Until recently, I had never really given much thought to copyright.  There have been a wide variety of materials that I have been given to digitize and put online in our Digital Collections, however, somebody else had always decided before it came to me that we were allowed to put it online.  I was given whatever copyright statement was necessary for that material, I included it in the metadata for that digital collection, and that was all I needed to know.

Recently I have been asked to help out with our Digital Repository for a while.  Part of the work I’m doing includes checking some articles written by our faculty that have been published, to see if we are allowed to put them online in our Digital Repository.  Sometimes It’s easy to figure out and other times it takes some searching.  If it’s not obvious from looking at the published article online, I use the SHERPA/RoMEO website which shows if and how a publisher allows use of articles from their publications.  Sometimes they allow the original work to be put in an institutional repository like ours but they don’t allow us to use the published PDF version of the article from their web site.  Sometimes they allow us to use the article but they have an embargo period of anywhere from 6 to 48 months.  If so, we wait the specified amount of time after the original publication date before we put it online.

Some articles are published under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.  Works produced by employees of the U. S. Government as part of their official duties are not copyrighted within the U. S.  So if there is an article with a co-author who is an employee of the U.S. federal government, then we can use that as well.  I’m certainly no expert on the subject, but it has been an interesting introduction into the world of copyright.

During my first week at the library, I came across some 19th century periodicals that needed treatment because they were requested for a class. The magazine is called Demorest’s Family Magazine. The issues that I am dealing with are from 1871 to 1893.

As an occasional reader of Parents magazine in waiting rooms, break rooms and at home, my interest was piqued as to what a family magazine used to look like at the end of the 19th century. Moreover, as I was examining one of the issues, I found a small piece of stationary that had been used as a bookmark. On it was the logo of the Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica. The discolored portion of the stationary on the right hand side had been sticking out of the magazine, thus exposed to wear and tear, UV light and environmental pollution.


Since I had just moved from the LA area the previous week, this seemed like a sign, so I decided to put this item on the Parks Library Preservation blog.

The Miramar Hotel stationary took my mind on a circuitous journey of thinking about the hotel and imagining what it used to look like back in the day. Thanks to Google, I did not have to wonder for long:

The original Miramar, the home of Senator John P. Jones and Mrs. Georgina Jones, 1890

The original Miramar, the home of Senator John P. Jones and Mrs. Georgina Jones, 1890

The Palisades Building, built in 1924, seen here in the 1950s

The Palisades Building, built in 1924, seen here in the 1950s

The present day Fairmont Miramar Hotel

The present day Fairmont Miramar Hotel

Throughout its history, the hotel had been frequented by such celebrities as Greta Garbo and Jean Harlow. Public figures like J.F. Kennedy and Eleanor Roosevelt stayed in the private bungalows. (http://www.fairmont.com/santa-monica/hotelhistory/)

Greta Garbo, Jean Harlow, Eleanor Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy

Garbo, Harlow, Roosevelt and Kennedy

Present day fashionistas of Santa Monica

Present day fashionistas of Santa Monica



But I very much digress here, which is one of the guilty pleasures of looking at original objects “in the flesh” – so many associations spring to mind. Now imagine if I was an academic scholar and if this flow of information was a stream of original research ideas based on interactions with unique special collections materials! Peer reviewed articles would be flying off the press.

However, at this point let me get back to the objects to be treated: 1871-1893 issues of the Demorest’s Family Magazine…Right away, as I was examining the volumes, I became drawn in by the subject matter and was charmed by the illustrations. How did women conduct themselves in family life back then? What was important? What were the ads for? How did ladies keep themselves looking fresh and pretty? One of the answers must be “hired help”…

Here are some images from the pages of the Demorest’s Family Magazine:

Fancy a walk in the park, dear daughter?

Fancy a walk in the park, dear daughter?

Finally, a way to make your children perfect!


Publications like this one were often printed on thin wood pulp paper, which was not made to hold up to the test of time. Unsurprisingly, the paper had become brittle, with numerous large and small tears afflicting the pages and the covers.

In order to make the item ready for viewing by a group of students or for digitization, some stabilization repairs will need to be performed.

Small tears in the fore-edge

Small tears in the fore-edge

These will include reattaching covers and loose pages and mending the more significant tears that could cause further damage upon handling. When making repairs to thin brittle paper, it is especially important to select a mending tissue that is lighter in weight than the page being mended.

A selection of Demorest's Magazine issues from different years

A selection of Demorest’s Magazine issues

This way the mend will not be too bulky and will not cause the paper on either side of it to break. Another consideration is the level of moisture that can be introduced to paper that does not have a great deal of absorbency and strength due to being coated and/or heavily processed.

A selection of volumes from different years

A selection of volumes from different years

The mending of these pages would require a low level of moisture in the repair adhesive. And of course, protective housing enclosures will do a world of good for these limp and fragile ephemeral objects. I look forward to sharing more about the treatment of the magazines as I move forward through the steps of the process. Please stay tuned, dear readers!

Recently I worked on the book The New School Reader:  Embracing a Comprehensive System of Instruction in the Principles of Elocution by Charles W. Sanders, A.M.  Fourth Book 1860 and when I opened to the book I found lots of eight pointed tissue stars, feathers, and slips of papers.  Each time I work on a book that contains ephemera I like to “catalog” where I have found it in the book by recording the page number on the encapsulated piece.  The ephemera may have been put there randomly or it may have some significance to the page.  This particular book contained several pieces of tissue items, two feathers, and several pieces of papers with typed phrases on them.

IMG_0833 IMG_0834


Here in the Preservation Lab at Iowa State University we have two very important machines when it comes to encapsulating with Mylar.  First is the Ultrasonic Welder for Polyester Encapsulation Model OT-D4 by William Minter and secondly is the Polyweld B-20 Desk-Top Sealing Unit by Conservation Resources International.  Each can be used alone with encapsulating and then there are times I like to use both welders on a project.IMG_0836 IMG_0835


When using the two welders I work with the Minter Welder first to secure the items on a sheet of Mylar and leave space to identify the page number it was found on along with the call number and plate number in case it gets separated from the rest of the items and book.  Then when done I use the Polyweld to weld the outer edges so they are not as “sharp” to handle and it gives it a more finished look.  Next all of the plates are put into a folder along with the call number and note stating how many plates are housed in the folder.  In this case the book needed some minor tissue repair inside yet the rest of the book is in really good shape for 1860 so I constructed a phase box for all to be contained safely together.



Earlier this month the Preservation Lab welcomed a new conservator – Sofia Barron (Sonya)!


Sonya learned about conservation by chance. She went to art school and loved the hand work and working on small scale pieces. At a time when she was wondering what the future would hold for her as an artist when a friend discovered her love for art and chemistry and asked if she had ever considered conservation. Long story short this began her path to becoming a conservator.

She is excited about this new adventure in Iowa. One of her hopes as the conservator here is to learn & know as much as she can about the Special Collections & University Archives items and to help preserve them. To have a familiarity with the items and just be invested in them.

Even though she has only been here for a couple of weeks I know that she is going to fit right in with everyone here in our department – we look forward to what is to come. Welcome Sonya!


Two months ago, I posted in this space about moving the Digital Collection pages over to Drupal. The pages have all been moved over now, and they are live (http://digitalcollections.lib.iastate.edu/.) In this post, I’m going to dive deeper into Drupal and explain one of the things I really like about using Drupal: the Page Tree.  When you use the Page Tree, page names become very easily identifiable. No more: .html pages. Now pages simply end with: [page name here]. The page tree method allows logical, and easy to understand organization. There are a few items to keep in mind, and I’ll explain those as we proceed.

Say you’re on Carver’s page. That URL is:


All subsequent pages associated with carver will end like this:

[carver URL]/biography

[carver URL]/resources

[carver URL]/magazine-and-journal-articles

I could have gone inside the page and drilled down further. For example, I could have had the links on the resources pages link off of the resources page. (Which would look like: /resources/magazine-and-journal-articles, signifying that it was located off the resources page, but I didn’t do that for this site.)

Here is an example of what a page tree looks like:


Notice on the page tree page, there is a list underneath the Tree icon (Home,) and then each little white triangle turns black when you open it, and shows the pages associated with it below. folder2.jpgicons (looks like a folder,) represent actual pages, where the  link2.jpg  icon (looks like a piece of chain,) represents a link. When the selected page is highlighted (here in blue,) the Page Properties are indicated for that page. Notice that the page tree pages/links are in red. Not all page trees have links this color. After the styles were added, these link turned from default black to red. I’ll have to see what happens with the links on the Special Collection as I start to style them.

I really like the Page Properties; it gives a lot of good, self-explanatory information.  Right from this window, you can Change Settings; Make a New page/link (which will become associated with this page;) Edit the page/link; Change Permissions (I strongly recommend NOT doing anything with this, unless directed by the IT department;) View the page/link; Trash the page/link. Let’s click on the Change button.


On Page Properties Change page, you can change the Visibility of the page, Nav Title, and Path. Save or Cancel, when done. Now, I am going to tell you about some things I learned when using the Nav Title/Path boxes. Say you have a title that goes like this: Pascal’s Photos & More. This is what the page tree path will appear as: pascal-s-photos—more. [Ed. Note: it will look like three dashes after photos, not one long dash.] Notice that Drupal takes out the apostrophe and “&” and replaces it with “-“. This is important to remember. It doesn’t mean you can’t have the page title be Pascal’s Photos & More, only that you will need to go into the path and manual change it to pascals-photos-more. You can take out the extra dashes and the path will still work. This is where the Change page of the Page Properties really become useful. The Visibility box is useful as well. Checking it off makes the become “invisible” to the public. You can still “see” the page, when you are logged in, under the Page Tree. And if you have that page linked on other Drupal pages, it will still be linked for use. This comes in handy when you have a lot of pages and you only want some to show when the menu is displayed. Here is an example of an invisible page in the page tree:


The link is grey, and italicized, to indicate invisibility.

OK, let’s click Cancel on the Page Properties page to back up. There is one more feature I will share today in Drupal that is handy in a pinch. (And goodness knows, I’ve been in a pinch once or twice…or, well, never mind.) When logged in to make changes on the Drupal pages, there are few tabs across the top of each page.


View, Edit, Revisions, Permissions, Drafts. Let’s look quickly at Revisions.


What a wonderful feature. A real lifesaver, believe you, me! If you goof-up on a page you can easily go back in time and select the revision you need, whether a minute ago, or last week. This is a nice way to work, and fairly worry free. That makes working with Drupal pretty fool-proof. Which is why so many people are able to use Drupal without much training at all.

A few weeks ago the Iowa State University Library implemented a new policy concerning food in the building. Previously food was only allowed in a handful of designated areas of the library. Well now you can enjoy that bagel & cinnamon roll pretty much anywhere in the library except for the 4th floor. Why not the 4th floor – what’s so special about the 4th floor you ask? Well that happens to be where we (the Preservation department) and Special Collections and University Archives are located. We are hoping that this will help in protecting our unique collections that are housed on the 4th floor from unwanted critters. So far we have only encountered a handful of patrons who seemed oblivious to the numerous signs & table tents so I would count this as a success so far!

No Food


Here in the Preservation Department at Iowa State University we rely on our student employees to help with many tasks and projects around the department.  Usually the students are trained on how to do anywhere from minor repairs to full sewing and new book case repairs, to packing/unpacking books for the bindery shipment, searching the stacks for missing items, or scanning projects.  When they come to the Preservation Department after first hired they are trained on how to do some of the simpler things in the lab such as cutting and gluing tissues on to ends sheets, disbinds, tip-ins, etc. until their skill levels improve so they can do the more complicated treatments such as rebacks, full repairs, recases, sewing a book back together, and new cases, and if they are here long enough they will learn how to construct clamshell boxes or other specialty boxes.

In the past we have had our Conservator interview and hire the students and currently we are waiting for our new Conservator, Sonya Barron, to start on December 1, 2015.  Some of my job duties have changed so I will be doing the interviewing and hiring instead of just training the students.  We like to get students early enough in their educational career here at ISU as a freshman or sophomore because we invest a great deal of time training, and the experience with eye-hand coordination takes time to develop and perfect.  We would prefer students to work over the summer months too.

Another new thing we are adding this time to our student schedules here in the Preservation Department is that the students will be “floaters” and will be crossed-trained to work in all areas of the Preservation Department.  This way when we lose a student to other employment elsewhere or to graduation we don’t have to hurry and hire someone to take their place.  If a student is ill or miss work because of a class then we can still get scheduled work done with the bindery shipment and the aid of another cross-trained student. One of our existing students will be able to jump right in and do the tasks needed such as helping to pack books going out to the bindery and keep the work moving.


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