Preservation and Processing

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The following manual may be used as a reference tool in order to maintain consistent procedures in Preservation & Processing. The procedures herein have been approved by the Preservation & Processing Manager and any significant deviation from these procedures should be approved by same.

Handling materials carefully - general guidelines.

The care with which a book or media item is handled by patrons and library staff members directly affects its longevity; proper handling and storage can prolong the life of a library's collection.

1. Appropriate shelving for items of ordinary size:

  • Smooth, solid shelves; no jagged edges or protruding screws
  • All items upright, resting on their base
  • Bookends for shelves that are not full
  • Full shelves that are not too loosely or too tightly packed
  • All books on shelves that are a minimum of 4" above the floor

2. Appropriate shelving for oversize books:

  • Broad fixed shelves
  • All books flat, if possible, with no more than three or four volumes on top of each other
  • No protrusion of books into aisles

3. Appropriate removal of books:

  • Ease books on either side of the desired volume further back on the shelf
  • Grasp exposed book by the sides with the whole hand
  • Readjust the bookend

4. Appropriate replacement of books:

  • Loosen bookend
  • Move books on shelf to create a space
  • Reinsert book in the space
  • Readjust the bookend

5. Transport of books:

- Use a book truck that is easily maneuverable and has wide shelves or protective rails to secure the items in transit

- Load the book truck so that

  • books are upright
  •  books are not protruding beyond the edges of the truck
  • the center of gravity on the loaded truck is low
  • partially filled rows are supported by bookends

6. General handling of books:

  • Keep hands clean
  • Avoid food, drink, or smoking materials in close proximity of books
  • Support covers when book is open
  • Avoid forcing books to open further than they open easily
  • Avoid the use of paper clips in the text

7. General handling of DVDs and CDs:

  • Avoid touching playing surfaces
  • Handle discs by the outer edge or the center hole.
  • Return discs to storage cases immediately after use.
  • Keep dirt or other matter from the disc.
  • Remove dirt, fingerprints, smudges and liquids by wiping with a clean, dry, cotton cloth in a straight line from the center of the disc toward the outer edge.

Damage to books and media is cumulative. Repeated poor handling can quickly transform a new book into a worn book, and a worn book into an unusable book that requires costly repair or replacement. Proper use of books by each individual prolongs the life of a library's entire collection.


P&P processes new materials after they are cataloged and bar-coded. The importance of accuracy in this processing cannot be overstated. Because it is important that the book is physically appealing, all book plates should be evenly placed on the page and all stamps should be straight and located so they are aesthetically pleasing. Most importantly, all spine labels must be exactly correct. If a spine label is even a little bit wrong, a book could be misshelved and lost for decades. Literally. Therefore always pay close attention to the details and don't "zone out" when processing new materials.

Starting the process

Pick up the blue cart of cataloged items from the designated spot in LIB133 daily or as needed. Only the top two shelves of the cart are routinely used. It's polite to replace the cart with an empty one for the convenience of the technical services staff.

"Edit" the cart and set aside all items that should receive physical treatment. (Refer to the "New Materials to be Treated" list for details.)  If there's room on the cart, add items from the "to be labeled" shelves near LIB135C.  Once the cart has been edited and items have been added to it, tape a slip of scrap paper to the cart with the date written on it.  All carts should be processed in chronological order so that the "first in" is the "first out".

New Materials to be Treated

Anything with a blue P+P/bindery slip

Faculty Author Collection  (All books, hardcover books with dust jackets so jacket can be attached, and paperback books too.)

Paperback Books-

All N class


Vermont Collection (unless otherwise noted)

Any paperback book that is very large, very small, or very flimsy.


Media formats that need additional packaging (Loose CDs or disks, videos without exterior case, etc.).  Also remove DVDs that need to have their cardboard cover photocopied to convert it to a sleeve for the locking case.

Producing labels

Note: ask supervisor for computer log-in and password.  When the computer starts a program called "Print Wizard" will automatically open and run in its own window.  Do not close this window.  If you do, the program will stop running and you won't be able to print labels.

  • Turn the printer on.
  • Turn the tape reel take up tower on.
  • Open the Millennium Client, (also known as III or “triple eye”), by clicking once on the icon on the “quick launch” toolbar. (ask supervisor for username and password)  When III opens the “Index” pull down menu will be highlighted. Type “B” for barcode. The Index will change to “barcode” and the cursor will tab to the empty box to the right.
  • Scan the barcode on the piece that you need a label for. The item record will open in a new window. Hit the F11 key. A new window “Modify Monographic Labels” will open in which you can, (you guessed it!), modify the label.  Here you may reformat the lines to match standard format but you may not change the content of the call number. Campare the cutter line written in the item to the cutter line shown on the screen.  If the content of the call number does not match that written in the item, cancel the printing, write a brief note describing the problem, and set the item aside to be reviewed by your supervisor. When the label is formatted correctly hit F12 to print the label.   For Browsing Media items you need to rekey the entire call number in order to replace the line "shelved by title...".    Note: if this is the first label of the session, an extra window will open and you’ll need to select the printer “Workstation Jetdirect”.

To use the shortcut keys to add the prefix, click in the yellow area of the “modify Monographic labels” window, then use the shortcuts in combination with the shift key.

Repeat step b. until you’ve produced all the labels you need.

Note: the official location prefixes can be seen here.  

Applying labels and marking items

Mark the items, taking them from the cart in the order of the strip of labels.  All loose parts in pockets of cases should be marked for ownership.  See separate instructions for marking media items.

Faculty Author Collection: if hardcover with dust jacket, the dust jacket is lined with Mylar and permanently attached to the book then label and barcode attached to jacket.   Do not heat the spine label onto the book.

Refer to separate section of the manual for details on how to process items that are kept in offices like the Scott Center, the Career Services Office, etc.

See separate secton in this manual for details on processing media items.

  1. place the appropriate book plate inside the front cover, centered and even. (Some books may already have a gift book plate and some may have one slipped into a page for you to insert.)  Books for the Davison Library, and Armstrong Library have different book plates.   All other books get the Davis Family Library book plate unless the plate would obscure important information (maps, tables, etc.) and then the plate may be placed on the first page or omitted.
  2. stamp the title page neatly with the large Middlebury College Library stamp.
  3. place a security strip in each book according to instructions.
  4. proofread the spine label against the call number in the book to be sure you are putting the correct label on the book and that the prefix, if any, is accurate. Using the jig place the spine label on the spine. The top of the label should be 2.5 inches from the bottom of the spine EXCEPT ON THOSE REFERENCE BOOKS WHERE IT WOULD OBSCURE IMPORTANT INFORMATION (like volume or year designations). The entire label must be clearly legible. If the label will not fit on the spine of the book, place it on the front cover at the same level, and 1/4 inch in from the spine edge.  For Browsing Books, place the spine label at the very bottom of the spine.
  5. stamp the bottom left corner of the last page "Not to be taken from the library" if the item is going to Ref or if there is a pink "lib use only" flag in it.
  6. stamp edges with the small Middlebury College Library stamp so it can be read when the book is laying face up on a table.

Distributing processed items

Distribute items to appropriate locations: Armstrong Library books are placed in bins in the loading dock.   Make sure to protect fragile media cases in transit by placing rubber bands around multiple items to make a solid group.  Ask your supervisor for a key to the loading dock door.

Ask your supervisor about clumps of materials going to non-library places like the Scott Center or CSO.

All other library books remain on the cart and go to the Circulation Desk.

Media labeling and marking

A “Selin” label is the kind that goes on books and is produced on the Okidata Printer.  A “P-touch” label is the kind that goes on some media and is produced on the P-touch printer.  A completed sample for each category of processing is near the processing work station so please refer to those as needed. If media is inside a protective case, then the exterior case should get the spine label, not the interior one.  The barcode is put on the inside of the case and if there's an insert the barcode it put on the insert.

DVD recase project:

DVDs (routine processing for new items)

DVD routinely go to the DVD collection in stacks by default unless there is a green location flag that indicates they should go to the "Media" or "restricted" collection behind the Circulation Desk. 

For DVD Collection:

  • Do not apply security overlay.
  • Put in locking case if it isn't in one already. Reissue barcode to new case as needed.
  • Produce Selin label.
  • Apply selin label to spine except for specific call numbers in PN class--  (refer to chart with list of specific call numbers) then apply selin label to front cover and produce an additional p-touch label of just the cutter and apply it to the bottom of the spine and apply a colored label overlay per list on chart.
  • Apply "3-Day Loan" sticker to top of spine on sleeve under plastic.  Adjust placement as needed to avoid covering the title.
  • Apply security strip to spine on the inside of the sleeve.

If designated for the stacks:

  • May be placed either in a pocket in the book, or in a separate locking DVD case with separate item record.
  • If left in pocket in book apply security overlay to DVD itself per instructions, or if put in a locking case apply security strip to spine inside of paper sleeve.
  • Apply "3-Day Loan" sticker to top of spine on sleeve under plastic.
  • Prefix on spine label should be "stacks" or "Vt. Coll", "Armstrong Media" etc., if in a separate DVD case. (not necessary if in pocket in book)

For Media Collection at Davis Circulation Desk:

  • Do not apply security overlay to DVD.
  • Do not apply "3-Day Loan" sticker.
  • Put in locking case if it isn't in one already.  Reissue barcode to new case as needed.
  • Produce and apply P-touch label to bottom of spine with "Media" as the prefix.
  • Apply security strip to spine on the inside of the sleeve.
  • (DVDs going to Armstrong are stored behind Circ Desk but are processed like those for the stacks with a Seline label and the prefix "Armstrong Media" on two lines.

Audio CDs 

For CD collection behind Circ Desk by default-

(Music CDs are shelved by acqusition number.) 

  • Kept in original jewel case or cardboard case.  (If no case, put in jewel case.)
  • Apply Seline label to spine: inside of jewel case or on cardboard case with label protector per example.
  • Apply security strip per example.

If designated for the stacks:

  • May be placed either in pocket in book or in a separate jewel case with separate item record.
  • Apply security overlay per instructions
  • If single CD on it’s own, place in jewel case and then put jewel case in a pamphlet binder slipcase. Slipcase should get a spine labe but the jewel case does not.
  • If multiple CDs in a case and if case is substantial, simply process it like a book for the stacks. If case is flimsy or broken, put audio CDs in a new album case or CD-ROMs in multiple disk jewel case. Request spine title from supervisor.


Shelved in the stacks near Gov Docs by default.

  • Put cassette in plastic case (retain carboard sleeve if it fits in plastic case.)
  • P-touch label on spine
  • no security strip


Shelved in the stacks by default-

  • May be placed either in a pocket in the book, or in a separate jewel case with separate item record.
  • Apply security overlay per instructions
  • If single CD-Rom on it’s own without a book, place in jewel case and then put jewel case in a pamphlet binder slipcase. Slipcase should get a selin spine label but the jewel case does not.

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