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News about the Library's preservation efforts and information for those interested in preserving their own collections. About the Barbara Goldsmith Preservation Division.

Time Machine: Problematic Travel with U-matic

U-matic was once the industry's serviceable vehicle. Today it could take you back 40 years or more. If you intend to take a ride, you will have to accept a few compromises, as with any antique vehicle maintenance and parts are always a concern. The most charming artifact of the older black and white recordings is lag or ghosting in the camera imaging tube in which people appear to leave their bodies and follow themselves about, making every solo an eerie duet. 

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What a Tool: The Hot Knife

Welcome to What a Tool, the inaugural post in a continuing series that will highlight some of the tools and equipment used in the Goldsmith Conservation Laboratory to perform conservation treatment on the NYPL's varied and unique collections. Episode one: the Hot Knife.

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What is a Registrar?

Sometimes you don't have a loading dockNo, I am not here to take care of your transcript or enroll you in a course. It is the same word, but it takes a very different meaning in the museum world or at a Research Library like the NYPL.

Registrars in the museum world are the staff responsible for the development and enforcement of policies and procedures related to the acquisition, management, movement, and safekeeping of collections. Records related to the objects for which the institution has assumed responsibility are maintained by the Registrar. Registrars may handle all the 

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NYPL on the Road: September Exhibitions Featuring Works from the NYPL Special Collections

Traditionally summer is a less busy time for registrar staff as the most ambitious shows open in the Fall and the Spring. However we have been busy this summer and have received many requests for exhibitions. You should make sure to check out the following shows in NYC that feature NYPL loans:

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Time Machine: Personal 8 mm Film and Video by Jerome Robbins

I have an inordinate love of 8 mm film. Not just because of its familiar 4:3 TV aspect ratio that so many of us were raised on, but because it was the first medium many of us used for time travel. The persistent click of the pull down claw is a rhythm from memory that can lull us into the past. Occasionally, I feel that I have been the subject of an archival Ludovico Technique and have watched so many pas des deux that when ordinary non-dance material offers me 

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Disasters Happen, Preservation Responds

We're right smack in the middle of hurricane season on the Atlantic Coast, and New York City's recent tragic history with storms has reminded us too well that disasters happen. Disasters can be huge, like Superstorm Sandy, but they can also be small, like a burst pipe. When disasters happen that affect the collections of the New York Public Library, the Preservation Division responds.

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X-Ray Vision: Not Just For Superheroes

It's time to be blinded with SCIENCE...

We do some pretty cool things in the Barbara Goldsmith Conservation Laboratory, but one of the coolest happened recently when we used x-rays—or rather X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (XRF), to be exact—to help us identify colored pigments on some very rare fragments of prints from the 15th Century known as stencils.

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Time Machine: Beauty and the Interval Between

Motion pictures are really a form of compressing time. A shutter opens and closes capturing still images. We are complicit in this magical deceit extrapolating what happened in the interval between. This brief hand colored black and white Edison film in which Annabelle Whitford Moore dances a la trilby or barefoot is my favorite moving image in the library's collection; it is both mechanical and handmade. In this simple embellishment of a magical invention the changing colors hover amorphously over their intended areas 

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Time Machine: Pioneering Efforts in Time Shifting

Portable video, the development of machines smaller than a kitchen range and affordable on an institutional if not a personal scale, ignited a revolution in consumer and institutional video. Before the ubiquitous half inch EIAJ open reel VTR, ca.1970, early adopters employed non standard VTRs such as the Sony CV skip field recorder, circa 1965. André

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NYPL on the Road: Photography and the American Civil War at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Registrar's Office at the New York Public Library manages a robust outgoing loan program. We are responsible for all logistics and coordination of loans from the four Research Libraries to the borrowing institutions. Lending to different institutions accross the US and around the world allows our collection to be available to and enjoyed by many different audiences. We would not be able to reach these audiences without this important partnership with other institutions. This year 

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The Time Machine of Moving Image Collections

Time Machine: if you could see what I have seen with these eyes.

Time travel is possible within the narrow bounds of my studio. It is remarkable that this can be accomplished with such primitive accessories. Wires and cables are sometimes strewn about reminding me of the Chris Marker film La Jetée. I have had the privilege of moving through time with many artists, through their early choreographies and refining rehearsals. I have watched the curtain open on their stage 

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Caring for Your Books, Papers, and Photographs at Home

Have your own books, papers, and photographs seen better days? Or do you simply wonder how you can best take care of these things so they last as long as they can? The New York Public Library can help!

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Discover How NYPL Preserves its Collections and Be Inspired to Preserve Your Own!

The American Library Association National Preservation Week is taking place between April 21–27, 2013. As part of this annual effort, NYPL is joining institutions across the country in highlighting the work of its own program as well as helping to inform the public about how to care for personal collections.

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The Olive Branch Petition: what is that image?

This letter is one of three supporting documents associated with a very important item in the Library’s Manuscripts and Archives Division known as the Olive Branch Petition. The Olive Branch Petition, written in 1775, was the final effort of the Second Continental Congress to persuade King George III of England to respond to the concerns of the American Colonists and to settle their differences 

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Heritage Savers: Inside the NYPL Preservation Division

Binding with metal bosses,Spencer CollectionWelcome to NYPL’s Preservation blog. We’re looking forward to sharing information with you about what the Preservation Division does to save cultural heritage and make it accessible to you. To start the conversation, here’s a look into what you would see going on in our program today.

In Collections Care you would see staff using CAD software to operate a machine that cuts custom-fitted boxes to protect books in fragile condition and others cleaning collections with a HEPA vacuum. In some of our libraries, we are 

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