Research Activities


MEN & BOOKS - for a risk free use of the European written cultural heritage
Book and paper conservators and archivists all over Europe have a big common unsolved problem: mould. Mould destroys our cultural heritage. Especially books and charters in archives, being unique by nature and thus extremely valuable for our understanding of Europe´s past are very much at risk to be lost due to microorganisms: Firstly because there are fungi, that particularly attack and destroy paper&parchment; secondly because archival material is stored en masse and is comparatively rarely moved – therefore infestation often stays undiscovered for a long time until it is so vast, that it cannot be overseen.

Mouldy material is a serious health hazard for men, both archivists and readers, as most of the spores cause dangerous illnesses. Today still many charters and books are disinfected with toxic measures.

This project wants to find a solution to exterminate the mould with a substance and method, that are harmless for men and books. This is beneficial for all European users of archival material.

The Archives of the Protestant Parish of the Holy Trinity in Swidnica houses about 12000 manuscripts, prints, bound books and loose archival material. This archival material is complete without any losses from 1652 until today. These highly valuable sources for the history of Protestantism were chosen as a representative material. The material is certainly of interest for all European citizens which are interested in their history.
From the material point the various writing materials, leathers, parchment and paper in this archive are found in almost any historic collection in Europe, promising significant results useful for any other institution in Europe and around the world.

In total this project cannot be realized without a substantial interdisciplinary, international dialogue. By combining art and culture, history and science and health- topics the project clearly is more than its parts.

link to the official project website - please find here.


Dr. Patricia Engel, Europäisches Forschungszentrums für Buch- und Papierrestaurierung; Shirin Jacoby, Horner Werkstätten; DI Isabel Peißl, Umweltbundesamt; Prof. Dr. Piotr Oszczanowski, Universität Wrocław; Sonja Stankowski, Swidnica (Dolmetscherin); Prof. Dr. Zdenek R. Nespor, Karlsuniversität Prag; Bozena Pytel, Swidnica; Dr. Stephan Aderhold, Swidnica/Berlin; Prof. Dr. Katja Sterflinger-Gleixner, BOKU Wien, (ANTRAGSTELLERIN); Dr. Anna Ziemlewska, Polnische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien; Pastor Waldemar Pytel, Swidnica; Dr. Rene Eckhart, TU Graz; Caroline Maximoff, ICARUS; Dr. Elisabeth Umweltbundesamt Wien.

DEACIMIC Coin 5 Project


Book deacidification, mechanical strength enhancement and prevention of microbiological attack with supercritical CO2 or volatile organic solvents in combination with multifunctional hydrophobically modified nanoparticles and functional silanes


The project DEACIMIC targets the preservation of archive materials combating its acidity, deterioration of mechanical properties and microbial degradation using the latest developments in cellulose chemistry and nanotechnology. It will develop a new paper deacidification process combining the best currently available concepts with knowledge in supercritical fluid / volatile organics solvent reactions and nanotechnology. The process will be transferred from the laboratory to the pilot scale, including construction of a process device and process optimization. The knowledge gained in Deacmic will overcome the currently existing gap in the Austrian book preservation field and substantially strengthen the position of the involved Austrian SMEs on the European market.


Partners are: Lena Adler, Institut für Chemie, Universität Graz, Natex Prozesstechnologie GesmbH, Ferdinand Berger & Söhne GesmbH, and OmniAccess

The European Research Centre for Book and Paper Conservation-Restoration is the Leadpartner.


Prof. Anton Kurz, Verein Buchstadt Horn; Gerald Megens, Drs. Peter Leerkamp, Omni Access; Dr. Erna Pilch Karrer, ÖSTA; Dr. Rupert Kargl, Universität Graz; Dr. Patricia Engel, European Research Centre for Book and Paper Conservation-Restoration; Eduard Paschinger, entfeuchter; Dr. Eduard Lack, NATEX

Armenian Paper

Analyses of Armenian Inks and Papers
Patricia Engel, Helmgard Holle, Manfred Schreiner, Wilfried Vetter, Emanuel Wenger
The research dealt with paper production in ancient Armenia. The wish to find measures against ink corrosion in Armenian manuscripts lead to a closer survey of Armenian inks, which was published earlier. Armenian paper, which is the second parameter in ink corrosion is focused on in a publication which will be published soon. Visual observations, FT IR and XRF spectroscopy, fibre analyses, watermark survey and recreating paper surfaces after historical recipes were brought together to understand what Armenian paper might support or hinder ink corrosion in Armenian manuscripts.

The work was performed via a cooperation of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, the Austrian Academy of Sciences and the European Research Centre for Book and Paper Conservation-Restoration. Erasmus students from University of Zadar and the Matenadaran Yerevan were involved.


Prof. Mag. Holle demonstrats the fibre analysis