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Conservation Liaison

The Conservation Liaison, oversees and conducts conservation surveys, refurbishing projects for collections, organizes surveys of collections, identifies and schedules conservation treatments, as well monitoring the environment. She maintains a system of written and photographic documentation of all materials treated in the Conservation Lab. The Conservation Liaison, works closely with all collections and types of materials, including books, manuscripts, photographs, works of art and other artifacts owned by Cornell University Libraries. She also assures equitable distribution of department resources and grant funds and serves as liaison between curators, selectors, unit librarians, and other staff, conservators, and the Director of the department. Her duties also include maintaining a database for surveying and tracking all items treated by the department including searching, recommendations of items for transfer to rare collections and data entry of all items processed. Materials are closely monitored while "in process" through a central documentation system database, which allows retrieval of information on past work carried out by conservation staff, and the ability to locate any item current “in process” in a matter of minutes. All conservation treatment work for rare and unique materials is drawn from all the libraries of the University. For more information please see our policies.

As Conservation Liaison, she assists in the quality control of materials prior to return to collections’ coordinates activities relating to the management and administration of a special collections conservation project grants, special projects, schedules and migrates items for treatment, from various sources, in an equitable and timely manner, being sure that department resources and grant funds are distributed in an equitable manner. She is also responsible for the coordination of unit workflow, documents preservation, activity information, including conservation treatment, reformatting and rehousing. She groups materials into batches, according to type of treatments in accordance with current available resources, maintaining an acceptable system for timely turnaround; prepares documentation for each item treated and maintains database for tracking and documentation retrieval. Makes recommendations for type of treatment needed, traces and retrieves materials when requested by researchers, negotiate if necessary, with conservator and curator as to availability and restrictions for use while in process of treatment.  The Conservation Liaison also manages all photo documentation and loads such into the Conservation Treatment Collection in eCommons.

Data is analyzed from preservation surveys for use by curators or in the development of grant proposals. The Conservation Liaison participates in conservation planning and program development. She also developed a regularly generated system to gather and compile statistical information for the Director of the department and for use in the annual statistics, and prepares reports for the Director, as requested.

Complex searches are done using a variety of reference tools including electronic and traditional forms to verify titles, determine suitable titles for transfer to special collections, and to make recommendations of titles for transfer and offer same to appropriate unit librarian or curator, prior to treatment. The Conservation Liaison recommends and negotiates treatments with the appropriate curator, librarian, associate director, and/or appropriate conservator.

She is also a member of the disaster response team, in conjunction with the Director and various appointed personnel campus-wide. She is also involved with, and assists the Director with special projects, tours, consultations etc. as needed.

Another element in the Conservation Liaison’s role, is to act as the link between curators and conservators, the scheduling of treatment is especially important.  She maintains a system of written and photographic documentation of all materials treated in the department, in part derived from the survey data, combined with bibliographic information.  The treatment request or work order details, the treatment that must be performed, and is produced directly from the database, using standard nomenclature set forth in the Department’s Glossary of Book Conservation Terms. Following treatment, the form serves as the vehicle for the permanent record data.  The Conservation Liaison works closely with the conservators to help maintain rational workflow and equitable distribution of resources.  She also is instrumental in the identification of items for possible transfer to the safety of the Rare Book Vault in Kroch, and Medium Rare Collection, which is held in our compact storage unit at the Library Annex.  For more information see our policies.

General action surveys are conducted on a regular basis and target specific collections to help formulate preservation strategy.  Most surveys carried out on vault collections are comprehensive, in that every item within a particular area is examined and the need for conservation action noted.  These surveys are not condition surveys, in that they identify materials for specific forms of treatment rather than by condition.  The survey results, are tabulated to provide data to help with the drafting of grant proposals. Usually, the collected data will also be used to produce detailed treatment cost figures, which are incorporated into grant proposals.  The data is also used to assess the types of treatment and/or reformatting required, and ensures the collection’s preservation.  Books are drawn from the collection for treatment in accordance with the rate at which the books can be treated, and within the limits of the grant award.  The data gathered is also used to construct a database, which can easily be imported if materials requiring various types of treatment are selected for reformatting/conservation action.

The monitoring of temperature and relative humidity in the libraries of the University is achieved through the use of dataloggers, these are also the charge of the Conservation Liaison, and are distributed through the rare book vault areas.  Historic data is retained as permanent records of enviromental monitoring, in text format to eliminate the need to update data into updated versions of software.

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