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

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