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The Special Collections Conservation unit is part of the Barbara Goldsmith Preservation and Conservation Department.

Special Collections Conservators in the Barbara Goldsmith Book and Paper Conservation Laboratory specialize in the conservation of bound and unbound paper and parchment materials. The conservators strictly adhere to the Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Practice of the American Institute for Conservation to carry out their work on materials in the NYU Libraries Special Collections.



Special Collections Conservators closely examine the physical characteristics of collection materials to understand how items were created and their current condition. Examination techniques use visible light and invisible radiation, such as infrared and ultraviolet wavelengths, in combination with magnification and technical imaging. The knowledge gained through these examinations informs conservation treatment and preservation decisions.


Special Collections Conservators adhere to the documentation standards outlined by the American Institute for Conservation to record the physical characteristics of an item before and after conservation treatment using text and images. This documentation is preserved as part of NYU’s University Archives.


Special Collections Conservators carry out physical interventions on collection materials through conservation treatment as part of an item’s continuum of care. The goal of this treatment is to preserve the aesthetic, conceptual, and physical characteristics of items to extend the usable life of the collection.


Special Collections Conservators house items in preservation-quality folders and boxes to mitigate potential damage and facilitate access to the collection. This is ongoing work carried out by the conservators and student employees.


Special Collections Conservators carryout research on collection material within their areas of expertise. This research is shared through discussions, presentations, publications, and in online forums.


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