The Digitization Project of Kindred Languages is not only about the publishing material online, but within the project also a plenty of preservation and conservation work will be completed. Today, the National Library of Finland and its partner in Russia have agreed on the conservation work regarding the newspaper material of the follow-up project. The preservation and conservation work will be completed by the shores of Fontanka at the Federal Document Conservation Center, a department of the National Library of Russia. By the agreement, more than 30 000 pages of newspapers in Komi and Udmurt languages will treated to some extent during the Follow-Up Project in 2014 and 2015.
Preservation and conservation work is needed for many reasons. First of all, in many cases the newspapers are just breaking into pieces due to low-quality paper. Quite often the newspapers in our project are printed on very low quality wood pulp paper and are high in acid content. Also the ink quality is sometimes very poor. Secondly, the conditions in stacks are not always the best possible for this sort of material. Wrong temperature and humidity are harmful for newspapers. The light is not good for several reasons. A flood in the stacks is a disaster that can’t be reverted. Thirdly, in addition to the changing weather conditions, quite a lot of harm is done by humans themselves. Back in time, the newspaper issues and volumes were harshly bound to each other – sometimes even glued – by the local bookbinder. During our project, naturally, there is a good reason to re-open these bindings for scanning. Once the bindings will be cut apart, the newspaper pages will be conserved and stored for the future use by using modern conservation methods.
It is also important to understand that the newspaper selection in the Follow-Up project does contain often material of the periphery, not the center. Even though we have selected newspapers from major cities of kindred nations, a great deal of newspapers in the loop were printed outside of the local centers. Maintaining this sort of newspaper material of the periphery by digitizing, seems time to time somewhat secondary for Russian libraries. So, here we have a mission too. And as there are no resources allocated at the National Library of Russia to preserve the material in question, the work that is done in the course of the Digitization Project of Kindred Languages plays a central role here. All in all, more than 800 000 RUB have been paid by the National Library of Finland in the course of the both legs of the project for maintaining and preserving this cultural heritage and thus providing valuable access to local histories for the public.
See the list of conserved newspapers in here: App._7.1_Udmurt Newspapers Restoration and App._7.2_Komi Newspapers Restoration. These newspapers will be available in our Fenno-Ugrica collection in autumn 2014.