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Subject: ISO 9706 reapproved

ISO 9706 reapproved

From: Rolf Dahlo <rolf.dahlo>
Date: Saturday, August 21, 1999
The International Standard for permanent paper, ISO 9706:1994
"Information and documentation--Paper for documents--Requirements
for permanence" has now been in force for five years. ISO rules
demand that in order to take advantage of technical developments,
all standards shall be reviewed every five years. They may as a
result of the ballot be reapproved, withdrawn completely, or
withdrawn for technical revision. A simple majority of participating
member (P-member) country votes will win the case, according to ISO
rules. The ballot closed on June 30 this year. The responsible
committee is ISO/TC 46/SC 10.

The ballot results show that out of 14 votes received from the 17
P-member countries, 10 were in favour of approving the present
standard ISO 9706 without change, and 3 voted in favour of a
technical revision, 1 member abstaining. The 10 countries were
Australia, Denmark, Czech Republic, France, Italy, Japan, Norway,
South Africa, Sweden, and USA. The three were Canada, Finland,
Germany. The abstaining country was the Netherlands. Five countries
outside the P-member group voted for reapproval. Eleven countries
indicated that they had adopted the International Standard as a
national standard. The full report on the ballot will be sent to the
official members of ISO in each country.

The Canadian and German proposals to abandon some of the
requirements in ISO 9706 to include some high yield pulps will be
known from earlier discussions.

Canada commented: "Canada believes the results of the Canadian
Co-operative Research project have demonstrated scientific evidence
about the effects of lignin on paper permanence that warrants a
reconsideration of existing restrictions in ISO 9706." The German
vote had this comment: "Germany proposes that ISO 9706:1994 should
be revised based on the new scientific results 'The Impact of Lignin
of Paper Permanence' presented last  year by Dr Norayr Gurnagul,
Canada. Germany regards the existing ISO 9706 as too restrictive."
The main idea in the Finnish comment is that ISO 9706 is not fully
adequate to describe truly permanent papers, since it does not
include criteria for folding endurance, as is the case in ISO 11108.
They therefore propose to merge ISO 9706 and ISO 11108 into one
single standard on permanent archival paper, and also recommend
including an ageing test in the standard. The reasons for the
Finnish revision proposal are thus almost the opposite to those
given by Canada and Germany. More details on these proposals will be
available in the forthcoming ballot report distributed to the ISO
member bodies.

I have commented on some of the issues discussed before the ballot
in <URL:> (French
translation in <URL:>

   "For a long term storage of information paper and other
    traditional media are still the optimum substrata compared with
    the relatively short time perspective of digital storage and the
    fast changes of information technology. Even acid sized papers
    normally have a longer expected lifespan than the lifespan of
    many digital media. Use of such permanent paper will be one way
    of delaying the degradation of future publications that will
    affect all organic material in the end. The word permanent
    should in relation to paper not be interpreted as something that
    will last forever, and the term ought not to be used in the
    sense of perennial or infinite. Permanence is the ability to
    remain chemically and physically stable over long periods of
    time. Permanent paper will therefore undergo little or no change
    in strength and optical properties that affect use during long
    term storage in libraries, archives and other protected

   "Defining the technical requirements for permanent paper is
    difficult. The problem of making a standard for such
    requirements is the fact that there is no single direct test
    revealing paper permanence. Some experts have suggested that a
    standard could be based on accelerated ageing tests alone. These
    tests take time, and the experts are still discussing the
    difficulties of defining a standardized procedure that will
    indicate future degradation in normal storage conditions and
    predict the expected lifespan of a document. Nothing much
    happens when papers are exposed to a climate of 80 degrees
    Centigrade and a relative humidity of 65%. In some papers
    containing lignin there is little loss in paper strength after
    accelerated ageing in this climate, but the optical properties
    may at the same time be negatively affected, indicating that
    defining these papers as a permanent substratum for information
    in a long time perspective is difficult. More of the degradative
    changes we expect in paper in real time will manifest themselves
    when paper is exposed to a climate of 90 degrees Centigrade and
    a relative humidity of 50%.

   "There are so many different causes of paper degradation. The
    acid hydrolysis is only one of many chemical and physical
    degradation processes that produce crumbling paper. Neutral or
    alkaline sizing and some calcium carbonate added to paper will
    restrain the acid hydrolysis. There are, however, many other
    degradative processes in paper such as oxidative decomposition,
    cross linking reactions, changes in the structure of the
    cellulose, photochemical ageing reactions, physical ageing and
    damage by microorganisms, and you may know much more about some
    of these processes than I know. ...

   "Finding a single method that predicts in a short time the
    expected lifespan of paper for many centuries to come is
    difficult. We will probably have to wait for many years before
    this methodical problem is resolved, and we have a method
    calibrated with the observations of real time degradation in
    normal storage conditions.

   "Ivar Hoel's paper "Standards for permanent paper" will comment
    on the development of the two relevant international standards
    ISO 9706 for permanent paper and ISO 11108 for archival paper.
    Some critics want a higher kappa number in ISO 9706 to allow
    paper based on new high yield semichemical pulps to be included
    as permanent papers. An alkaline sized paper made of these pulps
    will degrade slower than an acid sized paper made of groundwood.
    The kappa number measures the tendency to become oxidized.
    Accepting papers that are likely to be oxidized as permanent
    paper may therefore be difficult. The standard has no
    requirements safeguarding discolouration of permanent paper. By
    demanding a kappa number of less than 5.0 it was not necessary
    to introduce a technical requirement regarding colour changes,
    which we have to expect in paper containing lignin. If the kappa
    number should be increased, new technical requirements limiting
    future discolouration must be considered.

   "I find another form of criticism against the requirements of ISO
    9706 more disturbing, and it is very difficult to find any
    commercial interest behind this criticism. Voting on ISO 9706,
    some national members wanted additional requirements to
    safeguard paper permanence. The presence of traces of some
    metals in paper will serve as a catalyst for some of the
    degradation processes and may affect the storage properties of
    paper. There may be a need for defining a maximum level of
    traces of some metals in permanent paper. I understand this
    concern, and I hope that more evidence regarding such defects of
    the standard will be available when ISO 9706 comes up for the
    periodic revision ISO has instituted for all international

If the majority of the P-members of the ISO-committee had returned a
different ballot, it would have been my duty to prepare for a
revision of ISO 9706. I try to distinguish clearly between my
personal opinion in a discussion and my duties as a chairman
responsible for a fair process with all views brought forward for
consideration, and I hope that no one will misinterpret my personal
comments as the official view of the committee. Members present at
our recent meetings will know that information on the minority view
have been given ample and competent presentations. The official view
of the committee comes in the official resolutions from committee
meetings or in ballot reports from the secretariat. For the time
being there is not a majority for starting a revision process of ISO

Ivar Hoel's paper "Standards for Permanent Paper"
<URL:> and Inga-Lisa
Svensson and Ylwa Alwarsdotter's paper "A papermaker's view of the
standard for permanent paper, ISO 9706"
<URL:> contain other
relevant information about the standards ISO 9706 and ISO 11108.

Rolf Dahlo
chairman of ISO/TC 46/SC 10 Information and documentation/Physical
keeping of documents

                  Conservation DistList Instance 13:16
                 Distributed: Tuesday, August 24, 1999
                       Message Id: cdl-13-16-001
Received on Saturday, 21 August, 1999

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