Sustainable Preservation

IPI is currently recommending the storage temperature and humidity limits described in ISO 18920 Imaging Materials -- Reflection prints -- Storage Practicesand 11799 Information and Documentation -- Document Storage Requirements for Archive and Library Materials for digital print collections*. These recommendations may include cool-to-cold storage for some print types. Institutions wishing to follow these recommendations may benefit from IPI research and tools for the sustainable management of their collection environments.

Based on decades of research into accelerated-aging, equilibration rates, image stability, the effects of pollution, and material decay in general, IPI has formulated a new definition of the optimal preservation environment and developed tools and procedures that allow cultural institutions to improve long-term preservation of collections and reduce energy usage. This research has been put into practice at hundreds of institutions in the US and abroad, most significantly at the Library of Congress, the National Archives & Records Administration, the New York Public Library, and the National Museum of Denmark.

To help collection care staff in cultural institutions understand the impact of the environment on their collections and evaluate the potential risk of deterioration, IPI developed Preservation Metrics™, which transform temperature and relative humidity data into quantitative numerical measures of collection decay risks. There are metrics for chemical change in organic objects, dimensional change or mechanical damage, the potential for biological decay or mold risk, and moisture-induced corrosion. These metrics provide an objective analysis of how well a storage area is performing for long-term preservation, how well one environment is performing compared to another, and how various collection materials are faring in a particular location.

IPI environmental management tools include the IPI Preservation Metrics™; the PEM2® datalogger which provides  accurate, reliable data collection; and eClimateNotebook™, web-based software for data management and analysis. IPI regularly offers workshops and webinars to train those interested in developing sustainable preservation practices in their institutions. IPI also provides consulting  and education and training services for environmental monitoring, data analysis, and mechanical system evaluation.


More information can be found at:


*Note that IPI is still performing experiments to determine optimal storage conditions for digital print materials. The above recommendation may change. Sign up for the DP3 Newsletter to be kept up-to-date on all DP3 Project results and news.