Published: April 27, 2020

What is Preservation Week?

Memories and treasures should last beyond our lifetime and be passed on for future generations to learn from and enjoy. Preservation Week aims to raise awareness of the role conservators play in providing ongoing preservation and conservation services for libraries.

What is preservation?  

Preservation is the umbrella term used to describe activities that prevent or reduce damage to collections and extend their life expectancy.

What is conservation? 

The profession of physically treating damaged cultural property.

What does a conservator do?  

Applies research and their education to examining, documenting and treating collections.

How has the field of preservation changed in the digital age?

As technology has advanced, so too have our techniques for preserving heritage collections. Digital scanning technology has helped conservators preserve rare and fragile materials, allowing for wider accessibility to collections and reducing risk of damage to items. Many CU Boulder Libraries collections are also born-digital or digitized and present new preservation challenges. 

“Conservators and other preservation specialists are passionate about saving both the physical and digital history of our past, all while acknowledging the benefits of emerging and future technologies,” Hillary Morgan, a conservator with the Libraries said. “As we move further into the digital age, we are seeking new ways to use both physical and digital preservation for the benefit of our collections.”

While the Special Collections, Archives, & Preservation department is unable to celebrate with you in person, the Libraries’ Preservation unit recommends a variety of remote activities to keep enthusiasts busy this week!

  • The University Libraries Preservation unit and the Book Arts League in Lafayette, Colorado are sharing how to make a pamphlet fold booklet to practice your handiwork! See our instruction guide to create your own.

  • The Library of Congress (LOC) is hosting a series of free webinars, featuring insider information on LOC preservation projects. Each week day at 9 a.m. MDT, LOC is presenting webinars on topics such as developing high density storage facilities and environmental protections for collections, video game preservation and more.

  • For updates on LOC’s “Assessing the Physical Collection of the National Book Collection” initiative—a project the CU Boulder Libraries is proud to be a part of—be sure to RSVP for the webinar 9 a.m. MDT,  Wednesday, April 29. 

  • Keep an eye out for University Libraries news stories and special posts to our social media channels that will delve into popular conservation topics and showcase the art of preserving the Libraries’ collections.