REALM Project: Preliminary Literature Review

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The REopening Archives, Libraries, and Museums (REALM) Project is conducting literature reviews to help define the scope of the project’s research and the information needs of libraries, archives, and museums. Battelle researchers have completed the first review, which is a set of findings from publicly available scientific literature (download the PDF). This review focused on studies of virus attenuation on commonly found materials, such as paper, plastic, cloth, and metal; methods of virus transmission; and effectiveness of prevention and decontamination measures. The information helps to set the context for the laboratory research that is being conducted during the REALM Project. A second, more systematic literature review is also in progress and will be released later in June.

As you read this preliminary literature review, keep in mind a few key points:

  1. The research and information captured in the findings include both peer-reviewed and non-peer-reviewed studies. In the interest to publish emerging research related to the COVID-19 pandemic as quickly as possible, publication has been expedited rather than waiting for time-intensive peer review.
  2. The studies included in the review have been conducted by different researchers, under different conditions, likely using different concentrations—and possibly sources—of the virus. This makes it difficult, if not impossible, for a reviewer to make a straight comparison across studies; and, interpreting the results may be challenging for readers without a science background. The systematic review that will follow this preliminary review will include a synthesis and more analysis to help with the interpretation; that review will be released later in June.
  3. The review includes findings for industries, such as health care, that operate under considerably different constraints and risk factors than do libraries, archives, and museums, (abbreviated LAMs). However, in this preliminary search, it was important to consider a broad range of available research to determine what may be applicable to LAM operations and identify what research gaps exist. The research captured in the review does not represent recommendations or guidance for LAMs; but, commonalities with other fields and industries may be found as the research proceeds, and the project will continue to monitor the science literature for emerging science-based information that relates to LAM operations. 

The project team will continue to collect and review published literature related to COVID-19 and share out those findings with the LAM community.