Preservation at BnF: policy, laboratory, and sites
Throughout its history, the National library of France has developed techniques appropriate to its preservation responsibilities. Alongside traditional curative care and binding, new activities have been added: prevention and preservation, staff training and awareness-raising, digitization, research, and technology monitoring.
BnF’s laboratory enables a truly scientific approach by developing methods for analyzing materials and the ways in which they age and degrade.
Activities are spread across four distinct sites, coordinated within the Preservation department by a central team based at the François Mitterrand Library (Site François-Mitterrand).
- Microbiological analysis of works affected by mold by way of surface sampling, including identification of mold types and species
- Sanitary assessment of storage premises, donations, and bequests by way of surface and/or air sampling
- Insect identification
- Monitoring of climate conditions using continuous temperature and relative humidity measurement systems
- Disinfection of contaminated works using ethylene oxide
- Identifying materials by way of optical microscopy (fibrous composition, histological analysis, etc.)
- Analysis of constituents and products of degradation using chromatographic and spectrometric methods: GPC/MS, HPLC, FTIR, UV-visible spectrophotometry, colorimetry, DSC, etc.
- Analysis of constituents and products of degradation using physical methods: SEM and elemental probe analysis, IR and fluorescent UV photography, emissiography, and X-ray diffraction. Since the BnF laboratory does not have the equipment needed to analyze inorganic compounds, such analysis is carried out using the equipment of partner laboratories (C2RMF, LRMH, CRCC, etc.).
- Mechanical materials testing using standardized tests of resistance to traction, tearing, folding, and splitting
- Accelerated aging tests using damp heat and light