One Special Interest we most likely share is “old” fashion magazines*). Fashion libraries have been buying or subscribing to print fashion magazines at a modest price for many years. It is common practice that current issues are heavily used for a while and by the time they are archived in the back volumes’ section of the library, they have become dear in more than one sense. They turn into a collection worthy of a museum: invaluable and very vulnerable. But fashion libraries are not museums: fashion libraries want their collections to be used.
Digitization still pending
The first option that springs to mind is to digitalize the “old” magazines page by page. There have been promising pilot projects, yes. That is a good thing good, yes. But these
are mere pilot projects and so substantial digitization is still pending. Moreover, it is a subject bristling with discouraging pitfalls such as: copyright, finance, scope, selection, quality, content description… etc. At the same time we do not know whether publishers have digitalized copies of their paper editions hidden in a safe somewhere. Maybe some of them have already made a deal with Google? If so, they kept it well up their sleeve…
For the time being, our library users will not stop flicking through paper magazines. So while publishers and librarians are brooding on cunning digitization plans in their respective lairs, I think that in the meantime there is still every reason to attend to “old”
fashion magazines with utmost care. I would be interested to know how other fashion libraries deal with “old” fashion magazines. As a kick-off, I will give a brief description of how we at AMFI handle them:
Storage of the “elderly”
- we keep them in acid free, snug, made-to-measure boxes. This allows for storage in an upright position, very much like a book, preventing the pages from sagging.
- the content of each box is limited to portions that are ‘easy to handle with
caution’, meaning that a box can be taken from the shelf with one hand (like
- the boxes are designed so as to allow smooth handling without too much abrasion, friction and torsion when a stack is taken out of the box or slid
So much for storage. – Now for the really difficult questions:
How to handle the “elderly”?
How to make sure that library users will handle these magazines properly? How to instruct them properly? Is a solemnly sworn oath, before giving them access to the old magazine section, sufficient guarantee for proper handling? And what is “proper handling” to begin with? Do we really need a detailed protocol for users, that includes imperatives such as : to wear protective gloves to protect the magazines?
Since I would answer the last question with a yes, I am looking forward to your suggestions, experiences, good or even best practices, as to help me put together a protocol that enables our library users to treat the “elderly” analogous fashion
magazines with due respect.
…ehm… Take care!
(Amsterdam Fashion Institute)
*) e.g. Depeche Mode, Face, I-D Magazine, Marie-Claire, Marie-France, Petit Echo de la Mode, Tank, various Vogue editions …etc.