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.
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.
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.
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