MEN AND BOOKS – for a risk-free use of the European written cultural heritage


Culture Programme 2007-2013


1st May 2012 - 30th April 2014





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 and 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.



Project aims:


The project wants to find a solution to exterminate mould with a substance and method 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 ?widnica (PL) houses about 12.000 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.




  • Meetings and Workshops
  • Scientific and humanistic studies
  • Recommendations for disinfection treatments
  • Presentation and dissemination of the research results




Project Partners:


  • University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences- Coordinator/AT
  • Protestant Parish of the Holy Trinity in ?widnica/PL
  • European Research Center for Book & Paper Conservation- Restoration/AT
  • Charles-University Prague/CZ
  • ICARUS – International Centre for Archival Research/AT
  • Technical University Graz/AT