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Subject: Web Environmental Risk Analysis (WebERA)

Web Environmental Risk Analysis (WebERA)

From: Douglas W. Nishimura <dwnpph>
Date: Tuesday, November 13, 2007
The Image Permanence Institute at Rochester Institute of Technology
has received a $332,760 grant from the Institute of Museum and
Library Services (IMLS) to create a novel Web-based system that will
enable collections staff in museums and libraries to efficiently
move large volumes of environmental data directly to the Web for
automated analysis and reporting.

Museums and libraries are unable to manage environments effectively
and efficiently due to lack of staff time and in-house expertise,
the difficulty of determining the degree of risk or benefit to
collections and the challenge of organizing, maintaining and
reporting on mountains of data.

The premise for the two-year research and development project called
WebERA, or Web Environmental Risk Analysis, is that environmental
risks can be managed and mitigated if they can be identified,
quantified and then communicated to museum leadership and facilities
managers. The idea of using the Web to store and share environmental
data directly is new, but is firmly rooted in the environmental
research and development conducted by RIT's Image Permanence
Institute over the past 13 years.

Project activities will include programming the WebERA web server
application and working with a selected pilot group of 10 museums
and five libraries to test the design and function of the WebERA
system. Project results will be made available to the preservation
community through conference presentations and a Web publication.

   "The success of our collecting institutions over the long term
    will depend not only on how well they can market themselves, but
    also whether their collections are in good enough condition to
    attract the attention of visitors and scholars,"

says James Reilly, director of RIT's Image
Permanence Institute.

   "Environment is the least costly way to ensure that competitive
    edge and to avoid the expense of preventable damage. WebERA is
    designed to overcome the obstacles that most often prevent
    museums and libraries from managing environments effectively and
    efficiently."

Douglas Nishimura
Image Permanence Institute
Rochester Institute of Technology


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Received on Tuesday, 13 November, 2007

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