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 various units of the Dept. of Preservation & Collection Maintenance. 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 Dept. of Preservation & Collection Maintenance. 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 Selection and Disposition of Vault Materials for Conservation Treatment.
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. Coordinates 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 maintain database for tracking and documentation retrieval. Makes recommendations for type of treatment needed. Trace and retrieve material when requested by researchers, negotiate if necessary, with conservator and curator as to availability and restrictions for use while in process of treatment.
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 associate director of the department and for use in the annual ARL 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.
Non-book materials (i.e. paper documents, maps, art-on-paper, drawings, etc) have been difficult to systematize in a similar way because of the condition and survey variables. Surveys have been conducted as needed by the Paper Conservator with the assistance of interns and/or student assistants.
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 various units of the Department of Preservation & Collection Maintenance, 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 currently held in our compact storage unit at the Library Annex. For more information see Identified Through Transfer to the Vault in the Conservation Policy section.
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 monitoring of temperature and relative humidity in the libraries of the University is achieved through the use of data-loggers, these are also the charge of the Conservation Liaison, and are distributed through the rare book vault, book stacks, and public service/exhibition areas.