UNCERTIR: 3270 spectra collected at the National and University Library

Within the EU-funded UNCERTIR project, about 100 books dated from 1851 and 2000 have been randomly selected from the collection of the National and University Library of Slovenia (NUK). These books have been assessed visually and the near infrared (NIR) spectra of paper were measured. The analyses have been carried out by the fellow Dr Floriana Coppola, with the support of library staff who prepared the material. Dr Jasna Malešič, senior researcher at NUK, helped with visual assessment.

Figure 1: Collecting books for the analysis in the NUK repository.

NIR spectra were acquired on different pages in each book, and on different points in each page. This will allow us to compare, for instance, dating models based on spectra acquired in the bulk gutter with those acquired on the outer margins of a page, which are expected to be more degraded than the center due to pollutants and light.

Figure 2: NIR spectra acquisition of a book.

In the following months, multivariate calibration models using the NIR spectral features and publication date reported in the books will be developed to evaluate the influence of sample size and sampling method on the uncertainty of the paper dating models based on NIR spectroscopy.

NIR spectroscopy followed by multivariate data analysis has been previously applied to date heritage materials, such as paper, parchment and photographs, with different accuracies of the resulted models. The sources of these different accuracies have not yet been systematically investigated, which is what UNCERTIR is addressing.


This project UNCERTIR has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska Curie grant agreement No 101032212.

Please contact Floriana for further information.

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