The AIC includes in its Guidelines for Practice a mandate to document examinations and treatments. Unfortunately, documentation is a tedious and time-consuming process which is inherently unable to record the physical object, its condition, or treatment completely. Because electronic records remain vulnerable to loss, paper files must be maintained. the difficulty of coordinating word-processing programs, hand marked checklists, surveys, slides and samples has resulted in documentation procedures which underutilize the computer's searching and cross-referencing abilities. Access to these records is often thwarted even when this technology is used properly because terminology is inconsistent. Different conservators or communities of conservators may, for example, prefer the term "gathering" rather than "signature," "section" or "quire." Variation in spelling or capitalization may make otherwise consistent terminology impossible to navigate (for example: Color, color, colors, colour, colored). This prototype is a work-in-progress which attempts to address these issues. It endeavors to be comprehensive, time efficient, clearly organized, consistent in the use of terminology, and accessible by both computer (for ease of searching) and paper (for greater permanence).
The prototype currently consists of an evolving series of FileMaker Proä documentation templates and a user manual. When complete, the system will be small enough to run on a laptop, yet able to be merged with larger databases; compatible with IBM and Macintosh; and able to import digitized images. the resulting database will be readily searchable and accessible in both paper and digital formats, providing quantifiable and anecdotal information.
Although all classification schemes are awkward, this prototype attempts to provide a logical place for all relevant information. This prototype is systematically organized into the information groups identified in the following flowcharts (see figures 1-7). the flowcharts were designed as a conceptual organization of the information needed in documentation. the templates that follow the flowcharts are initial attempts at practical formats for retrieving and printing that information.
The systematic classification scheme of this prototype provides a logical place for all relevant information. However, all information is not relevant in every instance. the importance or complexity of the object or treatment will determine the level of detail recorded. Templates, specifically designed to document different aspects of book conservation, may combine items from different information groups or may use only part of one group. the templates feed into a single database, therefore, if the most detailed template is completed, all other templates may be printed without adding or re-typing any information. for example, an invoice may require the owner's name and address, the conservator's name and address, a brief description of the object, the treatment, and cost of treatment. All of these bits of data, drawn from different information groups, are merged automatically. Templates may also involve only one information group. for example, predicting the average time required to recase a book may be calculated by using actual times from completed treatment reports. the conservator can select or design different templates which will cue him or her to observe and document in varying degrees of detail, as needed. See Figure 8: Template Examples.
Poster delivered at the Book and Paper specialty group session, AIC 25th Annual Meeting, June, 1997, San Diego, California.
Posters for the specialty group session are selected by committee, based on abstracts and there has been no further peer review. Papers are received by the compiler in the Fall following the meeting and the author is welcome to make revisions, minor or major.