Ideal Conditions: Protecting Historical Documents, Art, Literature, and Other Important Cultural Artifacts

When the Cathedral Notre Dame in Paris experienced a near-catastrophic fire in April of 2019, it served as a stark reminder that important cultural documents and artifacts, such as original pieces of literature and priceless works of art, could be lost permanently in an instant. Even data preserved on hard drives at a university are potential casualties from an event such as a flood or fire in the server room. How likely is it that these crucial documents are at risk? And what should institutions do to build their facilities’ resiliency from both a proactive and reactive standpoint?

These are the questions Ideal Conditions host Daniel J. Litwin asked Polygon’s Matt DeCirce, National Product Manager, and Nick Kline, Director of Client Development. They shared their perspectives on document recovery and the factors making this challenge a priority for universities and libraries.

“Universities have a treasure trove of collections, both physical and in the digital world,” DeCirce said, “and a lot of these collections are unique and priceless. They go above and beyond to protect these items. The best way to protect items in the event of a disaster is to have a plan in place. That’s where the two sides of protection come into place.” DeCirce noted Polygon works with universities to develop a preparedness and emergency plan catered to their specific collections and needs.

“The other side of that from a planning and preparedness standpoint is monitoring,” Kline said. “If you can see that there’s been moisture ingress, or if the relative humidity in the space is too high, these are all things we can monitor. If you see this trending up through some air monitoring and control system or ground moisture sensing system, you can do something before it becomes problematic.”

To sign up for Polygon’s Code Blue service, request an application here: https://bit.ly/3BoMAmJ

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