Get Out Your Umbrellas

30 06 2009

It’s going to be raining loose pages.  The Espresso Book Machine, available for lease for a mere $1500/month to bookstores everywhere (according this Boston Globe article) prints, trims and perfect binds books on demand all in a machine about the size of an old-style copy machine.  No fanning of pages, just milling on one pass and rollering glue on another.

I, for one, will be working on my dfa rebind skills.  I predict a repeat of the early days of binding – people will buy an unbound book and bring it to US for fancifying for their shelves.

Or not.  My library is about to embark on a book digitization project for which we do not have to pay, and I’m pretty sure the resulting POD books will be created in a manner similar to this.  Do I have the ability to influence the way in which they are bound?  Probably not.  Will I reject the project? Nope.

Here is an interesting blog post from IF on the topic, the most intriguing aspect of which, to me, is the possibility of personal customization of book covers.

And here is what Gary Frost has to say.





Improvisation

11 01 2008

One of the things I love most about any job I’ve ever had is the opportunity to make things up as I go, make do with what I’ve got, and come up with something new.

F’rinstance, here’s a photo of Lisa Simpson demonstrating a prototype of a collapsible sewing frame I was trying to invent when I was at BACC, a place with everything you’d ever need for paper conservation, and not much for books:

collapsible sewing frame prototype

And here’s one of a sewing frame made of a wire shelf:

wire rack sewing frame

Now, what I want from you? Photos and/or descriptions of the preservation or conservation doodads you’ve come up with under duress. Send me a link or send me a file and I’ll post them all later.

Is this fun or what? Yeah, I’m some sort of geek. First one who sends me something steampunked wins a Tape Is Evil magnet.





Tag – We Are Not It

26 12 2007

I’ve been searching for other paper conservation blogs. I’ve Googled and Asked. I’ve looked on Technorati, Digg, Del.icio.us. I’ve varied my search terms. I’ve decided…Houston, we have a problem.

“Paper conservation” brings us mostly to discussions about saving trees, and a very interesting blog about a conservation experience in the Antarctic. “Paper conservator” might get you here, and to a nicely-done British book conservator blog-he tells me he is now at the Huntington- Broken Books, or Mr. Paper’s look into the paper industry in it’s many permutations, including a bunch of stuff on paper dresses, and to a blog by a newly hired paper conservator in Australia. “Art conservation” – not much except conservator’s private practice websites, training programs, the Distlist and other publications, and vendors – no blogs that I’ve yet found. “Preservation” is mostly buildings, unless you add the word “Library”. “Book conservation” brings you to the ubiquitous Future of the Book. Frustratingly, many feed search results provide articles about political conservatives instead of conservators. “Art restoration” is mostly articles written by non-conservators.

Bottom line is that any combination of search terms only yields a handful of relevant results, and anyone looking for a blog talking about our profession has to rummage like the most persistent flea-market hound. We’ve got to do better than this.

So, shall we revisit the ever-evolving conversation about what is that we should be called? What search terms, keywords and tags should we be promoting? How can we make sure that we get found?

My question to you: how do you describe your profession to a stranger, when you have about 5 seconds to get it across? Do you say “I’m a conservator”? The response to that, it seems, is “…like you save the environment?” I tend to say “I fix art and historic documents”, and leave the word “conservator for later in the conversation. That don’t seem right, PR-wise, but it communicates the essentials quickly. It does leave something to be desired in expressing the intricacy, extensive training and education, the professionalism required.

Ideas, anyone?





Science Fiction and Conservation

7 12 2007

Every once in a while I come across an article that sends me into my own little sci-fi world where I have all the world and time to tinker with new technologies- along with a miraculously improved understanding of chemistry and physics. I daydream about various ways nanotech can change our work (the way we do it and the things we will have to work on). There’s the fantasy of setting loose a bunch of nanobots to eat stubborn adhesive. I’m not really a trekkie, but I do like the idea of using the Replicator to make a whole new version of whatever burnt, crispy document I might have on hand. And what are we going to do, exactly, about bio-lumenescent art, e-inks, and all the new forms of paper, drawing and writing implements that will be coming our way?

The Tate, of course, does an inspiring job of confronting conservation of time-based and other strangely-behaved media. That’s a whole other conversation.

What I really want to talk about is this:

http://www.technovelgy.com/ct/Science-Fiction-News.asp?NewsNum=1332

Imagine my happiness to find a website devoted to science fiction made real!

The article cited above discusses implantation of “fluorescent polymer microbeads ” to create a diagnostic tattoo in human skin. It also mentions RFID ink, to be used for tagging animals. Why can we not use these things? Invisible RFID ink has its’ obvious applications for marking and retrieving things, so I’m not going to go very far discussing it because I’m sure someone, somewhere, is on it. If it can be used to find a soldier wandering in the desert, surely it can be used to find a book in a library, right?

But microbead implants? Tattoos for paper! What could we detect in paper? Could they be inserted into paper and then withdrawn as needed? If yes, then maybe they could indicate the presence or absence of all kinds of stuff when we treat, or contemplate treating, paper. Lignin, pH, solvents, stain reduction agents? Changes in pigment due to treatment? What would it do to paper over time? Nothing? Horrible unforeseen consequences?

Oh, if I only had a lab. And a bigger brain.

Ironically enough, looking at the original Texas A&M article, I noted this:

“This invention is protected under U.S. Patent No. 6,485,703 issued November 26, 2002. The A&M System Technology Licensing Office is currently seeking one or more industrial partners to facilitate commercialization of the procedure. For more information about licensing this technology, please contact Page Heller at p-heller@tamu.edu or 979-847-8682. Please reference TAMUS Project #1240.”

The contact person’s last name is Heller. Mine too. Welcome to the Twilight Zone. doodoo doodoo doodoo doodoo…








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