Greetings and welcome to my blog!

My name is Henry Hébert and I am a graduate student in the School of Information and Library Science (SILS) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  In addition to my studies, I work as  a research assistant in the conservation lab for special collections at  Wilson Library. I am interested in pursuing special collections conservation as a career  and throughout the summer I will be working on a Field Experience with Jan Paris, Conservator for Special Collections. The primary function of this blog is to serve as a reporting mechanism for my progress throughout this project and I hope to document and share my experiences, research, revelations, and results as they occur.I feel compelled to provide a general overview of my project and intentions, as I understand them, alongside these introductions.

The focus of my field experience will be a conservation assessment for a small collection of European expansionist and travel literature. After reviewing available literature on condition assessments, I hope to gain experience in the development of an appropriate survey instrument tailored to the goals of the project. With this survey, I will observe and document the physical condition of each item, providing a fuller picture of the amount and type of work required to stabilize these materials. Where warranted, I will build custom enclosures for items and carry out minor treatments under the supervision of the conservator. At the culmination of the field experience in the fall, I will describe and summarize the survey in the style of a grant proposal.

This field experience provides many unique learning opportunities for me. The first and greatest is also the most ephemeral: the development of a more discerning way of looking at library materials. By physically handling and scrutinizing several hundred information objects over a period of weeks, I hope to gain a greater ability to identify and understand the types of deterioration and damage commonly found in rare book collections. By performing this work under the auspices of a professional conservator, I can begin to develop a methodology in line with the professional and ethical practices of the field. This field experience also grants me the opportunity to participate in the assessment process from start to finish. In addition, my final report will serve as a good exercise in preservation grant writing. After reviewing several library preservation grants, I hope to craft a document that would meet all requirements in content and language.

I am very excited to participate in this project and look forward to acquainting myself with the material. This is my first use of a blog for academic purposes and my first time dealing with WordPress. I am hopeful that this technology will provide an edifying delivery method for my experiences.


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