Preservation + Conservation

IAPril 2012: Preserving Your Personal Digital Photographs

Posted April 2nd, 2012 by Mark Szarko

When: Thu, April 26, 2:00-3:00 pm

Where: 14N-132

Digital photos are fragile and require special care to keep them accessible. But preserving any kind of digital information is a new concept that most people have little experience with. Technologies change over time and become obsolete, making it difficult to access older digital photos. Learn about the nature of the problem and hear about some simple, practical tips and tools to help you keep your digital photos safe. This event is part of the American Library Association’s Preservation Week.

For more information, please contact: Ann Marie Willer.

IAPril 2012: Taking Care: Family Textiles

Posted April 2nd, 2012 by Mark Szarko

When: Tue, April 24, 2:00-3:00 pm

Where: 14N-132

Do you want to save an old family quilt, a wedding dress, or T-shirts and flags from your fraternity or student club?  A conservator will present this webinar on how to care for the various types of textiles found in family collections including clothing, flags, furniture coverings, and framed textiles. The session will cover how to safely store and display textiles and how to determine when the services of a professional conservator are needed.  This event is part of the American Library Association’s Preservation Week.

For more information, please contact Ann Marie Willer.

MIT Libraries Receive Papers of Distinguished Linguist, Philosopher, and Activist Noam Chomsky

Posted February 9th, 2012 by Heather Denny

Noam Chomsky, photo credit: MIT News

MIT’s Libraries were recently chosen to be the stewards of the personal archives of noted linguist, political activist, and Institute Professor emeritus Noam Chomsky. The significant collection spans a long and distinguished career, beginning when Chomsky joined MIT in 1955 in the Research Laboratory of Electronics, through his years as a professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics, then as Institute Professor.

Often referred to as “the father of modern linguistics,” Chomsky revolutionized the field of linguistics and paved the way for transformational grammar and universal grammar. His book Syntactic Structures (1957) was considered groundbreaking. He also made significant contributions to the fields of psychology, cognitive science, philosophy of language and philosophy of mind.

“It’s fitting that Professor Chomsky’s papers will remain at MIT as a resource for future generations of scholars. He revolutionized the way we think about the linguistic sciences and the cognitive mechanisms of language acquisition, and his ideas in many realms have had profound influence on scholarship and public discourse here at MIT and worldwide,” MIT President Susan Hockfield said.

Over the years, Chomsky has been awarded numerous prizes, including the Kyoto Prize in 1988 and the MIT Killian Award for the academic year 1991-1992. Most recently, he won the Sydney Peace Prize in 2011. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

“Over the last fifty years, Noam Chomsky has not only created the building blocks of linguistic theory and understanding, but has built a remarkable and unique department of Linguistics that has nurtured several generations of linguists who have taken their MIT experience into and across the globe. It is wonderful that Noam’s papers, which span this long period of growth and development, will be available to scholars for many years to come,” MIT Dean of Humanities Deborah Fitzgerald said.

The collection also reflects Chomsky’s political activism and outspoken support for freedom of speech and social justice. He was once quoted as saying, “If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all” (Guardian (UK), Nov.23, 1992).

He has authored numerous works on the topic, including American Power and the New Mandarins (1969), Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (1988), Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy (2006), and Hopes and Prospects (2010).

The addition of Chomsky’s personal archives, and a large portion of his personal library, augments a small existing collection of Chomsky’s papers already in the care of the MIT Libraries’ Institute Archives.

“With this addition, the collection will be a complete archival resource that will provide researchers with unique insight into Professor Chomsky’s thinking, and the development of the field of linguistics, as well as his views on significant issues in social activism from post-WWII through current day,” MIT Institute Archivist Tom Rosko said.

Staff from the MIT Libraries and Institute Archives and Special Collections are in the beginning stages of transferring material to the Archives. Initial work in organizing the Chomsky collection will occur this year, with additional work on improving access to the collection, including online access to portions of it, continuing over the next several years. When the work is done, scholars will have unprecedented access to an enormous depth and breadth of material from one of the world’s most renowned linguists and top intellectual minds.

It’s a wrap!

Posted September 30th, 2011 by Rebecca Caswell

In this image, a Libraries staff member works with a local moving company to prepare a truck of journals for shipment to the Northeast Regional Scanning Center at the Boston Public Library. The materials will be digitized by the Open Content Alliance, which runs the scanning center.

The journals in this shipment span the years 1883-1908, and include electricity related titles such as Western Electrician and Street Railway Gazette.  As the items are digitized, they will be made available online in the Internet Archive.

This shipment also included copies of working papers published by MIT’s Department of Economics. The Libraries are currently scanning over 1,100 of these papers. They are available online at DSpace@MIT.

 

One Book, Three Ways

Posted August 22nd, 2011 by Rebecca Caswell

Before bookbinding became mechanized, most books were sold unbound. The purchaser, not the publisher, was responsible for the binding of the book.  This meant that one could have his books bound according to budget or taste. Above  is an example showing three copies Jean Jallabert’s Experiences sur L’Electricité (1750), bound in three different ways.

The first two volumes are bound using decorative paper – an inexpensive, but attractive option. The third copy is slightly larger because it was bound with another book, and was given a more elegant full leather binding.

Bindings can give us important clues about a book’s history, such as who owned it and how it was used.  For this reason, it is often important to preserve a book’s covers as well as its contents. These three volumes will be preserved in the Institute Archives and Special Collections so that we can continue to study them – inside and out.

Find it in the library

 

1897 Binding Ticket Shows Origins of Red Rot

Posted June 17th, 2011 by Nick Szydlowski

1897 Binding Ticket

This 114-year-old binding ticket was recently discovered in a volume of the journal Western Electrician, which was being prepared for digitization.  It shows the options that were available to the MIT Libraries for journal binding in 1897. 

Leather binding with red rotUnder the heading “Style,” the ticket lists a number of options, most of which involve a leather spine.  The leather being used by library binders at that time has not aged well.  The image at the right shows a different journal volume, bound in 1901.  The leather on the spine has disintegrated and started to flake away – a condition referred to as “red rot.”

Law sheep, roan, and skiver, all made from sheepskin, were popular for library bindings because they were cheaper than goatskin.  Unfortunately they were also far less durable, and have degraded significantly over time. 

Fortunately today’s library binders use heavyweight buckram cloth, rather than leather, to bind journals.  In addition to being less expensive, these cloth cases are actually more durable than the leather bindings of decades past.

Happy As A Clam

Posted June 7th, 2011 by Rebecca Caswell

Book before boxing

This 18th c. work on political science and natural law arrived in the Conservation Lab with both its front and back covers detached.  In order to ensure that all of the pieces stayed together, it was being stored in a plastic bag.  Although this provided a good temporary solution, it isn’t an appropriate means for long-term storage.

Book after boxing

The Conservation Lab makes a variety of different enclosures, which are selected based on the needs of the book.  Because of this item’s age and value, it was housed in a  custom made cloth covered clamshell box.  This type of box will prevent the book from sustaining further damage while in transit from storage, while also protecting it from light, dust, and other environmental hazards.

This lovely clamshell box gives new meaning to the phrase “happy as a clam”!

Full-color facsimile preserves crumbling book

Posted May 10th, 2011 by mit-admin

What do you do when a book is still in high demand, but has grown too fragile to hold up to frequent use?  This was the dilemma the Libraries faced with Architectural Drawing by R. Phené Spiers, an 1888 volume featuring stunning color illustrations.  This edition of the book has an MIT connection as well, with a foreword by Architecture School founder William Robert Ware.

To preserve this fragile original, the Conservation Lab repaired the damaged pages and sent them to Acme Bookbinding Co, Inc., where high resolution scans were taken, copies printed on acid-free paper, and pages bound in sturdy cloth.   One copy will be stored with the original in Rotch Limited Access, and a second, circulating copy will be available in the Rotch stacks. 

A preservation facsimile is a high-quality reproduction which is used as a substitute for the original item, in order to prevent the original from being damaged by frequent use.  The images below show the original and the facsimile that was created from it.   The original pages will be stored in a custom portfolio in Rotch Limited Access.

 Preservation facsimile, before and after

Bizarre book repairs – journal volume bound with nails

Posted May 3rd, 2011 by mit-admin

Nail used to bind journal volumeYou never know what you’re going to find when you open an old book! This 1953 volume of Architectural Forum from the Rotch Library had been improperly “repaired” at some point using 10 nails. One of the nails was even sticking out of the book’s spine.

Staff in Preservation + Conservation Services removed the nails, and the book will be rebound using a more conventional method–no tetanus shot required!

Nails removed from journal volume

Preserve your digital photos and documents

Posted April 28th, 2011 by mit-admin

Preservation Week Banner

As part of the American Library Association’s Preservation Week, the MIT Libraries are hosting a webcast today, April 28, 2011:

April 28: Preserving Your Personal Digital Memories, with Bill LeFurgy of the Library of Congress
Digital photos, electronic documents, and other new media are fragile and require special care to keep them useable.   Hear about some simple, practical tips and tools to help you keep your digital memories safe.  Full description

The webcast starts at 2:00 PM in the Digital Instruction Resource Center (DIRC), 14N-132.  This event is free and open to the public.

Accidents Happen: What to do if your family treasures get wet

Posted April 26th, 2011 by Nick Szydlowski

Preservation Week Banner

As part of the American Library Association’s Preservation Week, the MIT Libraries are hosting a webcast today, April 26, 2011:

Accidents Happen: Protecting and Saving Family Treasures, with Nancy E. Kraft of the University of Iowa Libraries
Are your family treasures stored safely in your home or elsewhere?  How do you save your photos when they’ve been submerged in flood water?  What do you do if your books smell mildewy?  What if your basement floods or worse? Attend this session to learn answers to these questions and more.  Full description

The webcast starts at 2:00 PM in the Digital Instruction Resource Center (DIRC), 14N-132.  This event is free and open to the public.

Come see what’s “Under the Dome” Saturday, April 30, 11am-4pm

Posted April 25th, 2011 by Heather Denny


Under the Dome
is a day-long, campus-wide open house on Saturday, April 30.  On this day the public is invited to explore MIT as we celebrate our 150th anniversary.  MIT’s libraries and the Maihaugen Gallery will be open to visitors and will offer several workshops:

‘Technology’ Through Time: 150 Years of MIT History
Exhibition
Maihaugen Gallery (14N-118)
Open 11 a.m.–4 p.m.

This multimedia exhibition showcases in words, documents, photos, video and sound, the broad and varied history of MIT. View original MIT documents and historically significant materials that played a role in making MIT the unique place it is today. The exhibit also features items from the MIT Museum’s 150 Exhibition, as well as Infinite Histories, video stories of those who have shaped–and been shaped by–MIT.  ­­

Preserving Your Family’s History
Workshop
Meet at the Maihaugen Gallery (14N-118)
Sessions hourly.  Last tour meets at 3 p.m.

Visit the Wunsch Conservation Lab where the MIT Libraries preserve their collections using modern science and traditional craft.  The MIT Libraries’ conservator and preservation librarian will explain how to care for your family papers, photographs, home videos, and digital media. Hand-outs with basic information and sources of archival supplies will be available. Sessions will last 45 minutes. Tours are limited to 20 people and will begin every hour on the hour.

Digital mapping tools introduced by MIT GIS Services
Workshop
DIRC (14N-132)
Sessions at 11 a.m. and noon

Learn about creating maps with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and collecting data in your community with a Global Positioning System (GPS) unit. A GIS provides tools for analyzing scientific and cultural data, as well as data collected by individuals (like you).  Session will include demonstration and a chance for everyone to collect data outside and create their own maps.

Apps4Academics
Workshop
DIRC (14N-132)
Sessions at 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.

In this show and tell, we will recommend the best iPhone/iPad apps and mobile websites for your academic life. We’ll talk about apps for productivity, library research, note-taking, e-reading, PDF-reading and annotating, sketching, and more. Some apps we’ll demo include Evernote, Instapaper, Dropbox, GoodReader, Papers, and WorldCat Mobile. See our companion web site: libguides.mit.edu/apps

Come see what's "Under the Dome" Saturday, April 30, 11am-4pm

Posted April 25th, 2011 by Heather Denny


Under the Dome
is a day-long, campus-wide open house on Saturday, April 30.  On this day the public is invited to explore MIT as we celebrate our 150th anniversary.  MIT’s libraries and the Maihaugen Gallery will be open to visitors and will offer several workshops:

‘Technology’ Through Time: 150 Years of MIT History
Exhibition
Maihaugen Gallery (14N-118)
Open 11 a.m.–4 p.m.

This multimedia exhibition showcases in words, documents, photos, video and sound, the broad and varied history of MIT. View original MIT documents and historically significant materials that played a role in making MIT the unique place it is today. The exhibit also features items from the MIT Museum’s 150 Exhibition, as well as Infinite Histories, video stories of those who have shaped–and been shaped by–MIT.  ­­

Preserving Your Family’s History
Workshop
Meet at the Maihaugen Gallery (14N-118)
Sessions hourly.  Last tour meets at 3 p.m.

Visit the Wunsch Conservation Lab where the MIT Libraries preserve their collections using modern science and traditional craft.  The MIT Libraries’ conservator and preservation librarian will explain how to care for your family papers, photographs, home videos, and digital media. Hand-outs with basic information and sources of archival supplies will be available. Sessions will last 45 minutes. Tours are limited to 20 people and will begin every hour on the hour.

Digital mapping tools introduced by MIT GIS Services
Workshop
DIRC (14N-132)
Sessions at 11 a.m. and noon

Learn about creating maps with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and collecting data in your community with a Global Positioning System (GPS) unit. A GIS provides tools for analyzing scientific and cultural data, as well as data collected by individuals (like you).  Session will include demonstration and a chance for everyone to collect data outside and create their own maps.

Apps4Academics
Workshop
DIRC (14N-132)
Sessions at 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.

In this show and tell, we will recommend the best iPhone/iPad apps and mobile websites for your academic life. We’ll talk about apps for productivity, library research, note-taking, e-reading, PDF-reading and annotating, sketching, and more. Some apps we’ll demo include Evernote, Instapaper, Dropbox, GoodReader, Papers, and WorldCat Mobile. See our companion web site: libguides.mit.edu/apps

Digital library partnership gives MIT access to additional online resources

Posted April 20th, 2011 by Heather Denny

The MIT Libraries have recently joined HathiTrust, a partnership of over fifty academic libraries that share the ambitious goal of building a comprehensive digital library of their shared collections.

Started in 2008, the HathiTrust digital library currently contains over 8.5 million digitized volumes representing the collections of partner institutions. HathiTrust’s collections include both copyright and public domain materials digitized by Google, the Internet Archive, and Microsoft, as well as partner institutions.  Founded by twelve universities from the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, the University of California system and the University of Virginia, the partnership has now grown to include fifty-five institutions.  MIT and Harvard are two of the most recent universities to join.

Through the HathiTrust website, the public can search the full-text of 8.4 million digitized volumes, and get full online access to 2.2 million volumes that are in the public domain.  With the MIT Libraries membership, the MIT community will have the added benefit of being able to download full volumes of public domain works in PDF format, and also build and share collections using the Collection Builder feature.  Access will be provided to MIT users, with authentication through Touchstone, later this year.

Joining HathiTrust is one of several steps the MIT Libraries have recently taken to expand access for MIT faculty and students to print or digitized resources beyond the holdings of MIT.  In January, the Libraries announced their membership in Borrow Direct, a partnership with Ivy Plus libraries that gives the MIT community access to nearly 50 million print items. In February, MIT and Harvard libraries jointly announced an expanded alliance to explore collaborations for sharing library materials, advancing digital preservation collections practice, and developing future off-site storage facilities and services.

“In today’s interdisciplinary learning environment, it’s essential for our faculty, students and researchers to have access to an even wider array of information resources than ever before.  By collaborating with other outstanding research libraries, we can offer the resources necessary to support the cutting edge research and education that is MIT’s hallmark,” said MIT Director of Libraries, Ann Wolpert.

Wolpert added that it is important for universities to take a leading role in shaping digital libraries. “Libraries have been stewards of the scholarly record for centuries,” she said.  “We’re committed to the long haul.”

The MIT Libraries are actively involved in open access initiatives that support MIT’s mission to make scholarly knowledge openly available to the world.  Partnering with HathiTrust, an organization committed to collecting, organizing, preserving, communicating, and sharing the record of human knowledge, is in line with the Libraries principles of supporting the long-term curation of the cultural record, and furthering global scholarship and research.

Preservation Week: Learn to save your family’s treasures

Posted April 19th, 2011 by Nick Szydlowski

Preservation Week Banner

As part of the American Library Association’s Preservation Week, the MIT Libraries are hosting two webcasts that will show you how to care for your treasured family keepsakes and digital documents and photos.

Both webcasts start at 2:00 PM and take place in the Digital Instruction Resource Center (DIRC), 14N-132.  These events are free and open to the public.

Tuesday, April 26: Accidents Happen: Protecting and Saving Family Treasures, with Nancy E. Kraft of the University of Iowa Libraries
Practical tips and tools for mitigating hazards, dealing with mold, and salvaging keepsakes.  Full description

Thursday, April 28: Preserving Your Personal Digital Memories, with Bill LeFurgy of the Library of Congress
Practical tips and tools to help you keep your digital memories safe.  Full description

Preservation Week: Learn to save your family's treasures

Posted April 19th, 2011 by Nick Szydlowski

Preservation Week Banner

As part of the American Library Association’s Preservation Week, the MIT Libraries are hosting two webcasts that will show you how to care for your treasured family keepsakes and digital documents and photos.

Both webcasts start at 2:00 PM and take place in the Digital Instruction Resource Center (DIRC), 14N-132.  These events are free and open to the public.

Tuesday, April 26: Accidents Happen: Protecting and Saving Family Treasures, with Nancy E. Kraft of the University of Iowa Libraries
Practical tips and tools for mitigating hazards, dealing with mold, and salvaging keepsakes.  Full description

Thursday, April 28: Preserving Your Personal Digital Memories, with Bill LeFurgy of the Library of Congress
Practical tips and tools to help you keep your digital memories safe.  Full description