A peek inside the art inventory project at the Boston Public Library

At the Boston Public Library, we’re undertaking an item-level inventory of over 320,000 original art works. That’s a lot of art:

Item by item, we are developing descriptive metadata for each object in the Print Collection using content and vocabulary standards defined by the project. One of the ways we help to preserve the materials is to (carefully!) remove prints from old mats. Here’s a quick look at how we un-mat:

1. Observe the print trapped in its sad old mat.IMG_2152

 

2. Open the window mat and tell the print that you love it and it’s going to be okay.IMG_2153

 

3. With a very sharp knife, carefully cut along the adhesive hinges.IMG_2155

 

4. Set the print free! Well, actually, put it in an acid-free folder and label it. Include any ephemera that may have been lurking beneath.IMG_2157

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