New York State will provide over $67,000 over the course of two years for a Columbia-led effort to preserve and photocopy endangered brittle reference and research titles currently housed in the Columbia, Cornell, and The State University of New York at Albany (SUNY Albany) libraries. A number are considered rare and valuable.
The volumes to be copied include Slavic reference materials from SUNY Albany, music reference materials from Cornell and materials from Columbia University’s Ancient and Medieval Reading Room. All are heavily used and most show signs of extensive damage and deterioration.
The project will produce approximately 300 volumes comprised of around 90,000 pages of preservation photocopies on acid-free paper that can be shelved in open-stack areas of the libraries, so that the originals can be protected in closed or off-site storage facilities.
Columbia University Libraries plans to photocopy materials from their Ancient and Medieval Collections, most of which reside in the Ancient and Medieval Reading Room for onsite use by scholars. Karen Green, Columbia’s Ancient and Medieval History and Religion Bibliographer stated, "The materials to be preserved cover a wide range of subjects: medieval Crusade chronicles, large-scale facsimiles of classical texts in manuscript, and editions of medieval cartularies. The Crusades—and their story of Christian-Muslim interaction—given current geo-political developments, have become an increasingly important area of study."
This massive collection gathers chroniclers from Western Europe, the Mediterranean, and Asia Minor, providing access to a large number of voices not otherwise available in printed editions. The Codices Latini et Graeci, photostatic images of classical texts in manuscript, is physically massive and its contents would be unusable in microfilm or in otherwise reduced size. Cartularies, collections of deeds and charters from the history of a religious institution such as a church or a monastery, are rich sources for political, religious, economic, and cultural history. They can be studied as an historical whole or individual documents can be identified for other purposes, but their anthology-like makeup make browsing on microfilm unwieldy.
Columbia University Libraries/Information Services is one of the top five academic research library systems in North America. The collections include over 10 million volumes, over 100,000 journals and serials, as well as extensive electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, maps, graphic and audio-visual materials. The services and collections are organized into 22 libraries and various academic technology centers. The Libraries employs more than 550 professional and support staff. The website of the Libraries is the gateway to its services and resources: library.columbia.edu.