An optimised workflow for large-scale condition surveys of book collections

TitleAn optimised workflow for large-scale condition surveys of book collections
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsVelios, A., and Pickwoad N.
Refereed DesignationRefereed
Conference NameCare and Conservation of Manuscripts
Conference Start Date24/04/2008
PublisherMuseum Tusculanum Press
Conference LocationCopenhagen
EditorDriscoll, M., and Mósesdóttir R.
ISBN Number9788763530996

In libraries and archives, the condition survey of a collection is an essential task for conservation management. Information about the state of preservation and the structure of the books is needed for estimating the necessary resources in order to plan conservation work. In large collections, detailed condition surveys can be costly and therefore the workflow design needs to be as economical as possible. In the library of the Saint Catherine Monastery in Sinai, Egypt, apart from the large size of the collection, an additional problem is its remote location. This requires any workflow to be robust because of the limited available resources in the desert of Sinai.
In this paper we describe an optimised workflow for the condition survey of bound books. Our workflow employs the use of digital technology for storing the collected information and focuses on quality control. Groups of conservators examine each book in teams of two, answering a sequence of questions which evolve according to the previous answers. This way the conservators do not waste time by examining questions which are not applicable to the specific book. The validity of the information is checked by the computer during the inputting process, so erroneous entries are corrected immediately. Photography of the books is done using a digital camera. Each photograph includes a colour scale which allows monitoring the quality of the resulting images as they are shot. Images which are below specified quality limits are shot again. All equipment is linked through a wireless network which augments the management of the resulting digital files especially the ones created by the digital camera.
The paper concludes with a comparison of our proposed workflow with traditional workflows as well as recommendation for future improvements.

Refereed DesignationRefereed
Bibliography subjects: