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CPA Newsletter #48, Aug 1992

Commission on Preservation and Access

The Commission on Preservation and Access


August 1992

Number 48

Summertime Good News Edition

Once again, the August Newsletter brings summertime good news. This year, it’s progress with permanent paper and new support for preservation …

Recycling Products Increase Choices for Permanent Paper

The use of recycled materials in the production of paper, while not without some technical problems, is increasing steadily, providing consumers interested in preserving items of enduring value with a much wider choice of alkaline, long-lived papers In a recent telephone interview, Tina Moylan, Product Control, Glatfelter Company, Spring Grove, PA, stated that her company’s objective is to develop and make recycled papers that offer purchasers the same choices, qualities, and levels of permanence as non-recycled papers. Over the past year, 32 mills were manufacturing alkaline recycled paper, according to the July 1991 Alkaline Paper Advocate (Abbey Publications, Provo UT) of 130 types of paper meeting permanence standards over 50 contained some percentage of recycled or postconsumer waste (November 1991 Advocate).

Technically, the requirements for recycled papers and for alkaline paper are generally compatible, as reported in the Summer 1991 NAGARA Clearinghouse (National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators) and most recently in the July 1992 Advocate. The Government Printing Office (GPO) believes that it is critical to clearly specify the minimum requirements for recycled paper regarding groundwood content, pH, and strength, and to monitor paper quality through a testing program. GPO’s experience–which is extensive–has shown that the requirements for recovered materials content have only a very minor effect on its ability to purchase alkaline paper

The impact of recycled materials on the longevity and endurance of paper is under study by paper chemists During his presentation at the October 1991 Hearing on Permanent Paper Use Implementation at the National Library of Medicine, Dr. M. Bruce Lyne, Manager, Applied Surface Science, International Paper Company, Tuxedo, NY, expressed confidence in the paper industry’s ability to adjust technologies to meet the needs of both the recycling and permanent paper initiatives. Lyne, chairman of the Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry (TAPPI) Publications Committee, noted that research is underway on lignin–the substance in wood pulp that turns all paper brown and has been suspected of contributing to eventual brittleness [from audio transcript]:

There is a lot of ongoing research on how to get around the color reversion process. It is not entirely unthinkable that within the next five to ten years we are going to be able to make groundwood-containing papers that, first of all, do not color revert, and, secondarily, that are of adequate brightness and can be run in an alkaline medium….

I might add that one of the things that held up the conversion to alkaline papermaking is that you could not sell the waste paper early on from an alkaline operation because it could not be recycled into an acid system…. Today, because the industry has now converted due to economics primarily to alkaline papermaking, waste merchants have no problem buying alkaline paper and having it recycled into an alkaline paper mill. So that problem has really disappeared….

The National Information Standards organization is nearing completion of the revised American National Standard for permanent paper that may establish a one percent lignin limit. The adoption of the new standard will be helpful to the paper industry, according to Glatfelter’s Moylan, since it will provide necessary guidelines for manufacturers and hold them accountable for quality. Knowledge about producing paper in an alkaline environment will continue to evolve, however, and standards may well change in the future. Meanwhile, the current working alliances among the paper industry, libraries, archives, and publishers, along with the active involvement of organizations such as the American Library Association, the National Library of Medicine, the National Archives and Records Administration, and the Association of American Publishers, are creating a positive environment for improvement and expanded choices for permanent, recycled papers

Together with these organizations, the Commission remains a strong advocate of the use of acid-free paper for items of enduring value, supporting the consideration of preservation needs as new standards and products are developed The Board has affirmed its commitment to this objective, and has encouraged the extension of this advocacy to create a wider international awareness of the need for the use of permanent paper for materials of enduring value.

For more information see:

Alkaline Paper Advocate (The Abbey Publications, 20 Center St, Provo, UT 84606. Many back issues contain extensive background information regarding technologies and availability of alkaline and recycled papers

Commission on Preservation and Access Newsletter. Several back issues contain articles on permanent paper initiatives. Most recently, see “Agreement on International Standard for Permanent Paper,” June 1992, p.1.

“The Environmental Impact of Science Publishing: Global Issues” and “Close to Home What Can CBE Members Do to Minimize the Environmental Impact of Publishing?” in CBE Views, V15, n. 1, 1992. Reports from the Annual Meeting – 1991 of the Council of Biology Editors.

Recycled Printing, Writing Papers; Products – Manufacturers, Winter 1992 edition. Available from Center for Earth Resources Management Applications, 5528 Hempstead Way, Springfield, VA 22151. $25.00

Recycled Papers: The Essential Guide by Claudia G. Thompson, 1992. Available from MIT Press, 55 Harvard St, Cambridge, MA 02142 $25.00 ($2.50 postage) paperback

Report to Congress on the Joint Resolution to establish a National Position on Permanent Papers, submitted to the Clerk of the House of Representatives by the Librarian of Congress, the Archivist of the United States, and the Public Printer, pursuant to the provision of Public Act 101-423.

Use of Alkaline Paper in Government Printing, Report and Plan Prepared at the Direction of the Committee on Appropriations, House of Representatives, April 1990. U.S Government Printing Office.

The Use of Permanent Paper for Biomedical Literature
The Acid-Free Paper Campaign at the National Library of Medicine

A fundamental responsibility of the National Library of Medicine is to preserve permanently the content of periodicals, books, and other library materials pertinent to the biomedical sciences. Significant resources have been provided by the U.S. Congress for the preservation of the national treasure of the Library’s collection by microfilming of deteriorating documents, conservation in the original form of those that are rare and valuable, and research in the electronic storage of images.

A major threat to the survival of books and journals published since the mid-nineteenth century is the deterioration of paper caused by residual acids it contains. Without expensive efforts at preservation, the majority of printed matter now on library shelves across the nation is destined to become brittle and to crumble over the period of a lifetime. NLM has not been immune to the problem. A senior NLM Preservation Planning Team surveyed the physical state of the holdings in 1985 in the course of the development of the NLM preservation plan. It identified some 18,000 volumes, over 12% of the collection, as having become so brittle that they would not be able to withstand one more library use, and estimated that another 5,O0O volumes would be entering that endangered category annually.

More recently, paper making processes that employ alkaline rather than acid-based chemistry have begun to come into use. Alkaline paper making is an industrial process utilized for the manufacture of a variety of kinds of paper, including products for commercial and industrial consumption. Paper so produced is acid-free and available in commercial quantities and at competitive prices in most paper grades. Acid-free, permanent paper will last for centuries rather than decades in ordinary library use.

It is not responsible to publish important material on acidic paper when it is known that its fate is to self-destruct. It is also inefficient and illogical to continue to apply costly labor intensive remedial preservation measures to perishable volumes when much of the preservation problem can be prevented. The preservation policy of the library’s Board of Regents adopted in February 1986 notes that much of the preservation problem can be stopped at its source by publishing on permanent, archival media that are not predisposed to rapid deterioration, such as acid-free paper. It also states that in order to lessen the need for preservation treatment of new publications the National Library of Medicine shall actively encourage the publishing industry to use more permanent paper in the production of biomedical literature.

To that end, the Board of Regents sponsored a hearing at the Library in January 1987 on the use of permanent paper for biomedical literature. As a result of the hearing, an NLM Permanent Paper Task Force of academic, commercial, and professional society publishers, editors, authors, paper manufacturers and distributors, printers, librarians, preservationists, and concerned citizens was established. It was charged with exploring the problem of paper deterioration, the economics, aesthetics, and the manufacturing technologies of acid-free paper, and fostering positive action in its use, particularly in journals, the most important repository of contemporary biomedical knowledge….

The Library’s campaign to encourage biomedical publishers to issue their works on acid-free, permanent paper has made encouraging progress. In 1987, merely four percent of the 3,000 journals indexed by NLM were acknowledged by their publishers to be using acid-free paper. In 1991, one-half are on permanent paper. Of the United States journals indexed, four-fifths are now acid-free. Beginning in 1990, journals indexed in MEDLINE and Index Medicus that are printed on acid-free paper and that also carry a notice to that effect are marked as such in the List of Journals Indexed in Index Medicus, the List of Serials Indexed for online Users, and in SERLINE, the Library’s online file of serials information. (It is important that the use of permanent paper for a publication be identified by a notice in that publication. Without it, preservation treatments may in the future be inadvertently applied to publications that do not need them. Such identification also attests to the concern for the preservation of the material that is published).

The campaign to encourage domestic publishers in permanent paper use continues, with intensified efforts to bring the message of paper permanence to offshore publications Together with increasing expressed demand by users, the advantages of the economics and technology of alkaline paper making are also becoming reflected in the paper market. The alkaline paper making process results in reduced water consumption, facilitates waste treatment and compliance with environmental controls, saves energy and materials costs, and is cleaner and, on balance, less corrosive to machinery than acid-based paper making.

The use of acid-free paper is the preventive medicine for reducing the problem of deterioration of publications and the threat of their being lost to the record of civilization forever.

Excerpted from Appendix B of Report to Congress on the Joint Resolution to Establish National Policy on Permanent Papers (Public Law 10423) provided by the National Library of Medicine

Summer Reading Suggestions

“Upgrading Campus Libraries for New Technologies,” in Facilities Manager, the official publication of The Association of Higher Education Facilities Officers (Alexandria, VA), V.8, n.2, Spring 1992 “Most facilities professionals realize that the nature of libraries is changing rapidly, due to two key areas the deterioration of hooks and the explosion of digital technology.”

Caring For Your Collections: Preserving and Protecting Your Art and Other Collectibles, by the National Committee to Save America’s Cultural Collections, introduction by The Honorable Robert McCormick Adams, foreword by Arthur W. Schultz, April 1992. Formally introduced at a White House tea hosted by First Lady Barbara Bush, this 20-page (118 illustrations) hardbound volume was assembled as “the first comprehensive practical care guide aimed at the average person who collects.” Books, manuscripts, and works on paper are included along with many other materials; information about basic environmental guidelines and security is included. Available for $37.50 from Abrams Publishers, 100 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10011.

Using the Nation’s Documentary Heritage, the Report of the Historical Documents. Study supported by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) in cooperation with the American Council of Learned Societies, 1992. In a survey of nearly 1400 members of historical and genealogical societies, this study found lively interest in and strong demand for access to sources on the past. “Average citizens and professionals alike find an invaluable approach to understanding their society through the study of history. Because knowledge of the past improves the formulation of intelligent public policy, the whole nation gains from public support for use of the historical record.” Copies of the 112-page report are available from Historical Documents Study Report, NHPRC (NP), National Archives Building, Washington, DC 20408.

New Support for Preservation

Despite economic stalemates, support for preservation continues.

  • The Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts (CCAHA), Philadelphia, PA, recently announced the receipt of two grants for preservation and conservation activities. The Graham Foundation provided CCAHA with an $8,000 grant for ongoing research on the fabrication and preservation of American architectural drawings produced before 1930. Previous research on this project has been supported by the Peterson Fund of The Athenaeum of Philadelphia and the Institute for Museum Services. The research will culminate in a monograph for archivists, curators and conservators.The Knight Foundation provided CCAHA with a $25,000 grant for an endowment fund for conservation training, graduate fellowships, staff development research and publications. A total grant of $100,000 was approved for a four-partner proposal and equally divided among CCAHA, Balboa Art Conservation Center (San Diego, CA), Intermuseum Conservation Association (Oberlin, OH), and Upper Midwest Conservation Association (Minneapolis, MN). The four centers are part of the Association of Regional Conservation Centers, a larger consortium that received a major challenge Grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
  • After responding to 4,800 requests for Report No. 1, the Arthur Salm Foundation has released Report No. 2 in its series of tests on the chemical properties of philatelic material. Report No. 2 covers a variety of items made of paper, including 55 album pages, stock books, and the paper portion of mounts and glassine envelopes. The Salm Foundation has offered to test philatelic products as part of an arrangement with the International Federation of Philately (FIP). This is being done at no cost to FIP; the Foundation pays all expenses. In its report, the Foundation presents test data but does not make recommendations about which products to buy. Report No. 2 is available at no charge for a legal size SAE from the Arthur Salm Foundation, 1029 N. Dearborn St, Chicago, IL 60610. Report No. 1 is available, while supplies last, for $1, plus a legal size SAE.
  • The South Carolina State Librarian, has launched an 18-month preservation education project designed to raise the awareness of both librarians and the public about the importance of preserving library and local history materials. The State Library has awarded a grant to the Charleston Museum to develop the project, which will encompass a series of workshops town meetings, and site-surveys aimed at audiences including library directors, trustees, friends groups, and the public. The grant for the project is being funded under LSCA Title III, which now identifies preservation as a priority. It will be administered by the South Carolina Library Network.

Preservation Managers Council Named

As part of its continuing review of governance structure and communication mechanisms, the Commission’s Board voted at its April 1992 meeting to establish a Preservation Managers Council in order to provide a more effective forum for the contributions of managers of large preservation programs to the Commissions activities. The council, representing an important component of a comprehensive international preservation effort, will be charged with contributing its special expertise and operational experience to the broader issues addressed by the Commission.

Accepting membership on the council are Margaret Byrnes, Head, Preservation Section, National Library of Medicine; Ellen Cunningham-Kruppa, Preservation Officer, University of Texas, Austin; Richard Frieder, Head, Preservation Department, Northwestern University; Kenneth Harris, Director for Preservation, Library of Congress; Carolyn Clark Morrow, Malloy-Rabinowitz Preservation Librarian, Harvard University; Barclay Ogden, Head Conservation Department, University of California, Berkeley; and Christine Ward, Chief, Bureau of Archival Services, New York State Archives and Records Administration. An organizational meeting is being planned for this fall.

Commission on Preservation and Access
1400 16th Street, NW, Suite 740
Washington, DC 20036-2217
(202) 939-3400 Fax: (202) 939-3407

The Commission on Preservation and Access was established in 1986 to foster and support collaboration among libraries and allied organizations in order to ensure the preservation of the published and documentary record in all formats and to provide enhanced access to scholarly information.

The Newsletter reports on cooperative national and international preservation activities and is written primarily for university administrators and faculty, library and archives administrators, preservation specialists and administrators, and representatives of consortia, governmental bodies, and other groups sharing in the Commission’s goals. The Newsletter is not copyrighted; its duplication and distribution are encouraged.

Patricia Battin–President
Maxine K. Sitts–Program Officer, Editor


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