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CLIR Publishes Survey of Preservation Science Research

CLIR Press Release


For Immediate Release: December 21, 2000

Contact: Kathlin Smith 202-939-4754

CLIR Publishes Survey of Preservation Science Research

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) has published Preservation Science Survey: An Overview of Recent Developments in Research on the Conservation of Selected Analog Library and Archival Materials in cooperation with the European Commission on Preservation and Access. The report provides summaries of significant, recent research on the preservation of paper, film and photographic materials, and magnetic tape. Henk J. Porck, conservation scientist at the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (KB), the National Library of the Netherlands, and René Teygeler, consultant to the KB, conducted the survey and wrote the report.

Among their many responsibilities for managing collections, research libraries, museums, and archives face the vexing task of deciding not only what to preserve but also how to preserve it in ways that are economical, appropriate, effective, and safe. Each year, new findings emerge on how various media decay, how to forestall their decay, the effectiveness of established treatments, and the potential for new treatments. Yet, the results of preservation science research are rarely translated and disseminated in a way that is useful to preservation managers.

To obtain an overview of promising developments of the past five years, CLIR commissioned the KB to undertake a survey of research in the preservation of analog library and archival materials, to summarize general trends in preservation research, and to identify where there are significant research gaps. The review focuses on work being done in North America, Europe, and Australia. It is intended for those who make decisions about preservation as well as the foundations and other organizations that support such work.

The report has chapters that focus on paper, film and photographic materials, magnetic tape, and general research. Each chapter presents research on media decay, treatment, and storage. A concluding chapter summarizes trends and gaps. Appendixes provide contact information for the institutes undertaking research described in the report, and an index of what research is being done at each institute.

Preservation Science Survey is available on CLIR’s Web site,, in PDF format. Print copies will soon be available for ordering through the Web site.

The Council on Library and Information Resources works in partnership with libraries, archives, and other information providers to advocate collaborative approaches to preserving the nation’s intellectual heritage and strengthening the many components of its information system. It works to support institutions as they integrate audiovisual and digital resources and services into their well-established, print-based environments.

The European Commission on Preservation and Access (ECPA) fosters, develops, and supports collaboration among libraries, archives, and allied organizations in Europe to ensure the preservation of the published and documentary record in all formats and to provide enhanced access to the cultural and intellectual heritage. The ECPA Secretariat is located at the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in Amsterdam.

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