{ Introduction }


    Throughout its history, the human kind has lived in the information age. In the traditional cultures, information was mainly processed and memorized in oral forms. With the emergence of written culture, information began to be stored in the form of different documents and books.

    Information is always presented in the form of some sort of artifacts; these may be books, documents, audiovisual information carriers, compact discs, museum items or historical areas. None of them can be preserved forever. Despite the fact that part of information is bound to be lost, when taking right actions it is still possible to ensure the preservation of the majority of information resources for the future.

    In order to preserve objects, it is important to know their condition and to be able to assess different types of damage. Determining damage is important both from the point of view of preventative preservation and also conservation.

    This Book Damage Atlas is a tool which enables to recognize damage and determine its extent. The Atlas presents the descriptions of types and categories of damage with illustrative photos. The damage to books is assessed visually. The instructions for carrying out paper pH and double fold tests are also included. The book condition calculator enables to summarize different types of damage easily and receive a general assessment of object condition.

    The Book Damage Atlas is meant to be used by all establishments and specialists in the field of preservation and also all interested amateurs. No previous knowledge or special skills are required to use this Atlas.

    The Book Damage Atlas is based on the methodology developed for the project “THULE – The State of Cultural Heritage in Major Estonian Libraries”. The Atlas has been prepared in cooperation between the University of Tartu and the European Research Centre for Book and Paper.  The Atlas has been compiled by Kurmo Konsa and Anu Lepp. In developing the methodology, Mari Siiner, Tiiu Reimo and Jaan Lehtaru were of great help. The Atlas has been prepared in the framework of the ETF grant 8205 “Watermarks and the history of paper in Estonia in the Early Modern period".

    We hope you enjoy using the Atlas!