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Accumulation of wear and tear in archival and library collections. Part I: exploring the concepts of reliability and epidemiology

Duran Casablancas, C; Grau-Bove, J; Strlic, M; (2019) Accumulation of wear and tear in archival and library collections. Part I: exploring the concepts of reliability and epidemiology. [Review]. Heritage Science , 7 , Article 10. 10.1186/s40494-019-0252-3. Green open access

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Abstract

Wear and tear is the outcome of degradation most frequently reported in assessments of archival and library collections. It is also problematic to study in controlled experiments, due to the difficulty in reproducing the conditions in which original objects are kept and used in archives and libraries. Hence, data collected from actual collections, for instance during surveys, could provide the evidence on how wear and tear occurs. However, to be useful, such data need to be purposely collected and analysed: unlike the usual collection surveys, the aim is not to quantify the prevalence of a certain damage type but to provide evidence on how such damage occurs. In this paper we explore whether two approaches used in other disciplines could be useful: reliability engineering, the method that deals with failure in complex systems, and epidemiology, which explores diseases in defined populations. We show that based on reliability engineering we can decide which data related to the causes of mechanical failure should be collected during collection surveys, while using epidemiology we can develop the study design and the data analysis needed to study the relationship between mechanical failure, and the factors that might affect the degree of failure. The results of epidemiological studies in heritage collections could provide quantitative evidence of patterns of decay in collections, and corroborate the qualitative analysis provided by reliability. The results can directly support collection management decisions or can be used in mathematical models in which the effect of preservation measures is explored.

Type: Article
Title: Accumulation of wear and tear in archival and library collections. Part I: exploring the concepts of reliability and epidemiology
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1186/s40494-019-0252-3
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1186/s40494-019-0252-3
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author(s) 2019. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/ publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Keywords: Wear and tear, mechanical degradation, archival and library collections, survey, reliability, epidemiology
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Bartlett School Env, Energy and Resources
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10070086
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