The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 18, Number 4-5
Aug-Sep 1994


Computer and Video Camera make Job Quotations Easy

Bill Minter, book conservator now in Woodbury, Pennsylvania, wrote to colleagues in July about two discoveries that have made his work much easier. This is what he said:

Following is a technique that is probably in use by many of you. Only recently did I take a giant step forward with running my business.

For many years, I have prepared a description, condition, treatment report and quotation by 1) examining the book, 2) writing out all the particulars, 3) having an assistant type the information into a computer word processor (how did we live without them?), 4) read a proof and made corrections, etc., etc. But now, thanks to a recommendation by Robert Futernick, I am able to use my Microsoft WORD program in a much more efficient manner. The trick is the Glossary function.

By simply typing two (2) keys (command and backspace), I can then enter a code number or letter (see attached partial listing), and then press RETURN. Voila, that phrase appears exactly as desired. I even have the correct punctuation so that the cursor is in the correct position for the next phrase. I am so thankful for this simple, inexpensive Giant Leap for Quoting on the conservation of books. Had I read the manual as I should, I could have used this function years ago.

Note: The attached listing is growing and evolving. I am sure that it will be revised and simplified many times before I am completely satisfied. For now, it works beautifully. I wonder if the next step will be to transfer these categories to a bar code system so that I won't have to use the keyboard.

There is one more idea that I would like to share. From time to time it has been necessary to examine a large number of books on site, then return to my shop to prepare a formal quotation. Since I did not have an examination form (until now), I had to rely upon my notes. Unfortunately, when it came time to write the quote, I would find I had overlooked a detail. The idea is to have a video camera mounted on a tripod and positioned so that it records what I see and say as I examine each book. The tape can be reviewed if problems arise.

Modern technology is wonderful. There are so many ways in which we can use it to treat old books.

01 Description/Condition: size 02 + pp;
025 +pp + plates;
03 full cloth;
035 quarter cloth with paper sides;
04 full leather;
041 full goatskin;
042 full calf;
043 three-quarter leather with marbled paper sides;
044 quarter leather with marbled paper sides;
046 gold tooled cover and spine;
047 blind tooled;
048 gold tooled spine;
049 no tooling;
[etc.]

1 Proposed Treatment: 11 collate and disbind;
12 surface clean with white vinyl eraser;
121 wash and deacidify in magnesium bicarbonate to raise pH to 8.0;
1215 wash and deacidify loose pages in magnesium bicarbonate to raise pH to 8.0;
122 wash in distilled water;
123 float wash in distilled water;
13 spray deacidify with Wei T'o "soft spray";
14 guard (mend) signatures with Japanese paper using wheat starch paste;
141 mend spine folds of 1st and last signatures;
145 join leaves with Japanese paper to form signatures;
[etc.]

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