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Subject: Filmoplast P1 tape

Filmoplast P1 tape

From: Hilary A. Kaplan <hkaplan>
Date: Friday, March 19, 1999
Dave Dannhauser <filmo [at] earthlink__net> writes

>Let me make very clear at the onset that I am in whole hearted
>agreement with you all on the premise that self-adhesive tapes are
>not suitable for "archival" applications.  Where one draws the line
>however as to defines an "archival application" is subject to
>interpretation and often economic considerations play as important a
>role in the treatment decision as does the physical quality of the
>materials at hand. To say that *all* mending should be done using
>traditional wheat paste and rice paper to a county archives or
>church library with limited funds and staff is unrealistic and
>perpetuates the notion of conservators in ivory towers.

Let me begin by saying that there are several issues to address in
response to Dave Dannhauser's posting.  First, there is a
terminology  problem.  The whole concept of "archival" is so vague
as to render the term virtually useless other than to say that we
keep "archival" materials in an archives.  Archives can be defined
as 1) the non-current records of an organization or institution; 2)
the agency responsible for the records mentioned in 1); and 3) the
building housing 1) and 2).  "Archival" tells us nothing about
quality--it tells us nothing about material composition In short,
"archival" is a very frustrating term for preservation personnel who
seek concrete and specific information about products.  I tend to
think of it as the preservation equivalent of "low fat."
"Permanent," or "records of enduring/long term value" are much more
useful descriptors.

The second issue is what small, poorly funded church libraries or
county archives can do in lieu of mending with pressure sensitive
adhesives.  Some examples: fractured loose documents may be placed
in polyester sleeves.  Microfilming not only preserves the
informational content of records, but plays a critical role in
safeguarding the information in vital records in the event of a
disaster.  Photocopying can be used to replace a damaged book page.
Perhaps do nothing other than limiting access to the original
damaged item.  All of these techniques need to be used with some
understanding of how materials will be used, and why they are being
preserved in the first place. Mending with pressure sensitive tape
on materials of enduring value (those to be retained for the long
term) does not take into account to long term consequences of that

I can think of a singular example of the usefulness of pressure
sensitive tape in an archives or library.  It may be used to mend
items that will be superceded or replaced, such as reference
materials. I cannot, however, think of any instance in which I would
advocate the use of pressure sensitive tapes (no matter how small or
poor an institution may be) on materials recognized for their
inherent artifactual value.

Hilary A. Kaplan
Georgia Department of Archives and History
330 Capitol Avenue
Atlanta, GA 30334
Fax: 404-651-8471

                  Conservation DistList Instance 12:75
                  Distributed: Tuesday, March 23, 1999
                       Message Id: cdl-12-75-004
Received on Friday, 19 March, 1999

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