Training and Implementation for Effective Use of Environment in Collection Preservation - Field Trial II – (2004-2007)

Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, IPI’s Field Trial II focused on increasing the effectiveness of monitoring and analysis of collection storage environments and bringing the benefits of preservation research into practice. The project included three parts designed to reach a wide range of institutions through education and training, along with research and development based on input from participants.

Dimensional Change Graph


Part I:  Development of a Service Model for Environmental Monitoring

The service model was designed to allow small- and mid-size institutions to temporarily lease expertise in monitoring-program design, mechanical system function, material decay, and data analysis while expending a minimum of staff time. IPI staff worked closely with twenty institutions that needed a better understanding of their storage environment but lacked the time, staff, or expertise to undertake an environmental monitoring and analysis project themselves. The information provided increased the clients understanding of their current environment and the elements that create it, and gave practical suggestions for improvement. Through this process IPI was able to explore the need for this service, its cost-effectiveness, and the potential for its use in the field.


Part II:  Train the Trainers

IPI introduced fifteen preservation service providers from around the country to the approaches and technology for environmental monitoring and analysis that IPI had developed. Each was given PEM dataloggers and Climate Notebook software to use with their clients. They were encouraged to extend the reach of the data management system through workshops, small group presentations, and one-on-one meetings with their clients. In addition, participants provided IPI with their suggestions regarding the monitoring and analysis information and services that would be most beneficial to small institutions. This input, along with the experience received in Part I, was incorporated into the design of IPI’s current Environmental Analysis Service.


Part III:  Advanced Training

Thirty-five participants from Field Trial I were selected to contribute in this part of the project. Goals included sharing advances in IPI’s environmental monitoring tools with current users and to review their experiences, suggestions, and needs in a workshop setting. Discussions with the group led to further development of Preservation Metrics for mechanical decay and corrosion, updates in Climate Notebook software, design elements of the PEM2 datalogger, and creation of the Dew Point Calculator. The workbook from this project, Step-by-Step: Achieving a Preservation Environment for Collections, is available as a free download.


IPI can work with your organization to develop an Environmental Monitoring and Analysis project that fits your needs, from designing an environmental management program, purchasing monitoring equipment, evaluating HVAC design plans, review of existing mechanical systems, energy saving opportunities, risk analysis, and more.

Contact Patricia Ford to discuss your needs: