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CDNLAO Newsletter

No. 85, February 2016

Special Topic: Preservation of Library Materials

Preservation Activities of IFLA PAC Korea Center

By Hyun Hea-won, Conservator, National Library of Korea


1. Introduction

The International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) Preservation and Conservation (PAC) Korea Center was established at the National Library of Korea (NLK) in November, 2008, to raise public awareness towards preservation, support other domestic libraries in preserving collections by holding seminars and education programs, and promote active exchanges with related organizations overseas. The IFLA PAC Korea Center has vigorously worked on various preservation and conservation activities, including translating and distributing the IFLA PAC’s publications, producing related materials such as research on preservation, and holding international seminars and education programs for librarians and the general public.

The major activities of the IFLA PAC Korea Center between 2008 and 2015 are as follows:

2. IFLA PAC Korea Center

At the time of the establishment of the IFLA PAC Korea Center, libraries in Korea faced few opportunities to receive education and information on preservation, while public awareness on the importance of preservation was lower than it is today. Therefore, the IFLA PAC Korea Center has dedicated significant effort into improving awareness towards preservation, supporting preservation-related projects, and providing up-to-date information. The center also disseminated appropriate methods of preservation and conservation to libraries across the country through education and shared the latest preservation technologies and trends by holding international seminars. Moreover, in order to provide diverse information on preservation to librarians and other individuals interested in preservation, the center has been translating and distributing the IFLA PAC’s publications, including the International Preservation Issue (IPI) and the abridged edition of the biannual publication International Preservation News (IPN)1.

Detailed descriptions of the center’s activities are as follows:

3. Activities

1) Publication & Distribution

Translation of the IFLA PAC’s Publications

The IFLA PAC Korea Center has provided more than 300 libraries in Korea with specialized preservation-related information by translating and distributing the IFLA PAC’s publications and materials, including the International Preservation Issue (IPI).

The list of materials translated and distributed by the center are as follows:

[PAC Korea Center Publications]
No. Date Title
1 2009 IFLA principles for the care and handling of library materials (IPI No. 1) / Korean Version
2 2010 The 3-D’s of Preservation : Disasters, Displays, Digitization (IPI No. 7) / Korean Version
3 2011 IFLA Disaster Preparedness and Planning : Brief Manual (IPI No. 6) / Korean Version
4 2012 A Reader in Preservation and Conservation/ Korean Version
5 2013 Energy Savings and Preservation in Libraries and Archives (IPN No. 55) and Mass Storage and Preservation Issues (IPI No. 57) / Korean Version
6 2014 Digitization and Preservation of Newspaper Collections (IPN No. 56) / Korean version
Production of the Preservation Handbook

The IFLA PAC Korean Center has not only worked on translations of publications, but has also produced the Preservation Handbook, which was distributed to offer an easy, simple way for individuals to preserve materials. In 2015, the Center produced and distributed the Preservation Handbook Volume 1, titled "Proper Methods for the Preservation of Books and Simple Book Repairs," particularly for literary museums. The Center plans to continue producing handbooks on various topics such as exhibition displays and environment, to be distributed to individuals and organizations interested in preservation.

< Preservation Handbook Volume 1 >

Distribution of IFLA International Preservation News (IPN)

The IFLA PAC Korea Center has distributed the International Preservation News (IPN) along with the abridged edition of the IPN published by the IFLA PAC to more than 40 major libraries in Korea. Alongside the abridged edition of the IPN, the Center has distributed 16 issues of the IPN from No. 46 (2009) to No. 61 (2013), which was the IPN’s last issue.

< IPN No. 61 & Summary >

2) Education

The NLK is a library equipped with conservation experts and facilities, and therefore receives numerous inquiries about preservation and requests for assistance from other libraries. To meet their needs, the Center has held preservation workshops since 2007, in which the Center visits and provides the libraries with an education program on preservation as well as a preservation improvement plan customized after examining their environments. Since the IFLA PAC Korea Center was established in 2008, the Center has continually held preservation workshops as part of its educational activities.

Preservation workshops generally provide both theoretical and practical education. Theoretical sessions introduce trainees to appropriate methods of preservation and the preservation environment for books, while practical sessions teach simple book repair methods for library materials. In particular, practical education is very popular among trainees as it offers the chance to try a simple book repair firsthand and consultations on proper management and repair according to the type of damage.

Between 2007 and 2009, the center visited 13 local libraries in Busan, Jeonju, Chuncheon, etc. to examine their preservation environments and offered education sessions on preservation. Since 2010, the Center has offered education programs on diverse themes such as disaster preparedness and the preservation of audiovisual materials at its preservation lab, which is equipped with specialized facilities.

< Class on Preservation Theory >

< Practical Class on Book Repair >

3) Preservation Support Projects

Preservation Project for Overseas Korean Cultural Heritage

From 2007 to 2015, the NLK has endeavored to rediscover Korean old maps held by the Library of Congress (LC) of the United States for the purpose of permanent preservation and the utilization of damaged overseas Korean materials. For the purpose of preserving the original forms of these old maps, the conservators used hanji—traditional Korean paper handmade from mulberry trees—and analyzed the traditional pigments originally used while attempting to maintain the original formats of a folded book, a scroll, and a fan. Following the conservation process, the maps were digitalized in order to increase their accessibility. Between 2007 and 2015, the Center restored and digitalized 43 types of historical maps, consisting of 15 books and 108 sheets, which are available in digital form at the LC and the NLK. The conservation of damaged maps built the foundation for the permanent preservation of Korean old maps, while the digitalization of the restored maps allows researchers of Korean studies around the world to have easy access to the historical maps. The Center will continue to find Korean cultural heritage abroad that are in need of conservation and support their permanent preservation and utilization.

< A Map Before and After Conservation Treatment >

"Korea-Mongolia Joint Seminar and Workshop on Cooperation for the Preservation of Ancient Cultural Heritage"

Commemorating the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Korea and Mongolia, the IFLA PAC Korea Center hosted the "Korea-Mongolia Joint Seminar and Workshop on Cooperation for the Preservation of Ancient Cultural Heritage" from June 28 to July 3, 2010, in an effort to assist the National Library of Mongolia (NLM) with preservation tasks. The seminar on cooperative preservation efforts was attended by officials responsible for preservation-related tasks at the NLM, experts on the restoration of traditional Korean cultural assets, conservation experts in charge of preservation and conservation treatment at the NLK, and experts on the preservation environment in Korea. The seminar examined the status of cultural heritage preservation in the two countries and discussed measures for mutual cooperation. Meanwhile, the workshop featured various activities including a demonstration on how to restore a traditional Korean cultural asset using hanji, providing practical training for book repairs utilizing traditional Korean paper, surveying the preservation environment of library storage at the NLM, and offering analytical insight on relevant problems. In addition, the NLM was presented with conservation materials and tools including hanji and wheat starch paste, along with pH-neutral preservation boxes.

< Preservation Cooperation Seminar >

< Book Repair Training Workshop >

4) Conferences on Preservation

The IFLA PAC Korea Center has continually held conferences on preservation to share the latest information on the subject with its partners at home and abroad, and to strengthen its capacity for the preservation of resources. The first international conference on preservation was held in 2004, with the aim to facilitate exchanges regarding preservation tasks among the leading national libraries of Korea, China and Japan. Since the establishment of the IFLA PAC Korea Center in 2008, the conference has further developed as a specialized conference on preservation.

The 2008 International Preservation Conference was held for two days on July 8 and July 9, 2008, under the topic of "The Development of Conservation Techniques and Cooperative Preservation in Asia." At the conference, Oshima Kaoru from the National Diet Library (NDL) of Japan introduced "National Diet Library’s Efforts in Information Sharing and Cooperation on Preservation," and Lin Shitian from the National Library of China (NLC) presented "New Development of Ancient Books PAC at the National Library of China." In addition, Lee Kui-Bok from the NLK presented "The Role of the National Library of Korea in the Preservation and Conservation of Domestic Collections." On the second day, Satoko Muramoto from the NDL presented "Condition Survey on Japanese Books Held by the National Diet Library," Hu Yuqing from the NLC presented "Cases of Restoring Dunhuang Manuscripts," and Park So-yeon from the NLK introduced "A Study on the Leaf Casting Method Using Traditional Korean Paper (Hanji)."

The 2010 International Preservation Conference was held on December 9, 2010, under the topic of "Preservation of Electronic Material; Its Techniques and Current State." The PAC Korea Center invited two overseas experts to give presentations at the conference: Dominique Théron from Bibliothèque Nationale de France and Kosuke Murakami from the NDL of Japan. In addition, four Korean presenters were invited from related organizations. First, Dominique Théron presented "From Here to Eternity: Mission Impossible?," followed by Kosuke Murakami who introduced "Digital Preservation and Its Research in the National Diet Library," along with Jo Won-ik from Toshiba Samsung, who illustrated "Issues on Long-term Retention for Optical Disc as a Storage Media." Lee Kui-bok from the NLK introduced "Storage and Practical Testing of Records, Cassettes & Video Tapes in Libraries." Jang Kwang-heon from the Korea Film Archive presented "Preservation and Discussion of Films and Digital Media" and Kim Sang-kook from the National Archives of Korea introduced "Analytical Measurement and Discussion of Electronic Storage Media."

In 2012, a conference on conservation techniques was held between June 26 and June 27, under the topic of "Preservation of Leather Binding." Since there are very few leather binding experts currently active in Korea, it is difficult to obtain information on the production and repairs of leather-bound books. Therefore, the PAC Korea Center arranged the seminar in order to provide technical and practical information on leather-bound book preservation by inviting a book conservation expert and a book binder from Japan. Since libraries in Japan face similar conditions to those in Korea, the skills and experience offered by the Japanese experts are a source of practical guidance on relevant issues to libraries in Korea. Of the two experts, Kuba Masakaze was formerly a book conservation expert at the NDL of Japan, and Okamoto Kozi is a leather binding expert. At the seminar, Okamoto Kozi presented "History of Leather Binding and its Structure." Hyun Hea-won, a conservation expert of the NLK introduced "Preservation of Leather Books in the Library." In addition, Kuba Masakaze held a workshop on the conservation of leather binding.

In 2013, the IFLA PAC Korea Center held a preservation conference under the theme of "Changes in Information Media and the Future of Preservation" to discuss the current status and future development of preservation. At the seminar, Kwak Seung-jin of Chung-Nam University presented "Developing Print Journals’ Cooperative Preservation and Utilization Program," and Lee Sang-chan from the Kyujanggak Institute for Korean Studies introduced "Conservation of Rare Book Collection." Also, Hong Soon-young from the Seoul National University Library presented "Preservation in University Libraries," and Hyun Hea-won from the NLK discussed "Future Preservation Strategy and Current Preservation Issues." The IFLA PAC Korea Center will continue its efforts to introduce the latest trends of preservation and disseminate relevant techniques by consistently holding international conferences on the relevant issue.

5) Preservation Promotion

"Health Check for Your Books" Event

Since preservation education programs are generally only offered to librarians, the IFLA PAC Korea Center held an event named "Health Check for Your Books" on two occasions, in 2008 and 2011, to provide accurate information on preservation for members of the public who are interested in the issue, and to raise awareness of the issue’s importance.

The "Health Check for Your Books" event offers participants the opportunity to learn and experience simple book repair methods firsthand after the condition of the books they bring are examined. The event also allows children and youths to understand the importance of books by providing information on proper book management for damage prevention. The "Health Check for Your Books" event served as an excellent opportunity to promote the NLK’s function of preservation and conservation for invaluable resources, as well as to enhance public awareness on preservation and the importance thereof.

< Diagnosing the Condition of Books >

< Book Repair Experience >

6) IFLA PAC Korea Center Website

The IFLA PAC Korea Center opened its website ( in 2010, which has since operated as a means to introduce the IFLA PAC and its Korea Center and to inform the public of its education programs, events and the latest news. Moreover, the website posts materials published by the Korea Center, including manuals on preservation and conservation techniques, along with reports from various seminars and conferences on relevant issues, which enable easy access to the center’s information on preservation. Visitors to the website are given quick and convenient access to up-to-date information and trends on preservation.

< IFLA PAC Korea Center Website >

4. Conclusion

The IFLA PAC Korea Center has endeavored to raise public awareness on preservation. In the coming years, the Center will endeavor to modernize and distribute preservation and conservation technologies for traditional cultural assets in Korea, research disaster preparedness in relation to electronic materials, develop new preservation technologies, and lead the domestic sector for advanced preservation technologies through active cooperation with relevant organizations, including the National Museum of Korea and the National Archives of Korea. Furthermore, the IFLA PAC Korea Center will further its efforts for the preservation of domestic and world cultural heritages in fulfilling its role as an international organization dedicated to resource preservation by actively participating in joint preservation programs held both at home and abroad, and disseminating preservation and conservation technologies within the country.

1 This publication was discontinued after its December 2013 issue (No. 61)

Copyright (C) 2016 National Library of Korea