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Preservation and Conservation at Yale University Library: Home

Guide to the activities, policies and general information about the Preservation & Conservation Services Department at the Yale University Library

Preservation and Conservation at Yale University Library

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Introduction

Preservation is a universal field with many facets: it reaches local communities and international entities; it employs skills and expertise across many disciplines; it utilizes low tech and high tech solutions.  Preservation is carried out by conservators, historic preservationists, librarians, policy makes, scientist, historians, teachers, activists, and many others. Preservation is generally organized around three major goals: preventing damage and managing risk, conserving physical artifacts and objects, and reformatting and managing at-risk content and new media formats.

Our Mission

The Yale University Library's Preservation and Conservation Services Department supports the Library's mission by ensuring continued access to collections, through a program of specialized expertise, proactive stewardship and collaboration.

Definitions

What is Preservation?

In libraries and archives, the term preservation is usually used to refer to any and all activities that prolong the useable life of collections and objects. Preservation can include a variety of preventative and remedial measures, like environmental control, reformatting, conservation and digital content migration, that address deterioration, damage and mitigate the effects of time and continued use.  In museums, many preservation actions, like monitoring environments, disaster planning, handling instruction and protective housing, are called preventative conservation.

At the the Yale University Library, we often use "preservation" to characterize activities, strategies and programs that involve significant format change, migration to a new medium, or emulation of an experience to prolong the use and life of collection. We use "conservation" to describe our work and programs of preventative care for physical objects with the objective of maintaining the original format, feel, and use with only as much alteration as is needed.

 

 

Announcements and News

Preservation & Conservation Services has created a new tab on this site with COVID-19 or Novel Coronovirus information resources relating to the transmission of the virus via surfaces and handling.

Preservation & Conservation Services

Contact Us:

Director, Preservation & Conservation Services

Christine McCarthy

Sr. Administrative Assistant

Murray Harrison

Operational Units

Conservation & Exhibition Services ​Conservation treatment for general and special collections; boxing and custom housing for collections; technical examination and material analysis; and exhibition planning, preparation, and installation

Paula Zyats, Assistant Chief Conservator and lead conservator for Gates Laboratory

Digital Preservation Services ​management of the digital preservation system, Preservica; rescue of media from obsolete formats; software preservation and emulation; and consultation on digital preservation issues and workflows; setting policies for digital stewardship and best practices

Euan Cochrane, Digital Preservation Manager

Digital Reformatting & Microfilming Services - digital or microfilm reformatting of brittle books and papers, conversion of audio-visual materials from various formats; development of vendor specifications; and digital imaging or photography for special collections materials and very fragile circulating items

Robert Klingenberger, Head of DRMS

Preservation Services - ​binding of monographs and serials via a commercial vendor; review of all damaged materials from the general and circulating collections; environmental monitoring and assessment; consultation on collection moves and building renovations; collections emergency preparedness and response, and training in general handling for staff​

Tara Kennedy, Preservation Services Librarian

Picutring Preservation

Images of conservation studio in Sterling Memorial Library circa 1980

The di Bonaventura Family Digital Archeology and Preservation Laboratory

The di Bonaventura Family Digital Archeology and Preservation Lab supports the technological needs of digital material from general and special collections across Yale University libraries and museums.

Commerical Binding Preparation Team at Work

Ellen Zemina and Susan Mar prepare serial issues and damaged volumes for rebinding through a commercial vendor that adheres to preservation standards.

A "Medieval Manuscript" Thank You

Students from the 5th grade at the Hooker School in New Haven made a thank you manuscript for conservators and technicians who spent an afternoon showing the students how books were made in the Middle Ages.

All Preservation & Conservation LibGuides