In March 2002, over 100 participants from 14 countries gathered at the Getty Center to attend the 5th International Infrared and Raman Users Group (IRUG) conference. The conference, hosted by the GCI, brought together individuals from the fields of art conservation and historic preservation who use infrared (IR) and Raman spectroscopy as part of their scientific study of the world's cultural heritage.

During the four-day conference, IRUG members presented research on applications and characterizations of historical material. Invited experts from the fields of conservation, academia, and industry discussed the composition and behavior of acrylic paints as well as recent advances in their identification. A roundtable discussion on the topic of acrylic resins and their emulsions was also held. On the final day, manufacturers of IR and Raman spectroscopy instruments were on hand to demonstrate new analytical advances in the field.

The conference provided participants with numerous opportunities for discussion and for the exchange of practical information. The discussions partly focused on the increased use of Raman technique and its capabilities in analyzing organic materials. Information related to nondestructive Fourier transform infrared spectrometry (FTIR) analysis and advances in sample preparation methodologies were also discussed.

For the first time, election of IRUG board members was conducted, and new bylaws were reviewed. Chairpersons Beth Price and Boris Pretzel made presentations regarding the group's efforts to obtain nonprofit status and provided updated information on the IR spectral database. In addition, consultant Ken Ehrman gave a presentation on the development of a Web-based spectral database. The new Web site will streamline the submission and review of new reference spectra and allow online access and retrieval of spectra. GCI director Tim Whalen urged IRUG members to remain open to ideas for increasing access to the IR database and stated that the GCI was ready to assist in the effort to expand and disseminate this valuable body of information.

The International Infrared and Raman Users Group is dedicated to the professional development of its members by providing a forum for the exchange of IR and Raman spectroscopic information, reference spectra, and reference materials.

For more information on IRUG and on its next biennial conference, scheduled for spring 2004 in Florence, Italy, please visit the IRUG Web site (www.irug.org).