Software development was a major joint effort of all end-users in the SurveNIR consortium. From the beginning, our concept was to create software which would be as versatile as possible in order to satisfy the very various surveying needs and practices. The software namely not only controls the instrument but also represents a powerful surveying tool.
The software enables the user to characterise not only single objects, but first and foremost the preservation state of a whole collection. Three survey modes are possible:
- Single item assessment,
- Total collection survey,
- Statistical collection survey.
The difference between the latter two being that when not all objects in a collection are surveyed, a subsample of the collection is randomly selected (link na podstran ‘SurveNIR sampling tool’) and the results of this surveyed subsample are extrapolated to the whole collection.
While the instrument and the software provide data on the composition of paper, the software also enables the user to survey according to visually assessed properties, e.g. status of binding, pest damage, mould damage, ink corrosion etc. These properties can be categorised into up to four classes and the user decides on categorisation criteria prior to the survey.
The SurveNIR software enables surveys of single sheets (graphic arts, archival documents, maps etc.) or bound objects (books). It is good practice to prepare a listing of the objects in a table with identification data beforehand.
During work, NIR spectra are automatically evaluated and the modelled chemical and physical properties appear on the screen. Based on these values, it is possible to define and calculated indices, which may help the end user in decision-making, e.g. based on a well-defined ‘access index’ it is automatically possible to calculate the percentage of a collection which can be only conditionally accessed due to very low mechanical properties.
Finally, the software makes it possible to report on the surveys in several ways. For the less demanding user, an executive report may be sufficient, providing average properties for a whole collection only. For the researcher, all data are accessible in a large table, including the name of the surveyor and the date and time of surveying of a particular object, which enables efficient quality control.
The software has already been tested in a number of real situations – please visit the SurveNIR Roadshow page.