I've Got What in My Library? Caring for Non-Traditional Materials

When: April 3, 2014
Where: Online
Amigos Members: Admission is free!

Today, libraries and archives are responsible for taking care of various materials. It's not just books or paper and digital files, but also photos, art, textiles, and even taxidermy animals. Most library and archives professionals haven’t had the training to work with any of these materials.

Most libraries have at least one odd object as part of their collections. Maybe it is a stuffed armadillo. Maybe it is a commemorative shovel used in a local ground-breaking, a football from the high school championship game, or a painting of the town's founder. The majority libraries aren't equipped to handle these so-called nontraditional objects. You can't ignore them, so what do you do?

Get some answers by attending our April 3 conference. The agenda is currently being finalized and registration will open soon. Don't miss this opportunity to learn the best ways to handle your library's unusual objects!

For any questions about this conference, contact Tim Prather at prather@amigos.org or 800-843-8482, ext. 2892.

Thursday April 3, 2014
Times - all CDT Session Presenter
10:00 a.m. Dem Bags of Bones! (show session description) Ellen Dickman and Christina Prucha
10:00 a.m. Digital Preservation@ Your Library: You Can Do It! (show session description) Bill Walker
10:45 a.m. Break  
11:00 a.m. Objects Conservation in Library and Archival Collections: New Opportunities for Preservation and Access (this session will not be recorded) (show session description) Scott W. Devine
11:00 a.m. "Like," "Share," "Save": Ensuring Long Term Access to Social Media (show session description) Danielle Cunniff Plumer
11:45 a.m. Break  
12:00 p.m. Lunch  
1:00 p.m. Conserving Complex Late 20th Century Objects from Artists' Archives (show session description) Angela Andres and Laura McCann
1:00 p.m. But Is It Archival? Plastics in Archives and Libraries (show session description) Nora Lockshin
1:45 p.m. Break  
2:00 p.m. Caring for Open Reel Audiotape: Identification and Issues (show session description) Steven Kantner
2:00 p.m. What a Little Twill Tape Can Do: Creating Containers for Artists Books, Fencing Foils and Python Skins (show session description) Julia Merkel
2:45 p.m. Break  
3:00 p.m. Care and Feeding of Hand-woven Textiles (show session description) John SandStrom
3:00 p.m. Preserving Community Oral Histories on Audiocassette, Microcassette, VHS, and Other Media (show session description) Lauren Goodley

Ellen Dickman portraitSpeaker: Ellen Dickman and Christina Prucha
Session Time: 10:00 - 10:45 a.m. CDT
Session Title: Dem Bags of Bones!

Session Description: The presentation will focus on the unique problems pertaining to cataloging, circulating and maintaining a bone model collection in a medical library.

Speaker Bio: (Ellen Dickman) Ellen Dickman is the Director for the Learning Resource Center at Logan University. She received her MLS from the University of Missouri in 2006. Her duties include the overall planning and organization of the Learning Resource Center, including the library's budget. She works with external library and chiropractic organizations to represent the library and its mission. Her goal is to create a learning environment where usability and access of library resources is emphasized.

Christina Prucha portraitSpeaker Bio: (Christina Prucha) Christina Prucha is the Cataloger/Archivist at Logan College where she is responsible for the original and copy cataloging of all new materials that arrive. This includes traditional materials such as books, eBooks, and media and other lesser traditional items such as plastic bones and models and the occasional real bone or preserved organ.

Bill Walker portraitSpeaker: Bill Walker
Session Time: 10:00 - 10:45 a.m. CDT
Session Title: Digital Preservation@ Your Library: You Can Do It!

Session Description: Your library collects digital materials. Perhaps your library creates digital materials. Are they safe now? Will they be accessible in the future? This session will outline simple ways for libraries of all sizes to take small steps to improve the survivability of their digital assets. Topics to be covered include threats to digital objects, types of digital preservation, and small steps to ensure access.

  • Understand threats to and survivability of digital objects
  • Distinguish between the two types of digital preservation
  • Learn what types of affordable measures that any library can take to ensure access to digital objects

Speaker Bio: Bill is the metadata and digitization expert at Amigos. His courses cover all aspects of digital projects and metadata, including cataloging and RDA. Prior to joining Amigos in 1996, Bill served as Music Cataloger at Southern Methodist University, Dallas. He has a Bachelor of Music degree in classical guitar and a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque; a Master of Music in music theory and a Master of Science in library science from the University of North Texas, Denton.

Scott W. Devine portraitSpeaker: Scott W. Devine
Session Time: 11:00 - 11:45 a.m. CDT
Session Title: Objects Conservation in Library and Archival Collections: New Opportunities for Preservation and Access

Session Description: As library and archival collections become more diverse, the management and preservation of a broad range of cultural objects, including ephemera, ethnographic objects and artwork, has become critical to developing and maintaining collections of distinction. This presentation will discuss the changing nature of library collections and the implications for both collection management and training for library professionals. The presentation will address the issues involved in acquiring, labeling, preserving and promoting some of the more unusual objects found in library and archival collections.

A series of conservation treatment case studies will highlight issues involved in managing a wide range of objects, including commemorative food packaging, theater props, textiles, ethnographic objects, religious artifacts, paintings, cartoon cels, and other unique items from the collection of Northwestern University Library. The presentation will discuss options for inventory control, proper labeling, and best practices for conservation. Particular emphasis will be given to storage and housing solutions and working with allied professionals such as art conservators, art handlers and exhibit designers.

Speaker Bio: Scott W. Devine is the Marie A. Quinlan Director of Preservation and Conservation at Northwestern University Library, a position he has held since 2006. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Duke University and a Masters of Information Science with an Advanced Certificate in Conservation Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. He received additional training in rare book conservation at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. and at the Centro del bel libro in Ascona, Switzerland. Since 1996, he has worked as a conservator and preservation administrator, establishing preservation programs at two major research libraries and consulting on a broad range of preservation issues at libraries throughout the United States and Europe. Mr. Devine is a Professional Associate of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC).

Danielle Cunniff Plumer portraitSpeakers: Danielle Cunniff Plumer
Session Time: 11:00 - 11:45 a.m. CDT
Session Title: "Like," "Share," "Save": Ensuring Long Term Access to Social Media

Session Description: In 2013, residents of Houston, Texas, were asked to consider a bond election to convert the Houston Astrodome to a convention center and exhibition space, with the likely alternative to demolish the facility, once promoted as the "Eighth Wonder of the World." The facility was listed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation's annual list of the most endangered historic places, and residents rallied, sharing memories and stories on social media, websites, and at community events. The bond election failed and the future of the Astrodome remains uncertain, but institutions in Houston are working to preserve the memories that have been and continue to be shared. This session will look specifically at methods to preserve the information shared in social media, including Facebook and Twitter. "Like" if you agree that social media is worth saving!

Speaker Bio : Danielle Cunniff Plumer is a digital collections consultant working with cultural heritage institutions interested in putting their collections online. She has taught courses on metadata, digitization, and digital preservation and curation for the College of Information at the University of North Texas and for the School of Information at The University of Texas at Austin and frequently leads workshops on topics ranging from metadata to grant writing.

Angela Andres portraitSpeakers: Angela Andres & Laura McCann
Session Time: 1:00 - 1:45 p.m. CDT
Session Title: Conserving Complex Late 20th Century Objects from Artists' Archives

Session Description: The Fales Library & Special Collections Downtown Collection includes complex late 20th century objects from artists' books and theater props to objects used in performance and video art. These materials, while often complex and fragile, need to be accessible for research and instruction. The conservators at NYU Libraries' Barbara Goldsmith Preservation & Conservation Department work closely with the archivists and librarians to understand each object's context and its anticipated future use. Using information from the archivists and librarians as well as the data on the objects' condition and materials, the conservators design treatments and create housings for a diverse range of objects including a papier mâché wolf's head, plastic stencils, and a motorcycle jacket. Laura McCann will speak on the process of planning care for late 20th Century complex objects, drawing on examples from the Downtown Collection. Angela Andres will describe practical aspects of creating housings that facilitate use for complex art objects, including specific tips on materials and techniques.

Speaker Bio: Angela Andres came to New York University Libraries in 2006 as a Conservation Technician in the Barbara Goldsmith Book and Paper Conservation Laboratory and in January 2014 was appointed Special Collections Conservator. Prior to coming to NYU she worked in book conservation at the Wisconsin Veterans Museum and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and as an archivist in a contemporary art gallery in New York City. Angela received her BFA in Printmaking from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and her MA in Library and Information Studies from UW-Madison.

Laura McCann portraitSpeaker Bio: Laura McCann has held the position of Conservation Librarian in the Barbara Goldsmith Preservation and Conservation Department of New York University Libraries since 2006. Previous positions include Deputy Director and Paper Conservator of the New York Municipal Archives. Laura received a MS in Library and Information Science from the Palmer School, Long Island University, a MA in Paper Conservation from Camberwell College of Arts in 1997, and a BA in Art History from Bates College.

Nora Lockshin portraitSpeaker: Nora Lockshin
Session Time: 1:00 - 1:45 p.m. CDT
Session Title: But Is It Archival? Plastics in Archives and Libraries

Session Description: If I had a nickel for every person who has asked me that question! What does archival mean in the context of physical material vulnerabilities? With every new invented medium and technology for recording and presenting text, images and sound, so too comes adaptation and experimentation, along with imaginative and unexpected uses by inventive book designers and artists to get attention on the bookstore or gallery shelf. In archives, often times material choices that were meant to be expedient, ephemeral tools have become objects of permanent record and importance – yet are sometimes impermanent themselves.

While all collections feature a cross-section of plastic polymers in their stacks, special libraries and archives which are partnered with art museums, schools and technology collections are especially challenged with a greater variety of these as notions of what is an archive, what is a book, and what is a photograph have evolved from the 19th to the 21st century. New material challenges, components, and even electronic carrier formats of the Information Age include parallel and paradoxical developments and trends in the plastics industry. The archivist, collection manager, curator and librarian are challenged to guarantee access to the information and experience of materials which have inherent vice. Using examples from twenty years of observations as a conservator of art, archival and library materials, and in the book arts, this presentation is framed as a discussion with resources for professionals who care for a variety of unusual non-paper-based materials, and how to deal with them when they sneak up on you.

Speaker Bio: Nora Lockshin is currently Paper Conservator at the Smithsonian Institution Archives, where some of the archives are on paper, and most of those in books. She’'consulted on and treated paper, glass, souvenir pins, textiles, plastics, rubber, a leather flight helmet, a compact disc, a taxidermied bird, flowers, a vinyl bus sign, and once – an outrigger canoe.

Steven Kantner portraitSpeaker: Steven Kantner
Session Time: 2:00 - 2:45 p.m. CDT
Session Title: Caring for Open Reel Audiotape: Identification and Issues

Session Description: Knowing what you have, what to look for, and how to handle certain materials can save a collection from many problems, extend the materials' life, and help you make informed decisions for the transfer of the materials to a new format. The session will include the following:

  • Identifying tape composition
  • Recognizing forms of degradation
  • Proper storage and handling
  • Prioritizing tapes for digital transfer

Speaker Bio : Steven studied broadcast and worked as an audio engineer and educator. Currently, Steven is a graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin's School of Information and is active in audio preservation activities.

Julia Merkel portraitSpeaker: Julia Merkel
Session Time: 2:00 - 2:45 p.m. CDT
Session Title: What a Little Twill Tape Can Do: Creating Containers for Artists Books, Fencing Foils and Python Skins

Session Description: Several unusual items have come thru the library preservation office here at JMU for stabilization and re-housing in recent years. The most unusual was a 12 foot python skin that was rolled tightly in the wrong direction. Other items that took a bit of ingenuity include a fencing foil, a revolver, and a few early 19th century mechanical devices with moving parts. The latter were identified in an NEH Preservation Assistance grant with "We the People" designation, but the right materials can make all the difference for long term storage. I am eager to share what we've done with twill tape, cotton muslin, and creative use of map folders...

Speaker Bio: Julia Merkel is the Preservation Officer for James Madison University Libraries. She has a BFA in Sculpture & Art History from the University of Notre Dame and an MFA in Painting from JMU along with training in museum collections care from the University of Missouri, Kansas City. Previously, she worked as an adjunct professor at JMU and VMI and as curator of collections for the campus fine art collection before defecting to the library 12 years ago.

John Sandstrom portraitSpeaker: John Sandstrom
Session Time: 3:00 - 3:45 p.m. CDT
Session Title: Care and Feeding of Hand-woven Textiles

Session Description: Throughout the Southwest, many libraries have received Navajo rugs as gifts or use them in their decor. Yet how many of us know the proper way to store, clean, display or conserve these textiles? This session will introduce you to some best practices for handling these types of textiles, as well as some things you never want to do. While we will be focusing on Navajo rugs, this information will also apply to almost any natural fiber textile.

Speaker Bio: John Sandstrom has over 25 years of experience in academic, public, and special libraries. He is currently an Associate Professor and Acquisitions Librarian at New Mexico State University, as well as teaching for the Library Associate degree program at Dona Ana Community College.

Outside of work, John had been weaving and spinning for seven years. He studies Navajo weaving with Jennie Slick an Mary Walker at Weaving in Beauty (www.weavigninbeauty.com) as well as maintaining his own collection of hand-woven textiles.

No textiles were harmed in the making of the presentation, although some examples were in pretty sad shape to begin with.

Lauren Goodley portraitSpeaker: Lauren Goodley
Session Time: 3:00 - 3:45 p.m. CDT
Session Title: Preserving Community Oral Histories on Audiocassette, Microcassette, VHS, and Other Media

Session Description: In the 1970s and 1980s, many libraries, archives, and museums became custodians of oral histories documenting the history of their communities. These oral history projects, fueled by interest in community history following the nation’s bicentennial and similar anniversaries at state and local levels, were made much easier because of the new and inexpensive recording options provided by cassette tapes and VHS. Unfortunately, these media are now fragile and options for playback are limited. Conversion to digital formats is the commonly accepted best practice for preserving these histories. This session will review options for conversion, ranging from do-it-yourself to outsourcing, and will also review some of the legal issues to consider before sharing the digital files and transcripts with the world.

Speaker Bio: Lauren Goodley is an archivist at the Southwestern Writers Collection at the Wittliff Collections, Texas State University. Her duties there include developing and implementing a digital preservation program for the archives. The Wittliff Collections contain a substantial amount of audio/visual materials, including interviews, which are being reformatted to digital. Previously, Lauren managed the digitization of over 300 Civilian Conservation Corps oral history interviews at Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. Lauren graduated from the iSchool at the University of Texas at Austin, is a Certified Archivist, and recently became one of the forty-seven people who have earned Digital Archives Specialist certificates from the Society of American Archivists. She also attended the first Library of Congress Digital Preservation Outreach and Education (DPOE) train-the-trainer workshop in 2011.