The MoviePak Blues

June 28th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

MoviePaks are plastic cartridges holding Super 8mm film inside of it, spliced together in a loop to play continuously on a specially made rear projection machine. The MoviePaks we came across were manufactured by Fairchild Camera & Instrument Corporation as well as Dumont Instrumentation, Inc., had magnetic stripe soundtracks, and the color had seriously faded to red. We approximate that these date from the early to mid-1970s. These are also mostly duplicates of films and are not the only copy that we have in our holdings, although you may across something unique on a MoviePak (the only extant copy of an organization’s training film or something).

These cartridges are pretty awful and the film can get snagged, scratched, and the perforations scraped away very easily (despite the film being made from the more durable polyester plastic base). The only choice is to crack it open, cut the loop where its initial splice was made, and slowly and carefully reel it on an appropriately sized reel. Super 8 film is like a wily teenager and will do what it wants to do: just anticipate and be patient. And clear your calendar.

I hope you enjoy our video we made of how best to relieve the Movie from its Pak. Don’t forget the middle screw! Performing this feat is our new intern, Lauren O’Connor. Lauren is not wearing gloves, as suggested by her supervisor, since she thoroughly washed and dried her hands multiple times, and because the “gloves had to come off” for dealing with snot-nosed Super 8mm film. The music in the video was downloaded from the Internet Archive and is a 1922 recording of Ladd’s Black Aces playing “I’ve Got to Have My Daddy Blues” (because MoviePaks can certainly give you the blues).

<<Siobhan Hagan, AV Preservation Specialist

Summer Conservation Internship

March 19th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

UCLA Library

Note the deadline for the 2013 internship is May 7, 2013

More info here


The UCLA Library Preservation Department is offering a conservation pre-program internship for qualified students who are applying for Masters-level training in conservation. This internship will provide experience to pre-program students or individuals currently in graduate level conservation programs in conservation decision making, treatment and documentation for library and archival collections. The conservation intern will work under the supervision of the collections conservator to perform repair or make enclosures for materials selected from the collections. Relevant literature will be reviewed prior to conservation treatment and all projects will be documented.

Application deadline is April 13, 2012 » Read the rest of this entry «

Douglas MacLennan: 2010 Summer Conservation Internship Report

March 14th, 2011 § 1 comment § permalink

Beginning mid June, 2010 I began a summer-long internship working with collections conservator Kristen St. John at the UCLA Library Conservation Center (LCC).  As a pre-program student nearing readiness for entrance into a formal graduate program in conservation, my experience at the LCC has been both educational and extremely rewarding.

The goals of my summer internship were threefold; first, to provide first-hand experience working with book and paper conservators in two book and paper conservation labs here in Los Angeles.   Secondly, to afford me an opportunity to observe a variety of treatments amongst a wide range of books and works on paper, thereby helping me better grasp both the day to day work within an institutional setting as well as facilitating a clearer understanding of my own academic and professional goals.  Lastly, Kristen felt (and I agree wholeheartedly!) that I lacked a necessary foundation of the wide range of object-sympathetic enclosures and boxes for museum objects.  Thus began my internship at the LCC.

» Read the rest of this entry «

Annie Peterson: Internship Report

August 4th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Today’s update comes from Annie Peterson, a Master’s degree student in Library and Information Science, specializing in preservation, at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. We’re running a summer internship program at UCLA to give students like Annie an opportunity to get their hands dirty (figuratively and literally) and gain experience in how preservation works in practice. Annie did some very good work with us this summer, and we’re really happy to share her observations here, now, and will plan to post some of our research products in the weeks ahead.

The first week in August will be the last week of my eight-week internship working with Jake Nadal in the preservation department at the UCLA Library. During my time here I’ve gained an invaluable wealth of knowledge and have worked on some really exciting projects.


One of the projects I worked on is “Collecting Los Angeles.” The goal of the project is to build a strong, cohesive collection at UCLA that is all about Los Angeles history and culture. The preservation portion of it is a condition survey that will help the library assess the overall condition of its archival collections. I worked on tweaking the survey tool and creating a ratings system for determining how valuable to Los Angeles research a particular collection could be.

» Read the rest of this entry «

Preservation and Conservation Internships for Summer 2010

April 7th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

The UCLA Library Preservation Department is offering two internships for the summer of 2010 (application deadline is May 3, 2010). This will be our second summer of our “visiting internship” program and we’re very excited to see what we can do this year. Our visiting internship program offers capstone experiences to individuals enrolled in graduate preservation or conservation education and provides pre-program experiences to qualified students who are applying for Masters-level training in conservation.

The full announcement follows.

» Read the rest of this entry «

Laura Bedford: Internship Report

February 25th, 2010 § 3 comments § permalink

Today’s update comes from Laura Bedford, a Master’s degree student in book and paper conservation at the University of Texas, Austin. Third-year students like Laura are expected to complete a nine-month residency under a master conservator, and Laura is working at the Huntington Library with our good friend Holly Moore. Holly arranged for Laura to spend a little time with us so that she could experience work in a different conservation setting.

In February I had the pleasure of spending two weeks working at UCLA’s conservation lab with Kristen St. John, Collections Conservator, and Jake Nadal, Preservation Officer. The purpose of this mini-internship was to experience the work of a high-use circulating collection lab, as my prior experience has been in special collections and archives.

I spent the first day with Kristen reviewing the treatments she and her staff complete in-house, which involved the familiar hinge-tightening, page tip-in’s, rebacks, recases, board attachments, double fan adhesive bindings, full rebinds, phase boxes and corrugated clamshell enclosures. Books are sent to the lab from all UCLA library divisions, where a two-tiered sorting takes place. The initial sort is to identify items that are too far decayed to be repaired, items that can be sent to the UC Bindery for repair, and items that will be treated in-house. The secondary sort is to select the appropriate in-house treatments.

We sorted through roughly 50 books to familiarize myself with the criteria for library binding candidates.  I had a hard time not wanting to keep more of the books in-house, until Kristen reminded me that their library binding costs were cheaper than paying a student the two hours’ work it would take to repair the book.  Once the books were sorted, we filled out repair slips for the roughly fifteen in-house candidates, ticking off boxes to specify how the treatments were to be handled (e.g. a hollow tube spine, or instructions to photocopy rear end sheets to replace the front ones).

I didn’t do the repairs on any of the books I’d sorted out, though, as Kristen had another project in mind for me: a group of architectural drawings by Richard Neutra that were to be loaned out for exhibit by the end of the month.  I wasn’t going to be able to treat all of them in my two weeks, of course, but she wanted me to handle documentation and set up a treatment protocol that could be continued after my departure.

Neutra documents rolled, as they came to the lab.

Neutra documents rolled, as they came to the lab.

Here’s a brief summary of what I was looking at: » Read the rest of this entry «