obituary and personal copy of the Dunlap printing of the U.S. Constitution with notes written during the debate over the Constitution; Thomas Jefferson's copy of the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union; James Madison's Memorandum on an African Colony; and Woodrow Wilson's childhood textbook, The Elements of Physical Geography. Other items of particular interest included the Royal Asiatic Society's volume Napoleon's Journey to Egypt in Turkish; the 16th/17th century Gospel of St. Mathew in Arabic and Latin; the Gandhara scroll (a circa 1st century Buddhist text); Tibetan sacred books; a Hiroshige Sketch Book; the Gilmore Collection of Chinese pith paintings; Walt Disney cartoons; photographs from Look Magazine and Alfred Stieglitz; and NAACP historical files. Staff also produced over 15 publications and 60 presentations on topics ranging from celebrating 40 years of preservation activities at the Library of Congress (LC) to compact disc service life.
Preservation Directorate Staff also trained 9 interns, 16 CUA students, and 93 colleagues in-house and offsite in salvage of collections and other principles of preservation. Staff contributed to the Library Services (LS) Strategic planning process by leading and participating in a half-dozen workgroups, particularly those focusing on recommendations for national preservation strategies, including research and emergency preparedness. Staff also played a large role in the development of the LS's Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) project, refining its response to salvage of LC's collections.
During the summer of 2007, Preservation Research and Testing (PRTD) hosted eleven visiting scientists who contributed to new research initiatives and ongoing projects. A Harvard biochemist reviewed and facilitated final analytical equipment purchases, installation, calibration and training. A SFU Eli Lilly Award recipient tested a new tool to measure polymer degradation to aid ongoing projects focusing on film and paper deterioration. A Muskie Fellow mathematician reviewed acquisition statistics to determine predictability of deterioration by collection format. A visiting professor with students from the University of Washington, as part of a National Science Foundation grant, measured the hand skills of conservators using haptic technology that can develop a virtual reality training system with bio-feedback, similar to that used by medical students and being developed for conservation in the UK. Three HACU science students characterized inks, pigments, paper, coatings, photographic materials, and other organic materials. Two former Smithsonian scientists determined the rate of light fading of colorants in argon encasements and mechanisms for audiotape degradation, respectively. (See Visiting Scientists)
PRTD's research program in traditional materials found that the rate of light-fading of colorants in argon atmospheres, such as that used to slow degradation in the new encasement for the 1507 Waldseemüller Map and other treasure cases, compared favorably to findings reported by collaborative studies at the Getty. The audio-visual research program worked to determine, duplicate and counter mechanisms for the formation of sticky shed in magnetic tapes found in audio and videotapes, discovering contaminants in polyester film tape produced through outsourcing. The digital research program published its CD-ROM longevity and durability natural and accelerated aging studies, finding that 1) naturally aged CD-ROMs deteriorate over time, with failures caused by deterioration of the macro- and microstructure of the CD-ROMs, including loss of the reflector surface, degradation of the polycarbonate, pin-hole defects, and edge rot; 2) CD-ROMs subjected to rapid warming from cold temperatures (such as rapid warming after cold storage or after cold shipment) undergo delamination or flaking of the aluminum reflector surface; 3) adhesive security labels negatively impact CD longevity; 4) laser-engraved security labels do not negatively impact CD-ROM longevity; and 5) there is a wide distribution of service life depending on initial disc quality.
Laboratory upgrades continued, facilitating other research. Examples of projects using the new equipment include analysis of trace metals in old and modern papers by inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy (ICPOES); compositional analysis of lithographic transfer drawings by Direct Analysis in Real Time mass spectrometry (DART-MS); identification and characterization of Japanese colorants by scanning electron microscopy-energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (SEM-EDS) and colorimetry; and characterization of sticky shed in magnetic tapes by gel permeation chromatography (GPC) and DART-MS.
Collaborations: Collaborations with a half-dozen universities and funding agencies on projects important to preservation of collections included, in addition to those noted above, two projects focused on traditional and audiovisual collections. With a generous grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Conservation Division hosted a workshop on surveying photograph collections attended by leading conservators from Harvard, NARA, MOMA, and elsewhere.
Additionally, with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities from NEH, a prototype 2-D scanner developed by DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) was delivered to PRTD for fidelity evaluation, in compliance with the "Image, Reconstruct, Erase Noise, Etc." (IRENE) project. The IRENE machine minimizes scan time to image lateral (side-to-side) grooved disc media using high-resolution digital microphotography in two dimensions (2-D) to provide quality reproduction. By quickly producing an audio file, the prototype addresses the mass digitization needs of major collections. Since the prototype cannot measure the third dimension necessary for vertically grooved media, a research project was designed to develop the ability for 3-D scanning that can capture sound on vertically cut cylinders, as well as media with poorly defined groove geometry such as dictation belts, and the full groove profile of discs. This will lead to lead to higher fidelity audio reproduction. The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) awarded $500,000 to develop such a 3-D optical scanner and to develop and evaluate two confocal prototype machines, one at Berkeley and one at the Library of Congress. The Kress Foundation awarded PRTD $10,000 toward a summit of scientists to be held in 2008. Other collaborations included an ongoing environmental monitoring program between CD and the Rochester Institute of Technology's Image Permanence Institute.
Outreach: Staff initiated and/or participated in over a dozen major outreach projects resulting in presentations and publications, mentioned above, for various professional organizations, libraries, universities and the general public, including 8 talks for the annual ALA meeting. A particular highlight was when the TVshow History Detectives filmed and interviewed Directorate staff on two occasions. Both involved UV, IR and stereomicroscopic examination, first of an illustration of suffragettes, and second, of a document signed by Thomas Jefferson.
Other major outreach projects had local, national and international impacts on preservation awareness and emergency care of collections. For example, new websites describe projects of visiting scientists and interns, disaster assistance information such as "Preparing, Protecting, Preserving Family Treasures,” and information on risk management and insurance valuation. On an international level, in its role as the Regional Center for Preservation and Conservation for IFLA in North America, the Directorate hosted 50 IFLA PAC members and allied organizations and professionals for the "Future Directions in Safeguarding Document Collections, II" in collaboration with the Federal Library and Information Center Committee (FLICC). Topics included LS's Strategic Planning in the context of national preservation strategies, including emergency preparedness and research. The Preservation Director also attended the opening of the new Conservation Centre of the British Library and worked with the Royal Library of Sweden and the IFLA Preservation and Conservation (PAC) Section, moderating a panel at a Liber Think Tank on the "Future of the Book as a Cultural Artifact". On national and local levels, the CD held a total of 6 salvage workshops (1 internal and 5 external) and trained a total of 93 professionals: 11 from the Library of Congress, 6 from other federal agencies, and 77 from public libraries and other institutions. Working with FLICC and other initiatives, the Directorate provided outreach, on-site workshops, information and supplies for organizations in Louisiana and Puerto Rico. In addition, preservation staff helped the University of Hawaii develop flood recovery procedures, consulted on preservation of memorabilia following the shooting tragedy at Virginia Tech University, and responded to the DC Public Library, Georgetown Branch after it suffered a fire, providing information on recovery contractors.
Local outreach through a Catholic University of America course on preservation included staff teaching preservation management, environmental control, storage, housing, exhibition, conservation, binding and collections care, preservation reformatting, research and mass deacidification. There were also two "Topics in Preservation Science" lectures. Dr. Carl Haber, Senior Scientist, Physics Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, discussed Capturing Recorded Sound through Imaging: The I.R.E.N.E. Project and Future Prospects on June 18, explaining two-dimensional imaging and three-dimensional surface profiling for the purpose of capturing sound recordings from phonographic records. Kristen Overbeck Laise, Vice President, Collections Care Programs, Heritage Preservation, discussed A Public Trust at Risk: Findings of the Heritage Health Index on July 16, about the first survey to assess the condition of U.S. collections held by institutions, large and small, from internationally renowned research libraries to local historical societies and archives. During the year, the Directorate's Fellows and Interns Training (FIT) program hosted 16 fellows and interns, including 3 HACU Interns, a Muski Fellow, a MIAP Intern, three visiting professors, and two post-docs.