CONSERVATION JAGGER LIBRARY – SOUTH AFRICA

28 Nov, 2022

A fire destroyed the Jagger Library in April 2021.

  • The library’s teams mobilize to organize the rescue of the collections, thanks to volunteers and members of civil society.
  • Spontaneous donations were collected from companies and communities around the world.
  • The collections are put in safety but the loss is great…
  • The work of inventory begins.

How to continue to carry out its mission/works

In order to continue to make the collections accessible, the library wished to preserve and digitize Herbert Baker’s collection of prestigious architectural drawings, comprising approximately 11,000 original maps and drawings.

The documents have been severely altered by time and require extensive preparation for digitization to ensure their durability and optimal digitization quality.

→ The combination of several fields of expertise is required: MEMORIST offers the services of its French experts from La Reliure and Arkhênum to carry out this mission.

Challenges

  • Limitation of the risk of deterioration through an on-site service
  • Transfer of skills considered
  • Cost reduction through a global solution
  • Agile project management in symbiosis with the principals and those responsible for the collection (archivists, curators, …)

Success will depend on the ability to master two elements: the rapid and efficient training of local teams; and providing rigorous logistical support for the material (Japanese paper, heritage scanners, glues, etc.). The team then deployed an on site workshop with archivists, conservationists and heritage digitization professionals who worked together on training, not on implementation. This required setting up a conservation workshop of 4 people, totally new to the process, trained in exceptional know-how and a digitization workshop of 3 people with 3 different scanners to cover all the formats encountered (A4 to A00).

For the digitization workshop: Each type of document was digitized on a scanner adapted to its specificities (format, texture,…) with a high level of quality for reproduction on a scale of 1 with particular attention paid to the colors (watercolour plans). In addition, the insertion of descriptive metadata has made it possible to easily find the digital documents in the databases.

For the conservation workshop there was a double objective. Firstly, to improve the quality of the image (digitization of all the information) and secondly, to mitigate the damage caused by poor handling. The usual steps were followed: dusting, cleaning; reassembling the pieces in a logical order; localisation and full lining; flattening.

The collection can then be treated as a whole without discarding any degraded documents.

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