Background: The Library of Congress and allied organizations are interested in the quality of locally made housing materials found around the world, since we are often queried to provide assistance to institutions abroad concerning the use of indigenous materials and their predictive life for protecting collections. In particular, the Library has Field Offices in South America, North Africa, Indonesia, India and Pakistan that collect, house, bind and microfilm items using locally produced materials.
Project Description: The Library is developing a feasibility study to pilot use of a DART MS to determine composition of materials submitted by the field offices noted above from suppliers abroad. Durability tests will assess performance (before and after aging).
A parallel study project will focus on identical storage materials known to be of high quality sent to each field office to be stored in that office's ambient environment, monitored for 2 years, and then retested in an attempt to correlate condition of sample materials to variables of the environment in which they resided. Materials to be tested include samples with molecular sieves and other absorbents. (See Storage Materials: Effects of Zeolites). The alumino-silicate micro-porous structure and durability of zeolites and other absorbants allows capture of potentially harmful environmental pollutants. This will give immediate feedback on the impact of local climate variability and pollutants, providing information for current international efforts to assess cultural heritage environmental standards to more closely align to global sustainability (in relation to energy and ecomonics and climate change).
We expect the following outcomes:
- a field guide on best preservation practices in these regions of the world;
- “technology transfer” in the form of simple tests that can be performed on-site in such regions;
- increased understanding of the sustainability of indigenous storage materials.