Preservation and Archiving Special Interest Group 2016

As a new librarian, I appreciate the privilege that my residency at the University of Iowa’s Preservation and Conservation department affords me; aside from the professional expectations of any other position, I’m encouraged to explore gaps in my LIS education and professional interests. However, there is never enough time to learn everything! Professional conferences are invaluable, particularly in this stage of my career, for continuing education and exposure to adjacent areas of focus in librarianship. Imagine my excitement when I learned that that 2016’s PASIG fall meeting would be in NYC. Yes, I WAS overjoyed. PASIG’s conference was envisioned as both a sharing and learning opportunity for preservation and archiving professionals at all levels, as well as those outside of the LIS profession, such as developers.

Founded in 2007, the practice-centered meeting focuses on questions and considerations as well as solutions, but keeps it light on theory. Too often, professional meetings and conferences’ pre-assumption of broad audience understanding and heavy use of LIS-centered jargon can leave one feeling intimidated and behind the pack. Day one at PASIG directly addressed the issue and leveled the plane in preparation for the deep dives to follow – all without an additional cost and additional travel accommodations of a “pre-conference.”  About half of the estimated 300 participants attended boot camp the first day, which serves as both an introduction, overview, and a refresher.

Sessions following the boot camp covered topics along the spectrum of the 3rd age of digital preservation, as well as preservation and archiving in relation to reference rot, new media, social justice, and the environmental impacts of digital preservation and professional responsibilities, among others. Though vendors were well-represented at the conference, the mix of professionals and scholars were the highlight of the conference. Presenters and lightning round speakers from libraries, archives, museums, universities, and cross-institutional partnerships shared case studies, challenges, successes, and pitfalls to avoid.

As always, librarians and archivists put together a lovely fete for attendants. Our hosts at MoMa arranged an after-hours reception and tours of two works that were recently treated by their Media Conservation department. Media Conservator Kate Lewis gave a tour of Teiji Furuhashi’s 1994 immersive work, Lovers. After we experienced the piece, conserved to maintain the integrity of Furuhashi vision as well as its condition in 1994, we were allowed a peek at the required wiring and networked coordinating components of sound and motion. After discussing the guaranteed obsolesce of hardware currently in use and the knowledge management in place in anticipation of treatment needed in 20 years, we moved on to Nan Goldin’s Ballad of Sexual Dependency (1979-2004). Peter Oleksik spoke of the use and conservation challenges of the work before we viewed MoMa’s iteration of the installation.

By conference close, I felt that I had valuable information and references to bring back to Iowa. By far, PASIG 2016 was the most useful professional conference I’ve attended thus far. Next year’s PASIG meeting will be in Oxford.

Farewell and Best of Luck to Andrea Kohashi!

UI Libraries Jill-of-all-trades, master of many, Andrea Kohashi leaves us today to become the University of Richmond’s Archivist and Book Arts Studio Coordinator. Andrea holds an MA in Library and Information Science as well as an MFA in Book Arts from the University of Iowa.

Andrea has been with the University Libraries since September 2011. She has worked in Preservation & Conservation, Special Collections, the Iowa Women’s Archive, and the Center for the Book. One of her projects was a video about her flood recovery work in the conservation department.

Andrea’s most recent publication was an article the Fall 2015 issue of Archive Journal, The Book Artist and the Archivist: A Shared Perspective.  More of her writing is housed in the Iowa Research Online repository.

We congratulate the University of Richmond and will miss Andrea Kohashi’s talent and good cheer!

 

andrea at farewell party

Andrea (center) at her farewell party in the conservation department.

 

Highlights from 2015: DIY Collections Care

A book from the circulating collection recently came back from inter-library loan in need of some intervention from Susan Hansen, Book Repair Supervisor at the Libraries’ Preservation & Conservation department.  The copy of The Origin of the Domestic Animals of Africa showed quite a bit of damage, perhaps from an encounter with a domestic animal of the American sort.

duck tape3duck tape1duck tape2

The book’s condition also evidenced collections care from an amateur conservator. The patron did consider condition and access when pulling together the book and returning it as close to complete as s/he received it, but their choice of materials required attention.“…I’ll put it this way: it’s the most duck taped item I’ve seen,” stated Ms. Hansen, well-seasoned in the art and practice of book repair. The patron took great care in reattaching the front cover to the spine using both duck tape and clear packaging tape.  The clear tape was used, likely, so that the spine and important information would be visible.

Susan reattached the cover to the spine of the book and reattached the inside cover to the front page, replacing the title page with a facsimile.  From the Preservation & Conservation department the book will move to a commercial binder where the pages will be uniformly trimmed to remove as much of the damaged area as possible.

Happy Holidays from Preservation and Conservation!

Digitizing Hancher Posters

By Ben Bessman, Digitization Assistanthancher_poster 1

Hancher Auditorium had been a noteworthy stop for world famous musical acts, theatre productions, dance companies, and guest speakers in the Midwest since 1972, until its original location was flooded out in June of 2008.  Since then various community sites have served as hosts for the wide variety of performers that normally would have graced the halls of this landmark theater.  But 2016 will bring a welcomed change when the new and improved Hancher Auditorium will open its doors and once again showcase many of the world’s premiere acts.

For more than three decades many of the best Broadway shows, international dance and music troupes, and solo hancher_poster 2artists made their stop in Iowa City, with many coming back over and over again throughout the years.  And thanks to the quick thinking of Hancher Auditorium staff, many of the original posters from those early performances are still intact and have now been digitally preserved as part of the Iowa Digital Library.  The large size of these posters (or “show bills”) required a handful of people to feed them through our 54” Context HD scanner, with most of the preservation images created from this process averaging around 2.0 GB, before we trim them down a little.

These show bills beautifully represent not only Hancher Auditorium’s rich history but the astounding range of performers who have entertained and enlightened our community throughout the years.  From musical greats like Duke Ellington, Vladimir Ashkenazy, and Leonid Kogan, to their more contemporary counterparts Bonnie Raitt and Bruce Springsteen- strolling through the show bills of the past is discount time travel at its best.  Discovering gems you never knew about- Ricardo Montalban headlining “Don Juan in Hell” for example, becomes a rewarding experience.

Preserving these materials, from William F. Buckley Jr.’s conservative philosophy lecture in 1974 to Hunter S. Thompson’s “gonzo” journalism speech in 1978, is an important step in celebrating Hancher’s past.  The posters themselves offer as wide a variety of artistic styles as the artists they promote- each feeling specifically designed to capture the spirit of the event being held.  Which, of course, is the idea of the show bill in the first place- it’s where art and advertisement meet.hancher_poster 3

So whether you are a fan of “Grease”, the Vienna Choir Boys, the Royal Swedish Ballet, or the Grateful Dead, these show bills from Hancher Auditorium’s esteemed past surely will have something that will interest you.  We invite you to come take a look for yourself. http://digital.lib.uiowa.edu/hancher

Highlights from 2015: William Anthony Conservation Lecture

 gary_frost_broadside

The second annual William Anthony Conservation Lecture was held on the the 8th of October, 2015.  Gary Frost, Conservator Emeritus and instructor of book conservation at SUNY Buffalo spoke about the history of bookbinding and the University of Iowa Conservation Department’s bookbinding model collection which was the creation of the lecture’s namesake.  The collection has grown into an invaluable teaching tool and asset to the conservation department and the University of Iowa Center for the Book.

Mr. Frost served as the University of Iowa Libraries’ conservator from 1999 to 2011.  Mr. Frost is credited with championing the teaching role of the conservation lab and its staff, a distinction of which the department still prides itself.

Gary Frost is a book conservator and book arts educator. His career includes faculty positions at Columbia University, University of Texas at Austin and University of Iowa. He is currently Conservator Emeritus, University of Iowa Libraries. Gary has been awarded the Banks and Harris Award of the American Library Association and the Lifetime Award of the Guild of Book Workers. He is a Fellow of the American Institute for Conservation.

For those who could not make the lecture, a video of the event is forthcoming, and details will be posted to Preservation Beat as available.