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Collection Condition Survey Program

A. Introduction

The preservation of historical material depends upon several interrelated factors that include: a stable environment, safe handling, storage and exhibit practices, and the stabilization of items that are physically vulnerable to use. The Conservation Department is involved with comprehensive treatment of individual items that require special care. Before items are selected for treatment in the laboratory, condition variables are identified. A collection condition survey provides a plan of action for future analysis, testing and laboratory treatment of deteriorated items in our holdings. Condition priorities are established by the conservator that relate directly to information from examination that will enable logical treatment of items most in need. In consultation with collection curators, a sequence of treatment priorities are established and followed by careful documentation and treatment measures established by the conservation profession.

Purpose

The collection condition survey program is an important factor in the overall preservation strategy for collections. Treatments will be addressed on the basis of priority across the board as staff expertise, grants and equipment allow. The information received as a result of condition surveys is of primary importance and should be thought of as an important step toward necessary treatment in the lab.

The Collection Condition Survey Program at the Indiana Historical Society Library identifies the condition of collection units in a thorough, item-by-item examination that includes notation of material characteristics, structure, methods of manufacture, types of media employed, pictorial and bibliographic content, format, and the specific condition of the original's physical and chemical structure. Collections that vary from the item-by-item survey are the Manuscript, and Archive, and Photographic Materials.

Each survey is represented by four phases: documentation of an entire collection unit, such as maps from Printed Collections, followed by stabilization through structural housing. The third phase involves placing all the unit information into the computer. The final phase is the ongoing work required to survey newly acquired material of the same collection unit and adding the new information to the database.

Working with the respective curators, the conservation department creates a double-sided condition survey sheet that corresponds with the structure represented by the different types of material. Common traits such as primary paper supports, the method of manufacture of the paper, the media present, are represented on each of the map, graphic work, and broadside survey sheets. The sheets vary from one another when bibliographic information, printing techniques, and design characteristics are considered. The second side of the sheet documents the physical condition and provides an area for mapping out patterns of degradation, such as the location of tears, tapes, stains etc..

Survey Activity

Interns trained by the conservator for observation, notation and handling perform the first phase of the survey activity. Qualifications include a familiarity with paper as a material, and the process of research. Research most often includes the use of extensive reference materials on printing techniques. Examination includes the use of ultra-violet light sources to detect fluorescing from the affects of foxing, and the use of a stereomicroscope for macro-examination of surface characteristics of paper and media. The physical structure of the original regarding paper making techniques, the presence of a deckle, and maker's marks are observed by means of transmitted light. Notation of the condition is complete when pH testing and diagrammatic mapping of localized deterioration has been performed.

Appropriate storage containers relating to the format of the item, the structure, medium and condition, are devised in consultation with curators, and provided by the interns as the second phase of the survey.

B. Assigning Priority and Identifying Terms

Once a portion of the survey has been completed and properly housed, the conservator examines each item against the survey sheet for accuracy, and establishes a priority based on the condition for conservation treatment within the lab. In this way, the conservator becomes familiar with the overall condition of the collection unit being surveyed and any immediate problems that may be of concern.

Priority terms are referred to as condition identifiers, that are used to classify an item's condition (TOP, HIGH, PRIORITY, LOW); and reflect those items that are relatively stable (STABLE), have been conserved (CONSERVED), or because of structural integrity, should not be disturbed by treatment within the lab (D.N.D.). The identifiers are accompanied by kev words that serve to substantiate and clarify the assigned priority rating.

Condition Identifier

TOP PRIORITY An item assigned a top priority rating as the condition identifier is extremely delicate in structure and possibly fragmented. Most contain foreign substances such as plastic TAPES which are actively destroying the primary support.

HIGH PRIORITY Items with a condition identifier of "high priority" are less severe in the need for immediate attention in the lab. They do not contain plastic tapes, but perhaps a paper-tape with a gum based adhesive. They may contain several TEARS, perhaps water tide marking STAINS, a low pH, FOXING, and surface SOILS.

PRIORITY "Priority" used as a condition identifier usually corresponds to some concern due to pH, STAINS, tatters, or small TEARS, FOXING, and surface SOILS.

LOW PRIORITY Items designated with a low priority identifier may have TEARS, SOILS, or corrosive FLYSPECKS, FOXING.

STABLE Materials in the collection surveyed as stable usually have a close to neutral pH and do not require treatment in the conservation lab.

CONSERVED Those items which have had prior conservation treatment and continue to be stable, do not require treatment, and are given a "conserved" condition identifier term.

D.N.D. (DO NOT DISTURB) The identifier "do not disturb" indicates that the item physically requires some treatment, but should not be treated extensively because it may disturb the original structure which is strongly connected to the history of the piece. Any key words with this identifier indicates partial treatment may be necessary regarding surface SOIL, FLYSPECKS, FOXING, STAINS, etc.

LAMINATED A condition identifier of "laminated" indicates the piece has been laminated at some point prior to its entering the collection, and treatment is highly unlikely due to the irreversibility of traditional laminated surfaces.

CONTEMPORARY A "contemporary" identifier is assigned items which are contemporary (1940 present) and stable, and do not require treatment in any manner.

REPRODUCTION An identifier of "reproduction" indicates the item in our collection is a reproduction and in most instances, conservation treatment will not be performed.

PHOTOSTAT Photo static reproductions of originals are indicated in the survey by the above identifier identifier, and conservation treatment will not be performed. Chemical instability of these papers may dictate separation from other cellulose material in the future.

DEACESS (DEACESSION) This identifier term is occasionally used when items are surveyed and possibly fall beyond the scope of the collection. This is made in conjunction with curators, and may be referred to for possible future deaccession procedures.

Key Words

Key words are descriptive terms that help establish respective priority ratings. Most words used are self explanatory, but a few require explanation and those are listed below.

The word HANDLE is used as a key word to indicate when an item is very fragile. This may be due to one or several factors: the amount of tears or fragmentation, the extent to which the paper is brittle, or a breakdown in the pulp due to mold and mildew. All of these factors make the item vulnerable to common use and handling, and usually indicate the need for immediate physical stabilization through treatment or storage.

Other common key terms are: PH, TEAR, STAIN, TAPE, GLUE.

In the Pamphlet survey, some key words were added to help describe the traits most common to bound structures. Those key words added were STAPLE and D.N.D.

STAPLE indicates staples were used for the binding material, and are actively rusting. Removal and replacement may be discussed with the curator at a later date.

D.N.D. used in the pamphlet survey as a key word indicates original stitching is intact, or fragments indicative of original structure appearance exist. Partial treatment may be performed in consultation with the curator in the future.

C. Condition Survey Data

A conservation condition survey Access database has been created to manage the information generated by the survey. The format of the program has been kept simple to allow for the mass of material to be surveyed. The original hard-copy survey sheet is kept in the record files of the Conservation Department; copies of these sheets accompany any future conservation treatment reports generated as a result of laboratory work. An acid-free copy of the original survey sheet is kept within an acid free folder and placed in the storage box or drawer. This enables the curator of each collection to know at a glance whether groups of items have been surveyed, or if any one item may have been missed.

A database has been created for each collection unit surveyed. The information screens are based on categories of information outlined in each survey sheet. Data for every record field is entered in capitol letters to simplify search functions. Because many collection units surveyed have yet to be cataloged, the title information from each item is noted exactly as it appears on the original (see exceptions for cataloged pamphlets). Initials or abbreviations used in the title are copied verbatim. Punctuation such as quotation marks, commas and periods are not inserted in titles or names. When only initials have been used to identify a person, spaces are left after each single initial without separation by periods. When first and middle name initials are accompanied by the last name, no space is left between the first and second initial. Example: T C S and WH HARRISON.

The last record field for each item surveyed is titled MEMO. The memo field is used for all information entered under DESIGN CHARACTERISTICS and OTHER. All information in these fields is also capitalized.

Use of the Survey

When a unit of the collection has been completed, a report is generated for the curator of items listed as TOP priority. From this list, the curator selects those items that, from their curatorial experience, should be first considered for treatment in the lab. When these items have been completed, the HIGH priority list is generated, and curatorial knowledge applied to select items to be treated. Items from the first TOP Priority list generated that are not selected by the curator may be considered for treatment at any time, but always with curatorial input.

After a surveyed original has been treated in the lab, conservation staff responsible for the treatment edits the record in the database and includes the conservation work number assigned to the item (example C-06-87) in the space reserved for the C-Number. Conservation work numbers relate to the department (C for Conservation), the number assigned to the treatment, (6th treatment in the lab), and the last number of the fiscal year (86-87 Fiscal Year).

Database Maintenance List

The database is backed up whenever information has been entered, especially once student interns have entered survey information from an entire unit. The database is backed up twice, and the disks are stored in the Library office area in separate storage containers.

• Do not enter quotation marks found in the title

• When entering a series title, abbreviate the title logically and enter the series number or volume number as is changes

• Type the title exactly as it appears on the form whenever possible. Example: William Henry Harrison, 9th President of the United States would not be abbreviated Wm. H. Harrison, 9th Pres. of U.S. Let the title be cut off by the spaces allotted in the database if the title is too long.

• For dimensions, enter SHEET SIZE.

• Keep the survey sheets in order, and return them in order; placing every 100 or so into a folder and marking the folder will keep the order; it may also assist in double-checking data entry.

• Odd entries or misspelled entries are unsearchable. If an entry seems odd, discuss it with the conservator.

• Do not enter parenthesis when found around the main title. The word signature is often found in the title with parenthesis; IT may be typed like this: title (signature)

D. Database Files

1. Graphic Works

The double-sided sheet is divided into bibliographic, descriptive and condition information. Bibliographic information includes the CALL NUMBER and DATE of work. If a curator has attributed the piece to a certain date, the date will be bracketed by []; include these brackets when noting the date on the survey sheet. These brackets are also entered in the DATE record field.

• The TITLE will be copied exactly as it is presented on the work. If it is part of a series, the series number or plate number will be recorded in the MEMO field for that record, and not be included as part of the title. This information is entered under OTHER at the bottom of the page.

• The ARTIST is recorded on the sheet without supplementary titles (Eng'd; engraved by). AFFILIATION may be noted if the work was sponsored by an affiliate group or publishing company.

• The DIMENSIONS should be recorded in inches as accurately as possible to the nearest 1/16. The full sheet dimension is entered under the DIMENSION in database record field.

• Checks are placed in the spaces provided for the descriptive account. If an item is printed, the type of print is entered in the adjacent blank; if the METHOD is listed at the asterisk at the bottom of the page, the term may be simply circled on the survey sheet. This descriptive term is entered under the record file titled METHOD in the database. Other approved METHOD terms beside those listed at the bottom of the survey sheet: ELECTROTYPE, OFFSET, SALT PRINT, SERIGRAPH, LINOCUT, LINE BLOCK, RELIEF HALFTONE, WOOD ENGRAVING, PHOTOLITHO, PHOTOSTAT, XEROX COPY and SILVERPOINT. If an item is referred to as both painted and drawn, the term PAINTED/DRAWN is entered in the record field.

• All MEDIA represented by the object is checked.

• DESIGN CHARACTERISTICS are notes made by the surveyor on the content of the work and brief account of the method of application for painted or drawn media or the graphic style represented (fluid lines, cross- hatching, washes, etc.). A print or painting that contains several colors of pigments should be described as a POLYCHROME or POLYCHROMATIC. These notes are entered in the MEMO field.

• OTHER remarks may be a continuation of an extended title or notes as exemplified with works entered into Acts of Congress. These notes are entered into the MEMO field.

• The assigned PRIORITY relates to the record field titled CONDIDENT and stands for condition identifier. It is determined by the head of conservation through examination of the original and the information presented on the corresponding survey sheet. Refer to the list of identifier terms and their appropriate abbreviations for record entry. If an item has been conserved, a C number is entered in the blank that indicates treatment is warranted. This line will remain empty if treatment has not been completed.

• KEY terms will be capitalized, and have a single space between each term; no punctuation is recorded in the database.

Graphic Works Survey Database

Accepted terms for DESCRIPTION answers the question what is it? (it is (a)...

PAINTING
DRAWING
PAINTED/DRAWN
PRINT
SALT PRINT
REPRODUCTION

Accepted terms for METHOD:
PAINTED
SALT PRINT
DRAWN
SILVERPOINT
PAINTED/DRAWN
ELECTROTYPE
WOODBLOCK
SERIGRAPH
ENGRAVING
LINOCUT
ETCHING
LINE BLOCK
AQUATINT
RELIEF HALFTONE
MEZZOTINT
OFFSET
LITHOGRAPH
PHOTOLITHO
PHOTOGRAVURE
XEROX COPY

Accepted terms for MEDIA:
DRAWN
PAINTED/DRAWN
PRINTED
GRAPHITE
WATERCOLOR
OIL BASED INK
PEN & INK
CHARCOAL
CONTE CRAYON
SILVERPOINT

Accepted terms for METHOD:
PRINT
REPRODUCTION
WOODBLOCK
PHOTOSTAT
ENGRAVING
XEROX COPY
ETCHING
REPRODUCTION
AQUATINT
MEZZOTINT
LITHOGRAPH
PHOTOGRAVURE
ELECTROTYPE
SERIGRAPH
LINOCUT
LINE BLOCK
RELIEF HALF TONE
OFFSET

2. Broadsides

The double-sided sheet is divided into bibliographic, descriptive and condition information. Bibliographic information includes the CALL NUMBER, COLLECTION NAME and DATE of work. If a curator has attributed the piece to a certain date, the date will be bracketed by []; include these brackets when noting the date. These brackets are included in the DATE record field.

• The TITLE will be copied exactly as it is presented on the broadside. If the title is long or extends into the text of the broadside, the significant portion of the title may be followed by dot, dot, dot

• The PUBLISHER should be stated in the appropriate space. If a lithographer is listed without reference to a publishing company, the lithographer may be listed in the space reserved for the publisher. IF both a publisher and a lithographer are listed, the lithographer is noted at the bottom of the survey sheet under OTHER.

• The DIMENSIONS should be recorded in inches as accurately as possible to the nearest 1/16. The full sheet dimension is entered into the data base record field under DIMENSION.

• All MEDIA and surface coatings represented by the object is checked.

•Checks are placed in the spaces provided for the descriptive account. If the object is printed, the type of print is included from the list at the bottom of the sheet. This descriptive term is entered under METHOD in the database.

• Design characteristics are notes made by the surveyor on the content of the work and brief account of typeface or composition. A print that contains several colors of pigments should be described as a polychrome or polychromatic. These notes are entered into the MEMO field.

• OTHER remarks may be a continuation of an extended title or notes of affiliation. These notes are entered into the MEMO field.

• The assigned PRIORITY relates to the record entry field CONDIDENT and stands for condition identifier. It is determined by the head of conservation through examination of the original and the information presented on the corresponding survey sheet. Refer to the list of identifier terms and their appropriate abbreviations for record entry. If an item is listed as conserved, the C number will be entered in the blank that indicates treatment is warranted. This line will remain empty if treatment has not been completed.

3. Maps

The double sided sheet is divided into bibliographic, descriptive, and condition information. Bibliographic information includes the CALL NUMBER and DATE of the map. If a curator has attributed the piece to a certain date, the date will be bracketed by []; include these brackets when noting the date. These brackets are included in the DATE record field.

Because a significant number of maps are not cataloged, (the title of maps are usually abbreviated by the cataloger,) the TITLE will be copied exactly as it is presented on the map. If the title is long, the significant portion of the title may be followed by dot, dot, dot (... ). The remainder of the title will be entered under OTHER at the bottom of the page, and included in the MEMO record field.

• The CARTOGRAPHER, SCULPTOR, PUBLISHER, and PLACE, should be recorded on the sheet in the appropriate blanks when indicated. Anyone listed as the engraver of a map will be listed as the sculptor on the survey sheet. If a lithographer is listed without reference to a publishing company, the lithographer may be listed in the space reserved for the publisher. IF both a publisher and lithographer are listed, the lithographer is noted at the bottom of the survey sheet under OTHER.

• The DIMENSIONS should be recorded in centimeters as accurately as possible. The full sheet dimension is entered into the data base record field.

• All MEDIA represented by the object is checked.

• Checks are placed in the spaces provided for the descriptive account. If the map is printed, the type of print is included from the list at the bottom of the sheet. This descriptive term is entered under METHOD in the database.

• Design characteristics are notes made by the surveyor on the content of the work and brief account of composition. A print that contains several colors of pigments should be described as a polychrome or polychromatic. The cartouche is that portion of the map featuring the title. Often the cartouche will be very ornate, as well as the border of the map. Descriptions should be outlined in the appropriate areas at the bottom of the sheet. These notes are entered into the MEMO field.

• OTHER remarks may be a continuation of an extended title or notes of affiliation. These notes are entered into the MEMO field. The assigned PRIORITY relates to the record entry field CONDIDENT and stands for condition identifier. It is determined by the head of conservation through examination of the original and the information presented on the corresponding survey sheet. Refer to the list of identifier terms and their appropriate abbreviation for record entry. If an item is listed as conserved, the C number will be entered in the blank that indicates treatment is warranted. This line will remain blank if treatment has not been completed.

• KEY terms will be capitalized, and have a single space between each term; no punctuation is recorded in the database.

4. Pamphlets

The pamphlet collection is currently being re-classified from the Dewey cataloging system to the Library of Congress (LC) system. The survey will start with the re-classified pamphlets, move through the various formats, and through those pamphlets that are still cataloged under the Dewey system. Those pamphlets that are uncataloged will be surveyed once they have received a cataloging number.

Each pamphlet will be examined for condition, and the majority will be documented by a survey sheet. Items that are stable and dated 1950 to the present will be examined and a running list created of the pamphlet numbers.

• Record the LC CALL NUMBER in the first space. ACCESSION numbers will not be recorded at this time. The DEWEY space is provided for the later part of the survey as stated above.

• Enter the DATE of the pamphlet. In the LC system, the date is usually incorporated as part of the cataloging number. This date should be entered even though the title page may show a different date. The Dewey system of cataloging does not incorporate dates as part of the numbering system. When Dewey pamphlets are surveyed, the date shown on the title page will be recorded.

• Check the UNCAT space should it become necessary to survey an uncataloged pamphlet.

• Enter the TITLE that is typed on the front of the pamphlet envelope. This title, however abbreviated, is how the publication is listed in the card catalog. If a title is vague in identifying the content of the material usually identified with our collection, check the contents briefly for historical reference. The subject matter may be entered in NOTES at the bottom of the page.

• Complete spaces for AUTHOR, EDITOR, PUBLISHER and PLACE as printed on the title page.

• HEIGHT and WIDTH are recorded in centimeters. Record the approximate number of pages included in the publication. Note that many pamphlets are removed from larger volumes, and printed page numbers do not automatically reflect the actual number of pages present in the publication.

• If portions of the pamphlet WRAPPER still exist, it is noted.

• The DESCRIPTION section of the survey sheet is used to record the physical components of the item. Each component is described in terms of PAPER TYPE, MEDIA, PRINTING TECHNIQUE. Descriptive terms identified in each component is checked on the survey sheet. Pamphlets may consist of several components:

• FOLDOUTS - sheets that are larger than the format of the pamphlet and must be unfolded to reveal the full sheet; sometimes maps.

• WRAPPER/COVER - the printed or unprinted material that is used to protect the pamphlet; possibly printed separately from the test.

• PLATES - printed sheets that are tipped in or bound as part of the pamphlet; usually illustrations or charts with text that were printed separately from the text.

• ILLUSTRATIONS - visual references printed as part of the text; sometimes a different printing technique is employed than the test.

• TEXT BLOCK - pages printed as part of the pamphlet. Methods of identifying components and examination of paper, media, and printing techniques will be presented to surveyors. The methods of printing are numbered at the lower margin of the page. The appropriate number will be entered in the spaces provided.

• METHODS OF BINDING records the methods used to join leaves of a pamphlet together. SINGLE SHEET pamphlets may consist of a single, unfolded sheet, a FOLDED leaf that is UNBOUND, or several leaves that are bound together as originally issued. Some pamphlets in our collection will have been DISBOUND from a larger group of essays or pamphlets.

• MACHINE SEWN pamphlets will be distinguished from HAND SEWN method of STAB sewing along the sides of loose sheets or folded leaves (signatures). OVERSEWN is distinguished by sewing along the edge as in stab sewing and includes circling the stitch around the sheets or leaves. THRUFOLD stitches are sewn through the fold of a leave, and may incorporate grouping several signatures onto a cord. RANDOM stitching may be any combination of the above, with any placement along the left edge of the binding. OTHER methods employed will be entered in the space provided.

• STAPLED pamphlets will be noted by the placement of staples at the side of the leaves, or inside the fold as in SADDLE methods.

• BINDING MATERIALS incorporated in the pamphlets, such as GLUE, THREAD, CORD, METAL will be recorded by checking the appropriate space. OTHER materials employed will be entered in the space provided.

• NOTES will record other information that sheds light on the pamphlet. • If the ORIGINAL STITCHING is INTACT, this is recorded with a note in this area. If staples are rusting, a note to that effect is appropriate in the notes area. Fragments of binding cords or missing covers should be noted, along with a description of the color.

Judging the Priority of Pamphlets

What to Consider when assigning Priority and Keys to PAMPHLETS: First look at DATE; an early date 1650-1875 will indicate rarity of the item, and help direct thoughts about the structure.

If no date is provided, check the description of the paper support. A handmade sheet may indicate an early date and help direct thoughts about the structure.

If an item does not have a wrapper it does not mean an item is incomplete - wrappers were provided for some pamphlets, not for others. Look for fragments of wrappers at glued spine edge and around sewing holes. Any remaining fragments of a wrapper should be noted at bottom of page.

Foldouts and plates used as illustrations may indicate (early) quality of a printed item it was expensive to produce at the time, both in terms of subject and structure. Examine the kind of printing used for illustrations, printing that varies from the type used for the text points to a pamphlet that was more expensive to produce that may possibly point to overall importance of the pamphlet.

Any item that used handset type should be considered important.

Any item with hand colored illustrations should be considered important.

Any early handmade paper item with an original deckle should be considered important.

Any uncut pamphlet of an early handmade paper should be considered important.

Clay coated and dyed papers are important to consider, along with iron gall inks due to possible problems in later treatments.

Any item that has been hand sewn, whether random, thru-fold, or stab, should be considered early.

Any original hand sewn binding should be categorized DND do not disturb under KEYS. This means any treatment will not intrude on the binding.

If an item is disbound from its original binding or a secondary binding, it may be possible to do more restorative measures. Glue residues that harbor original wrapper fragments wil not be disturbed; treatments to those areas will not entail covering those fragments.

If the HANDLE of a particular item is poor and fragments of a wrapper are present, the curator will be notified re: microfilming of the item

The Number of pages will help identify the structure to the extent that it can be treated by interns w/o much intrusion or by experienced conservators.

No judgment is made based on topic of pamphlet - curatorial knowledge will help judge value of item based on content. Priorities will be based on condition of the items with necessary emphasis on early imprints, handmade paper, hand sewn bindings, handcolored illustrations, and the condition of the binding; whether the original binding has been disturbed, if it has been rebound, if it is foldered and uncut, etc., or if the binding is intact yet not original.

Glue residue on spine removed from a larger bound collection of pamphlets can be removed easily and get a TOP priority rating.

date of pamphlet

early method of printing - letterpress deckle edges intact

whether it has foldouts: engraved, etched woodblock hand coloring of foldouts

number of pages - the number of pages in a pamphlet may influence whether we may be able to work on the structure at all

is original binding intact? If so, immediately put the designator DND (do not disturb) in the KEYS space on the worksheet. This is an item which must be carefully considered re: intrusive treatment.

Glue remnants indicate a previous cover may also approach treatment or removal w/care; but unnecessary to state DND re: glue remnants. Under binding, other: Staples beginning to rust and original binding intact; enter STAPLE in the KEYS space

Under KEYS in pamphlet survey: pH pH is recorded to indicate materials that are acidic and, when future treatments will allow it, they may be treated to reduce pH - gas phase?

DND (Do not Disturb) DND is used as a KEY when original stitching is intact and means it will not be disturbed. However, other identifiers are recorded to indicate problems which may require local treatments that will not disturb original binding.

HANDLE The word handle is recorded as a KEY when item is in danger of further damage through use. The item is usually deteriorated or very fragile; loose pages, fragmentation, very brittle.

STAPLE Use as a KEY to describe where staples are found and actively rusting. While other metal bindings may exist, if they are not corroding, STAPLE will not be used as a KEY identifier.

5. Manuscripts and Archives

The Manuscript and Archive Condition Survey was formulated as part of a method for managing library materials, and is included as standard procedure for processing manuscript and archive collections. The long term goal of the survey is to make certain all important fragile items are stabilized and treated as necessary in the lab.

Treatment

As part of the preservation process, fragile materials are provided with Mylar support sleeves by the archivists until the items may be treated in the conservation lab. These fragile items from collections surveyed at the folder level are noted on the condition sheet. Tatters, tears, heavy soil, applied tape, and whether an item is brittle or stained are a few of the concerns the archivist keeps in mind when filling out the sheet. With surveys completed, a body of information is gathered to establish the quantity of conservation treatment needed by a particular collection. The conservation staff will treat a variety of these concerns by any number of techniques including: surface cleaning, removing tapes, removing acidic backings, reducing stains, washing, reinforcing folds, lining, mending and filling areas of loss. Deacidifying materials will be done an a selective basis depending upon the composition of the paper and types of pigment present; usually with a bath amended by calcium hydroxide.

Immediate stabilization

Many of the top priority items received as part of a new collection are considered for stabilization by the curator immediately. This may include extensive treatment. The manner in which a manuscript or archive collection is used for research depends upon the entire collection's availability at any one time. It is with this in mind that the Conservation department will slate items for immediate treatment when at all possible. While the conservation department will attempt to address all fragile items that require immediate care, the condition survey is the main avenue to convey information about the overall condition of the collection.

Long Term Goals

The condition survey for manuscripts should eventually reveal the need for a significant quantity of work, especially for collections surveyed at the folder level. Due to the number of items that require treatment, work may require the need for a grant project. In order to receive a grant, condition surveys such as this must be performed with care with an eye toward the long term goal.

E. Handout for Surveyors

The process of surveying the condition of a collection entails thorough documentation of individual objects. Documentation includes notation of characteristics which describe the item in detail to indicate structure, materials, condition, and evaluates possible dangers which may be associated with its current state of deterioration or its relative stability.

The structure of an object relates directly to the making or creation of an item. A sheet of paper exists due to the idea and capabilities of the makers, reflecting the chosen technology known or available at a certain period of time. With fine art, the creative imagination of the craftsman is directly associated with the creation of an object. The integrity of an item as it exists in time relates to materials available, chosen technology, methods, use of materials, and the idea/facts reflected in the piece from the mind of the maker. Factors which could change the original, influence the condition of an item in a negative way, are discovered through examination.

The combination of materials used and the degree of manipulation affect the natural degradation rate of any produced item, as all organic materials decompose at measured rates. The use of poor or chemically reactive materials in the manufacture of an item influence the stability of the object, as reactive materials degrade at a faster rate than normal when chemical reactivity is influenced or encouraged.

Fluctuations in humidity, temperature, exposure to light, and atmospheric pollutants all encourage change in the molecular structure of the original. These changes are viewed as permanent alterations to the original, and left in the same environment will ultimately lead to degradation.

The following list of material and structural characteristics would be carefully studied in order to properly examine and document paper-based items in a condition survey.

1. MATERIALS

A. Primary supports

1. Papers a. pulps b. sizings c. chemical treatments/manufacture d. coatings and other surface treatments

2. Skin, Parchment, Vellum

a. skin types

b. skin treatments (tanned, tawed, etc.)

c. hair or flesh side used

d. characteristics within the skins

e. final use, configuration (sheet, strips, cords)

B. Secondary Supports, Mounts

1. Paper

a. cardboards

b. scrapbook album pages

c. case bindings

2. Non-paper

a. cloth

b. wood

c. laminate MATERIALS continued

C. Primary Media

1. Liquid Inks

a. carbon

b. iron gall

c. colored inks

2. Semi-liquid inks

a. ball point

b. felt tip

3. Manual, non-ink

a. graphite

b. lead pencil

c. colored pencil

d. wax pencil/crayon

e. silverpoint

f. charcoal

g. pastel

4. Paint

a. watercolor

b. gouache

c. tempera

5. Printer's inks

a. base and colors (or pigment name)

6. Miscellaneous media

a. typewriter

b. carbons

c. mimeograph

d. electrostatic/photostatic

e. cyanotype/ diazo

1. MATERIALS continued

D. Secondary

Media

1. Ink Stampings

2. Embossments

a. papers

3. Applied Media

a. fabric seals

b. wax seals

c. vellum strips, cords

E. Adhesives

1. Starch pastes

2. Hyde Glues

3. Gums

4. Synthetic Resins

a. cements

b. pressure sensitive tape

F. Non-adhesive Fasteners

1. Metal

a. iron and steel

b. brass

c. copper

2. Rubber

3. Plastic

2. STRUCTURE

A. Paper

1. handmade laid

2. handmade wove

3. intact or partial deckle edge

4. intact or partial watermark

5. machine-made laid

6. machine-made wove

7. dandy roll embossments

B. Bindings

1. bound signatures sewn thru-fold

2. bound signatures sewn on cords

3. bound signatures stapled thru-fold (saddle

4. bound signatures stab sewn

5. sheets stab sewn

3. MEDIA APPLICATION

A. Inscribed

1. implement used for inscription

a. pencil

b. pen nib

c. quill

B. Drawn

1. implement used for drawing

a. charcoal stick

b. graphite

c. powdered pigment

d. conte crayon

e. silverpoint

C. Painted

1. implement used for painting

D. Painted/ Drawn

1. implements used for each application

E. Printed

1. Relief process

a. woodblock

b. letterpress

c. line block

d. stereotype

e. linocut

3. MEDIA APPLICATION continued

E. Printed continued

2. Intaglio

a. engraved

b. etched

c. mezzotint

d. aquatint

3. Planographic

a. lithograph

b. photolitho dot matrix

c. relief halftone

d. offset

e. electrotype

f. photogravure

g. serigraph

4.Electro Mechanical

a. photocopy

b. photostat

 

Considered resources:

Gascoigne, Bamber. 1986. How To Identify Prints a Complete Guide to Manual and Mechanical Processes from Woodcut to Ink jet

Lambert, Susan. 1983. Victoria and Albert Museum. Printmaking

Bower, Peter. 1993. The Oxford Papers. Proceedings of the British Association of Paper Historians Fourth Annual Conference

Gravell, T.L. Miller, G. Walsh, E. 2002. American Watermarks 1690-1835

Steinberg, S.H. 1996. revised edition Five Hundred Years of Printing