Preserving cultural heritage – through research and high-tech

Reconstructing and restoring medieval manuscripts

© Sächsische Landesbibliothek- Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Dresden (SLUB)

In the aftermath of air raids on Dresden in the spring of 1945, the impact of groundwater and fire-fighting water caused severe damage to valuable medieval manuscripts. As part of the Executive Board Project “Cultural Heritage”, researchers at the Fraunhofer Institutes for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, Production Systems and Design Technology IPK, and Wood Research Wilhelm-Klauditz-Institut WKI have joined forces with the Saxon State and University Library Dresden to develop a workflow to restore these manuscripts. Fungal infestation has caused parts of them to become blocked and fragmented. For this purpose, researchers are synergetically combining technologies for the virtual reconstruction of fragmented documents, for watermark detection and for the joining of paper fragments by means of radiation cross-linking of biopolymers. An economically feasible method to eliminate blocking requires further interdisciplinary research.