Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


SURVENIR — Result In Brief

Project ID: 6594
Funded under: FP6-POLICIES
Country: Slovenia

Non-destructive testing of historical archives

For over a millennium, paper has been the predominant medium for transmitting ideas. Even in the digital era, printed and written information will not be abandoned. While preservation of historical collections remains a priority, the quality of the information carrier is very diverse. Varying compositions of this natural fibre material and constantly changing paper production technology influence the aging and therefore the condition of paper. Other factors are the storage conditions or the frequency of use.
Non-destructive testing of historical archives
The Survenir project has developed is a mobile system for determining the condition of a paper document quickly and nondestructively. All it needs for assessment is near infrared 'light', the reflection of which has been shown to correlate with chemical and mechanical properties of historic paper.

Such calculations are performed using an advanced mathematical analysis of the reflected signal (spectrum), which are then compared with an extensive collection of reference data representing more than 200 years of Western papermaking. The measured values reflect the quality of papermaking fibers and production processes, including past storage and use. The Survenir system does not, however, reflect the extent of paper yellowing. The results are available immediately after measurement thanks to the user-friendly software.

When using Survenir it is possible to examine the type of paper and other parameters such as pH, tensile strength and lignin content, which are all of crucial importance for long-term preservation. On the basis of this data a detailed appraisal of collections is possible. For presentation purposes the results are divided into four categories, GOOD, FAIR, POOR, and CRITICAL, which can be user-defined. Additional descriptive criteria such as year of publication, weight and binding type can be incorporated into the valuation.

Lichtblau e. K. markets the Survenir product as a purchasable system or as a service. Part o fthe collection survey is a report provided by the company Lichtblau e.K. The system can also be loaned, with training included.

Collections can be holistically appraised based on Survenir results. The material composition of a collection and the condition of the information carrier can serve as the basis for the informed management of access and preservation. Survey categories can be defined in a way that directly allows for the assessment of preservation needs for a whole collection. The results can be fed into the financial planning of an institution.

Thanks to Survenir informed and efficient decision-making is possible and can be tailored to the user's strategic needs.

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