Administrative


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

 

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This spring we noticed the bottom of the movable electronic shelving was dragging on the concrete in Bay 3 at the Library Storage Facility, the library’s remote storage building.  Close inspection revealed some concrete rose above the height of the floor tracks.  Old School Renovations, L.L.C. was brought in to level the concrete under the shelving.  They used a handheld concrete grinder to reduce the high spots along the second track.

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Vacuum unit.

The equipment includes a vacuum unit with a long hose attached to the grinder.

Grinder with attached hose.

Grinder with attached hose.

The grinder has a circular disk that rotates to cut the concrete. The disk is made of aluminum & magnesium with diamonds.  The base is enclosed in a rubber sheath that captures the dust for the vacuum.

Grinder on its side.

Grinder on its side.

The unit is noisy, but it clears away the concrete and pulls all the dust and particles into the vacuum.  It allows grinding of a small area in close quarters.  We did not have to drape plastic or clean up after the work.  The job required very little participation by staff.  The entire bay took 5 hours to grind.  Mold spots on the ceiling were also removed and they cleaned the interior dock doors.

 

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Old School Renovations, L.L.C. workers grinding concrete (left) and removing mold from the ceiling (right).

 

Gary, with Old School, told me the vacuum unit cost $3000 initially and a new filter costs $800.  He commented that dust containment will probably become more of a requirement in the future.  They have invested in training to use this equipment and to handle asbestos.  Old School Renovations, L.L.C. also restored the Tau Beta Pi marker outside Marston Hall this week, removing several layers of paint left by vandals.

Tau Beta Pi marker outside of Marston Hall.

Tau Beta Pi marker outside of Marston Hall.

Tedone-BlotterWashing2-72ppiAfter five and a half productive and rewarding years, I will be leaving my position as Conservator at ISU Library one month from today. While I am excited to move on to a new opportunity at Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library as Library Conservator and Affiliated Faculty in the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation, my imminent departure from ISU also opens up an exciting new opportunity here for another library and archives conservator. Wrapping up long term projects and putting together a transition plan for the ISU Conservation Lab has me in a reflective mood, so I’d like to share some of the reasons that I have found my time here so rewarding.

First and foremost are the people I have worked with at ISU Library. Head of Preservation Hilary Seo has been an accessible, responsive, but hands-off supervisor who gives me free reign to run the lab my own way.  She is also a savvy mentor with a genuine, engaged commitment to the preservation profession. Conservation Technician Mindy Moeller and Preservation Assistant Mindy McCoy (“the Mindys,” as we fondly call them) take the department’s preservation mission seriously, and are also kind and personable coworkers who make it a pleasure to come to work every day. A rotating cast of student employees, volunteers, and conservation interns have kept things interesting over the years, bringing new skill sets and fresh energy to the lab. I have also had the opportunity to work closely with wonderful Special Collections colleagues, who are just steps away on the fourth floor of the Library.

 

Our window overlooking campus.  We love working in natural light, especially when color-matching repairs.

Yes, that’s right… the ISU Library Conservation Lab is up on the fourth floor, not hidden away in a windowless basement. In addition to a large window (covered with UV film, of course) that looks out over campus, the lab boasts 3,400 square feet of well-equipped workspace, offices, and storage. It’s been a pleasure to work in this bright, spacious environment. The flexibility of the lab’s supply budget has allowed me to purchase new equipment and materials, and thus try new techniques in the lab, enhancing my experience and skill set.

For me, variety is the spice of work as well as life, and the varied job duties I have fulfilled in this position have allowed me to grow my skills in multiple directions. Administratively, I have helped to develop preservation policies; worked on the shared Iowa Regent Universities library binding contract; served as an ex officio member of the Digital Archives, Repository, and Collections (DARC) team; and supervised staff and students. One of my favorite parts of this position has been supervising the annual, twelve-week Lennox Foundation Internship for Preservation Education, Training, and Outreach.  I have spent roughly half of my time at the bench, where my treatments have addressed book, paper, photographic materials, botanical specimens, and the occasional archival object. My outreach work has taken the form of lectures, webinars, consultations for other Iowa institutions and the public, and social media activities. Finally, as an Academic Librarian, I have also served on Library committees for strategic planning, policy development, and new hiring searches.

The dynamic experiences I have had at ISU Library have helped shape me professionally, and have also helped me to define my more long-term career objectives.  The community of Ames, IA, and my Library colleagues have been very good to me, for which I am deeply grateful. I wish the same good fortune to whomever my successor here will be.

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There’s still time to participate in the Preservation Statistics Survey. This is the third year this survey is being made available and we would like to increase participation to gather data that shows how preservation activities are expanding and still an essential function of research libraries and archives. Any library or archives in the United States conducting preservation activities is encouraged to participate in this survey, which is open through Friday, February 27, 2015.

For more information, visit the Preservation Statistics website:  http://www.ala.org/alcts/resources/preservation/presstats
FY2013-infographic-loFY2014 Survey questions focus on production-based preservation activities, documenting your institution’s conservation treatment, general preservation activities, preservation reformatting and digitization, and digital preservation and digital asset management activities.
The goal of the Preservation Statistics Survey, now in its third year, is to document the state of preservation activities in this digital era via quantitative data that facilitates peer comparison and tracking changes in the preservation and conservation fields over time. The Survey, a project of the Preservation and Reformatting Section (PARS) of the Association of Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS), is based on the Preservation Statistics survey program coordinated by the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) from 1984 through 2008.

Why should your institution participate in the FY2014 Preservation Statistics Survey?

* The FY2014 Survey is significantly shorter than previous years, asking only for production data — information you already have for annual reporting or other internal planning and evaluation

* Preservation Statistics data helps you and the wider preservation community advocate for preservation programming and activities, demonstrating how programs compare to peers as well as areas of strength and need

* Your participation can help us achieve a representative body of preservation programs, which means better analysis and examination of trends in preservation programming.  To continue the Preservation Statistics Project, we need seventy-five institutions to respond to this FY14 survey

Participate today — count what you do and show preservation counts! #doyoucount

Please contact the Preservation Statistics Survey team with any questions or feedback: preservationstatistics@gmail.com

Follow us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/preservationstatistics

 

 

Working in the Preservation Department, one soon realizes how important our eyesight is to the tasks we need to perform.  Whether it is making repairs or doing work on the computer, the work is intense and can tire out our eyes.

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We all know that to maintain good eyes, we should wear appropriate sunglasses when outside or riding in a vehicle.  Our diet is important too, as we need to include green leafy vegetables, oily fish, eggs, nuts and beans.  If your job includes working with hazardous or airborne materials, you should wear safety glasses or protective goggles.  A trip to the optometrist or ophthalmologist once a year is a good habit to have and helps to assure that eye problems are caught soon. This is all important information which we have heard and learned throughout our lives.

There is another important step to maintaining our eyesight as we work in jobs which require intense use of our eyes and up-close work: look up and look away.  When I started working at the Iowa State University Library 38 years ago, my first supervisor told me to remember to rest my eyes.  She said I should look up about every 20 minutes and look off into the distance.  She explained that this would help to keep my eyes flexible and able to see both close up and things in the distance.  At the time, this was easy to do as the work space was open and one could easily see from one end of the long room to the other end.  Over the years, we have had much remodeling done to the office spaces, creating cubicles where each person works.  This does not always leave a good view to look up and out.  If this is the case in your office, it is good to get up and move about so you can look out.  This does not mean that you need to take a hike or daydream for several minutes, just 20 seconds every 20 minutes will do the job.

At some point, everyone will most likely need bifocals, trifocals, or reading glasses, but remembering to look up and look out will help to keep your eyes flexible and perhaps delay the addition of glasses to assist with close up work.

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It has been a wonderful year in the ISU Library Conservation Lab. We’re grateful for the coworkers, interns, and students who helped make this a productive year, and are looking forward to another fresh start in 2015 (after a well-deserved break, of course).  We wish you all a very happy holiday season!

I work in a department that has very little IT support, and as web development is constantly in a state of change, I need to do my own research to stay ahead of the curve. One of the best free* sites to learn about all things related to web development is www.w3schools.com. Our department also has unlimited access to www.lynda.com, but that’s not available for some. Plus, www.lynda.com gets bogged down in lessons and tutorials which can go on for hours, when sometimes a quick brush-up or how-to is all that’s needed. This allows me to get right back into my web page and implement my new idea. The site w3schools has quick, clear, easily defined answers which allow me to explore within each development tool. It has both tutorials and reference lists for HTML, CSS, JavaScript, SQL, PHP, and JQuery. The site also includes a section on web certificates, and contains an interactive color picker. What am I talking about? This site is very interactive! Not only can you read about each tool/technique, but also with its sandboxing of examples, you can try out the tools for yourself and see live results. If that’s not enough to get you started, there are over a thousand examples to peruse in your own time. This website makes it so easy that a very beginner to an advanced web designer can utilize it to its greatest potential. Best of all, it is constantly being updated. A very active and knowledgeable forum rounds out the website, so when you are still confused about actions and code writing, answers are just a click away.

* to obtain Web Certificates from this site, there is a fee involved. All other resources are free.

w3s

As you can see, the site is very well laid-out and easy to navigate. Going into the HTML section:

w3s_html1

It’s kind of hard to see in this example, but on the left side menu, you have a step-by-step html guide (starting at the very basic and moving progressively to more advanced techniques,) to HTML. In the middle of the page, is examples, and a “Try It Yourself” button. When you click on the “Try It Yourself” button, it opens to the sandbox:

w3s_sb1

Entering new code in between the <h1></h1> tag, and clicking on See Results box:

w3s_sb2b

This makes learning intuitive and fun. Each sandbox page opens in it’s own window, so going back to where you were is as simple as closing the window. Let’s go back to the HTML page. Further down the HTML page, you can see:

w3s_html2

There are links to HTML examples, or take a HTML Quiz (more than likely to help one prepare for the Web Certification that the site provides.) Clicking on the HTML Tag Reference link takes you to:

w3s_html_tagref (2)

This is very handy, as it shows all the HTML tags and also which are new or not supported in HTML5. I find the references pages very helpful when I’m updating my pages, especially as I move over to HTML5. Again, you can then use the left vertical menu to go to the specific page your interested in (this one being HTML; the other reference pages match the tool you are exploring.)

I have only dipped into the very basics of the website. The thing with this particular website is that it can get overwhelming and/or addictive. There is so much useful information here that I find myself spending way too much time on it, getting distracted from my own work. In that way, it is like www.lynda.com, but then I do not have to sigh my way through parts of a tutorial that I don’t need. Here, I can jump around and fiddle on code until I feel I understand it completely. It’s not the only site available that offers tutorials and sandboxing, but www.w3schools.com is about as thorough a website on learning these tools that I have discovered.

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