University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The items in the Digital Collections of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Library contain materials which represent or depict sensitive topics or were written from perspectives using outdated or biased language. The Library condemns discrimination and hatred on any grounds. As a research library that supports the mission and values of this land grant institution, it is incumbent upon the University Library to preserve, describe, and provide access to materials to accurately document our past, support learning about it, and effect change in the present. In accordance with the American Library Association’s Freedom to Read statement, we do not censor our materials or prevent patrons from accessing them.

If you have questions regarding this statement or any content in the Library’s digital collections, please contact

American Library Association’s Freedom to Read Statement

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility at the University Library

Special Collections Conservation Treatment Documentation

About Conservation Documentation
The process of conservation documentation in the course of treatment is intrinsic to the ethical transmission of the conservator’s work. It records the state of an object before, during, and after the changes brought about by physical treatment. Through text and photographs, the documentation provides a chronicle of decisions made and actions taken. It is also meant to exist in perpetuity with the treated object as a critical archive of change in history over time. In a variety of written formats (checkboxes, database forms/fields, narrative text, or any combination of those three), conservators record the composition of an artifact, its changes over time including deterioration and damage from outside forces, proposed conservation treatment approaches and, after treatment, the final conservation treatment actions as completed. Alongside the written documentation are a series of photographs meant to document these steps, including various standardized shots taken before and after treatment, as well as images meant to highlight any unique features. In some instances, images may also be taken during treatment to document particular challenges, structural anomalies, or significant treatment steps. Historically, conservation treatment was kept on physical 35mm color slides and paper but has transitioned to digital images and files since the early 2000s for most institutions.

In many institutions, conservation documentation is archived and preserved, but stored only in digital “dark storage” for access only by library staff when requested. By creating this publicly searchable collection, the Preservation Services Unit at the University of Illinois Library supports more open access to these important documents.

Using this Collection
This collection may be accessed in multiple ways. To view thumbnails of all items in the collection, or to search for individual items or treatment types, click on the button above that shows the total number of items in the collection. From here you may browse the collection or search in multiple ways. If you are interested in a particular book, you may search for individual titles by using the filter function to search for basic bibliographic information such as title, call number, publication date, etcetera. If you are interested in learning more about particular damage types or conservation repairs, you may use the lists at the left of the screen to choose single or multiple tags for areas such as treatment type, item format and structure, damage types, and/or materials and equipment used.

A copy of the lexicon of terms and definitions can be found at