Thursday, July 28, 2005

Preservation on the Brain...

I love books, primary source documents, and audiovisual resources.

No, not in that stereotypical librarian "reading is cool" fashion.

I love taking them apart and knowing how their components all interact with the environment around them.

Since my job doesn't regularly require using the preservation and conservation knowledge built up in my head, I love the chances I get to occassionally work as a Materials Mechanic. Yesterday was such a day. A campus groundskeeper had some questions about materials and his parents' private library.

For instance, why do [silverfish, termites, and carpet beetles] like munching on paper collections? (The answer - high in cellulose and other starches. We see books and manuscripts on the shelves. They see the insect world's version of a bag of potato chips.)

Why do books mold?
(Answer - The right amount of heat and high relative humidity (RH). The ideal stable temperature for most library collections is 70F (+/- 4) and 40% RH (+/- 4).

Are CD-RWs an archival medium?
(Short answer - no. Long answer - it depends on data migration schedules and long-term planning and the life cycle of the data. As a play copy, fine. But keep your original. )

Why are those documents printed on acid-free paper still yellowing?
Because acid-free paper acts like a sponge, absorbing acidic compounds from its environment. Alkaline-buffer stock is preferrable. Plus, don't store them in low-grade, acidic folders or boxes. And check your air quality. If you're in a region known for poor air quality, you may need to consider suitable filtering systems for your building.

Hmmm...wonder how many folks read NEDCC technical leaflets over coffee and the blare of the Dead Kennedys and the Wu-Tang Clan?


zydeco fish said...

Here's another: Why do toddlers like munching on paper collections (my books) and my CDs?

The ZenFo Pro said...

Hmmmm...that maybe a little tougher...teething or does the toddler just enjoy the taste?


Kara said...

Hehe...Yah, I wondered what Librarins read over coffee....LOL...I think it's awesome:) It's the kind of important stuff that somebody has to know...Keep up the good work!

Ogbuefi Stephi said...

just saying hi.
so... hi.
oh, and cool stuff i never knew... i wish i were a librarian so i could share neat bits of information like that.
so, how is oxford these days?

Mexicana 1 said...

OMG! I just flipped through that NDCC thing...librarians do that? That's like so CSI, dude

Mexicana 1 said...

ZF, toddlers? Wow? At least its not insects. My neice went through this cockroach phase for awhile...totally gross, but very ecofriendly pest control.

J., a friend of mine works at our library as a student and wants to become a librarian. Do you (or any of the other librarians here) have any suggestions for where to start?


Chris Mannix said...

First ya gotta get a bachelor's degree, then a masters in library/information science. There are lots of library schools. I went to U.of Texas at Austin. I think UCLA has one, U of AZ-Tucson, not sure who else in the SW US. Lots in the Midwest and East, a few in the South. Different schools specialize in different areas, like UT has a preservation/conservation program. You can also get degrees by distance learning. Hope this helps!

zydeco fish said...

I think all children go through a phase where they put anything in their mouths, but I always wonder why they can't choose something more appealing than books.

Mexicana, your neice put cockroaches in her mouth? Yikes. On the other hand, I once lived in a place that could have used her skills.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm...wonder how many folks read NEDCC technical leaflets over coffee and the blare of the Dead Kennedys and the Wu-Tang Clan?

I want to know how many librarians spend their mornings reading sports news over a Coffee Special (got to start off with the right kick, you know? ;-) )

My suspicion is most stick to LJ and a cup of Earl Grey. A dull world, Lib can be ...

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

[ugh. spelling mistakes. need coffee.]

Coffee break is awful where I work. Local small town newspapers (read: 6 pages of useless news) and copies of Library Journal (aka the "Lible") await us with the perpetually weak Librarian-brewed coffee. They hated it when I was on duty; the coffee (which I thought was weak by my standards) was gourmet and too strong for them. Guess they don't like being able to taste it.

Oh, for Library Office to have a subscription to SI ... sigh.

Anonymous said...

Man, you're in the wrong library! We drink French roast or Cafe Bustelo, and we can have coffee on desk.

Viva Community colleges!

Anonymous said...

How might you perserve a sheep's brain, with regular store bought items?