The Preservation Research and Testing Division undertakes scientific and technical research to advance and support Library preservation. Topics for study might include paper permanence; digital document formats; longevity of photographic, magnetic, CD-Rom, and other contemporary media; adhesives behavior; storage conditions; binding methods; deacidification; and other problems affecting the preservation of the diverse materials in the Library's collections. The Division also tests supplies and materials to ensure that items purchased for use in conservation treatment, binding, housing, and storage of Library materials meet appropriate standards of quality.
The Preservation Research and Testing Division works closely with the Conservation Division in establishing criteria and standards for supplies and techniques used in the Library's conservation, housing, and storage activities in coordination with other offices, as appropriate. It also works closely with the Conservation Division, with other offices of the Library, and with the Architect of the Capitol's Office to assure that all collection materials are displayed, housed, and stored under appropriate environmental conditions.
The Preservation Research and Testing Division communicates the results of its research with other research facilities that conduct similar or related investigations (both in government and private agencies) and with the preservation community of libraries, archives, and museums. Staff in the Preservation Research and Testing Division contract for preservation-related services, including drafting specifications, evaluating bids, and monitoring subsequent contracts. They also work with other units in the Library that have responsibilities for custody or care of various segments of the Library's collections.