Oddy Tests: Materials Databases
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Contributors: Samantha Springer, Colleen Snyder, Liz Homberger, Ozge Gencay-Ustun, Christian Hernandez, Robyn Hodgkins, Jason Tran, Kelly Schulz, Bodil Unckel, Siti suhailah Salim, Nor Aini Omar, Lynn Chua, Eric Breitung, Catherine Stephens, Bella Buscarino, Michele Derrick, Emma Guerard, Natasha Kung, Mikaela Marchuk, Emily Frank, Yan Choi, Adelheid Hansen, Alayna Bone, Alexis North please contribute and see your name added here!
Oddy testing information is provided for informational purposes only. Neither AIC nor participating institutions endorse particular products, businesses, or services. It is recommended that all materials be re-tested before use as proprietary formulas and manufacturing processes can change without notice. Photographs of test results are included where possible for users to make their own assessments of the materials tested. Test results are not peer-reviewed or vetted and should be used at your own discretion and should be assessed in conjunction with the provided protocol.
There has been some historical resistance to making institutional Oddy Test results public based on a number of issues:
- There are various protocols making it is impossible to ensure standardization of results.
- The Oddy Test is merely one method of materials testing and evaluating the suitability of a material for exhibition.
- Products change over time so there is no guarantee that results will relate to the product over time.
- Conservators fear that product manufacturers or suppliers will find the information problematic.
The first three concerns are certainly true, but even with these caveats conservators continue to perform Oddy Tests and informally share the results. This section of the AIC wiki has been created with the belief that by sharing protocols and images of results, conservators, conservation scientists, and other collections care professionals can consider the results themselves for their own purposes. A product that fails an Oddy test may be approved for use in certain circumstances and so this page should be considered merely as an additional tool when researching products.
General information about the Oddy Test can be found on the following page: Oddy Test See also the The British Museum Occasional Paper Number 111for a comprehensive materials testing methodology for selecting storage and display materials.
The benefits and development of these pages were presented by Colleen Snyder and Samantha Springer at the Conservation and Exhibition Planning Conference in 2015 held at the Lunder Center. A repeat and updated version of the presentation "Putting the Wiki Platform to Work: Sharing Material Testing Results" was given by Springer at the 2017 Annual WAAC Conference in Salt Lake City. The presentation was video recorded and is available online.
A workshop on the Oddy Test and Materials Testing will be held at the AIC Annual Meeting in Houston in May 2018. Educational materials of benefit to the materials testing community will be available here at the completion of the workshop. We are excited to announce that results on the database tables will be linked to CAMEO and vice versa starting in the spring of 2018 thanks to a number of volunteers who have offered their assistance. Additional volunteer help is always needed. Please contact the Materials Database Coordinator.
To inform the results found on the following tables, the specific protocol used by contributors will be added to Oddy Test Protocols. We currently have contributions from 8 different individuals or institutions.
The tables now include results from other materials testing methods, such as the sodium azide and photographic activity test.
- Case Construction Materials (including storage, packing, and mountmaking materials)
Links to other lists of tested materials- test results found here have been incorporated into the tables above.
- Getty Conservation Institute Database (Results on this document are also incorporated into the appropriate results tables above)
- British Museum Database of Materials for the Storage or Display of Museum Objects (Scroll down to the bottom of the page to download the excel spreadsheet of materials they have tested over the past 5 years.)
- National Archives of Australia Photographic Activity Tested Materials (Results on this site will be added to the appropriate Results Tables)
- 2013 article "Photographic Activity Tests of Various Adhesives Suggested for Use on Water-Sensitive Photographs" in Topics in Photographic Preservation, Volume 15.
Links to resources, webpages, and articles about materials testing and choosing materials for use with cultural heritage objects and artifacts:
Become a contributor
If you test materials and would like to add your results to the tables please see the discussion page for instructions on how to do so.
If you use the tables and would like to help or get involved, we are looking for volunteers to assist with building links between the tables and CAMEO. Please contact the Materials Database Coordinator and cc the AIC e-editor if you are interested.