Conservation internship at the Preservation Services Branch, The National Library of Australia, Canberra, Australia January 4 to June 29, 1983

  • Janine Beardmore

    Student thesis: Master's Thesis


    In 1969, the Conservation Laboratory, headed by Ian Cook, was formed at the National Library. Facilities were established initially as a service to the Pictorial Collection, for the treatment of easel paintings and historic works on paper such as prints, drawings and watercolours. However, a wider range of operations including treatment work on manuscripts, maps, rare books and miscellaneous historical artefacts became necessary due to the broad nature of the Library’s collections. Non-paper materials. such as sound recordings, microfilm, micro-fiche and motion picture film were also housed at the National Library. Due to staffing restrictions and limited space, preservation services for these large complex collections were merely a peripheral activity. In 1982, the Preservation Services Branch was developed out of a recognised need to cater to the vast collections of the Library. The Preservation Services Branch (PSB). The Preservation Services Branch comes under the direction of Ian Cook. There are five conservators, as well as support staff, working toward the preservation of designated portions of the Library’s collections. Structure and general operations of the Branch The Preservation Services Branch consists of three sections:
    (1) General Conservation Services
    The operations of the General Conservation Services include environmental monitoring, testing of materials, developing and examination of storage systems, phase preservation (holding operations plus the making of boxes), and development of mass. treatments of collections, i.e., housing, vacuum packaging, deacidification and microfilming.
    (2) The Photographic Unit
    The unit is involved in the microfilming of fragile material, copying of transparencies on glass, providing copies of the original material to minimise user handling, and the making of captions and facsimiles for exhibition programs. An important external function of the Photographic Unit is to provide photographic prints and transparencies to researchers and library users.
    (3) Special Collections Conservation
    This section services special collections within the Library with emphasis on Australian material. The program provides treatment and preservation services, The Special Collections Conservation section presently functions as three subsections:
    (a) Rare Books and Sheet Materials Conservation (RBSM).
    (b) Exhibitions, Paintings and Objects Conservation (EPOC).
    (c) Sound Preservation and Technical (SPATS)
    The structure of the Preservation Services Branch is quite similar to preservation operations in the Library of Congress and the British Library
    Date of Award1983
    Original languageEnglish

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