IFLA’s Preservation and Conservation Centres play a valuable role in IFLA’s work to safeguard cultural heritage. By bringing together experience and expertise from all over the globe, they form a powerful network. The PAC Centres are currently working to strengthen the collaboration further, to the benefit of the whole global library field.

A Global Network

Since the creation of the Programme in 1984, the PAC Centres have represented a unique part of IFLA. They form a global network – with members on five continents – working to promote cooperation and excellence in the preservation of library materials. They are core to the work of IFLA’s Strategic Programme on Preservation and Conservation (PAC) and persist knowledge in areas such as digital preservation, disaster risk management, traditional preservation and conservation and more.

The PAC Centres participate in international conferences and meetings, engage with international stakeholders such as UNESCO and Blue Shield, and host training and workshops.

Knowledge sharing as a main effort

The many PAC Centres have shown a leadership in the field both regionally and internationally, and are continuously aiming to provide capacity building for libraries and others.

The Centres are currently working on a FAQ Sheet that reflects the knowledge and expertise of the PAC Centres. The FAQ Sheet aims to build collaborations between the centres and support both the sharing of best practices and the development of guidance within the field.

For the FAQ Sheet, each PAC Centre has chosen one or more topics that reflects the PAC Centre’s expertise and knowledge. From the topic chosen, the Centres have produced a dozen simple questions and best practices answers for libraries in the region and around the globe. The Sheet also includes an extensive literature list and information on how to learn more.

Areas of expertise and topics that are covered in the FAQ Sheet are How to do efficient preventive conservation in your climate, document storage mode, paper conservation, risk management and preventive conservation and many more!

Though the FAQ Sheet is still under development, we would love to share some examples of what the PAC Centres have in store for you.

Below are a few examples of the many questions and answers that you will find in the PAC FAQ Sheet.

Choosing Storage Material

Are any commercial products okay to use?

Storage materials for general library collection should be lignin-free, sulphur-free, alkaline buffered, and have a high cellulosic content. Archival-quality enclosures include boxes, envelopes, and folders are available commercially in a range of shapes and sizes.

Iron Gall Ink

What materials and collections contain iron gall ink?

Iron gall ink was used to create a myriad of written and artistic works. Before the introduction of the printing press in Europe, manuscripts in all academic disciplines were written with iron gall ink. It was used by governments and businessmen for official records and to create personal letters, diaries, and ephemera.  Maps were drawn with it, and European artists used it for preliminary and finished sketches. In addition, iron gall ink documents were produced to further European commercial and imperial interests in Africa, Asia, the Americas and Oceania. As a result documents, manuscripts, maps and art works are found in libraries, archives and museums around the world.

Risk Management

Isn’t risk defined as consequences x likelihood?

Well not really. This definition is used sometimes but it is a bit misleading and does not help you to understand the risk. When identifying risks it is important to have a really good understanding of their source and what they might result in, for example “risk of fading and colour change due to exposure to UV radiation and high lighting levels”. This can help you determine the severity of the impact (consequences) and the likelihood of it occurring in the specific instance you are looking at, and then how you might treat that risk in a cost-effective way.

Determining the severity of the impact (consequences) and the likelihood of the risk being realised is the most common form of risk analysis. Consequences x likelihood can give you a risk rating which helps you to determine the priority of treating a risk as compared to others you have identified and analysed. This is vital for planning.

Meet the PAC Centres at World Library and Information Congress in Athens and learn more about the upcoming work and the capacity building efforts.