Preservation Services

The Harvard Library holds the largest academic library collection in the world, and the age and vulnerability of its vast holdings vary widely. The Harvard Library Preservation Program comprises state-of-the-art facilities and expert staff committed to ensuring that library materials remain secure and usable for contemporary and future scholars by employing a variety of strategies for conserving materials, digitizing collections, preserving library content in digital formats, and providing robust education and outreach programs.

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Centuries of Cellulose: Lessons Learned from the Molecular Analysis of Cellulose in Aged Paper Collections

August 29, 2017. In the mid-1900s, paper chemist William J. Barrow undertook an ambitious study of 1,000 books printed from the 16th through 20th centuries, meticulously measuring their chemical and physical properties and offering systematic predictions of paper aging and permanence. These test books now reside in the Library of Congress’s Center for the Library’s Analytical Scientific Samples. This webcast presentation by Dr. Andrew Davis (Chemist, LoC Preservation Research and Testing Division) will examine results obtained using advancements in scientific tools to reassess and measure Barrow’s original sample books, with a particular focus on micro-invasive tools that provide the ability to quantify the degradation effects of aging, enabling new insights and mathematical methods for minimally destructive paper material analysis.