In this week’s blog, we find out more about an interesting new project taking place at the University of Edinburgh to conserve a large collection of bound volumes….
The Centre for Research Collections (CRC) at the University of Edinburgh is currently undertaking an exciting 6-month pilot project to conserve the Scottish Session Papers in preparation for digitisation.
The collections are held across three institutions: the Advocate’s Library, the Signet Library and the CRC. The collections consist of around 6,500 volumes, comprising of multiple case papers in one volume. The case papers of the Scottish Court of Session are the most significant untapped printed source for the history, society and literature of Scotland from 1710 to 1850. They cover an extraordinary period in the nation’s history from the immediate aftermath of the Union of 1707 through the Jacobite wars, the Enlightenment, the agricultural and industrial revolutions and the building of Walter Scott’s Edinburgh.
The aim of the project is to determine the most efficient and effective way to conserve the volumes before digitisation, as well as to calculate the time needed to do this, and the associated costs. Efficient workflows that focus on minimal intervention are key to ensure the collections are conserved quickly and are robust enough for digitisation. For this stage of the project, we have taken a selection of 300 volumes from all three institutions in four different condition categories:
- Good – the volume has minimal surface dirt
- Fair – the volume has moderate surface dirt, and/or detached labels
- Poor – the volume has moderate or extensive surface dirt, and/or detached boards
- Unusable – sewing has broken and the text block is split in multiple places