Saving and restoring old books is one of the main objectives of a large digitisation programme currently taking place in Slovakia. Before the restoration process can begin, however, researchers at the Slovak National Library must carefully analyse books for bacteria.
Smart Regions spoke to Nora Rapava, a paper conservation expert at the library. She tests the books for micro-organisms before deciding on what to do to preserve a book's pages.
"I detect all the micro-organism and then I decide a strategy to destroy them and to save the book."
"The most common micro-organisms are penicillium and aspergillus. You can even find them on food, for example, when you have an orange already rotten with green molds around it. It's the same as we have here," Rapava says.
She adds, "It's a really noble job, because here we are saving books for the future generations, so I think that everyone should be proud of working here."