Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Declare your independence (in your notes, not in our books!)

Declare your independence (in your notes, not in our books!)

Another poster I'm working on for a "user awareness" exhibit @ the circulation desk. Anyone else have this much trouble with students highlighting, writing and marking in library books?

Back from AIC


I have since returned from AIC in a sunny but chilly LA, to a decidedly cool and rainy Chicago. Apparently word is that it got up to 80 something in Chicago while I was gone and was generally gorgeous.

Anyway, just a brief note to mention that Dan Cull has put up a coherent summary of all the Web 2.0 madness that took place under everyone's noses.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Digital surrogates (aka Photoshop for conservation)

Just heard Adam Novak's interesting talk about using digital surrogates as loss compensation in the print "Siege of La Rochelle" at the National Gallery of Art.

When to use digital surrogates instead of inpainting by hand:
*can make large time commitment
*area of loss is too large to reproduce by hand
*have access to a copy of same print

Sadly, he chose to use the magic wand tool instead of the much more accurate and powerful "Select Color Range" tool.

I appreciated that he showed each step of his image-altering and print-setup process. Also, he used 4 separate images of the same replacement print to create a "best fit" montage. On top of that, he also had to choose the right kind of paper to match the original print itself. I know from personal experience that this can be a royal pain in the tuchis. And then Golden acrylics came out with a Digital Ground for preparing materials to accept inkjet inks. Which unfortunately is soluble in water, but Golden is working on make a less-soluble version of their Digital Ground.

In the end, though, Novak created a more than acceptable surrogate without the use of the Digital Ground.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

LIbrary and Archives collections discussion groups @ BPG

Spent the day in the Book & Paper Group discussion talks about library and archival collections.

Anne Hillam (New York Academy of Medicine) and Renate Mesmer's (Folger Shakespeare LIbrary) talk "The Use of Rubber Cement for Facing Leather Spines: A Viable Option?" was fascinating. They described their experimental use of rubber cement (boo! hiss!) to face fragile leather on tightback spines before lifting them. Their method consists of applying a microcrystaline-wax barrier layer to the leather, then a layer of rubber cement followed by plastic wrap. Once it has dried, you then can lift the leather as usual and sand the flesh layer down as necessary. Once the spine has been readhered to the book, the plastic wrap can be peeled away the rubber cement just rolls right off mechanically. Like picking dried Elmer's glue from your fingers when you were a kid, I reckon. They also heartily encouraged all of us to try out this method for ourselves and to do our own research on its effectiveness and any potential drawbacks.

Priscilla Anderson and Sarah Reidell had a great 2-part talk about Adhesive Pre-Coated Repair Materials. They also gave out an impressive handout of both how-to's and recipes for a variety of pre-coated adhesive repair materials. And their presentation included some how-to videos that I would love to see online. Same goes for the handout! Their handout would make for some great wiki/blog material, esp if people could chime in with their own experiences or recipe-tweaks.

EDIT: PDFs of the handouts from today's Library Collections Conservation Discussion Group talks can be found here.

Heat-set tissue tips:

*use large piece of glass over tissue, over object, then place heating pad on glass for several hours until tissue is activated & sticks

*use of resins/Beva to infill leather losses - moldable & can be tinted

*wet out pre-coated berlin tissue using Klucel G to avoid adding extra solvent (I think?)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Conservation 2.0 (WiFi not included)

A big nitpick I must make: why is there such terrible wifi connectivity in the conference room? Conservation 2.0: internet not included.

fail owned pwned pictures
see more Fail Blog

AIC is not ALA

...but I'm liveblogging it anyway!

Best talk thus far has been Joyce Stoner's "Conservation 1.0" which was really like "All you wanted to know about the history of art conservation but were afraid to 20 minutes". Of course the finer points of what was and wasn't included can be argued about ad nauseum, but it was informative nonetheless. Would make a great video if it were remixed ala Battlestar Galactica's 8-minute recap video "What the Frak?"

Finally met Richard McCoy, a la "Hi, we've never met but I know you from the internet!" Maybe there should be "blogger" ribbons for next year's AIC, like they have at ALA. OR we could all wear funny hats with large ostrich feathers to pick each other out of the crowd.

Still thinking about whether or not the Web 2.0 communication style is "in our DNA" (per Richard) like it is for librarian-types and museum folk. Conservators seem to not be as quick to embrace this sort of open-source, collaborative, information-explosion type of communication...but there are many exceptions regardless.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Crazy bicycle route of today

Yesterday I biked down to Argyle from work, and today I biked up from Argyle to work! It was a commute of about 6.8 miles, but it would be less had I not took so many little detours. I'm scouting out a good route between my place and Chris' apartment. The lake front trail doesn't even begin until about Loyola, and Sheridan and Clark are terrible streets to bike on - fortunately there seems to be several nicer residential streets running parallel between Clark and Sheridan. This was my route this morning - once I got into Evanston I was actually just going along the Evanston lakeshore trail, not on Sheridan per the map.

Also, the pot holes in this city are some of the worst I've ever seen.

View Larger Map

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Portfolio website

So I'm in the midst of updating and revising my portfolio website - I've had it since 2007, but it was originally created for a class assignment than as a self-marketing tool. One of the things I don't like about the current design is the individual treatment pages: essentially each page is just the standard, technical-language treatment report. Which is very boring and confusing for those who are not conservators, and even probably for several conservators. It certainly bores the heck out of me, so I've been thinking about how to make my webpage more interesting and engaging. I like what Jeff Peachey has done with his treatment reports:
"The pages below are not treatment reports, but an informal tour through the treatment, with consideration of issues they raise that I find interesting, much like what I would during a studio tour"

One of the things I really want to add is some bibliographic or historical information about the various objects I've worked on. Author biographies, brief historical notes about the binding style , printing technique, or the content of the object (like the Ira Aldridge broadsides). I've even researched the biographical information of the lady who left her name inside the Journal of Health book. These sorts of things just don't have a spot in the treatment report forms I've used in the past, but I think they're an important part of the object's history and also help provide some context for the treatment and the collection/library it came from.

Finally, I also want to write up more of a treatment "walk-through", to outline more of the decision-making process that goes into each step of a treatment. With the current layout, you can't really get the sense of how I started out with one approach but ended up using a different method than originally planned. I also like pairing up the "before and after" photos, even though this is most effective with those "Conservation, Wow!" treatments with the most dramatic outward changes.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


From the description: "At the very beginning where the parchment is attached to the roller, some genius used tape to patch tears. This makes the Torah not kosher. & it ruins the parchment."

...whodathunkit that tape was not only evil but also not kosher!

LOL mug

LOL mug, originally uploaded by ItAteMySweater.

I win this round!

Kalanchoe and aloe

Kalanchoe and aloe, originally uploaded by ItAteMySweater.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Book Oiler's Delight

Book Oiler's Delight, originally uploaded by ItAteMySweater.

As seen at the Newberry LIbrary. Some things you just don't want an explanation for...