Turning the Book Wheel
A tumblr of semi-random stuff from the stacks of the Smithsonian Libraries
- Question from ellewroboblog -
Do you know if I can post pictures online that I took myself of a book that was printed in 1679? I don't think there would be copyright infringement, but I don't want my Rare Book and Manuscript Library to get mad at me. I'd ask them but I'm scared. :(

Hi! I’m sorry I didn’t see your message when you submitted….if the book was printed in 1679 it is definitely not in copyright, and your Rare Book library shouldn’t mind your posting it. (Our Rare Book librarians make me a little nervous too, so I understand.) Extra bonus points to you for asking for a second opinion! :) 

~Keri


Posted 2 months ago
Tags:  #copyright  #rare books  #rare book librarians  #ellewroboblog  #ask  #ama

40 notes
30 of April, 2014

Whew, OK, we are really done for the day. If we didn’t get to your question, I promise we’ll post something tomorrow. We had some great additional comments after we posted - we’ll be re-blogging some of the re-blogs as well, so look out for more helpful information about caring for your books in the next couple days.

Thank you all for your great questions, and thank you @moonlightbinder !! 

~keri


Posted 4 months ago
Tags:  #presweek  #ama

22 notes
- Question from Anonymous -
Where can one develop old negatives (not the typical size) and also black and white negatives. I have quite a of pictures taken in the early 1900 (Asia) and cannot find a place to develop them. Also what is the best method for protecting old photographs and negatives?

conservethis:

smithsonianlibraries:

I am not a photo conservator. However, the Library of Congress has this information about the care, storage and handling of photographs. As for developing old negatives I would check with a professional photographer.

You could scan the negatives, and then use Photoshop to “develop” them. Then store the originals in special photo-safe envelopes and boxes, which are available from several archival supply houses such as Gaylord, University Products, Talas, and others.

I found several blogs/tutorials for scanning old negatives:

Scanning Old Film Negatives" on the FamilySearch blog

Make Magazine: “How-To: Turn Slides and Negatives Into Digital Photos

From Reddit: “LPT: If you are interested in scanning old family photos, scan negatives instead of the prints to achieve higher quality images


Posted 4 months ago
Tags:  #reblog  #ama  #presweek  #photo negative  #conservation

55 notes
- Question from ancora0imparo -
How exactly do you wash book pages? And do you have any tips on working with leather bindings? I have some beautiful old books that need some TLC.

Very carefully…. First of all you need to know what papers can be washed - generally older paper made from cotton or linen pulp is a good candidate. Any glossy or calendered paper is not suitable for aqueous treatment nor are any pages of a book with hand colored illustrations.

If a book is bound it has to be dis-bound and separated into sheets.  The sheets are then stacked between sheets of Hollytex and carefully placed in a bath of deionized water.  The sheets are then removed very carefully from the water using the Hollytex as support.  When wet the paper is at its most vulnerable!

Then each sheet is air dried on blotters until it is almost dry to the touch. The paper is then sandwiched between two sheets of Hollytext with a blotter on each side and placed between wool felt pads.  The pads are weighted and the item allowed to dry for an extended period of time.

Not really a DIY project! Here is a dinosaur being aqueously treated - you can sort of see the Hollytex:


Posted 4 months ago
Tags:  #world-is-cool  #AMA  #PreservationWeek  #Conservation  #BookConservation  #books  #PresWk

49 notes
- Question from coralrives -
I have a first edition, first print copy of Following The Equator by Mark Twian. What's the best way to preserve this book and to display it also?

Katie covered storage in this ask - as for display, minimizing exposure to light as well as humidity and temperature fluctuations are in order. If you really want to keep it out (off the shelves) you could box it and take it out of the box for special occations ;)

~Keri for Katie


Posted 4 months ago
Tags:  #ama  #presweek  #coralrives  #ask

12 notes
- Question from melodyfair3 -
I am currently holding a family book by lord tennyson called idylls of the king. It is my great grandma's father's book. How do I preserve it and keep it safe? The pages are turning yellow brown and starting to come out of the bind. :/

I think the best you can do would be to control where you store it  and possibly place it in an acid-free box. Just make sure the box is correctly sized for the book so it doesn’t slide around.

~Keri for Katie


Posted 4 months ago
Tags:  #ama  #presweek  #melodyfair3  #ask

10 notes
- Question from captainsweetieworld -
Is there any way to preserve a book that has pages that have become brittle due to their own acidity?

Katie kind of covered that in this post but sadly the answer is not really.


Posted 4 months ago
Tags:  #ama  #ask  #brittle books  #captainsweetieworld

11 notes
- Question from cemeteryconservation -
Is there anyway to slow the fading of thermal tape paper, (like the kind used in cash registers)? We have data collectors in our labs that print on this.

I suggest scanning or photocopying the thermal paper. Thermal paper has a very limited life span.  It is also tends to degrade at a faster rate when exposed to high heat or high humidity.  So store the paper in a cool, dry place!


Posted 4 months ago
Tags:  #cemeteryconservation  #AMA  #PreservationWeek  #Conservation  #BookConservation  #books  #PresWk

10 notes
image
30 of April, 2014

We’ve wrapped up our AMA for today! Thanks for all of your questions! If we missed yours we will try to get to it soon! 

In the meantime, please enjoy this gif of Katie sewing a book. This and all the gifs in the AMA are courtesy of the amazing Richard Naples on our staff. 


Posted 4 months ago
Tags:  #AMA  #preswk  #gif  #sewing  #conservation.

166 notes
- Question from Anonymous -
Where can one develop old negatives (not the typical size) and also black and white negatives. I have quite a of pictures taken in the early 1900 (Asia) and cannot find a place to develop them. Also what is the best method for protecting old photographs and negatives?

I am not a photo conservator. However, the Library of Congress has this information about the care, storage and handling of photographs. As for developing old negatives I would check with a professional photographer.


Posted 4 months ago
Tags:  #Anonymous  #AMA  #PreservationWeek  #Conservation  #BookConservation  #books  #PresWk

55 notes
- Question from Anonymous -
Is it possible to ask some advise about conservation of rare books/manuscripts and photographs?

Absolutely, that’s what we’re here for! We’ll be answering questions live until 2pm and then trying to wrap up later in the day, if you care to get more specific.

Also, take a look at the other posts we’ve published today, in case those responses are applicable. 


Posted 4 months ago
Tags:  #preswk  #ama  #Anonymous

11 notes
- Question from greatestgoatsby -
Hi! I'm currently in undergrad school studying book arts and I really want to go on to be a book conservation technician. Are there any tips you have for someone who wants to pursue this field? More schooling, types of experience, internships/apprenticeships, etc? Thanks!

Book Arts is a great background for a technician position.  Your hand skills should be excellent with that background! Consider a course in Preservation (check out any local colleges with Library Science programs) or taking a course at Rare Book School.


Posted 4 months ago
Tags:  #greatestgoatsby  #AMA  #PreservationWeek  #Conservation  #BookConservation  #books  #PresWk

27 notes
- Question from dontforgettobeallison -
I have a 1783 copy of Aristotle's "A Midwife'd Guide." Leather bound. What would be the best way to store it?

conservethis:

smithsonianlibraries:

Books should be stored in areas of your house where you actually live – NOT in the attic or basement!  You want an environment with stable temperature and humidity with minimal fluctuations. Another important consideration is light – books should be stored in areas of low light.  If the light is too strong the spine will discolor over time

Also, places like Gaylord and University Products sell custom-sized book boxes, which add an extra layer of protection.

Oh yes - we love custom made boxes, 4-flaps and phase boxes!

 image


Posted 4 months ago
Tags:  #preswk  #ama  #gif  #bookconservation

96 notes
- Question from bowtiesarefantasticallonsy -
This may seem like a morbid question, but I'm curious. Does the Smithsonian have any books bound in human skin in its collection? And if so, does the care of these books differ from that of books bound in more traditional materials?

Follow up! Our rare books cataloger (Diane Shaw) pointed out this item in our collection. She says:

smithsonianlibraries:

Alas, we do not (that we know of!). But Harvard’s houghtonlib  does. Check out their blog post about it here.  

BTW, the term for binding in human skin is anthropodermic bibliopegy. 

The volume has a leather panel stamped in Latin, “Hic liber femineo corio convestitus est” which means “This book is bound in a woman’s skin.” There is a vague letter from the binder to the doctor who commissioned it probably in mid 19th century Brussels. However, the volume is large and shows no signs of things like being pieced together, and the pore size/arrangement is typical leather. 

Past conservators have thought it was more likely pig or cow, but it has not be analyzed further (and probably should be!). So, the updated answer is maybe, but probably not.


Posted 4 months ago
Tags:  #ama  #preswk  #conservation  #bookbinding

112 notes
- Question from clawsfingerspaws -
Hi I have a few number of books which I intend to read later. My concern is, the pages are slowly turning yellow(discolored)! How can I prevent this? Thank you.

The pages are brittle due to a high acid content in the paper pulp used to make the paper for the book.  There is no way to reverse this degradation. However, there are products that can halt the process by applying a layer of buffering agent to the pages.  The sprays are expensive and a little tricky to use correctly.  


Posted 4 months ago
Tags:  #clawsfingerspaws  #AMA  #PreservationWeek  #Conservation  #BookConservation  #books  #PresWk

16 notes