Preservation & Restoration

The preservation team at the BBF is responsible for assuring the long-term use of historical material from the archive and the library. It plans and co-ordinates all conservation and restauration measures. Environmental conditions are monitored and damaged objects are restored to prevent hazards and ensure the collection’s availability to future generations of researchers.

Preservation affects all areas of work at the BBF archive and library: it is relevant for acquisition, loan, digitization processes etc.

In its capacity as a research library, the BBF works as an archive and its holdings are intended to be permanently usable by researchers. The preservation task is complex and diverse. On the one hand, permanent availability is projected while on the other hand, the corpus of materials is vast and it has suffered different types of damage. Preservators at the BBF have undertaken a variety of measures, focusing their conceptual and practical endeavours on the central theme of protecting the original material.

In daily routines, the preservation efforts target the prevention of damage, i.e.preventive preservation. Protective measures concern careful  handling, construction of protective enclosures, environmental monitoring and the improvement of storage conditions. Moreover, comprehensive collection analyses are carried out to decide whether and when it is necessary to act, for example by means of stock deacidification, restoration of individual items or digitization.

Damaged objects that are no longer usable are restored by commissioned conservators. Book restoration targets the removal of causes of damage, the delay or even prevention of further destruction. Because restoration measures might severely  affect the original character of an item, restoration actions need to be carefully considered and small-scale.

The BBF collaborates with external conservators who act as competent consultants and train members of staff in the correct handling of material. These experts are  also contracted to work on restoration tasks.

All the protective and restorative measures aim at ensuring that materials from the BBF archive and library  can be used by contemporary researchers and ensuring long-term use by future generations of researchers.

Preservation Tasks

  • Cleansing and care activities (systematic monitoring of storage conditions and book hygiene)
  • Preparation of protective containers
  • Protective measures for individual objects
  • Monitoring and optimization of storage conditions
  • Monitoring and optimization of air condition
  • Commissioning restoration and bookbinding contracts
  • Preparation of objects for exhibitions
  • Preservatory monitoring of digitization projects
  • Staff training


The BBF places a priority of its work on training activities. Respective training materials have therefore been developed drawing on a balanced proportion of theory and practice, which is not appropriately addressed by universities or vocational training colleges.

Furthermore, the BBF collaborates with the University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Hildesheim, i.e. with students from the field of conservation and preservation who are enrolled in the study course for documents, books and graphic reproductions. Thereby, both institutions aim to  facilitate interdisciplinary communication across institutions.