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Structured Glossary of Technical Terms–

Commission on Preservation and Access

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The Original Document
1.1 Medium
1.2 Format
1.3 Periodicity
1.4 Properties
1.5 Condition
1.6 Content


1.5. Document Condition
Condition refers to the physical state of the document compared
with its state when originally published. The following presents only
those characteristics of the physical state of a document that are
pertinent to the main thrust of this Glossary, that is, to the paper
1.5.1. Archival
A document that can be expected to be kept permanently as closely
as possible to its original form. An archival document medium is
one that can be “expected” to retain permanently its original characteristics
(such expectations may or may not prove to be realized in actual practice).
A document published in such a medium is of archival quality and
can be expected to resist deterioration.Permanent paper is manufactured to resist chemical action
so as to retard the effects of aging as determined by precise technical
specifications. Durability refers to certain lasting qualities
with respect to folding and tear resistance.See also 3.3.5.
1.5.2. Non-Archival
A document that is not intended or cannot be expected to be kept permanently,
and that may therefore be created or published on a medium (1.1)
that cannot be expected to retain its original characteristics and
resist deterioration.
1.5.3. Acidic
A condition in which the concentration of hydrogen ions in an aqueous
solution exceeds that of the hydroxyl ions. In paper, the strength
of the acid denotes the state of deterioration that, if not chemically
reversed (3.1.2), will result
in embrittlement (1.5.4). Discoloration
of the paper (for example, yellowing) may be an early sign
of deterioration in paper.
1.5.4. Brittle
That property of a material that causes it to break or crack when
depressed by bending. In paper, evidence of deterioration usually is
exhibited by the paper’s inability to withstand one or two (different
standards are used) double corner folds. A corner fold is
characterized by bending the corner of a page completely over on itself,
and a double corner fold consists of repeating the action
1.5.5. Other
There are many other conditions that characterize the condition of
a document. Bindings of books, for example, may have deteriorated for
a variety of conditions. Non-paper documents may exhibit a variety
of conditions (see, for example, 3.3.5 for a discussion of the concept
of “Useful Life”). However, with the focus on paper original documents
and on media conversion technologies for preservation, a full analysis
of document condition would be beyond the scope of this Glossary.

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