| Study on mass conservation techniques for treatment of library and archives material |
In the last few years it has been established in many specialist publications that it is necessary to develop mass preservation end restoration processes in order to preserve the contents of libraries and archives. In view of the serious situation in libraries and archives, various efforts have been made internationally by chemists, curators and restorers to find adequate ways of preserving endangered cultural assets.
The following is an attempt at outlining the present state of development in mass restoration and preservation methods and to relate it to the economic, technical and aesthetic aspects. libraries, as centres of science and culture, fulfill varying and specific tasks. At the same time, they serve the purpose of collecting, developing and storing literary documents. The most important basic material of the library collections is still the paper - a material composed more or less solely of cellulose. In the last few years the reproduction of recorded knowledge onto polymer materials, so-called microforms, has increasingly spread which consequently supplements the classical form of paper. Irrespective of their basic material, collected items in libraries are liable to undergo certain changes, which particularly in long-term storage can have a negative effect on them. These processes, which are governed by law can be summarized under the term of "ageing". Every kind of material undergoes specific changes, but the ageing process of paper is the result of chemical reactions, whose velocity depends on varying "interior" and "exterior" factors. Consequently, this means that the existence and the storage of library materials is inextricably linked methods of preservation and restoration. It would be senseless investing, year after year, in a great deal of additional material with out attending to the further usage of the library material. Preservation and conservation therefore play an increasingly important role in library policy.
We bring together under the term "preservation" all the steps and necessary procedures which influence the external factors of ageing in the sense of prolonging the life of the library materials. An important factor which has some influence are the storage conditions - temperature, humidity and light.
Hygienic aspects in the stockroom such as cleanliness, well planned ordering of the materials in functional, well-built shelves, an examination of the microbiological and insecticidal environment, steps towards the reduction of air pollution etc., are further necessities in conservation.
Another important conservational task of librarians is the organisation of its use. The most important points here are the frequency of use, specialist use of books by readers, the frequency of duplication and not least the question of transportation from stockroom and back to the borrowers through the library workers.
In order to achieve these steps in conservation it is necessary to train employees in conservation. This does not mean simply the restorers or curators. To an increasing degree there is a growing need for librarians and stockroom personnel to have a basic knowledge of conservation, so that the optimum requirements for the preservation of library materials can be guaranteed.
We collect together under the term "preservation" all the steps which are concerned with the elimination of damage to library books. The main aim is to influence interior factors of ageing in the sense of prolonging the lifespan and eliminating visible damage, so that the use of the materials is guaranteed.
Quite a considerable part of the work process consists, for example, of analyzing the damage, of deacidifying and impregnating an alkaline reserve, of partly or wholly strengthening, of reconstitution of covers, plus the documentation of all restoration procedures.
A basic principle which dictates whether restoration work will be executed qualitatively and quantitatively well is the avail ability of specific basic materials and their actual type will be defined by the main area of damage in the library. Further more, well-trained specialists, who are able to fulfill the needs of the library are indispensable.