The third seminar on the care and conservation of manuscripts, 13th-14 th October 1997

New methods in the photography and analysis of manuscripts, the problems of the care and conservation of films and photographs, and to the potential damage to manuscripts by photographic processes and the use of ultra-violet light were the main focus of the 3rd seminar.

From its foundation in 1956 the Arnamagnæan Institute has housed a conservation workshop and a photographic studio. The work done at the former was based on traditional bookbinding craftmanship, while the latter utilised the technical skill of police photographers. The last 40 years have witnessed an enormous development in technological knowledge and in conservation practices, and radical innovations have taken place in the field of photography, especially in the last decade.

It is essential for the scholars and technicians at the Arnamagnæan Institute and in all similar institutions to be able to discuss their experiences so that they can, if necessary, revise their attitudes or the methods they employ in their daily work. Seminars like ours are of great importance in bringing those who look after and study manuscripts together with technologists, conservators and photographers.

Approximately 60 people took part in the seminar, with speakers from Russia, Sweden, Germany, The Vatican, The Netherlands, England and Denmark.

The following papers were presented: Mariane Overgaard, Copenhagen: The organisation of the photography and restoration of manuscripts prior to their transfer to Iceland in the period 1971-96. — Niels Borring and Elin L. Pedersen, Copenhagen: Strategies for the conservation and storage of the photographic material in the Arnamagnæan Institute. — Inna P. Mokretsova, Moscow: Photographic methods for the examination of medieval manuscripts. — Dmitri P. Erastov, St. Petersburg: Optico-photographic methods in research in manuscripts and in the visualisation of invisible texts. — Wolfgang Undorf, Stockholm: Preserving to access: Are photographic and digital techniques well-suited methods for preserving manuscripts and books from the user's point of view? — Leonard E. Boyle, The Vatican: The digitisation of manuscripts and conservation. — Jonas Palm, Copenhagen: Digitalisation as a means of preservation. — Robert Fuchs and Doris Oltrogge, Köln: Modern scientific manuscript research and conservation. — John Havermans, Delft: Information carriers from stone to polymer, a critical review. — Cheryl Porter, London: The medieval blues — A simple technique for basic identification. — Nicholas Hadgraft, Cambridge: The bookbinder, the pilgrim and fifteenth-century book structure. — Melvin Jefferson, Cambridge: Photography to create a historic and conservation record using basic equipment. — Erik Petersen, Copenhagen: The archaeology of texts and codices.

The proceedings, with the exception of Leonard Boyle's paper, are published in Care and conservation of manuscripts 3, ed. Gillian Fellows-Jensen and Peter Springborg (Copenhagen: The Royal Library, 1997).