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Author Topic: The value of hardcopy and opinions on donations, loans and sales  (Read 625 times)

Offline phrenzy

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I've been collecting some pretty archaic stuff for a long time but it's getting increasingly expensive and difficult to store and I'm not yet set up to archive the physical material or properly organise my digital material.

As my interests have become increasingly arcane and technical I have come to realise that I actually have a significant investment in my personal library. From my most recent Jane's annuals back to my Soviet military power books (and their ilk like Tom Gervasi's annotated edition) right back to 1930's and 40's wartime editions of Flight and Service! magazine. Even doctoral dissertations by former blue suiters I had bound where I needed to use them as citations.

Basically I'm wondering if everyone's collections are in a big a mess as mine, how you deal with so much material if you have limited space and what your experiences have been like trying to access things you've given away or long term leant when you've needed access to them?

I'm starting to get a little concerned about the preservation of some of the rarer stuff, especially my ehemera (high profile letters and autographs). I've started there with some professional help, but I'd really like some input from members who have been doing this for years.



Plus, what do you do to conserve something like this? (yes it's apparently genuine, but some unthinking person removed his medals and it took me a month to figure out who it probably actually belonged to through the configuration of rank and awards.)



Lt.General Gennady Sredin pictured in 1969 before his promotion, the parade uniform is from his time as chief first deputy of the Main Political Directorate of Soviet Army and Navy:
« Last Edit: June 14, 2017, 10:32:03 pm by phrenzy »
We train young men to drop fire on people. Yet their commanders won't allow them to write "fuck" on their airplanes because it is obscene.  -  Kurtz

Offline Schneiderman

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Re: The value of hardcopy and opinions on donations, loans and sales
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2017, 11:25:54 pm »
I am in a similar position. I've had to be pretty ruthless in pruning the book collection back to the more 'essential' volumes simply to save space, and for the magazines I am slowly scanning the relevant articles from more recent issues and storing just those from the 20s and 30s. The key point is to stop yourself from simply hording stuff and look upon the collection as a research library and remove stuff, or scan stuff, that is less relevant. The surplus books and magazines are then donated. The biggest problem is keeping track of what I have, I have yet to tackle some kind of systematic catalogue or bookmarking and still rely more than I should on memory. For material in electronic form, pdf, images, tabulated material and so on, it is not (yet) quite such a problem as I have a reasonably effective system for naming and storing and run back-ups regularly.

Letters, autographs and similar are all stored in archive quality plastic sleeves within folders. Larger paper material, such as blueprints and maps are in A1 art folders.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2017, 11:37:37 pm by Schneiderman »

Offline phrenzy

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Re: The value of hardcopy and opinions on donations, loans and sales
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2017, 11:56:10 pm »
That's more or less my plan. Unfortunately my living situation is less than ideal and I have at least a few things that I think are worth preserving even if it means giving them so someone who can properly look after it. My main focus is picking the gems and making it available as a resource for people to use.

I'm thinking of selling off the crown jewel to pay for everything I need to preserve, index, scan and backup the rest.
We train young men to drop fire on people. Yet their commanders won't allow them to write "fuck" on their airplanes because it is obscene.  -  Kurtz

Offline phil gollin

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Re: The value of hardcopy and opinions on donations, loans and sales
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2017, 04:16:28 am »
.

In conversations I was told by a reliable US source that one famous US author/consultant on naval matters has 3 (THREE !) apartments in Manhattan full of his reference materials.

The conversation continued that "my source" had room fulls, and when I asked whether he had his own references lined up for a museum after his death he said he hadn't thought about it and didn't care !

To each their own.

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Offline phrenzy

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Re: The value of hardcopy and opinions on donations, loans and sales
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2017, 06:44:47 am »
That's a terrible shame and an amazing feat all at once...

 I think that's how I ended up with most of my old Jane's annuals (except the ex-military library ones) and some other things besides. The  inherited estate of someone who has no interest or knowledge of what they had and just dumped it in the lap of an auctioneer or Ebay agent or simply given to a charity shop where they too didn't know what they had.

I'm actually in conversation with curators at my state library for my ephemera. I'm hoping that one piece I acquired almost by chance and great deal of research, if properly sold, will let me fix the roof and get rid of the mould and then I can slowly index and preserve the rest without dear of water damage.


If I had a proper index and appropriate filling I think I could turn it into a useful resource for anyone... Instead of using the big books to build bookshelves out of for the smaller books : )

But a library like the one you describe would contain almost unique documents and the like, irreplaceable things. Not to sound callous but I can't imagine a decades worth of getting this stuff together and not at least giving it away to anyone who would make best use of it if for some reason I couldn't.

The advice on the art folders was great. Mylar and the folders won't come cheap and I'll have to comb the house for things as I find it but it's a great start.
We train young men to drop fire on people. Yet their commanders won't allow them to write "fuck" on their airplanes because it is obscene.  -  Kurtz