UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage


Identical Books

Identical Books: The condition of books in different nationally significant libraries

This two year project (2006-2008) is led by The British Library and is funded by the Andrew Mellon Foundation.

The aim of the project is to investigate how different storage environments in libraries of deposit have determined the present condition of identical books placed in these libraries during the 20th century. The project seeks to understand the effects of different storage environments on book condition and from this information to predict future changes in book condition.

The libraries participating in the project are:

A number of identical books held by the libraries will be studied using simple tests of current condition, such as pH measurements, in order to see how book condition varies among the libraries.

The Centre's role in the project will be to study the past environment of the libraries using building simulation. Computer models of the current storage conditions at two or three of the libraries will be constructed and used to investigate what the library storage environment may have been like through the 20th century. The study of past conditions will be developed from historic environmental data, where available, and information on library building design and services and patterns of use during its recent history.

The preferred building simulation tool is the powerful programme, EnergyPlus, which the Centre is already using to help understand the effects of climate change on historic buildings as part of the Noah’s Ark project

Further information can be obtained by telephoning Matija Strlic on +44 (0)20 3108 9036 or by emailing m.strlic@ucl.ac.uk


Matija Strlic
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Key features of the Heritage Intelligence system:

  • Simple to install and configure with a highly accessible user interface and tools for management of the system
  • Self powered wireless nodes with a long operational life (including power scavenging technology)
  • Ability of the network to reconfigure itself and adapt as objects are relocated (or moved in transit) or sensors redeployed
  • Ability to support multiple sensors and sensor types in a single sensor node (e.g. temperature, relative humidity, light, pollutants and mechanical monitoring such as shock and tilt)
  • Built-in intelligence, so that the network can adapt measurement regimes, identify events and generate alerts.

The Heritage Intelligence System works on the basis of numerous wireless nodes communicating with each other and each carrying several sensors, as required. The number of possible configurations is unlimited.