The Preservation Directorate (PD) met FY2011 targets for collections treatment and housing: staff assessed, housed, stabilized, mass deacidified, bound, reformatted, or otherwise prepared for exhibits, scanning projects, and researchers over eight million high value, high use, and/or at-risk items. Specifically, the PD ensured long-term access to the Library’s collections by assessing 548,000 items, housing 292,000 items, treating 20,000 items, deacidifying 288,000 books and 1,013,000 sheets, binding 288,000 items, and reformatting 5,775,000 pages. The Library’s preservation activities were featured in the final edition of the LS Journal, which highlighted work of the PD with other Library Services directorates and Library units to safeguard the national collections.
Since the start of FY2011, the Preservation Directorate has undertaken a review of its activities and programs, with the result that adjustments will occur in several of its four preservation divisions to improve operations through rebalancing supervisor/staff ratios and incorporation of workflow efficiencies. Examples follow:
- The Conservation Division (CD) moved its entire documentation program from an analog to a digital workflow in FY2011. The Division successfully completed its conversion from analog to digital treatment documentation through the integration of staff training, new equipment, software, and procedures that will enhance image capture, processing, and file management while improving efficiency and consistency.
- The Preservation Reformatting Division (PRD) received funding to acquire microfilm and microfiche scanning equipment. This equipment will enable PRD to develop operational requirements and image quality control standards, preserve microfilm collections requiring reformatting due to film-based deterioration, enhance image quality of poorly created microform, and start laying the foundation for a transition into digital workflows, such as the establishment of a hybrid microfilm workflow including the creation and processing of analog as well as computer output microfilm (COM). Staff began a pilot project to evaluate COM. The Division and Directorate also made significant contributions to more efficiently prepare microfilm master negative collections for storage at Ft. Meade, inventorying and boxing two major collections of master microfilm reels (over 6009 twelve-reel boxes of the Brittle Book collection and 815 twelve-reel boxes of the Copy Flow collection) to enable Library Services to meet its FY2011 target to move 72,000 "trackable items" to Ft. Meade.
- The Binding and Collections Care Division (BCCD) selected a new web-based binding software for installation, and developed several pilot programs. One pilot collaborates with three OVOP offices to test the efficacy of deferred binding of size-specific monographs. Another collaborates with the Internet Archive to improve workflow based on coordination with selection criteria for the Mass Deacidification Program, which BCCD now operates. To mark the occasion of the Mass Deacidification Program’s midpoint in its 35-year "One Generation" plan to treat 35 million items, an internal review of publications was posted online: Mass Deacidification Annotated Bibliography 1990-2010 (http://www.loc.gov/preservation/resources/deacid/deacid_bib2011.pdf). The Library also supported several programs on this topic, along with a number of other collaborative outreach initiatives and highlights.
- The Preservation Research and Testing Division (PRTD) worked with CD staff to complete a full assessment of the Abel Buell Map in preparation for design of a protective anoxic display encasement that would provide “visual storage” in an environment tailored to reduce degradation from light during long-term exhibition.
Highlights: Special preservation highlights include a breakthrough demonstration to access Alexander Graham Bell’s experimental sound recordings (composed of emulsion on glass) using the IRENE machine, and a demonstration for Annie Leibovitz of the Library’s hyperspectral imaging capabilities associated with the Gettysburg Address. Staff provided preservation consultations to Senator Herbert Kohl on care of a composite wall map and to Representative Gregg Harper on care of a WWII-era cloth map, as well as to the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts on their significant historical audiovisual and paper archival collections for a grant application for preservation, arrangement, description, and access of the collections.
Conservation staff taught a one day workshop for over 40 Department of Defense and Homeland Security scientific and technical information professionals at the DTIC Repository on how to care for and preserve their high value paper records.
Conservation Division laboratory upgrades included the final installment of improved lighting for workspaces; imaging software, hardware, and camera equipment; and a new suction table enabling humidification, as well as purchase of a new Vacuum Freeze Drier to aid in emergency response work.
Preservation Week Update: Preservation staff moderated an ALA/ALCTS sponsored e-Forum advocating participatory activities. PD staff collaborated with YRC for school visits and with NDIIPP on care for both digital and analog family photographs and albums for Personal Archiving Day, as well as presented lectures on bookbinding and on Saving Grandma's Love Letters at Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library. Staff also offered a podcast for children on what a rare book conservator does, through Kids.gov, as well as a series of hands on demonstrations and lectures for the public at the District of Columbia Historical Society with a focus on caring for family photographs and albums.
Three Public Future Directions Symposia: The Preservation Directorate developed a special 3-part program on “Preservation Road Maps: Past, Present and Future” to frame and address preservation and access quandaries facing libraries, archives, and other collecting institutions as they transition to the fiscal and stewardship realities of the 21st century. The series was intended to aid decision-making for managers at major institutions, faced with the dual challenges of restrained resources and expanding demands in the digital age. The program is described below, and in videos at http://www.loc.gov/preservation/outreach/symposia/roadmaps.html.
- October 20, 2010, The Journey (or How Did We Get to This Point?): Understanding the Physical Environment, preservation leader James Reilly and others reviewed 25 years of research by the Image Permanence Institute that have produced resources and recommendations now widely used to preserve a broad range of media. Achievements include characterization of deterioration mechanisms in photographic, magnetic, and optical media; tools for assessing the condition and needs of these media; and tools for managing the environment in which these materials are stored.
- March 15, 2011, The Crossroads (or Just Where Are We?): Assessing Options for Large Collections, senior preservation administrators, scientists, digital collection experts, and conservators provided perspectives from the Library, the US and abroad on three “mass approach” options for vast collections, explaining 1) the long-term effectiveness of mass deacidification and next steps in research, as envisioned by LC and colleagues in Europe; 2) low-temperature and high-density repositories at LC and Harvard; and 3) large–scale mass digitization repositories at LC, the University of Michigan and the HathiTrust. These topics, as well as the economic sustainability of the three options, were discussed by experts from the National Archives, Universities of Texas and of Delaware, and Microsoft. This symposium clarified the Library’s 3-prong approach: it is (1) mass deacidifying 35 million items, while continuing to utilize other options including (2) constructing multiple low-temperature/high-density remote storage repositories slated to eventually hold 25 million items, and (3) supporting an active digital conversion program of legacy collections for electronic access, which, along with acquisition of electronic copyright deposit, electronic serials and other digital assets, continues to expand the Library’s digital holdings. Discussion centered on a matrix plotting benefit relative to collection value, use and risk factors against costs of various lifecycle and infrastructure management options.
- October 20, 2011, The Road Ahead (or Where Do We Go Next?): Transitioning to a Digital Future, senior managers of the National Archives, Smithsonian Institution, National Park Service, and Library of Congress described their perspectives on the preservation needs, priorities, and challenges in managing the core collections of the federal government in the 21st century, balancing the needs of historic "legacy collections" with the increasingly complex and ever-growing demands presented by digital resource needs.
Seven Public Topics in Preservation Series (TOPS) Programs: In addition to the ongoing programs, two new TOPS webinar series focused on training and on funding. (On-demand streaming videos are or will soon be available at http://www.loc.gov/preservation/outreach/tops/index.html on the following programs).
- October 4, 2010, Optical Scanning Applied to Recorded Sound Preservation and Access: Status and Prospects. Carl Haber (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Senior Scientist) described the present status of this research, with a particular emphasis on three dimensional (3D) surface profiling.
The first new four-part webinar series focused on commemorating conservation education programs having seminal anniversaries over the next few years. The US has only four graduate programs dedicated to training conservators (the oldest at New York University, with others at Columbia University/University of Texas at Austin, the University of Delaware, and Buffalo State College/State University of New York).
- November 17, 2010, Conservation Education: Commemorating 50 Years of the NYU Conservation Center Training Program. Alumni of New York University’s Conservation Center on the Preservation Directorate staff described how the Center (dedicated to the study of the technology and conservation of works of art and historic artifacts) prepares graduates who contribute to the work of the Preservation Directorate at the Library of Congress.
- November 15, 2011, Conservation Education: Commemorating the 30th Anniversary of the Founding of the Library Conservation Education Programs at Columbia University (1981-1992) and at the University of Texas at Austin (1992-2009). Former directors and graduates acknowledge the history and contributions of the two programs to the field of library conservation
From January to May, 2011, the second new four-part webinar series focused on funding for preservation:
- January 13, 2011, FAIC Strategic Planning for the Future. Eryl P. Wentworth (Executive Director of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works) discussed three overarching goals in the Foundation’s strategic plan: expanding education programs, building awareness of the conservation profession, and strengthening the organizational structure and capacity of FAIC, based on feedback from stakeholder meetings and surveys on needs and trends in the field.
- February 10, 2011, Library Conservation and Scholarly Communication. Donald J. Waters (Program Officer for Scholarly Communications and Information Technology, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation) discussed rapid changes in modes of scholarly communication that affect roles, priorities, and collections of research libraries and their contributions to conservation of academic and cultural heritage. He noted challenges and opportunities in institutional differences among research libraries’ investment in heritage conservation and scientific research, and mechanisms for achieving economies of scale and supporting employment pipelines.
- April 14, 2011 The Marriage of Preservation and Access. Nadina Gardner (Director of the Division of Preservation and Access, National Endowment for the Humanities) discussed the close alliance between preservation of cultural heritage collections and the provision of access to them, referencing the need for grant programs to exemplify that alliance, based on through results of a recent strategic planning effort on the relationship of physical preservation to preservation of digital cultural records.
- May 26, 2011, Help! Preservation Training Needs Here, There, and Everywhere. Debra Hess Norris (Chair, Art Conservation Department and Professor of Photograph Conservation, University of Delaware) discussed the need to connect tailored graduate-level educational programs and collections care workshops to the cultivation of new donors and the engagement of public audiences, and cultural heritage preservation to issues relevant to international social and economic development and civil society.
Three New Preservation Courses: PD staff team-taught a newly-designed semester-long Preservation graduate-level course for 22 library and archives students at the University of Maryland that featured classroom lectures, demonstrations and tours covering preservation management and planning, environmental controls, emergency management, preservation housing and storage, exhibitions, conservation treatment of paper, books, audiovisual media, and other special format materials. Staff also team-taught a week-long FLICC Summer Preservation Institute for federal libraries, attended by 18 librarians, covering preservation management, assessment planning, risk mitigation, handling, housing, treatment, storage, history and technology for all formats of collections, emergency response, environmental risk evaluation, exhibits, collections reformatting, and preservation research and testing including quality assurance for supplies, analytical studies, materials science research, and mass deacidification. In addition, staff developed for the first time and team-taught a three-day preservation course for 25 Russian museum and library specialists, complete with preservation information translated into in Russian, in collaboration with the Library’s Open World Program.
Two New Fellowships: PD staff developed two new Fellowship initiatives. The first (Mellon Fellow for Dissertation Research in Original Sources in partnership with Council on Library Information Resources) enables Digital Humanities scholars to work with the Library’s scientists in newly upgraded labs to access obscured information using the Library’s advanced technological instrumentation (such as hyperspectral imaging, X-ray fluorescence, and other devices) to tap the Library’s rich primary source documents in ways never before possible. The first Fellow, from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, is working with the Library's American Federal Theater Project collections and the Preservation Research and Testing Division (http://www.clir.org/fellowships/mellon/preservation.html). The second new Fellowship (funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for the Training and Education of Library and Archives Conservators, in partnership with the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation and Simmons Graduate School of Library and Information Science) will support students working with the Library’s Conservation Division (http://www.artcons.udel.edu/news/2011/01/30/art-conservation-programs-receive-mellon-foundation-funding).
Four Disaster Preparedness and Response Initiatives: The Library’s recently developed Collections Emergency Response Contract was edited to provide a model version to share with other institutions through a FLICC/PD Safety Net Program entitled After the Disaster: Replace, Recover, or Digitize? The model disaster recovery contract (http://www.loc.gov/preservation/emergprep/plan/) addresses needs for emergency response, stabilization and recovery in the event of a natural or man-made disaster. The contract describes services and requirements for an institution’s collections when confronted with a disaster that outstrips institutional resources. Although the majority of emergencies are water-incursion events, the contract covers all scenarios including more catastrophic events such as earthquakes, fires, floods, major biological infestations (e.g., mold, insect, vermin infestations), and acts of terrorism, etc. The contract outlines services a contractor should be expected to provide, including, but not limited to, the following:
- Responding to a call for services 24/7 after one or more natural or man-made catastrophic events; conducting on-site assessment of damage to collections resulting from this event within 24 hours of the event; advising the institution on a plan of action for the stabilization and recovery of the collections.
- Using an existing or establishing a new inventory system of all affected items removed from the affected space to areas for stabilization and treatment; consistent tracking of all collection material as it is repacked, transported, stabilized, treated and returned, ensuring the ability to locate an item at any point during the stabilization and recovery processes.
- Stabilizing affected collections items for transportation, including providing all boxing, bagging, and other supports and containers necessary; providing environmentally controlled transportation to appropriate storage venues for the stabilization and/or subsequent recovery of the affected collections items.
- Providing recovery services including, but not limited to, freezing, air drying, vacuum freeze drying, or single-item cleaning, repair, or conservation treatment using agreed upon standards and techniques.
In response to the recent devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the Directorate’s collections emergency response website pages were translated into Japanese (http://www.tokushu-papertrade.jp/digimon/mon-blog/2011/04/post-124.html). In addition, PD staff developed and delivered on-site in Japan a special week-long series of workshops on emergency salvage for collections, in collaboration with the National Diet Library.
In order to improve the Library’s collection emergency response capabilities and COOP readiness, the Preservation Emergency Response Team underwent refresher training in emergency response and mitigation with Lyrasis Emergency Expert Tom Clareson. Tom also evaluated the team, finding them highly successful. Staff also arranged to take a course on mold remediation.
Website Updates: The Preservation Directorate launched a new website at http://www.loc.gov/preservation/ with sidebars for Collections Care, Conservation, Emergency Preparedness, Outreach Opportunities, Preservation Science, and other resources. Another new addition to the Preservation Directorate website is a section describing nine notable Library conservation projects, on Congressional local legacy collections as well as globes, scrolls, albums, music motets, law books, HerBlock cartoons, marriage documents, and wall plaques (at http://www.loc.gov/preservation/conservators/). Finally, to provide preservation research updates, the directorate developed new websites describing projects researching corrosive iron gall and verdigris media, and indigenous storage materials (http://www.loc.gov/preservation/scientists/projects/index.html).
Special Preservation and Access Project for the Library’s Barrow Books Collection: A special project to make accessible the Library’s important Barrow Books Collection resulted in the assessment and rehousing of 1000 volumes from 1507-1899, used by William James Barrow (1904-1967) in a series of scientific studies on the degradation of paper (research originally funded by the Council on Library Resources). Data associated with this collection sample set, now stored and available to historians and materials scientists in the Center for the Library’s Analytical Science Samples (CLASS http://www.loc.gov/preservation/scientists/projects/class.html), include extensive fiber analysis; physical testing for fold endurance and tear resistance; chemical testing for pH (cold extraction); chemical spot testing for aluminum, rosin, and ground wood; and chemical testing for the presence of carbonates. Results from Barrow’s original research were published in Permanence/Durability of the Book (V and VII), significant definitive documentation for librarians and archivists on the negative impact of acidity for the longevity of paper, from increasing use of alum and rosin sizing, and decreasing levels of carbonates (alkaline reserve). Barrow's data also showed that for wood vs. rag papers produced during the 16th-early 20th centuries, acidity overwhelmingly determines the strength of the papers, not the quantity of wood pulp present (http://www.loc.gov/preservation/scientists/projects/barrow_books.html).
Interns, Fellows and Visiting Scholars: During the year, the PD hosted over 20 visiting students and professionals in its divisions for Conservation (CD), Binding and Collections Care (BCCD), and Preservation Research and Testing (PRTD).
- Elise Calvi
- Sasha Lamb
CD hosted the following interns, whose projects can be found at http://www.loc.gov/preservation/outreach/intern/harper.html :
- H-I: Beatriz Centeno-Pinero (Buffalo State College)
- H-I: Evan Knight (UTA)
- H-I: Alisha Chipman (UDEL)
- Gwenanne Edwards (Buffalo State College)
- German student Katharina Siedler (Freie University of Berlin and University of Iowa)
PRTD hosted over a dozen fellows, interns, visiting scientists, and volunteers, listed below, with their projects:
- CLIR/Mellon Fellow Amy Brady, University of Mass, Amherst, PhD student: Federal Theatre Project
- Jr. Fellow Jessica Knebel, University of Illinois, Library Science: Technical Study of a 1513 Ptolemy Altas
- Jr. Fellow Samantha Skelton, University of South Carolina, BA (Art History, minor Chemistry): Magnetic Tape Degradation Identification
- Jr. Fellow Megan Massanelli, University of Arkansas, BA (Art history): Digital Center-Library Science Studies CLASS-D
- Jr. Fellow Alice Han, St. Mary College of MD, BS (Chemistry): Elemental Analysis of Special Paper Collections
- Jr. Fellow Meaghan Potter, University of Maryland, BS (Chemistry): Testing of Optical Discs
- HACU Intern Alexandra Galindo Estronza, University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, BS (Chemistry): Hand sanitizers, Validation of test for compatibility with organic heritage materials
- Chris Bolser, West Virginia University (B.S candidate majoring in Forensics): hyperspectral imaging development for watermarks
- Christine Bisulca, University of Arizona, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, PhD: Kislak collection pigment and feather analyses, rehousing of objects
- Ha Young Park, The Academy of Fine Arts of Brera (Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera) Milan, Italy (graduate student in Paper Conservation): long-term assessment of environmental factors for exhibition and storage, Herblock Collection assessment through microfading and spectral imaging
- Volunteer Delia Titzell, School Without Walls, High School Senior: CLASS - Barrow Book Collection
- Volunteer Corinne Kasura, Mary Baldwin College, BA (Communications): Virtual Lab Tour
- Volunteer Alexandra Duroc-Danner, University of Denver, BA (Anthropology major, Museum Studies minor): CLASS Barrow Book Collection
- Volunteer Shuk Chaen Melissa Tan, New York University, Bachelors (Art History and Chemistry): Iron gall ink studies
- Visiting Scientist Dr. Roger Easton, Rochester Institute of Technology, Professor of Imaging Science: Hyperspectral Imaging of Watermarks
Staff Presentations and Publications: In combination with their presentations for the three new (team-taught) preservation courses and various TOPS events, PD staff gave hundreds of lectures for a number of special events. Four PD staff contributed to talks for the Annual American Institute of Conservation (AIC) Conference and the Triennial International Council of Museums (ICOM) Conservation Committees Meeting; several staff spoke at the Library’s Future Directions Symposia; and several of the Library’s preservation scientists organized and spoke at the symposium on the Chemistry of Cultural Heritage Materials at the Annual American Chemical Society Middle Atlantic Regional Meeting (MARM) at the University of Maryland. Examples of topics presented at these and other venues included security, micro- and macro-climates and energy savings, early photographic techniques, and Ptolemy Maps. Staff published over a dozen articles in national and international cultural and scientific journals.
Staff News: FY2011 saw the retirement of long-time Preservation Directorate manager Ken Harris (former Director and Special Programs Officer), as well as long-time Library manager Myron Chace, who retired as Chief of Preservation Reformatting Division.
ABA’s Adrija Henley was selected as Preservation Reformatting Division Chief. She has been a Section Head in ABA for several years. She is recognized as an excellent manager and has the scope of supervisory and communication skills currently required for the position, particularly to meet the "end of year" duties associated with closing out the 2011 budget and beginning the 2012 budget process.
Scientist Fenella France was selected as the new Preservation Research and Testing Division Chief. She was named a finalist for the prestigious Samuel J. Heyman “Service to America Medal” for 2011 in the science and environment category, for work advancing preservation science at the Library of Congress. http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/politics/2011-samuel-j-heyman-service-to-america-medal-awards-finalists/2011/05/05/AFXcwj6F_story.html
Publications: Staff publications and presentations for FY2011 can be found at http://www.loc.gov/preservation/resources/misc/Current-pubs.html.