The Preservation Project
For guidance and assistance in preserving the treasure trove of books and documents from the mid-sixteenth to late twentieth century, the Coalition Provisional Authority called on the US National Archives and Records Administration. With the agreement of Iraqi officials, the National Archives undertook the effort to preserve these waterlogged, damaged, and moldy materials; to catalog and digitize them; and to develop an exhibit from the books and documents.
The work occurred in three phases:
- Initial recovery, freezing and shipping, and vacuum freeze-drying;
- Identification, assessment, photographing title pages and covers, creation of a database, preliminary cataloging, and consultation with subject matter experts;
- Completion of cataloging, stabilization of materials, digitization, boxing, creation of the exhibition in English and Arabic, collaboration with Iraqi conservators, and return of the materials to Iraq.