From the Preservation Office. L; ,aries )eskfe-
v.3, .5. 3"4,1, 7t.
The reference collection in the Preservation Office argues among itself,
one book with another, name-calling. It's a wonder there hasn't been a
war; and no wonder library books die young. Books written on the same
topic, but each with a violently different opinion of it, are forced to live so
closely together. The trouble is that some of the books think that
"conservation" means more than "preservation". These books argue for a
name change: "The Conservation Office."
The trouble goes back to the Reference Department, where one dictionary
after another struggles to take evidence from books on English, French and
Latin linguistics and history in the case of "Conservation vs.
Preservation". Testimony is often a confusing muddle. Even though the
words "la conservation", "la preservation", and la resauration" came into
the English language from French, the English changed their meaning
during the French Revolution. When the French say these words today the
English hear "curatorship", "conservation", and "(historic-)
preservation" if they remember to translate.
The court case aside, in the University of Florida Libraries' Preservation
Office, "preservation" is used to mean any act which extends the life of
library and archival materials for library and archives users.
"Preservation" is concerned with maintaining these materials for the
availability of their intellectual content, their information. It includes a
brittle books program, preservation awareness, reprography (microfilming
and preservation photcopying), storage and environmental monitoring,
and conservation. "Conservation" is concerned with maintaining these
materials in their present, physical form. It includes binding concerns and
repair and restoration (the return of an artifact to usable and near original
The argument may seen silly, but the books have reason to argue. While
the Preservation Office serves library users by extending the life, the body
and soul, the artifact and intellectual content of library and archival
Preservation Office is
also asking these 4
materials, for the-first ~
time in their lives,
how Ihe feel! And,
'these materials are
talking back, finally
able to do more than
simply recite the A plait horn the Incdx Libromru I'ruhibirorum,, Madrid, 167.
words they wear.
-That is the reason I'm writing. You can learn to listen to what the
materials in your care have to say about themselves through the
Preservation Office. It's a social and crisis-intervention center, hospital
and hospice for library and archival materials. Contact the Preservation
Office (405 Library East) if you'd like to learn more or if you have a
question about library and archival materials. Select questions and their
answers wil be reprinted here, in the Library Staff Newsletter,.on a