[Table of Contents] [Search]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

B-binder vs Cons Tech (long)

On Wed, 31 Jan 1996, Richard Minsky wrote:
> Artemis BonaDea said:
> > A book binder is a time honored position but a book binder does not
> > necessarily know or care about conservation principles or the safe and
> > permanent housing of library materials.
> Of course, not all bookbinders are involved in fixing damaged books.
> But any competent bookbinder *does* know and care about how the work
> will last. It's basic craftsmanship. The function of the craft is to
> preserve the book. That's what bookbinding is.

I finished my conservation programme, working with books as a
specialization, last spring, so I believe (I hope not too arrogantly) that
I understand the "current" thinking of the definition of "conservation
technician".  We were given to understand that, if you were involved in
strictly the creation and repair of an object, you were not in
conservation.  As Mr. Minsky pointed out, the knowledge and skills which
come with being a bookbinder allows (obliges even?) you to understand
how to revivify a book which needs repair.  On the other hand, if you
were equally concerned with the relative humidity in the stacks/storage
area, the monitoring of pests in the stacks/storage area, making storage
boxes, cataloguing, recording (e.g. through photography or computer
database) treatments and items in collection, UV and aging studies, as
well as investigating new materials and methods for doing the job, etc.
etc. etc. _then_ you would be a conservation technician.  Making all the
decisions about treatment materials and methods of damaged/decrepit books
would not be in the province of the technician, but rather the
bailiewick of the conservator (where there may be 1 or more of each).
Kind of a delineation of responsibility vs tasks.  My erstwhile mentor
kinda made me feel like, yeah, when I grow up I'll be a conservator, but
not for another 5-20 years, or so...!  We used to carry on great
debate:  he came from the 7-year apprenticeship system of England.  As
far as he was concerned, he was a book-binder, and why would anybody
_want_ to be anything else??  I never was able to communicate
effectively that I wanted to take the global approach, not a
treatment-by-treatment/save-the-world-one-book-at-a-time approach which
he espoused.  (I used to sigh a lot last year!)  I recognize, too, that
as a conservation technician, I am committed to keeping up-to-date on
current practices and ethics; my ex-supervisor prided himself on the idea
that he finished his studies when he was 21 or 22 and never has to go to
another conference in his life.

I believe the skills may be the same, but the outlook and goals of c.t.'s
and binders _may_ differ.

(But this is my first post after lurking for 5 months, and I acknowledge
I have a lot to learn, including in this arena of definitions and job
descriptions.  I'd like to thank all the posters of the last 5 months,
BTW; your learned discussions have been enlightening as well as
entertaining.  And no squijillions of graphs like at the IIC conferences!!)

Cheers, Norah--
"Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will to strive, to seek, to
find, and not to yield."

[Subject index] [Index for current month] [Table of Contents] [Search]