Wednesday, March 18, 2009

From the Preservation Intern

As part of the archives management concentration at the Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science, students must complete a preservation elective. The preservation elective I completed was called Preservation Management for Libraries and Archives, which introduced the field of preservation and preservation methods. After completing the course, I decided to intern at the State Library's preservation lab to gain firsthand preservation experience.

My first project is to create enclosures for documents from the Division of Insurance, now part of the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development. These documents are available in the State Library of Massachusetts on the 3rd floor of the State House, as well as other documents that state agencies produce.

The first step in preserving these documents is to remove staples from the documents with a microspatula. This prevents the staples from rusting and damaging the paper. Next, I sew the document by making three holes about three inches apart on the left hand side of the edge, and placing thread through the holes. Tying the thread keeps the thread secure. I then measure and cut a folder about 1/8" bigger on all sides than the document. I place the document inside the folder, and place the folder in a 9" x 12" or 10" x 13" envelope, depending on the thickness of the document. Lastly, the call number is written on the lower left hand corner of the envelope, and the flap is placed inside the envelope.

The photo on the left shows the documents before receiving preservation enclosures (box on the right) and after enclosures have been made (box on the left). I am halfway through preserving these documents. When I am done, my next project is to clean maps that will be on display at the State Library over the summer. Stay tuned for more updates!

- Tina Chan, Preservation Intern