Creating a Knowledge Sharing Culture

By: Sherif Afifi | December 24, 2016

A challenging project was done by a teamwork of 8 conservators who are a master student on Conservation of Antique Photographic and Paper Heritage (EICAP)

This assignment was assigned by Prof. Simona Inserra for a fully deteriorated 17th-century rare book.

To demonstrate a restoration process under limited or very small budget and absent of most of the conservation labs equipment and in a very short time, this assignment was a good experience for my teamwork for working in a conservation lab that has a limited budget.

Challenges was
The time (only 8 days available)
The materials were limited
The tools were basic

That was the power of teamwork.

Sherif Afifi
Wael Mohamed
Mei Bayomi
Ahmed Adel
Heba Sherif
Sara Ismael

By: Sherif Afifi | December 23, 2016

Albumen print primary support is usually very thin and fine paper, so dealing with such paper needs very careful hands and skilled as well specifically if you will do any wet treatments.

Sherif Afifi

This video demonstrating a process of removing albumen print from its secondary support.
(the removal was for some research propose only not for conservation)
Watch this video

Creating a Knowledge Sharing Culture
Sherif Afifi

By: Sherif Afifi | August 09, 2016

Water damage to Antique photographs

 A group of antique photographs (silver gelatin) become as one due to water damage happened to the collection, these photos was heavily glued together with the effect of PVA (Poly Vinyl Acetate) residues that was used during adding these photos to the photo albums in the past

photos as one block
A restoration and conservation process action to these photographs has been done to split them off trying different techniques starting from the simple humidification process passing through ultrasonic cold steam which shows no result at all after trying these tow techniques for several hours.
finally, we decided to mechanically split them into some groups every group of photos was heavily stuck together, and then we start to immerse individually each group of stacked photos into distilled water and very carefully separated them.

this video shows the full process

Water damage to Antique photographs

if you do not know what is your antique photograph type here is a FREE Android application makes you easily identify your collection.

Antique Photographs

Identifying 19th Century Photograph Types free Android Application.

Numerous types of photographs appeared and then went out of favor throughout the 1800s. So, the first step in narrowing the possible date for your old photograph is to be able to identify 19th-century photographs to determine what type you have. The information provided in this handy and light application can turn you into a proficient photo detective.

Download it for free here
or copy and paste this link to your browser

Creating a Knowledge Sharing Culture
Sherif Afifi

By: Sherif Afifi | July 02, 2016

  I am happy to announce launching my personal website online yesterday, let us start to Creating a Knowledge Sharing Culture.

Islamic headband pattern over Byzantine headband as a support

I believe in sharing knowledge & experience "By sharing your knowledge, you gain more then you lose" David Gurteen said, personally I do not like to waste my time doing rubbish activity or unnecessary things, so I decided to invest in my free time (which is not that much) to gain more than I lose, if you think sharing experience and knowledge wasting your time and making others much more knowledgeable than you, you are completely mistaken, in opposite you will gain and learn more than you imagine and think so let us be committed to making difference and creating a knowledge sharing culture.
   Here you will find a variety of easy to follow how-to and tutorials on manuscripts, books, documents and maps conservation as well as tutorials for historical and modern bookbinding, crafts and more.

this website is mobile friendly to make it easy for most of the internet users all around the world with light and stylish design

Mobile screenshot 

in my website, I tried to collect all my sharing publications in one place (Android applications, tutorials, videos, how to ... etc) this website will be updated eventually with new topics and more sharing.

add sherifafifi website to your favorite websites ;)

Sherif Afifi
Sharing Knowledge

Creating a Knowledge Sharing Culture
Sherif Afifi

Category: Uncategorized 


By: Sherif Afifi | June 29, 2016

  labels on rare collections (Books, Manuscripts, documents, photo albums ..etc) are glued on these objects and after some time it causes damage to the original binding material this damages mostly is irreversible damages most of the time.

On this blog I will try to share my last few years experience thinking and trying to deal with those labels for the rare books collections, some methods was effective and safe, and some are not, as we always considering reversibility of any techniques we use on rare objects.

Rare books labeling in libraries
(A) An 18th-century binding damaged with new archival label 
Labeling recommendation for modern and new archival materials (books, magazines ... etc):
  • For general collections, acceptable acid-free book labels are available from library suppliers.
  • Alternatively, use a soft pencil if it is absolutely essential to label the inside of a book cover directly.
in fig(A) an 18-century binding is damaged by an irreversible transparent tape that has been adding to the spine joint with the upper and lower cover for keeping its shelf mark label stable as possible (from the Liberian point of view).
after many times of use and handling, this transparent taps left causing a damage to the original leather.

another example of label cause a damaged to a book
I have tried many different methods to avoid adding those labels back to rare books after restoration especially on the original binding material especially if the binding material is leather or paper.
  • Using Transparent polyethylene

    In this method, a protection layer from transparent polyethylene is used to protect the spine as a quarter binding then adding all the labels and barcodes to this polyethylene layer.

Advantages of this method: 
  • Avoid direct contact or direct gluing between the book and the label.
  • Protect books spine from dust and direct hand contact.
    Disadvantages of this method: 
    • Bad ventilation for the object spine (it cannot breath)
    • May cause a fungal attack to the cover in case of humidity. 
    • Books electrostatically charge sticks together on the shelf which make some books act together as one during handling and cause handling damage.
    Humidity start affecting the spine - Electrostatic charge makes many objects act as a one during handling

    • Using Flap

      One of the worst thing that I have ever try is using a flap of leather or cloth or celluloid attached to the inner end of the spine during the restoration process to attach labels on it.

    Advantages of this method: 
    • Keeping labels away from the original cover material.
    • Good ventilation for the spine.
    The disadvantage of this method: 
    • Cannot apply to all books on the shelf (only we can apply it when we fully restored and rebinding the books).
    • Not durable whine using on shelves (readers sometimes Hand pulling the book from the shelves using it).
    • Not always in a position to make it visible on the shelf.
    • irretrievable as it becomes a part of the object binding.
    • give a wrong historical identity to the original object.

    • Using Acid-Free Label Card:

      Is an acid-free card which is designed to attach on the end leaf or front leaf (guard) of the book with an external space on it to glue or add all labels and bar-codes on it.

      Using acid-free cards
    Advantages of this method: 
    • Nothing directly glued to the object which means good ventilation for the object and no more label cause damages.
    • Stickers and labels are away (not glued on) from the book's spine.
    • Visible to Liberians and readers, so it makes it Easy to find Call number or barcode on shelves.
    • The acid-free card will not make any acidity Transfer effect or marks on the book papers or book cover.
    • Very practical, cost effective and easy in using and changing it.
    Applying acid-free label card method to all rare books
    The disadvantage of this method: 
    • It may get mixed from object to another during handling or reading.
    • Liberian needs to educate readers respectively how to but these tables back to the objects after reading.
    • In the case of a hard pressure on books on shelves for a long time, this label we leave embossed marks.
    Till today this method is the favorite one for me even if the risk of losing this label during reading process or handling, but still you can print a new barcode and apply it on a new card then attach it to the book,
    adding to your consideration that the researchers who are dealing normally with rare objects (which is usually not objects for normal readers) are able to understand the value of these books and handling it in a good way and Liberian easily can guide them for the best objects handling practices.

    Maybe in my next blog, I will talk about the safe handling methods for bindings.

    thanks for reading

    Creating a Knowledge Sharing Culture
    Sherif Afifi

    Sorry English is not my first language but sharing experience is a global language