Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Mixed Media in the Rehousing Project

The image above is a colored pencil drawing of the Georgia Pavillion at the 1964-1965 World's Fair in New York City. The drawing exists on fragile tracing paper which has yellowed over time. The yellowing is caused by environmental factors and the chemical composition of the paper; the usable lifespan of this document will be greatly extended by the rehousing project. Today the archive will arrange and rehouse at least a dozen drawings of the Georgia Pavillion; the drawings are varied in their size and media. The varied formats in this collection are so far typical of those found in the archive's collection.

As you can see in this second image of materials relating to the White Hospital, one folder of prints can contain everything from brownlines to tracings to negatives prepared for reproduction. Since the collection's holdings vary in size and composition, the flat files aren't appropriate for all of the items; smaller items are interleaved and sorted into drop front boxes, and arrangement numbering will let researchers know how to find everything for one subject. Separating the formats by size will prevent smaller items from becoming damaged or misplaced in drawers too large for their measurements.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Preventing light damage to architectural drawings and prints

The first two weeks of the archive's rehousing project have been very productive. In addition to gathering more information on our holdings, the archive has also been able to document the need for better archival storage, and solve a number of environmental problems related to preserving our research materials. One of the environmental threats to the collection is light damage. In the picture above, you can clearly see that information on the top left of the print has faded out as a result of exposure to sunlight. In the picture below, a print that has experienced light damage is contrasted with a print that has been stored in the dark.

As you can see from the previous image, these two prints were made in the same office, on the same day in 1960, using the same process on the same type of paper. One of the prints has light damage, the other does not. Light damage can occur from artificial as well as natural light. Light damage not only causes the fading of materials, but contributes to the natural breakdown of the paper, causing brittleness. The embrittling of the paper causes it to break easily, and can lead to losses along the edge of the paper, as seen below. Once the prints are housed in flat files, no further light damage should occur - preventing future information loss as a result of fading.

Friday, November 11, 2005

The first drawings have been arranged

This week in the archive we have started to arrange the architectural drawings, prints, and maps into the new flat files.

As you can see in the pictures above, the drawings are interleaved with unbuffered archival tissue to prevent one print from damaging another as they are arranged together. This allows for each print to be retrieved without damage; one can lift an item out of the drawer without sliding it against another item. The arrangement of the print can also be noted on the paper. The notation on the interleaving in the picture above reads "01.001.White Building.001" - meaning that this print belongs in flat file drawer 1, position 1, and that the drawing belongs to the White Building series, and is the first print in that series. This type of notation simply refers to arrangement; description and cataloging of the prints will not begin until next year. It is possible that during the description and cataloging phase, the prints may also be put into folders according to series.

A conservative estimate of the collection gives us 2,000 items to re-house and arrange this way, so the archive will be working exclusively on this project for some months to come! Keep checking in with this blog though - there are so many interesting prints in this collection, we'll still have new pictures and information to post each week.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Today the archive set up the first three flat files we've purchased to use in re-housing our maps, drawings, and blueprints. Because there's no room in the archive,we've stacked them outside the archive along the wall, and had locks installed on the cabinets for security. Before the end of the semester, three more flat files will be stacked on top of these. By the end of Spring semester 2006, all the flat files will be filled with organized and cataloged prints. Posted by Picasa

Archives presentation this Wednesday

This Wednesday, November 9, 2005, The SPSU Archives and Special Collections will give a special presentation as part of the annual SPSU Author's Reception. This event is co-Sponsored by the Office of the President and the L. V. Johnson Library every year and celebrates those on campus who are published. To attend, simply come to the Library Rotunda from Noon – 1:00 PM on Wednesday. Light refreshments will be served, and the archives has put together a slide show of some never-before-seen materials we're anxious to share.

Everyone is invited to the reception to celebrate our SPSU authors, and to get a peek at one set of possible plans for archives expansion.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Off to the Society of Georgia Archivists Annual Meeting

The archive contains hundreds of uncataloged images like this one from 1973. Take a close look, and you'll see a U.S. President and two of SPSU's former Directors. In a year or so, once we've stabilized the collection's housing, the archive can begin to catalog and provide access to our photograph collection.

The archives will be closed for the rest of the week while your archivist is off to Augusta for the annual meeting of The Society of Georgia Archivists. While there, we'll be spreading the word about our new projects, and taking a look at what some of our peers have accomplished in the past year. Take a look at some of the archives that are linked to the left of this post to see just a few of the dozens of institutions that will be represented at the SGA meeting.