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Subject: Library of Congress awards contract for mass deacidification

Library of Congress awards contract for mass deacidification

From: Kenneth E. Harris <khar>
Date: Friday, July 7, 1995
Library of Congress Awards Contract for Book Preservation

For many years, it has been recognized that acidity plays a
significant role in the rapid deterioration of paper.  Millions of
acidic publications in libraries and archives throughout the world
illustrate a well-known dilemma resulting primarily from the
large-scale introduction of chemically-produced paper in the
mid-nineteenth century.  While deacidification as a potential
solution has been scientifically investigated over the last fifty to
sixty years in several countries, the Library of Congress--with
strong support from Congress--has paid special attention during the
past two decades to the potential for neutralizing acids in books,
manuscripts, and archival materials on a mass level to achieve
economies of scale, rather than deacidifying materials page by page
in a laboratory setting.

In June the Library awarded a contract to Preservation Technologies,
Inc. (PTI) of Glenshaw, Pennsylvania, for demonstrated application
of the firm's Bookkeeper III mass deacidification process, a
technology that neutralizes the acids in paper to prolong its useful
life.  The contract calls for PTI to treat at least 72,000 books
during the next two years.  The primary focus of this initiative is
to ensure uniform, effective deacidification treatment of processed
books and to enhance work flow, including book handling, storage,
packing, and transportation procedures.

The Senate and the House appropriations Subcommittees on the
Legislative Branch approved the Library's proposed action plan to
begin using the new Bookkeeper deacidification technology while
continuing to evaluate other methods.  The Library continues to
encourage other companies with deacidification technologies and
operational equipment capable of being scaled up for mass treatment
to come forward, if their processes have the potential to meet or
exceed the Library's technical requirements.

A recent Library-commissioned report on Bookkeeper indicates that
the process deacidifies paper without posing environmental or human
health problems.  Unlike some other processes evaluated by the
Library in recent years, it does not cause physical or aesthetic
damages to deacidified materials nor impart undesirable odors in
treated books. The report (without appendices) is available on
Internet.  The full title is:  Buchanan, Sally, et al. "An
Evaluation of the Bookkeeper Mass Deacidification Process: Technical
Evaluation Team Report for the Preservation Directorate, Library of
Congress." Washington, D.C.: Preservation Directorate, Library of
Congress, 1994.

Copies of the textual pages of the report can be
accessed by telnetting to "" and logging in as
"Marvel."  To locate the report on Marvel, select "Libraries and
Publishers (Technical Services)," "Preservation at the Library of
Congress," then "Mass Deacidification: Reports."

In addition, free
paper-bound copies of the Bookkeeper report (including all of the
appendices not reproduced on Internet), as well as another report on
the Library-developed diethyl zinc (DEZ) process, can be obtained by

    Kenneth E. Harris
    Preservation Projects Director
    Preservation Directorate
    Library of Congress LM-G21
    Washington, D.C. 20540-4500.
    Fax: 202-707-3434;
    khar [at] loc__gov

    **** Moderator's comments:   This item will also be added to
    CoOL as soon as possible

Kenneth E. Harris

                   Conservation DistList Instance 9:7
                   Distributed: Monday, July 10, 1995
                        Message Id: cdl-9-7-001
Received on Friday, 7 July, 1995

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