Former Institute for Sustainable Heritage (ISH) student, presently SEAHA student Cristina Duran-Casablancas has recently published a series of papers on wear and tear in archival and library collections in the journal Heritage Science, with her supervisors Dr. Josep Grau-Bové, Prof. Tom Fearn and Prof. Matija Strlič.
An intrinsic value of archival collections is that they are physically used, which undoubtedly leads to a certain level of wear and tear. This reasearch explores whether differences in individual items might explain patterns of decay across a population, as well as how reliable different groups of objects are.
In ‘Accumulation of wear and tear in archival and library collections. Part I: exploring the concepts of realibility and epidemiology’ the authors explore how realibility theory, the method that deals with failure in complex systems, and epidemiology, which explores deseases in defined populations, could be applied in the heritage field to provide quantitative evidence of patterns of decay on large heritage collections.
Part II of the study, ‘Accumulation of wear and tear in archival and library collections. Part II: a epidemiological study’, proposes a new methodology to collection surveying based on epidemiology. The results show that appropriate survey methods and statistical methods of data analysis can reveal the factors that can lead to wear and tear.
Read the two papers below:
- ‘Accumulation of wear and tear in archival and library collections. Part I: exploring the concepts of reliability and epidemiology’
- ‘Accumulation of wear and tear in archival and library collections. Part II: a epidemiological study’
This article is part of the SEAHA CDT collection in the journal Heritage Science.
Cristina Duran-Casablancas is a SEAHA student based at the Institute of Sustainable Heritage at the University College London. Supported by National Archief (NL) and Helicon Conservation Support, her present research explores the use of System Dynamics and related mathematical modelling techniques to evaluate the effect of preservation actions during the lifetime of collections.
Header Image: Repositories at the Amsterdam City Archives (© Stadsarchief Amsterdam).