The SiLK guidelines (the acronym stems from the initial letters of the German title SicherheitsLeitfaden Kulturgut / SiLK guidelines for the protection of cultural property) have been drawn up by the German Conference of National Cultural Institutions (Konferenz Nationaler Kultureinrichtungen / KNK). They comprise introductory information, questionnaires and a knowledge base which together raise awareness for issues surrounding the protection and conservation of cultural property in museums, libraries and archives. The guidelines help staff evaluate the protection efforts of their own institution, and offer tips and possible solutions (documents and links referred to are in most cases only available in German). They also include a wide range of information of interest to others in the field.
Each topic has an associated introduction, questionnaire and knowledge base, with the questionnaire forming the core element. After answering all the questions, users obtain a "traffic light assessment": if the minimum standard is not reached ("Red") or if an ongoing threat exists ("Amber"), the assessment will include recommendations for action or mitigation measures. The assessment can be saved as a PDF document and printed.
The knowledge base contains further information on each topic, such as lists of specialist publications, applicable guidelines and standards, examples and reference materials (e.g. emergency plans), definitions and links (in German).
Using the SiLK guidelines, cultural institutions can evaluate the potential risks for their collections and obtain guidance. To help improve the development of SiLK in future, all users are encouraged to submit their suggestions, comments, criticisms and requests for inclusion.
Email contact address: SiLK@konferenz-kultur.de.
Please be aware that the present SiLK guidelines are the English version of the German guidelines, i.e. laws etc. referred to apply to Germany.
The translation of the German SiLK version into English was made possible by the German Insurance Association (GDV).