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Subject: LC mass deacidification RFP

LC mass deacidification RFP

From: Walter Henry <whenry>
Date: Wednesday, September 4, 1991
The following press release arrived today via fax (jeese, somebody get
these guys on the net;  this antiquated technology has got to go).

  Washington DC  20540
  The Library of Congress News
  Public Affairs Office  202 707 2903
  Contact:  Helen Dalrymple (202) 707-1940

  Library of Congress Responds to Deacidification Bids from Industry

  The Library of Congress has turned down offers from three industrial
  firms to undertake the massive task of deacidifying and thus
  preserving, millions of books in its collections.

  "None of the offers received could meet all of the technical and
  business requirements," said Gerald Garvey, the Library's
  deacidification program manager.  "We wanted industry to carry out
  this task, and so far, they haven't been able to do it.  We are sorely

  Since the early 1970's, Library of Congress preservation specialists
  have been exploring techniques to preserve books printed on acid paper
  --that is, most books published since the mid-1800s.  Thanks to the
  acid present in the paper, such books slowly disintegrate.  As a part
  of a cooperative conservation program to preserve information in the
  most fragile books in the nation's libraries, the Library has been
  microfilming thousands of valuable books each year, a slow costly
  process, even as its specialists have tested chemical processes to
  remove the acid from books en masse.

  In September 1990, the Library issued a "request for proposals" from
  industry for deacidifying its book collections.

  The performance requirements were set after year-long Library
  consultations with conservators and preservation scientists from
  around the world.  The Library solicited comments from industry; six
  firms responded with information on their various processes.  The
  General Accounting Office reviewed the "request for proposals" before
  it was issued.

  The final request for proposals included requirements for
  toxicological and environmental safety, process efficacy and other
  preservation needs, the aesthetic appearance of treated books --as
  well as the firm's business plans and financial information.

  In addition, potential contractors (or "offerors") were required to
  treat a set of 500 books to confirm technical information contained in
  their proposals and to show conformance with the Library's
  specifications.  The Library, via competitive process, picked an
  independent testing laboratory, The Institute for Paper Science and
  Technology in Atlanta, Georgia, to test the treated demonstration sets
  of books.

  Thus, the Library required that each would-be contractor demonstrate
  its ability to do the job.

  Although a half-dozen firms had shown interest earlier, only three
  firms applied for a contract.

  Date from the Institute's analyses were documented in a set of reports
  relating to extension of book life, alkaline reserve, appearance,
  odor, and other factors.  (These data will be published, once
  permission is obtained from the offerors).

  In March of 1991 the 14-member Source Selection Evaluation Board,
  headed by Peter Johnson of Congress' Office of Technology Assessment,
  convened to evaluate the offerors' submissions.  The Board evaluated
  written proposals submitted by the offerors, the data obtained from
  the independent testing laboratory, and first-hand information gained
  from site visits to the treatment facilities.  Data collected from the
  500-book demonstration sets was vital to the Board's conclusion that
  no offeror satisfied all the technical requirements of the
  solicitation. The Board submitted its findings to the Library in july

  Following extensive study of the Board report, the Library decided to
  cancel the procurement, and the offerors have been so notified.

  "The enormous challenge of preserving a substantial portion of the
  Library's collections from loss through acidic embrittlement remains,"
  said James H. Billington, the Librarian of Congress.  "With the
  support of the Congress, the Library plans to continue efforts to
  identify and begin using viable, affordable, technically acceptable
  mass deacidification technologies for saving its collections.

  PR 91-109
  ISSN #0731-3257

                  Conservation DistList Instance 5:18
               Distributed: Wednesday, September 4, 1991
                        Message Id: cdl-5-18-001
Received on Wednesday, 4 September, 1991

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