Mellon Foundation awards $300,000 grant to RIT’s Image Permanence Institute

Nov 10, 2014

Thumbnail for Mellon Foundation awards $300,000 grant to RIT’s Image Permanence Institute
Thumbnail for Mellon Foundation awards $300,000 grant to RIT’s Image Permanence Institute

by Rich Kiley 

The Image Permanence Institute at Rochester Institute of Technology has received a $300,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in support of Digital Print Preservation Education and Training. This two-and-a-half-year project is built on IPI’s earlier work on The DP3 Project: Digital Print Preservation Portal, funded by both The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Institute for Museum and Library Services.

Virtually all forms of printed scholarly communications now depend on new hardcopy technologies such as inkjet, dye sublimation and digital electrophotography. These digitally printed materials, which incorporate a wide range of colorants and papers, are relatively recent additions to permanent collections in libraries, archives and museums. As more of these new types of manuscripts, books and photographs are incorporated into collection storage and display environments, new questions about institutional preservation policies, handling and display practices and storage requirements for long-term preservation arise. IPI has studied the stability and preservation of these materials through a series of Digital Print Preservation Portal (DP3) projects since 2007.

The research’s first phase identified the greatest threats to these modern materials, which included airborne pollutants, light exposure, high humidity, abrasive or chemically reactive enclosures, poor handling techniques and flood damage. The second phase of research quantified the specific stress levels needed to initiate damage and defined the best practices for mitigating these risks to ensure long-term access to these collections.

The current education and training project will deliver this newly acquired knowledge through a series of educational workshops and institutional visits designed to ensure that collection care professionals in libraries, archives and museums are adequately prepared to correctly identify and care for digitally printed materials in their collections. Outreach activities will be held at IPI—located inside Gannett Hall on the RIT campus—regional conservation centers, and conservation training programs in universities. Site visits to institutions with significant collections of digitally printed material will allow direct interaction with collection care staff.

Content on IPI’s DP3 project website will be updated, including revisions to the interactive online print identification tool and posting of all workshop presentations, handouts and supplemental material. All issues of the DP3 e-newsletter will be added to the archive section of the website.

About The Image Permanence Institute

The Image Permanence Institute, part of RIT’s College of Imaging Arts and Sciences, is a recognized world leader in the development and deployment of sustainable practices for the preservation of images and cultural property. The institute accomplishes this through a balanced program of research, education, products and services that meet the needs of individuals, companies and institutions.

About the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation supports five core program areas: higher education and scholarship; scholarly communications and information technology; art history, conservation and museums; the performing arts; and conservation and the environment. The Foundation develops thoughtful, long-term collaborations with grant recipients and invests sufficient funds for an extended period to accomplish the purpose at hand and achieve meaningful results.