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SurveNIR: collection

SurveNIR Historical Paper Collection

One of the major aims of the SurveNIR project was to build a reference collection of papers, representative of the paper usually found in European libraries, archives, galleries and museums. In the collection, papers mostly from the 18th century onwards are well represented. The collection is comprised of 1316 single sheets or papers, extracted from books, which were acquired from bookstores, second-hand shops or donated by a number of friends and colleagues. The reason for such a large sample set is that it has to mirror the variability of paper composition in typical paper-based collections.

However, we did not collect papers such as non-European, transparent, laminated, and other papers for special uses. Also, we avoided papers with obvious fire, mould, water or similar damage.

Number and age of SurveNIR samples.

The papers have been characterised for a number of chemical and physical properties, which are well documented. Please see the page Classical Analysis of Paper for description of parameters. This invaluable collection is stored at 5 oC at several locations across the EU. The samples are individually wrapped in neutral paper, and can be accessed for further studies and analyses. The data on material analyses can also be accessed, but strictly for research and not for commercial purposes.

In order to access the collection, please write to

SurveNIR reference paper collection.


For donations of a number of historical papers, we are particularly indebted to Henk Porck, Doris Müller-Hess, Nina Hasselberg-Wang, Jozef Hanus, Tom Koch Svenessen, Istvan Kecskemeti, and Birgit Reissland.