B R I T T L E
M A T E R I A L S |
C O M M I T T E E
R E P O R T
The committee was established by Library Council at its March 1998
meeting to develop policies and procedures relating to brittle
materials. Along with meeting four times, the committee consulted
widely with the University of Toronto Libraries community.
Terms of Reference
To review existing policies and practices related to brittle books
in light of technological and organizational changes
To consult widely in the central library system concerning current
and anticipated preservation needs.
To consult widely concerning questions of access related to
To report to Library Council no later that April 29th, 1998,
recommending policies related to brittle material and solutions to
questions of access related to preservation activities.
Joyce Chyrski Science Selector|
Collection Development Department
Robin Healey Fine Arts, Italian Studies and Anthropology Selector
Collection Development Department
Lari Langford Head
Access and Information Services Department
Marian Press Coordinator
Reference & Information Technology, OISE/UT Library
Joseph DesJardins Project Librarian|
Preservation Services Department
Carole Jaffrey Head
Technical Services Department
Sylvia Newman Collections Librarian
Gerstein Science Information Centre
Karen Turko Head
Preservation Services Department
One of the main functions of the Department of Preservation Services
(PSD) is to reformat embrittled materials according to agreed upon
policies. In recent years the flow of this embrittled material
through PSD has dwindled to a trickle because of various factors and
there has been a shift in the technology used to reformat.
The taskforce has reviewed policies and procedures in the Central
Library System regarding these materials and in light of
technological changes is recommending new procedures more in keeping
with the needs of the various departments at this time.
During our consultation process committee members spoke to the Science
Library Group (Gerstein, Chemistry, Pharmacy), Gifts, Reference
Department, Reference and Access Service Committee, East Asian Studies
Library, OISE/UT Library, Faculty of Music Library, Department of Fine
Art Library, School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture
Library, Centre of Criminology Library, and Data, Map and Government
Information Services. The purpose of all this effort is to develop
policies and procedures for the handling of brittle materials for the
central library system. For other libraries in the University of
Toronto community, the Preservation Services Department plays a
1.0 Procedures for Circulating Books
- 1.1 As books are checked in from loan periods, designated staff in
each location will enter items deemed to be embrittled into a special
file for brittle materials. The details for file creation will be
determined as a procedural matter. The books are then reshelved in
the public stacks.
- 1.2 As PSD is ready to work on these materials they will be culled
from the shelves, examined and the availability in alternative format
- 1.2.1 Non-brittle items will be repaired or rebound, if necessary,
and returned to the shelf.
- 1.2.2 If brittle items are available in alternative format (reprint,
microform, digital), source information will be given to the
Collection Development Department for ordering.
- 1.2.3 If the material is indeed brittle and not reproduced in
reprint, microform or digital form, DBCN numbers and short titles for
the items will be sent to Collection Development and the appropriate
subject selector will make a scanning decision.
- 1.3 Subject selector decision making will be driven by value. It
costs approximately two hundred dollars to digitize an item. If the
item is judged not to have sufficient value to justify scanning, the
item will be returned to the shelves and marked to show this decision.
- 1.4 PSD staff will put notations of treatment into the item note
field for each book handled, and also a notation in the physical item.
2.0 Procedures for Gift Materials
- 2.1 If material has signs of mould it should be discarded immediately
by the gifts section.
- 2.2 Brittle items that have been selected will be sent to PSD for
treatment before technical processing.
- 2.3 PSD staff will perform steps 1.2.1, 1.2.2.
- 2.3.1 Brittle items not available in alternative formats will be
3.0 Procedures for Serials
- 3.1 Brittle serials, not having barcodes at Robarts or Gerstein, will
be manually entered into the Brittle materials file by the holding
locations using the barcode assigned them by the 'item create'
- 3.2 Taking into account that serials are more likely to be available
in alternative formats, PSD will deal with serials according to the
priorities established by the standing committee (committee described
below in 7.1).
4.0 Collections (including heavily used Reference materials)
- 4.1 Whole or partial collections deemed worthy of scanning may be
brought to the attention of PSD who will deal with them when possible.
Staff in various locations, in consultation with Collection
Development, may develop collection proposals and submit them to the
standing committee (see 7.1) for consideration.
- 4.2 Taking into account the cost of digitally processing whole or
partial collections and current budget restraints, grant funds for
collection scanning will be pursued.
- 2.4 It is recommended that the cataloguing of the digital item be a
priority. With the costs involved in creating a digital item, along
with the promise of increased access, cataloguing should occur soon
after file creation.
6.0 Quotas and Reporting Meetings
- 6.1 PSD will hold an open meeting at least once per year to report on
work done and receive feedback on priorities. Notification of the
time and place of this meeting will be supplied well in advance on
7.0 Standing Committee
- 7.1 The committee recommends that a standing committee be formed to
advise the Head, PSD on priorities for scanning brittle materials.
- 8.1 During the consultation process, the need for access to
monograph's in electronic form was continually stressed. Currently,
there are several working models of online access of library
monographic materials. Two examples are the University of Michigan's
Making of America (http://www.umdl.umich.edu/moa/) and the
Bibliotheque nationale de France's Gallica (http://gallica.bnf.fr).
- 8.2.1 The committee recommends that the Information Technology
Services Department investigate these and other options as soon as
possible with a view to implementing an access solution for these
- 8.2.2 The committee also recommends an aggressive search for online
project funding from sources which might include, but not be limited
to, the Provostial Fund for Technological Innovation.
- 8.1 Following acceptance of these proposals by the Library Council
and the issuing of a policy document, procedures and training plans
for implementation of the policies will be drawn up by PSD in
consultation with the relevant departments.
Reports and Draft Documents