Interview with Ian Bogus

Ian Bogus is the MacDonald Curator of Preservation at University of Pennsylvania. He has been at Penn since September 2010. Before that he was the Head of General Collections Conservation at Yale University Libraries where he oversaw the conservation of the general collections, deacidification, monographic binding, and digitization projects in many formats. From 2001 to February 2007, when he went to Yale, he worked at Rutgers University Libraries as a manager and preservation specialist.

Ian BogusName:
Ian Bogus

Current Title:
MacDonald Curator of Preservation, University of Pennsylvania

Where were you born?
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It’s almost as if I’m back home, except that I really haven’t spent much time here since I left for college.

What was your professional training?
While at Rutgers I was trained by Kristen St. John who was the conservator there at the time. She trained me on conserving general collections materials and gave me the preservation bug. I have an MLIS from Rutgers, a Certificate in Preservation Management from the Preservation Management Institute, and completed the McGovern/Kenney Digital Preservation Management Workshop.

What was your very first job?
I started working at my mother’s floral business at a relatively young age. My first non-family job was when I worked for a caterer at 15.

What would your dream job be?
My undergraduate degree is in fine arts with a dual concentration in sculpture and ceramics. There are certainly days I wish I could play with mud all day.

Why does the preservation of museum and library collections matter to you?
I strongly believe in the concept of standing on the shoulders of giants. Many, if not all, of our greatest discoveries in all fields are built off earlier works. If you dig deeper you’ll find that it is common that many important discoveries were actually found much earlier but were forgotten or ignored. I find it fascinating that when I was a kid we were taught that before Columbus most people believed that the earth was flat where the truth is that almost all educated people in the west knew that the earth was a sphere for centuries. What does it mean that most of us were taught this “fact,” and what more does it mean that it is wrong? Jeffery Burton Russell’s Inventing the Flat Earth is a wonderful book on how the myth started and how Russell discovered the truth using primary source materials.

What is your favorite work of art or your favorite artist?
Modern art generally resonates with me the most. Rodin has always been one of my favorites.

What other hobbies or significant interests do you have?
I studied art in college and I still really enjoy looking at it and making it when I get the chance.

What is your most treasured possession?
My sanity.

What is your greatest indulgence?
One of the things I realized moving back to Philly was how much great food was here. I’ve certainly been indulging more than I should

What was the most surprising thing to you about IPI?
It is like the universe is expanding!

How did you come to know about IPI and its work in the preservation field?
The first environmental monitoring program I set up at Rutgers used a combination of HOBO dataloggers and Climate Notebook software. It was a complicated system, but it was worth getting the in-depth analysis from IPI’s software. Since then I have followed closely what has been coming out of IPI.