The project will entertain the following research activities
1. Qualitative analysis of mould, qualitative analysis of human risk from mould exposure and quantitative analysis of ethylene oxide
To understand how dangerous working on the documents might be for the researchers i.e. users, probes of the moulds must be taken and analysed and the amount of off-gassing ethylene oxide must be measured.
2. Analysis of human risk from the use of fumigated books
Based on the ethylene oxide evaporation measurements, toxicology and exposure experts compare the results with the array of nationally and internationally established health limit values and assess the degree of risk for human users. The scientific basis of the hazard characterisation and the established health limit values are reviewed. On account of a vast amount of relevant literature this evaluation is restricted to the most recent reviews by recognised regulatory and scientific institutions.
3. Evaluation of adverse effects of ethylene oxide on the paper and leather
Finally there still remains one question: did the ethylene oxide damage the paper and leather?
Dummies of paper, parchment and leather will be prepared, to be aged artificially, infested and fumigated and so provide standardized probes for further survey and comparison with the original documents from Świdnica. The results of the artificial treatments are compared with the probes taken from the original books as to see how the relation between artificially prepared samples and reality can be calculated.
4. Resulting further steps
In case ethylene oxide cannot be recommended for mould extinguishing, other treatments are suggested. Here samples obtained in other projects represent alternative methods, in particular the effects of freeze-drying, gamma rays and chemical local treatments on moulds.
Archival material necessary and valuable for research regarding content will be digitised and made available virtually in case it is hazardous for physical use.
5. Research on the content of the archival material
Parallel to all this biochemical, conservatory research, the content of the archival material from Świdnica will be evaluated and scientifically processed in terms of socio- and art-historical questions.