Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Digital Library Program (DLP) Project Update (11/22/2017)

 New Collection

David Brainard Diary - The David Brainard Diary is now available online.  The site has been added to the Digital by Dartmouth Manuscripts collections.  David Brainard was a member of the ill-fated Lady Franklin Bay Expedition (1881-1884), also known as the Greely Expedition.  It resulted in the tragic loss of all but six of the men.  One of the survivors, David Brainard, kept a diary of the expedition that we have in our collections.  The diary is written in pencil in a small notebook along with his record of stores issued during the last winter of the expedition.  David Brainard's Camp Clay diary is a meticulously kept account of the daily happenings at Cape Sabine on the Ellesmere Island coast, where the men of the Lady Franklin Bay Expedition lived as castaways through the long and desperate winter of 1883-1884.

View the David Brainard Diary HERE

 Ongoing Projects

Oversized Photographic Files -- The Digital Production Unit has completed imaging the Oversize Photographic Files.  This collection of approximately 650 photographs is an extension of the Dartmouth Photographic Files Collection.  Photographs include images of alumni associations, faculty and staff, college events, student life, athletics, student clubs, buildings and grounds, and campus scenes.  The images span the years circa 1853-2000.  Moving forward with digitizing the oversized photographs will provide researchers, community members, alumni, faculty, staff and remote users with a complete collection of digital photographs.  Cataloging and Metadata Service continues to work enhancing the metadata for the entire collection.  We anticipate this work to be completed early in 2018.

View Dartmouth Photographic Files oversize images HERE 


Miraculously Builded in Our Hearts: A Dartmouth Reader -- This Reader, addressed particularly to Dartmouth graduates, student, and friends, will also appeal to others interested in the history of higher education in America.  "While preparing this volume," the editors write, "we developed fresh appreciation for that peculiar slice of humankind known as the men and women of Dartmouth, who in Hanover learn to analyze the verse of Milton, explore fluid dynamics, wrestle with Lu Xun, confront Aquinas, discover radiogenic isotope geochemistry, climb Moosilauke, build their own kayaks, sharpen an ax with a dual-grip handstone, and slip across a snowy campus on cross-country skis to an early morning class on Flaubert."

Written by Bill Ghezzi


Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Mt. Kearsarge North

This fall I decided to join some friends from the seacoast at a midway point for a day hike, Mt. Kearsarge in Bartlett, N.H.  This 3,268ft. mountain is only a short 1.5 mile drive east on Hurricane Rd. off Rt. 302/16, and is very near the resort town of North Conway, N.H.  The trailhead parking is limited, but cars are able to use the roadside as this is quite the popular trail, even during our midweek hike.

The hike begins with very moderate elevation gain for perhaps a mile while walking through a beautiful wooded area on the well-worn trail.  After this easy-ish introduction, a change in the trail composition and its difficulty are noticeable, becoming far more rocky than in the woods and the
pitch increases to moderately difficult.  The trail continues for another mile at this pace before a rocky outcrop with a small clearing allows for a limited view to the south.

Continuing back into the woods, the trail alternates between moderate and difficult for the last mile, mainly hugging the north side of the summit cone, where the trees get noticeably shorter and the trail even more rocky.  Once the summit area is reached, the trees thin and an inactive fire tower (one of the last in New Hampshire) comes into view.
Fire Tower

It was my first trip to this summit and I was extremely pleased once we climbed up the stairs into the towers protected confines as the views were spectacular in all directions.  On this day, we didn't need
much protection from the elements as you will see from my photos.  I might add there was even a restroom just a few yards below the summit area opening for those in need.
Flush, please

I should end my blog here and let all enjoy the 360 degree summit view, looking east into Maine, west to the Franconia Range, south towards Conway and the Moat Mt. chain, and north to Mt. Washington and the Carter Notch area.

North view

South view

East view

West view

Written by Brian Markee

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Tips for Capturing Photographic Negatives

Much like any other digitization project, capturing photographic negatives can be relatively straightforward or complex, depending on the tools you have available and the level of accuracy you're working towards.

The most important difference between scanning negatives and positives is that negatives require backlighting in some form or another.  While there is some flexibility in how you achieve this, it's always a requirement.  Here I'll examine three methods of capturing negatives, and their respective advantages and disadvantages.

Method 1: Feed Scanner

Pictured: Epson Workforce ES-400
Feed scanners are very common at the consumer level, as they are often the easiest to use in a hands-off manner.  As you can probably guess, they are called "feed scanners" because the images are fed through the top.  A major advantage of these kinds of scanners is their ability to scan both sides of an image at the same time (provided they are designated "duplex," a standard setting on this kind of scanner).  This removes the need for backlighting, as the object is always being "lit" on both sides whenever it is fed through.

The biggest disadvantages to a feed scanner are its lack of flexibility, its rough treatment of the item, and its tendency to attract dust in its interior.  Many such scanners require a proprietary software to capture images, which can vary quite a bit in quality and flexibility (an upside to this is the software can sometimes be more user-friendly than programs such as Capture One).  The rollers these scanners use to pull the object through can easily be damaging to a fragile object such as a brittle older negative.  And finally, you'll want to clean and dust the inside of your feed scanner regularly to prevent streaks across your images.

Method 2: Flatbed Scanner with Backlight

Epson Expression V700

Flatbed scanners are what we commonly picture as a "scanner," but not all are able to handle photo negatives.  Be sure to check the model's description and make sure that it's equipped for the job.  For the Epson Expression V700 model we have at the Digital Production Lab, the top panel can be detached and reattached for normal or backlit scanning.

The advantages to a flatbed scanner are its flexibility and consistency.  It will need precious little cleaning or calibration, and it is compatible with many different kinds of scanning software.  The biggest drawback is the speed; it's the slowest of the three options and requires a good bit of hands-on fiddling, especially if you opt to use negative holders to keep your items in place.  They are optional, but often helpful.  All the tips provided here for slide scanning also apply to photo negatives.

Method 3: Camera with Lightbox

The Dartmouth Digital Production camera and lightbox
While simply pointing a camera at the lightbox may seem like the simplest option, it is actually the most complex, but with several distinct advantages.  The biggest advantages are speed and accuracy; a good digital camera will easily outclass the best flatbed or feed scanner in both these categories.  Additionally, the camera itself will produce a digital negative (which is actually a "negative" in name only) that can be edited far more extensively than a typical .tiff or .jpeg file.

However, the drawbacks of this method are significant.  You must be ready to setup automated editing of the images (or be ready to tediously edit each individual image).  You must also recalibrate your lighting setup to accommodate the backlighting of the lightbox, including refocusing your lens and checking your color balance.  Often this also requires turning off your camera's flash and lowering your shutter speed.  However, if you have the equipment and inclination to do it, the camera/lightbox setup will give you the greatest control over your finished product, and once the setup is complete the images can be captured very quickly.

Whatever equipment you use for your negative scanning project, it's important to know what problems you might come across and prepare for them as best you can.

Written by Ryland Ianelli

Friday, October 13, 2017

Today in the Lab

For this post, I wanted to share some images of a particularly memorable item I had recently on my bench.  As a conservator, I get to see a lot of very interesting items in Dartmouth's collections in addition to the mundane (though they are never really that mundane).  There are always items that are historically relevant, have expensive materials, or belonged to someone very important-and sometimes there are things that are inexplicably sweet and funny, or just seem to have a personality all their own without significant provenance.

This particular object in Rauner's collection needed to be rehoused: which is library speak for needing a more appropriate box.  The item itself is a little wooden box with a screw-top that contains discs with an image on one side and words on the other.  The box top is appropriately labeled "Pretty Pictures with Easy Reading."  The detail of the painted box and each of the little images is really lovely, and we admittedly got a good laugh out of the purported "easy reading."


Written by Lizzie Curran

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Food Shortages in Occupied Japan

(As described in the Dartmouth Japanese Press Translations

Following World War II, Japan was occupied by Allied forces.  The administrative body that presided over this occupation was known as The Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers or SCAP.  This organization, headed by American General Douglas MacArthur with the support of the British Commonwealth, is described by the U.S. state department as acting with three primary purposes.  These purposes are described as, "Reform and war crimes trials, revival of economy, and conclusion of formal peace treaty and alliance" (https://history.state.gov/milestones/1945-1952/japan-reconstruction).

SCAPs responsibilities were many.  Among them were censorship and general management of public opinion.  As a result, SCAP produced the Japanese press translations that we possess within our digital collections.  Though our collection is incomplete, it is extensive, and gives great insight into economic, social, and political conditions in Japan during 1945 and 1946.

The Japanese press translations cover several issues in depth, although one that appears consistently is the struggle with food shortages.  War is often costly to a population, and even in the United States, which saw little fighting within its borders, rationing was an important part of the war effort.  In Japan, where the devastation of war was particularly severe, food shortages were of great concern.  Infrastructure for transport of goods had been destroyed by American air raids and millions of Japanese citizens were displaced and reliant on aid for survival.  As such, combating general starvation was a major undertaking for both the growing Japanese government and the Allied powers which presided over it.  Southeast Asia saw a poor rice crop in 1945 and, faced with very limited stores of food, the government attempted to stave off general starvation through strict rationing and imports.

In Social Series 001 (http://libarchive.dartmouth.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/presstrans/id/10429/rec/1), reporting from a cabinet meeting indicates that the Japanese government intended to provide rations of rice as a primary staple, with wheat for balance and potatoes as supplement.  However, in 1945 rations consisted of only sweet potatoes and beans.  Professor Kakinuma of Tokyo University discusses the dangers of malnutrition that would result from this limited diet.  He describes the recorded effects on soldiers from the front as "atrophy of organs, swelling of the limbs, general fatigue and eventually...death."  Additionally, he describes the effects of reliance on government rations on his own health.  During his time subsisting on these rations he lost approximately 30 pounds and suffered from regular dizzy spells.  He claims that while the rations may have been enough to prevent outright starvation, they did not provide sufficient nutrition and would result in general sickness.  He goes on to suggest that grasshoppers and other insects be pulverized and rationed as food to provide much needed protein to the Japanese diet.

Indeed, Social Series 001 (http://libarchive.dartmouth.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/presstrans/id/10837/rec/12) indicates that 12 men had starved to death between August and November of 1945 on the roads of Japan, and that the number of deaths due to starvation and malnutrition were gradually increasing.  In February of 1946, communities in Hokkaido went 20 days without rations (Economic Series 271 http://libarchive.dartmouth.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/presstrans/id/7055/rec/1069), demonstrating how serious the food shortage had become and how potentially dangerous it could be.

Written by Kevin Warstadt

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Spine Re-Engineering Summer Camp

As the Dartmouth Summer Conservation and Preservation intern I have spent my time at Baker-Berry learning new techniques and building on the foundation of book repair knowledge with helpful tips and tricks gained through practical application.  Deborah and Lizzie have generously shared their insights on how they balance the demands of such an active collection which splits their time between the circulating collection, special collections, and special digitization projects.  In turn Deborah has encouraged me to share my own knowledge culled from my experiences as a student and intern.  In particular we have discussed my time spent at MIT working with Jana Dambrogio and Ayako Letizia, where I learned a technique known as "Spine Re-Engineering."

Spine re-engineering is a book conservation treatment style developed at MIT by Jana Dambrogio using thin, tengucho Japanese tissues and methylcellulose almost exclusively.  This technique builds upon a rich tradition of thin tissue repair in conservation by using the strength of Japanese tissues and
employing the flexibility of methyl-cellulose.  The tissue and methyl-cellulose are patiently layered creating a matrix which supports the original materials.

Working with Deborah, I selected a volume of Audubon prints to work some spine re-engineering magic on.  The volume's spine tube had failed leaving the front board and spine detached from the text with the leather covering holding the binding together.  I began by consolidating the spine linings with methyl-cellulose.  I then selected a piece of 10 gram tengucho long enough to extend above the head and tail, and wide enough to cover the spine area a couple of times.

 Painting the methyl-cellulose through the tissue, I began by adhering the tissue to the spine area and shoulders, folding the excess tissue at the head and tail back onto itself.  The main goal of this whole process is the add strength to the most vulnerable parts of the book structure.  Folding the long fibers of the tengucho back on itself helps to avoid tearing.
The initial layer is left to dry completely and the layering process is then repeated.  Special care is taken to concentrate on the weaker areas of the binding such as shoulders and filling cracks in linings by adhering smaller strips of tissue to these potential problem areas.  After every layer of tissue and adhesive are applied they are left to dry completely.  While this slows the process to a seeming crawl it is crucial to creating a strong attachment.

For this volume I began layering with the piece of tissue extending past the textbook shoulder and reserved the tissue extending past the board to form the hollow.  A flange of the tissue was left long at the textblock shoulder as well.

Once the spine area has been sufficiently consolidated and dried I cut a piece of silicon coated mylar to the width of the spine and taller than the textblock height by an inch or so at the head and tail.  I then continued the layering process and captured the mylar between my textblock spine and the new tissue layers.  Extra layers of tissue were added at the shoulders to ensure the strength where the action of the book takes place.  After I was satisfied with the built up layers I allowed the volume to dry completely.

More methyl-cellulose was applied to the spine and the case was lined up and closed.  Using a bone folder and the palm of my hand to avoid undue stress on the leather.  I worked the spine area to be sure the layers of tengucho underneath were able to adhere to each other completely.  Again, the volume was left to dry completely.  Once the main repair was dry, the silicone release mylar was removed and the inner hinges touched up with another layer of Japanese tissue to disguise the repair.

The final result is a book with a repair that is both strong and completely reversible.  I believe that spine re-engineering reflects the larger mission of the library and its collection by allowing access, in this case it is not merely the text but also to the physical materials of the book left intact which may provide valuable information to future conservators and book historians looking to understand more about the materials used to create these objects.

Written by Linnea Vegh

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Xmas in July; How Material Comes to the Lab for Treatment

Special collection items needing treatment are entered into a File Maker Pro database by my conservation liaison who works in Special Collections.  She is the filter for taking requests from the rest of the Special Collections staff and is my direct link to the collections.  This facilitates workflow and communication which makes all of our lives easier.  I am able to go into the database and select items by priority needs and by treatment needs.  So if there are items being used for a class coming up I can see that and will put that on my request list or if there are a batch of items all needing paper repair I can have those pulled all at once in order to expedites that type of repair.  I try to work on a group of about 10-15 items at a time and when we are done with that group I select the next group.  Of course if there are rush requests we always fit those in.  When I go to select the material I never know what exactly it will look like so when we review the items for treatment it's always a bit like Xmas.  Many items have been put into temporary boxes for safe keeping until the conservation has been done, so opening boxes can be quite fun.  Below are a few examples of the variety of items that came up for treatment recently.

A marriage certificate with wax seals.

A collection of cigarette cards needing housing.

A travel scrapbook with mounted postcards.

A jigsaw puzzle needing housing and the box repaired.

Addressing an old mend.

Old paper book jacket on journal.

Journal using every part of the paper.

Common Place book with inserted writing pages.

Miniature book travel set.

Written by Deborah Howe