Yale Library news highlights work of student curator




ConservationSpace in Chicago: Software Unveiled at AIC Annual Meeting 2017

Got this?

Check out this!


After years of development, conservators will be able to see ConservationSpace, a Mellon-funded project to create an open source software solution to creating, managing and searching conservation documentation records and data.  Stop by for a live demo at the ConservationSpace booth in the exhibitors hall at the American Institute for Conservation’s Annual Meeting in Chicago.  The AIC conference opens Sunday, May 28th in the Windy City.


A Celebration of the Bookplate: Yale Senior Project Exhibition Opens at Sterling Memorial Library


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On Monday evening a crowd of students, staff, and members of the New Haven community attended the opening reception and exhibit lecture for the 2017 Senior Exhibit curated by Olivia Armandroff ’17. Olivia is the second Yale senior to curate a senior exhibit in the Sterling Memorial Library exhibition corridor.  Her project was chosen by the SML Exhibits Committee from an exceptionally strong pool of applications.  Olivia’s enthusiasm for her topic was obvious and infectious.  She fielded questions like a seasoned curator.  After graduation, Olivia is headed to the National Gallery in Washington DC.  We wish her the best of luck, but we know she won’t need it.


Constructing a Pictorial Identity: Bookplate in the Golden Age of Collecting runs through October 6th in the Sterling Memorial Library Exhibition Corridor.

Take Notice: Nota Bene Turns 30

The Yale Library is happy to announce the Spring/Summer issue of Nota Bene: News from the Yale Library. This year also marks the thirtieth anniversary of Nota Bene, which was launched in the spring of 1987!

Be sure to check out “Gradual Reveal: Documenting the “Life” of a Manuscript,” which describes the technical examination of a manuscript fragment by Paper/Photo Conservator, Marie-France Lemay, and Music Department graduate student, Zachary Stewart.  And look closely at the photograph accompanying, “Rare album of William Hogarth prints donated to Yale” and you will see Book and Manuscript Conservator, Laura O’Brien-Miller.  Miller is currently working in the Gates Conservation Lab on phase 2 of the treatment plan for the album.

Conservation & Exhibition Services is happy to be part of Nota Bene’s 30th birthday issue!

Way Back Wednesday: Before and After, Then and Now, Beinecke Library MS 4

As we work through organizing old documentation records, we come across contact sheets and prints that show the old conservation studio and the people who worked there.  On Way Back Wednesdays, we will post a few.  Today’s post highlights Beinecke MS 4 (Antoninus, Saint. Confessionale).  Here is the manuscript as it was photographed in the Conservation Studio in the late 1970s or early 80’s. The online catalog record mentions, “Minor repairs to endleaves and headband made ca. 1976.”  It is very likely that the photographs were taken at the time of this work or just shortly after.

Image 3-20-17, 10.28.26 AM

Before, Analog


Beinecke MS 4 was photographed more recently by the Beinecke Library’s Digital Services Unit.  Unlike the early conservation records, these images represent the manuscript’s binding in color and offer a higher resolution for zooming in on details.


After, Digital

It is interesting to compare the details from both sets of images.  The blind impression on the cover boards is more visible as a pattern in some of the black and white photos than in the much higher resolution color images. But the color images allow us to more easily distinguish the various materials even though they are similar in color and value.

Beinecke MS 4 is also part of the Traveling Scriptorium’s bookbinding section.  The book model show us what the binding might have looked like when it was intact.  The model also shows the sewing structure.

Binding Model of Beinecke MS 4

This model gives us some idea of what MS 4 might have looked like when newly bound

Binding Model of Beinecke MS 4

Book model showing laced supports, sewing, and endbands



Way Back Wednesday: Women’s Work

As we work through organizing old documentation records, we come across contact sheets and prints that show the old conservation studio and the people who worked there.  On Way Back Wednesdays, we will post a few.

According to the American Institute for Conservation’s membership compensation survey published in 2009, “Women…remain in the majority across all work settings. The male-to-female ratio is most pronounced in the library/archive setting — 89% of those respondents are women, and only 10% are men.”  So it is safe to say that a day without women would be a day without the conservation of cultural heritage.



Way Back Wednesday: Jane Greenfield

As we work through organizing old documentation records, we come across contact sheets and prints that show the old conservation studio and the people who worked there.  On Way Back Wednesdays, we will post a few.  We can’t identify everyone, but Mary E. “Jane” Greenfield was easy to spot!  And it seemed fitting for images of her to be the first ones shared.  She set up the conservation studio in Sterling Memorial Library 1973.


Gates Guest Book: Our First Intern!

On January 3, 2017, the Gates Conservation Laboratory welcomed its first conservation graduate student intern, Nora Bloch from West Dean College.  As part of her course of study, Nora must complete a 6-week work placement assignment.  And lucky for us, Nora chose to spend her six weeks in New Haven with YUL’s Conservation & Exhibition Services!


We packed Nora’s schedule with as many different experiences as we could. She helped to install exhibits, assisted with a condition survey, learned techniques for humidifying and flattening parchment.  She measured levels of arsenic in silked documents using XRF, sat in on conservation reviews and curator meetings, and participated in a Traveling Scriptorium session for New Haven high school students.  Oh, and she even had some time to work on a couple of treatment projects!

Nora is no stranger to books and libraries.  She earned a MLIS from the Department of Information Studies at UCLA in 2012.  She also served as the Project Manager for the California Rare Book School (CalRBS) and taught letterpress courses.

February 10th was the last day of Nora’s internship.  We thank her for her hard work and enthusiasm for all things library and conservation.  We wish her well as she finishes her studies (and thesis) and embarks on her career as a professional conservator!

Handle with Care: Training for Reading Room and Security Staff

On Monday, Christine McCarthy and Karen Jutzi joined Tara Kennedy (YUL Preservation Services), and the Beinecke Library’s Rebecca Hatcher and Eve Neiger to present the first session of a two-part workshop on care and handling of special collections in public reading rooms.  While some information may have been review for those in attendance, this was an opportunity to make sure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to turning pages in the reading room.  The staff who attend the session asked great questions and made excellent suggestions based on their experience.


Quick Reference Guide and common reading room tools/supports


They say that timing is everything. The workshops were planned to following closely on the heels of the reopening of the Beinecke Library’s reading room after 18 months of renovation to the building.

The workshop session on Monday was the result of several months of planning and collaboration between preservation, conservation, access services, and technical services staff. A survey was sent to all access services and security staff to better understand their comfort levels with various practices and to identify any knowledge or training gaps. Balancing reader needs and collection preservation is challenging. Staff worry about the time implications of good handling habits and readers’ service expectations. Having the management team from Access Services at the planning table from the start made it easier to turn ideal practice into implementable practice.  And based on the feedback from staff who participated, there is a strong commitment to both the use of collections and their protection.



Gates Guest Book: Hopkins School

The Gates Conservation Laboratory was pleased to host a Traveling Scriptorium class last month for AP Art History students from the Hopkins School.  Students visited our lab and the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.


Each student made their own medieval tacketted pamphlet and learned to write with quills and inks like the scribes of old.  We thoroughly enjoyed working with this group of smart and inquisitive young art lovers.