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Highlights in this issue

Editorial

Jonathan Ashley-Smith, Head of Conservation Department

Although the Conservation Department of today bears little resemblance to the Department that was established a little more than thirty years ago, the change has always been evolutionary rather than revolutionary.

The conservation of Charles Dickens' manuscripts

Annette Low, Book Conservator, Conservation Department

The National Art Library (NAL) in the Victoria and Albert Museum counts amongst its treasures the original manuscripts of most novels of Charles Dickens. Together with proofs and letters they were bequeathed by Dickens to his friend John Forster and are now part of the Forster Collection in the NAL.

The mounting of single leaf parchment & vellum objects for display and storage

Daniel Norman, Conservation Technician, Conservation Mounting Section, Conservation Department

An exhibition of manuscripts at the V&A brought to light the problems associated with displaying and storing single leaf vellum and parchment objects and proved an excellent opportunity for research.

The use of vacuum packing in Australia

Helen Shenton, Head of Paper and Book Group, Conservation Department

Using a machine from the food industry (used to package, for example, turkeys) bundles of newspapers are put into plastic bags and the air is extracted. The bags are produced from 80 micron coextruded plastic: 70% linear low density polyethylene inside to enable sealing at a reasonably low flow temperature, 30% nylon outside to give toughness.