Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Rare books collection shelf mark and barcode problems

labels on rare collections (Books, Manuscripts, documents, photo albums ..etc) are glued on these objects and after some time it cause damage to the original  binding material this damages mostly is irreversible damages most of the time.

On this blog i will try to share my last few years experience thinking and trying to deal with those labels for the rare books collection, some methods was effective and save, and some are not, as we always considering reversibility of any techniques we use on rare objects.

Rare books labelling in libraries

(A) A 18th century binding damaged with new archival label 
Labelling recommendation for modern and new archival materials (books, magazines ... etc) :
  • For general collections acceptable acid free book labels are available from library suppliers.
  • Alternatively, use a soft pencil if it is absolutely essential to label the inside of a book cover directly.
in fig(A) a 18 century binding is damaged by irreversible transparent tap that has been add to the spine joint with the upper and lower cover for keeping it's shelf mark label stable as possible ( from the Liberian point of view).
after many times of use and handling, this transparent taps left causing a damage to the original leather.

another example of label cause a damaged to a book
I have tried many deferent methods to avoid adding those labels back to rare books after restoration especially on the original binding material specially if the binding material is leather or paper.
  • Using Transparent polyethylene

    In this method a protection layer from transparent polyethylene is used to protect the spine as a quarter binding then adding all the labels and bar-codes to this polyethylene layer.

Advantages of this method: 
  • Avoid direct contact or direct gluing between the book and the label.
  • Protect books spine from dust and direct hand contact.
Disadvantages of this method: 
  • Bad ventilation for the object spine (it cannot breath)
  • May cause fungal attack to the cover in case of humidity. 
  • Books electrostatically charge sticks together on the shelf which make some books act together as one during handling and cause handling damage.
Humidity start effecting the spine - Electrostatic charge makes many objects act as a one during handling

  • Using Flap

    One of the most bad thing that i have ever try is using a flap of leather or clothe or celluloid attached to the inner end of the spine during the restoration process to attach labels on it.

Advantages of this method: 
  • Keeping labels away from the original cover material.
  • Good ventilation for the spine.
Disadvantage of this method: 
  • Cannot applied to all books on the shelf (only we can apply it whin we fully restored and rebinding the books).
  • Not durable whine using on shelves (readers sometimes Hand pulling the book from the shelves using it).
  • Not always in a pssition to mak it visible on the shelf.
  • irrevarsable as it become a part from the object binding.
  • give a wrong historical identity to the original object.

  • Using Acid Free Label Card:

    Is an acid free card which is designed to attach on the end leafe or front leaf (guard) of the book with a external space on it to glue or add all labels and  bar-codes on it.

    Using acid free cards
Advantages of this method: 
  • Nothing directly glued to the object which means good ventilation for the object and no more label cause damages.
  • Stickers and labels is away (not glued on) from the books spine.
  • Visible to liberians and readers, so it makes it Easy to find Call number or bar-code on shelves.
  • Acid free card will not make any acidity Transfer effect or marks on the book papers or book cover.
  • Very practical, cost effective and easy in using and changing it.
Applying acid free label card method to all rare books
Disadvantage of this method: 
  • It may get mixed from object to another during handling or reading.
  • Liberian needs to educate readers respectively how to but these tables back to the objects after reading.
  • In case of a hard pressure on books on shelves for long time, this label we leave embossed marks.
Till today this method is the favorite one for me even if the risk of losing this label during reading process or handling, but still you can print a new barcode and apply it on a new card then attach it to the book,
adding to your consideration that the researchers who are dealing normally with rare objects (which is usually not objects for normal readers) are able to understand the value of these books and handling it in a good way and Liberian eassly can guide them for the best objects handling practices.

May be in my next blog i will talk about the save handling methods for bindings.

thanks for reading

Sorry English is not my first language but sharing experience is a global language

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