New Web-Based Technology for Environmental Monitoring of Moving Image Collections

New Web-Based Technology for Environmental Monitoring of Moving Image Collections
James M. Reilly, Director, Image Permanence Institute, Rochester Institute of Technology

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An important aspect of preserving moving image collections and their associated documentation is maintaining an appropriate environment. Archivists face a number of difficult challenges in gathering environmental data, determining what it means for their collections and planning for improvements. The requirements for a practical system include simple to use, inexpensive datalogger hardware, standardized and meaningful interpretive algorithms for temperature and humidity data, and easy access to reports and conclusions for archivists, facility managers, and collection administrators. The Image Permanence Institute at Rochester Institute of technology has developed an integrated approach to environmental assessment that addresses these requirements by creating a new type of datalogger and shifting data storage, interpretation and reporting to a web server rather than local computers. This presentation describes the design philosophy and technical rationale for the major elements of this system, which include:

  • The PEM2, a datalogger designed to be a pipeline of data direct to the web. The PEM2 has no software. It writes the data in plain text to a USB flash drive.
  • A web server application where each institution stores and analyzes its data. Interpretation of data is performed using standard metrics for chemical change, physical damage, mold risk, and metal corrosion risk.
  • Automated reporting in the form of pdf documents generated on the web server. The presentation will show examples of the uses of such a system in dealing with moving image collection storage problems.
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