Italian Intern in Preservation Department

Preservation Department will be hosting Italian intern Carlo Mori from August- December 2002. Carlo is in his second year at the Fondazione per la Conservazione e il Restauro dei Beni Librari, located in the Umbrian town of Spoleto, a program whichinstructs students from all countries of Europe.

Carlo at work on a 14th century Italian missal.
Carlo at work on a 14th century Italian missal.

Carlo’s curriculum at the Spoleto program includes codicology, conservation and preservation, with courses taught by Tom and Sylvia Albro, Robert Futernick, Chris Clarkson, Nicholas Pickwoad, Tony Cains and John L. Sharpe. The school will also conduct research in the field of book and paper conservation. The program consists of two years in academic and bench studies, with a third-year internship in recognized conservation laboratories outside Italy.

Parchment Maker Jesse Meyer visits University of Iowa, September 2002

Jesse Meyer, a young vellum and parchment maker, from Montgomery, New York, made a visit to our shop at the UI Libraries on September19, 2002. He provided a wonderfully clear and well expressed narrative of his long family history in leather tannage, which dates back 450 years, originating in Germany. He also taught us the basics of his own craft of making deer, goat and calf skin vellum. Jesse is the only known parchment maker in North America.

If you are interested in learning more about Jesse’s parchment, you can contact him at

Jesse (pictured on left) shows excited particpants a variety of his deer skin parchment
Jesse (pictured on left) shows excited particpants a variety of his deer skin parchment

Preservation Department presents Hand Bookbinding at the Iowa State Fair August 2002

On Tuesday, August 13th, Gary Frost, UIL Conservator, taught book sewing to kids of all ages at the Iowa State Fair. Young fair goers were able to pick from a colorful array of cover papers and then sew their cover and specially printed sheets into souvenir booklets. The hands-on exhibit was presented by the Preservation department as part of the entertainments at the University of Iowa booth at the Fair.

Gary Frost, UIL Conservator
Gary Frost, UIL Conservator

Adults, including teachers and librarians, also took an interest in the hand bookbinding exhibit. A surprising number of Fair visitors told stories of early job experiences in the publications industries. Gary reported that,”the traffic was immense with plenty of real interest in the UICB Bookbinding kits that we had on display.”

George McCrory, from UI’s University Relations, was also pleased with the Library participation which provided contrast with other medical and physics presentations. Gary encouraged more participation of the Libraries as well as the School of Library & Information Science in future Iowa Fair presentations.

Craig Jensen visits for top-down scanner/PPP Consultation June 2002

The UI and ISU Preservation Department’s hosted preservation imaging expert Craig Jensen at the University of Iowa Libraries from June 19-21, 2002. Jensen, who is based in Austin, Texas, co-developed the Elan GMK PPP (Precise Page Positioning) software used by both departments. Jensen provided instruction and problem solving advice with regards to the preservation imaging configuration of the Minolta PS7000 top-down scanner and PPP (Precise Page Positioning) software.

The subject of the tutorial was book imaging for production of paper facsimile. The group worked with several target texts in both book format and scanned microfilm. Jensen offered suggestions to more efficiently and successfully operate the equipment and advice on book handling and quality control. Both departments felt it was an immensely productive and enjoyable visit due to Craig’s knowledge, skill, and humor.

Craig Jensen in the PPP driver's seat.
Craig Jensen in the PPP driver's seat.
UI Assistant Conservator, Kristin Baum, and ISU Head of Reformatting, Cindy Wahl, work on a target book with Craig,
UI Assistant Conservator, Kristin Baum, and ISU Head of Reformatting, Cindy Wahl, work on a target book with Craig, who advised them in book handling and scanning techniques. The imaging job was projected on the wall above so other participants could view the image processing.
Craig, seated in front of the Minolta PS7000 Top-down scanner, answers questions from UI & ISU participants.
Craig, seated in front of the Minolta PS7000 Top-down scanner, answers questions from UI & ISU participants.

Field Trip to Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa May 2002

On May 30th, 2002, the UI Preservation Department headed west to Ames, Iowa, to visit its counterpart at Iowa State University. The day’s events provided an opportunity to tour ISU’s Preservation Department including the Collections Conservation, Binding, and Preservation Reformatting Sections.

The visit was the first in a series to establish a collaborative effort between the UI and ISU Preservation Departments. Future collaboration will include the development and streamlining of Preservation Imaging workflow utilizing the Minolta PS7000 top-down scanner in conjunction with the PPP (Precise Page Positioning) software.

Nancy Kraft, UI Head of Preservation, and Ivan Hanthorn, ISU Conservator, evaluate a document at the light table, while Susan Hansen, Bu Wilson (both from UI) and Cindy Wahl (of ISU) look on.
Nancy Kraft, UI Head of Preservation, and Ivan Hanthorn, ISU Conservator, evaluate a document at the light table, while Susan Hansen, Bu Wilson (both from UI) and Cindy Wahl (of ISU) look on.

Nancy Kraft’s 1 year anniversary at the UI Libraries

April 16, 2002 marks the one year anniversary of Nancy Kraft’s leadership of the Preservation Department at the the UI Libraries. She has done a great job heading up the department and been remarkably productive in her first year. Preservation staff helped her celebrate by decorating her office and giving her a small surprise party.

Nancy Kraft
Nancy Kraft

Completion of Boxing Project for Iowa Women’s Archives

The holdings of the Louise Noun-Mary Louise Smith Iowa Women’s Archives at the UI Main Library include a diverse collection of dozens and dozens of scrapbooks made by Iowa women. The Conservation Department has made protective boxes for these unusual and sometimes fragile items. Since August 2001, Assistant Conservator, Kristin Baum, with the assistance of student interns Rachel Lapkin, Julie Cobb, and Tatiana Ginsberg, completed more than 85 custom enclosures in seven months, and a total of 125 custom enclosures have been made for this collection since 1999. The initial project is completed, although boxing will continue as additional scrapbooks are acquired by the Iowa Women’s Archives.

Field Trip to Library Binding Services, Des Moines (November 2001)

On November 27, 2001 a group of staff and students at the UI Libraries, took a trip to Library Binding Services (LBS) in Des Moines, Iowa. The purpose of the trip was twofold. The morning tours were designed to educate library staff about the manufacturing of the LBS products they use. Staff were asked to consider LBS facilities with a vision for potential future collaboration on binding based products that would enhance the maintenance and housing of the collections at the UI Libraries. The afternoon visit to Fritz James’ private library provided students a unique opportunity to study some interesting historical book structures. Participating in the trip were preservation staff Nancy Kraft, Gary Frost, Kristin Baum, and Susan Hansen, Sid Huttner, Head of Special Collections, as well as students from the class Structure of the Handmade Book.

In business since 1927, LBS is a chief manufacturer and converter of binding materials. Their commitment to research and development of binding products has lead to the development of two additional company divisions: Corporate Image, which manufactures presentation packaging such as binders, folders, software packaging; and Archival Products, which manufactures high quality preservation enclosures.

Highlights of our visit, which was graciously hosted by Fritz James, President of LBS, included:


The tour included visits to the Sample Wall, pre-press area, and the plant. The plant boasts a variety of advanced equipment including a 6-color German press. Innovation is key at Corporate Image and it is demonstrated by their ability to adapt their machines for a variety of product manufacturing.

Fritz James, President of LBS, and Sid Huttner, Head of UI Special Collections
Fritz James, President of LBS, and Sid Huttner, Head of UI Special Collections. In the background is the "Sample Wall," a diverse and impressive collection of Corporate Image product samples, including their Presentation and Easel Binders.
Fritz explains
Fritz explains how their specialized binders are covered.
Fritz explains
Fritz James explains the workflow at the Corporate Image facilities.


On this tour we learned how pamphlet and music binders, four flap enclosures, and other folders are produced. Much of the production is accomplished by hand.

Janice comer
Janice Comer, Division Manager at Archival Products, explains the workflow of the Archival Products facilities while we watch the production of Pamphlet Binders.


At the LBS Facilities, we learned how cloth is custom cut for each individual customer, as well as how endsheets are produced.

Lang Wightman
Lang Wightman, LBS Vice President, Production, explains how customized endsheets are manufactured.

Following the tours, we were provided lunch and an opportunity to discuss future collaborations with Fritz James and Janice Comer, Archival Products Manager.

After lunch, Fritz welcomed us into his home and personal library for a spectacular review of his collections. The students in Gary Frost’s Structure of the Handmade Book course were given the opportunity to study some impressive exemplars of the Ethiopian binding and 19th century Victorian publisher’s cloth binding.

Fitz James
Fritz James in his personal library.

The trip to the LBS facilities proved to be interesting, informative and valuable. The Preservation Department has gained a better understanding of the product potential at LBS and how a collaboration with them could greatly contribute to the care of the collections at the UI Libraries.

UI Libraries Welcomes New Head of Preservation

Release: June 14, 2001

The University of Iowa Libraries is pleased to announce the appointment of Nancy Ellen Kraft as Head of the Preservation Department at the University of Iowa Libraries. Kraft, who joined the UI Library staff on April 16, most recently served as preservation librarian at the State Historical Society of Iowa in Iowa City.

“We are delighted to welcome Nancy, ” said Edward Shreeves, Director of Collections and Information Resources. “With her strong background in project management and planning, and her impressive work with other state organizations, Nancy will have a major impact on preservation initiatives here, at the University of Iowa Libraries, and more broadly.”

During her tenure at the State Historical Society, Kraft spearheaded several ambitious projects including the translation of over 3.9 million pages of newspapers onto microfilm through a federally funded program and, separately, the preservation of over 400,000 clippings of World War II Iowa newspaper articles also onto microfilm. She also directed the Iowa Conservation and Preservation Consortium group effort to successfully secure National Endowment for the Humanities funding to develop an Iowa Statewide preservation action plan.

In reflecting on the challenges of her new position, Kraft said, “I come to the UI Libraries at a very exciting time in preservation. Never before have we had so many options available to provide access and care to our collections. The Libraries holdings range from a 14th century central Italian Missal and early photographs to brittle books and electronic theses. Each format presents its own challenges, and I am looking forward to meeting all the Libraries’ staff in charge of the various collections to assess these various needs.”

Kraft holds an MA in Library Science from the University of Iowa and a BA from the University of South Dakota in Russian and Library Science. She has published a number of articles on preservation and presented workshops on a variety of themes from disaster recovery to film preservation. Kraft has served on professional committees including the Iowa Governor’s Cultural Coalition, the State of Iowa Libraries Online Advisory Committee, the ILA/ACRL (Association of College and Research Libraries) Working Group on Preservation, serves on the Board of the Linn County Historical Society and is the current President of the Iowa Library Association Foundation Board.

The University of Iowa Libraries is the largest library system in Iowa and the 29th largest academic/research library in the United States. The Main Library and 11 branch libraries contain nearly four million volumes. The mission of the Preservation Department is to maintain collection resources in useable condition and is responsible for activities that relate to the care and handling of both circulating and non-circulating library materials.

PEM Climate Notebook Field Trial, March 2001

UIL Preservation department PEM Climate Notebook Field Trial Beginning this March the Preservation department will participate in the PEM Climate Notebook field trial. This project involves beta testing of a next generation of software for management of environmental data recorded in collection storage areas. Both the software and instrumentation have been produced at the Image Permanence Institute at Rochester Institute of Technology. Of particular note is the capability of the software to calculate both a PI (preservation index) and TWPI (time weighted preservation index). The PI is a result in years that projects useful life expectancy for given collections under specific conditions of temperature and relative humidity. The TWPI projects a useful life expectancy that also factors in variations recorded at a given storage location.

Our part in the project will be to learn, utilize and evaluate the Climate Notebook software as we monitor two PEMs (Preservation Environment Monitors), one on station in our Special Collections third floor stacks and another in Special Collections basement storage.

The 18 month PEM Climate Notebook field trial program has approximately 180 participating institutions. These institutions vary widely and maintain every type of stored collections. The overall effort will result in the first comparative survey of collection storage conditions collected via equivalent digital recording and reporting methods and compiled to a single database for further analysis. Resulting findings, reflecting national storage conditions, will be published on the internet.