Most of humanity’s memory is stored on paper. In order to successfully manage the information and make it continuously available, we need to monitor and understand the quality and stability of historical paper. The principal aim of the SurveNIR project was to develop a non-destructive instrument providing all the necessary data to conservators, conservation scientists and collection managers in a matter of seconds. Prior to SurveNIR, days were needed to do the job and large samples were consumed, which was entirely unacceptable.
Impacts & Results
We achieved the aim using near-infrared-spectroscopic technology and developed an instrument and software incorporating multivariate chemometric analysis of the spectra. To do so, we first had to collect and analyse more than 1000 historical paper samples and use the data to develop the software. As the new approach is entirely non-destructive, it can be used for analysis of even the most valuable paper objects. In addition, surveys of whole collections can be performed effectively.