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Accumulation of wear and tear in archival and library collections. Part II: an epidemiological study

Duran-Casablancas, C; Grau-Bové, J; Fearn, T; Strlič, M; (2019) Accumulation of wear and tear in archival and library collections. Part II: an epidemiological study. Heritage Science , 7 (1) , Article 11. 10.1186/s40494-019-0253-2. Green open access

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Abstract

This paper proposes a new approach to collection surveying based on epidemiology, the discipline that describes and explains disease patterns in populations. In epidemiology the focus of attention lies not only on the occurrence of a disease but also on the characteristics of the individuals which might play a role in the occurrence of the disease. To explore the applicability of epidemiology to heritage collections, we take as example the study of the occurrence and accumulation of wear and tear in archive collections, which so far has only been studied in controlled experimental studies. We designed an observational study (survey) in which the assessment of mechanical failure is understood as the outcome variable, and the factors that might affect the degree of failure are defined as exposure variables. To evaluate the relevance of the assessed factors in relation to the observed mechanical failure, exploratory data analyses were conducted by comparing groups of objects that differ regarding their level of exposure to different factors. Although highly scattered data is not unusual in this type of studies and confounding has to be taken into account during the data analysis, this paper shows that through an epidemiological approach to surveys, the factors that have a greater effect on mechanical failure can be identified. Moreover, the rate of failure can also be determined for certain groups of objects. Also patterns of decay emerge which show the vulnerability of certain groups of objects. In this paper the practical aspects of the design and analysis of observational epidemiological studies for heritage collections are discussed. As a final note, the applicability and relevance of this approach to support collection management is briefly discussed.

Type: Article
Title: Accumulation of wear and tear in archival and library collections. Part II: an epidemiological study
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1186/s40494-019-0253-2
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1186/s40494-019-0253-2
Language: English
Additional information: 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 Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Statistical Science
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/10070097
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