University of Minnesota
How much do you know about preser-vation issues? These questions represent various areas of the field. Some are easy, some a little tricky. Go ahead. Test your preservation IQ. Maybe you know more than you think.
1. What is the best means for preserving the information in brittle books?
2. Why do books become brittle?
3. A library preservation assessment would include:
4. Mold can only grow on books when:
5.Standards for library binding are developed by:
6. You should never shelve a book:
7. A cardinal rule of book repair is:
8. To increase the life of videocassette tapes:
9. For the greatest protection to books, shelving should:
10. The best way to break-in a new book is by:
1. A. Mr. Baker* would likely not agree, but preservation experts generally contend that reformatting is necessary to preserve the information in brittle books. Microfilming continues to be the most stable and reliable means for long-term preservation.
(* NOTE: Nicolson Baker is the author of Double Fold: Libraries and the Assault on Paper, 2001, in which he accuses librarians of exaggerating the brittle paper problem and thus destroying printed books and newspapers in an effort to reformat them.)
2. D. All three are contributors to embrittlement.**
(** NOTE: An older, but still worthy, discussion of what things cause paper to deteriorate can be found in Paper and its Preservation: Environmental Controls, Oct. 1983 (rev.). This paper was published by the Library of Congress Preservation Office as its Preservation Leaflet No. 2 and distributed through the GPO depository program.)
3. E. Once again, all of the above. A good preservation assessment examines any activity or condition that may affect the well-being of the library collection, including how housekeepers clean. Vacuum cleaners that fail to filter small particles tend to create dust problems.
4. C. This is a tricky question. The word "only" is key to the answer. Warmer temperatures are conducive to mold growth, although mold can grow in temperatures as low as 40 degrees. Mold spores can be introduced in a variety of ways, and it is highly likely they are already there waiting for enough moisture to allow them to flourish.
5. A. The Library Binding Institute was established in 1935 and works to promote high standards within the field of bookbinding.
6. C. You may have been tempted by answer B. Ideally, shelves are adjusted to accommodate taller books, but in practice, this is not always possible. It is okay in this case to shelve the book spine down, but never fore-edge down. The text block of a book on its fore-edge has no support and its weight may cause it to separate from the spine.
7. D. Many a book has been irreparably damaged by a well-meaning librarian using flawed repair techniques.
8. D. If you break all these rules in storing your personal collection, you are not alone. Nevertheless, you should avoid laying videocassettes on their sides since this may allow the tape to sag away from the hub. Tapes should never be stored half played and its best not to rewind, since playing leaves a more even tension. If you must rewind, use a machine that allows rewinding at a slow speed. Tapes should not be stored near magnetic fields, and that includes televisions.
9. C. Pipes burst. Water pools. Anything on or near the floor gets wet. A and B are wrong. Wooden shelving is not recommended because it emits harmful gases and no coating or sealant will completely block this. Well lighted shelves are people friendly but not book friendly. For more discussion of lighting and books, see the preservation column in TSLL, vol. 28, no.1/2.
10. B. Actually, breaking in books is a good thing. It preserves the strength and elasticity of the book for years.