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Subject: Archival photocopying

Archival photocopying

From: Everett C. Wilkie Jr. <everett>
Date: Monday, March 8, 1993
Back in January I asked how many people were using archival paper in
their photocopiers, since at the time we were considering switching all
machines over to such paper.  I received a large number of responses to
my question and am now summarizing those responses for the various


It appears from my responses that few people actually employ archival
quality paper in their photocopiers.  Some repositories do use such
paper in the machines under their direct control but despair of ever
being able to spread the practice to their institutions in general.
Such answers came for the most part from large universities, where the
situation appears fairly hopeless.  In a situation where one is dealing
with hundreds of copiers, the situation is obviously going to fairly
different from mine here, where I have to worry about only three

Nevertheless, many people have switched over to alkaline papers, as
opposed to papers that are "archival." This seems to be the most favored
solution to the problem of deteriorating copies, no matter if the
copying process will cause the text to fade long before the paper
deteriorates.  Most people found this a reasonable solution to the

I did get contradictory advice about ordering alkaline papers from paper
distributors, however.  Several people said don't specify a brand name,
as those found in Alkaline Paper Advocate etc,; it will only raise the
price. Others said that the price was lower if one specified the brand
desired. It would appear that this problem is subject to a
circumstantial solution, depending on your own relationship with your

Everyone was in agreement that there is no trusting people to switch to
the proper cassette as circumstances dictate.  The only real solution,
it seems, is to switch all the paper to a different quality.  If you
want all copies on alkaline paper, then *all* the available paper must
be of that quality.

The answer to my own question is that we will probably start ordering
alkaline paper for the photocopiers.  That's better than the paper we
are now using, which is not alkaline.  Whether we will go to archival
quality paper is still an open question.  There is a great price
differential between merely alkaline and archival paper.  We'll see what
the budget will bear.

Thanks to all who answered.  I hope this summary is of some use.

Everett Wilkie
The Connecticut Historical Society

                  Conservation DistList Instance 6:49
                  Distributed: Friday, March 12, 1993
                        Message Id: cdl-6-49-006
Received on Monday, 8 March, 1993

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