Open Culture 2011 – Sustainable Collections management

This session by Kostas Ntanos, Head of Conservation Research and Development, National Archive.

Interesting example from the National Archive – use database of material locations mashed up with metadata of material type (not as easy as it sounds, as material type metadata had a huge amount of variation in it) to produce map of where different material types are concentrated in the physical space. Now planning to combine this with information about the building environment, so materials can be put in most appropriate parts of the building…

Visualisations of how areas of the environment are suitable/unsuitable for material over time – easy to see that some areas become very unsuitable over the summer months – with peak in September where temperatures relatively high and humidity on the rise.

Also helped identify issues with monitoring – some monitors regularly registering higher temp than surrounding ones.

Using this evidence able to build environment modelling – computer simulation – then tried out different scenarios of changing various parameters – could look at both outcomes for environment and energy consumption. Sustainability targets also influence decisions.

National Archives asks itself ‘how long is long? 5 years, 100 years? Forever?’ – think in terms of percentage loss over period of time. Question of ‘what will we value in the items we keep’; who is it for, and what do they value?

Standards & Guidelines for environmental conditions – lots to choose from!

Next steps – (the difficult bit?) Implementation!

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