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A pioneering project to chemically "sniff" books could determine a tome's state of health and help protect valuable volumes from decay, scientists have revealed.
And the innovative technique could uncover what creates the distinctive musty smell familiar from antique bookshops.
The system, being developed at the University of Strathclyde, involves placing a book in a sealed chamber for between 24 and 48 hours.
Materials responsible for creating the book's odour are extracted and then examined to determine the "health" of the volume.
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