The National Library is required by law to preserve its documents in their original form. We therefore restore any documents that are damaged.

Original documents are kept in the NL’s underground stacks.
© NL

We use a range of conservation measures to extend the life of our documents. They begin with stacks that meet conservation requirements for library storage.

Surrogate media

However well they are conserved, some original documents can be too fragile to be used or transported or withstand changes in climate conditions.

In such cases we copy the content of the original onto an alternative medium, or surrogate. Newspapers and sound recordings, for example, are digitised. The new copy is then used instead of the original.

Digital archiving

Our digital archive for the long-term preservation of digital publications is constantly growing. It is based on the Open Archival Information System (OAIS) model, which has been an official ISO standard since 2002. It comprises six areas:

  • Ingest
  • Archival Storage
  • Data Management
  • Administration
  • Preservation Planning
  • Access

Research and development

We conserve and restore our documents using state-of-the-art knowledge and techniques. We train our own experts and invest in research and development to make us a sought-after partner for joint projects including

  • restoration and conservation of prints and drawings, archival and library records,
  • quality assurance in paper deacidification,
  • and development of conservation solutions for digital data.

Knowledge transfer

We are committed to sharing our expertise in conservation, and are represented on the board of the Swiss Association for the Conservation of Graphic and Manuscript Works. Our experts are also available to provide specialist consultancy services.

Last modification 02.08.2022

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Swiss National Library
Preservation and Conservation
Hallwylstrasse 15
3003 Bern
Phone +41 58 465 00 12
Fax +41 58 462 84 63

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