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Subject: Library of Congress contract for mass deacidification

Library of Congress contract for mass deacidification

From: Kenneth E Harris <khar>
Date: Friday, March 6, 1998
January 21, 1998, LC Press Release PR-008

Library Awards Second Contract for Book Preservation

The Library of Congress has awarded a contract to Preservation
Technologies, Limited Partnership (PTLP), of Cranberry,
Pennsylvania, to provide book preservation services to the Library
for the next four years using the firm's Bookkeeper mass
deacidification process.  This contract is an outgrowth of a limited
production contract that enabled the Library to deacidify almost
100,000 books in the past 18 months and to work out many selection,
shipping, and quality control details of the deacidification

Mass deacidification retards embrittlement of paper and is therefore
a preservation treatment appropriate for books that are acidic and
at risk of loss if no action is taken.  So far, books have been
treated from the general and special collections and the Law
Library.  The Library has set priorities for those additional
collections slated to receive deacidification treatment under the
new contract.  Congress approved the Library's proposal to negotiate
the new four-year contract to deacidify larger quantities of
important, endangered books; to incorporate deacidification into the
Library's arsenal of preservation options; and to continue to
evaluate other  mass deacidification processes.  The Library
continues to encourage other companies with deacidification
technologies capable of mass treatment to come forward, if their
processes have the potential to meet or exceed the Library's
technical requirements.

Acidity in paper undermines the use and long-term preservation of
library collections and archival materials.  Millions of
deteriorating books and documents in libraries and archives
throughout the world attest to this problem.  The Library of
Congress--with strong support from the U.S. Congress--has provided
leadership over several decades in the development and evaluation of
deacidification processes on a mass scale and their application to
increasingly larger volumes of books and other paper-based items to
achieve economies of scale.

The primary focus of the new contract is to ensure effective
deacidification for about 250,000 books; production incentives in
the new agreement could result in deacidification treatment for up
to 275,000 books.  In an innovative feature of the new contract,
PTLP for the first time will provide on-site services within Library
buildings in addition to the deacidification treatment that will be
performed at the Bookkeeper plant in Pennsylvania.  With training
and oversight provided by the Library, PTLP is pulling, packing,
shipping, and refiling books from collections that have been
prioritized for deacidification.

Library staff will oversee the selection and refiling of books and
the effectiveness of treatment.  Staff are also developing
procedures to ensure that information about each deacidified book is
part of the Library's bibliographic database.  In addition, the
Library hopes to perform tests to evaluate the effectiveness of mass
treatment of manuscripts and other paper-based materials in nonbook

Given the effective operation of its mass deacidification program
over the past two years, the Library will be pleased to act as a
demonstration site for managers or technical staffs from other
libraries, archives, and cultural institutions who are interested in
learning firsthand about administrative and work flow procedures
required for mass deacidification programs.  Interested
organizations should contact

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

Additional information about the Library's mass deacidification
program is available at the following Internet address:
<URL:>, where a number of
publications about mass deacidification are reproduced, including an
informative April 1997 article in the Library of Congress
Information Bulletin.

                  Conservation DistList Instance 11:74
                   Distributed: Friday, March 6, 1998
                       Message Id: cdl-11-74-008
Received on Friday, 6 March, 1998

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