"A written record should be made any time that cultural property is examined, analyzed, sampled, treated, altered, and/or damaged and when cultural property is temporarily under the care or study of the conservation professional."
"Certain circumstances may affect the extent or form of documentation as described above. Among these are: disaster response; impending destruction; emergency treatment; minor remedial treatment; mass treatment (i.e., identical or similar routine treatment carried out on batches of collection materials); collection assessments and surveys; preventive care/cyclical maintenance.”
-From Commentary 24, Commentaries to the Guidelines for Practice
Factors to Consider
- Level of detail
- Item level
- Grouping of objects
- Single item
- Conservator carrying out treatment
- Future conservators
- Conservation students and teachers
- Label or stamp
- Annotated graphic
- Checklist Style
- Paper based
- Computer assisted – label all metadata
Permanence of Written Record or Report
From Commentary 28
“Handwritten and printed documentation must be produced on and with permanent, stable media, and be legible."
“If documentation is created using electronic media, the conservation professional must recognize that the long-term maintenance of these records requires regular proactive measures. A comprehensive plan for long-term storage of digital records must be established.”
Contents of Report
- All components of documentation should be clearly labeled, including metadata for digital image files.
- Item identification and Administrative information
- Purpose of documentation
- Name of documentor
- Date of documentation
- Object identification
- - Accession number or call number
- - Owner/custodian
- - Maker/origin
- - Subject/title/scientific classification
- - Measurements
- - Marks/labels
- - Date of creation
- Any legal or contractual requirements
- Description Reports – The materials, components and techniques used to create each part of the volume.
- - Support
- - Media
- - Collation
- Leaf attachment
- Spine shaping
- Spine lining
- Edge treatment
- Boards and their attachment
- Covering materials and decoration
- Original housing
- Condition Reports
- Presence of foreign substances
- Change in appearance
- Structural change
- Testing Results
- Treatment Proposals – A description of proposed treatments.
- Treatment Reports – The actual treatment that occurred, identifying all materials removed from or introduced into the object.
AIC Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Practice
Parts I, VI, and VII.
Appelbaum, Barbara. Conservation Treatment Methodology. London: Elsevier, 2007.
- Offers a systematic approach to decision-making for conservation treatments. Chapters 13 and 14 specifically address treatment documentation.
Commentaries to the Guidelines for Practice
Conservation Online, Documentation Resource List
Greenfield, Jane. ABC of Bookbinding. New York: Oak Knoll Press, 1998.
- A glossary of book binding terms, including illustrations.
Jim Hinz and Babette Gehnrich, "Documenting Library Conservation Treatments: Using the 583 Action Note Field in the MARC Records," Book and Paper Group Annual 25 (2006): 59–64.
McCann, Laura, "Conservation Documentation in Research Libraries," Library Resources & Technical Services 57, no. 1 (2013).
Written Documentation. Book and Paper Group Wiki.
Visual Examination. Book and Paper Group Wiki.
Roberts, Matt T. and Don Etherington. Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books: A Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology Drawings by Margaret R. Brown.
Warda, Jeffrey, ed. The AIC Guide to Digital Photography and Conservation Documentation American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works: Washington, D.C., 2008.
- Includes current best practices information on image capture, naming, and saving.
Glossary of Terms
|Paper Conservation Wiki|
|Examination and Documentation|
|Problems and Issues|
·Surface Cleaning ·Hinge, Tape and Adhesive Removal ·Washing ·Sizing & Resizing ·Bleaching ·Alkalization and Neutralization ·Humidification ·Consolidation/Fixing/Facing ·Backing Removal ·Mending ·Filling of Losses ·Drying and Flattening ·Lining ·Inpainting ·Matting and Framing
|Book Conservation Wiki|
|Examination and Documentation||
|Structural Elements of the Book|
·Leaf Attachment/Sewing Repair
·Use of Leather in Book Conservation
·Preservation and Conservation of Scrapbooks
·Case Binding Repair for Circulating Collections
·Non-Western Bookbinding Structures and Their Conservation