TGIF Sorta’

Friday, May 25, 2012

Instructor demonstrating how to make a four flap enclosureThe time at OceanTeacher Academy flew by and it is already Friday! We had a great group of students who stayed engaged and worked hard. In the afternoon, Caitlin demonstrated several things including how to make a four flap enclosure and a simple archival paper wrap as options for providing protection for rare books. Since budgets are always tight no matter the size of library and none of the libraries had direct access to a conservation lab we spent our time learning how to provide basic protection with limited materials and staff time.
Student standing in front of a cameragiving power point presentationThe students worked all week on a preservation plan and gave formal presentations at the end of the week. A written plan was also turned in to the instructors. These written plans will be reviewed by the instructors with follow up comments, used by the students to begin discussions with their management and as a starting point for possible grant proposals. The plans had short and long term goals with many goals requiring little money. Many students identified a need for better shelving practices, cleaning and handling procedures and repair of cracks in walls and foundations. Long range plans included a desire for air conditioning and improved scanning equipment.

Caitlin and I look forward to hearing about the student successes and challenges as they begin implementing preservation practices in their libraries. We are glad to have the weekend in front of us but will miss our new and renewed acquaintances as we head back home.

Protecting Fragile Material

Students are using awls to make sewing station holes for stitchingThursday, May 24, 2012

We spent the morning at OceanTeacher Academy practicing stitching single-signature pamphlets into binders and making pockets. Pamphlet binders and pockets are both good ways to protect vulnerable material. We used both commercial and homemade binder covers for our pamphlets. A pocket can be used to keep a CD, pamphlet, map or other loose material with a book. A pocket attached to a folder can also be used to protect an item, particularly pamphlets that are too fragile to stitch in a binder or items too thick to include in a book. Pamphlet binders and pockets are inexpensive ways to protect fragile material.Student is measuring paper to make a pocket to insert into a book

Visiting the National Archives in Bruges

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

OTA students listening to Archivist Luc Janssens in the new facility Today we visited the National Archives in Bruges at their old facility and the new facility that they will move into this August. Archivist Luc Janssens talked about how he organized the archives collection by size in order to maximize the shelving space. There are four different height and width sizes of shelving. He also mapped the collection areas on an architectural floor plan so that the movers can move the boxes and shelve them for him. He has to very careful that the boxes get on the correct shelf so he can find the boxes back again.New compact shelving in the new buildingBoxes are organized  by size
The depth of the firewall can be seen over the head of the architect leaning against the firewall
In order to reduce the chances of fire getting into the archive collections, he requested that a fire wall be built that will withstand fire for one hour. The depth of the fire wall can be seen behind the architects who came to visit with us during the tour of the new facility.

Luc also should us an example of safely displaying a book that needs special handling. Each book that needed special support was set out on a pillow.
A large book is resting on a pillow

Dual tracks: Book Repair and Preservation Planning

Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Student is attaching a loose page in a book using document repair tapeDuring our week at OceanTeacher Academy, we are learning the basics of book repair for circulating collectons and preservation planning. Today we learned about mending page tears and tipping in loose pages. We stressed that these mends are for circulating collections only and not for special collections or rare books. The goal of simple mends for circulating collections is to extend the life of the book so it can continue to circulate until the book wears out. We used transparent, thin, flexible mending tissue.

We also continued to work on a preservation plan for each library. Students are discussing and recording preservation needs for collections, equipment and building. After each lecture, they review their recorded needs and make additions and/or corrections. By the end of the week they will each have a preservation plan. Today the students got into groups and shared ideas for filling out the various needs forms.

Students are sitting at a table discussing preservation needsStudents are sitting by a window discussing preservation needsStudents are discussing preservation needs and recording on the computer

OceanTeacher Academy Preservation Course

Monday, May 21, 2012

Students dry cleaning books using erasures and other techniques Our first day at OceanTeacher Academy ( Preservation of Books and Other Media was very productive in spite of students and teachers suffering from jet lag and the challenge of understanding each other. The students are from Ghana, Vietnam, Seychelles, Cuba, Namibia, Latvia, Ukraine, Latvia, Jamaica, Kenya, Mauritius, and Pakistan. We spent most of the day covering preservation basics and working on preservation plans for each library. Caitlin Moore concluded the day with a demonstration on how to clean a book using a vacuum cleaner, various erasers and eraser crumbs. And then the students practiced the various dry cleaning methods working on books that had dirt, soot, and pencil markings in them. To keep the dirt and soot contained, each student created a little work area using plain white paper.

Planning for the Future

Friday, February 17, 2012

Page in book of expedition chartsVietnam Institute of Oceanography started in 1922 as “Service Océanographiques des Pêches de l’Indochine and specializes in oceanography of Vietnam. One of the special collections is the records of the Expedition of Cooperation of Vietnam and China in Tonkin Gulf, 1959-1961. So far these records are in good condition.

These records along with other rare publications are stored on the second floor without good temperature, humidity control, and air circulation. Staff will be requesting the addition of a ceiling fan to improve air circulation. In our final meeting with library and institute staff, we discussed the possibility of making a formal proposal for a special room to house these materials. As always, money is an issue and electricity is expensive. We will be exploring ways to find a better environment for these rare materials. We will be working with VNIO staff to draft plans for improving the storage conditions for the entire collection. Our visit was just the beginning.Book case with expedition documents

Being Resourceful

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Ms. Yen, Librarian for the Vietnam Institute of Oceanography, needs to make the most of her limited resources. Here she has designed a simple protector for a fragile map. She used a poster, turned it over to the back side and made corners to hold the map in place. Maybe some day she will be able to give the map an archival folder. Until then the map can now be handled safely.

Corners added to poster hold map in place so map can be safely handledLibrarian is showing old poster being used as a support for a map

Visiting the Vietnam National Archives Center IV

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Dr. Hue with interpreter showing mended document
Today we visited the National Archives Center IV in Dalat, Vietnam. This visit was in sharp contrast to our visit to the Vietnam Institute of Oceanography. Our visit with the VNIO was quite causal and informal. Today’s meeting was very formal, complete with speeches, a gift, and several photo sessions. Linda Pikula and I were greeted by Ms. Pham Thi Hue and her interpreter, Ms. Le Thi Lan.

After giving a brief history of the archives and an explanation of preservation methods, we were given a tour of the archives. All was quite modern with excellent shelving, smoke alarms, and fire suppresant system. One interesting thing of note is that they run the fans for the air-conditioning system but not the cooling. Temperature is kept at 21 degrees Celsius or 70 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity is around 60-70%.

Their documents are repaired by lining the pages with handmade paper and attaching the paper with cacboxyl methyl cellulose glue. In addtion to their documentary collection, they also have a large woodblock collection of the Nguyen dynasty. Just think — the characters needed to be carved in the reverse in order to print on paper. The wood block below illustrates a title page.

Wood carving showing title pageMended document showning the handmade paper backing where original is missing

Assessing Rare Books

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Inspecting a rare volume on Japanese faunaToday we worked with the rare books. Two years ago Yen prepared a list of rare books for review. Both Linda and Yen checked different sources to determine how widely the titles were held and if they have been digitized. From this list we selected only three titles (20 volumes) to inspect, given our time limitations. As a gift to the Vietnam Institute of Oceanography library, the University of Iowa Libraries plans to make boxes for these select titles. I just hope my measurements are accurate.

Measuring a book to get measurements to make a boxEach book had to be measured in several places to find the highest, widest deepest part in order to know how large to make each box. I decided to err on too big rather than too small. Plus, we decided with the 14 volume set to make all the boxes the same height and width and just adjust the depth — a shortcut that we probably wouldn’t take if we were working in a lab. We checked the measurements twice and Linda recorded the information.

The books were in mixed condition. All bindings had extensive damage. Most of the volumes had intact legible text except for one extremely brittle book. Fortunately, the brittle book is held by two other libraries and has been digitized.volume that is stained but text is still legibleA rare book that is so brittle its pages has pieces missing

Visiting Vietnam Institute of Oceanography Library

Monday, February 13, 2012

Preservation team standing outside the Vietnam Institute of Oceanography
Preservation team

Linda Pikula and I met with Yen and Van to discuss preservation and possible digitization of select portions of their library collection at the Vietnamese Institute of Oceanography Library. The biggest challenge is that the library is quite close to the ocean where ships dock. These ships bring in a lot of dust and pollutants which end up on the books. Airconditioning is too expensive and the heat and humidity is a challenge. Humidity ranges from 50-85% and temperature ranges from 70-108F degrees. To keep the area reasonably cooled they keep the windows open (when it’s not raining!). The windows are across from each other so they do get a good cross breeze.

The good news is that I saw no evidence of mold (fungi). But we do want to reduce risk of mold and insect damage. First simple solution that comes to mind is to install ceiling fans that can be kept running during the day to help keep good air circulation and to cover the windows with a sheer curtain to cut down on pollutants and dust while still allowing good air circulation. I was assured that these two suggestions are within their budget.

Our trip is sponsored by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange (UNESCO, IOC) and their OceanTeacher Program.

Illustration of type of sheer curtain material to use for window treatment
Illustration of sheer curtain material that could be used for window treatment
Window in library showing good cross aircirculation
Window in library