Technical Analysis

Preservation Services provides analytical services to Harvard faculty and students as well as Library staff as a way to more fully understand the material nature of items in the Library's collections. The Weissman Preservation Center uses portable X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy, polarizing light microscopy and multi-spectral imaging in order to examine materials and provide crucial information useful in dating artifacts, in understanding an artist's or author's use of materials, and in developing treatment options. Through various collaborations on campus and with other institutions, Preservation Services can also offer additional methods of analysis and inquiry. Recent projects have included revealing artist's erasures and underdrawings through multi-spectral imaging, identification of paper fiber type using PLM (polarized light microscopy), and identification of organic coatings on early photographs using FTIR (Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy).

To learn more about analytical services for your collection, please contact the Weissman Preservation Center at