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Subject: Photographs adhering to plastic cover sheets

Photographs adhering to plastic cover sheets

From: Jonathan London <>
Date: Friday, September 22, 2000
The National Archives of New Zealand has a group of 37 commercially
made (in Japan) photograph albums of the 'magnetic' variety, using
strips of adhesive across card supports covered by a plastic cover
sheet.  They date from 1970 and contain 99% black and white
paper-based photographic prints from Expo '70 in Japan.  The albums
measure 320 x 280 mm and each has 8 double-sided card based sheets
to hold the prints.  Most of the albums have been damaged by water
and mould prior to their deposit in 1989.  The adhesive strips are
discolouring and the plastic cover sheets are distorted to varying

Our investigations show that in most cases the photographs can be
removed from the albums by carefully lifting the plastic cover sheet
and separating the photographs from the pages using a spatula.
However, where the mould and water damage is at its worst, areas of
the emulsion layer have adhered to the plastic cover sheet, and on
lifting this sheet these areas of emulsion part company with the
paper support of the photograph and remain adhered to the plastic

In trials, these emulsion fragments are very thin and fragile and
have resisted preliminary attempts at removal from the sheet using a
spatula, scalpel or the application of moisture.

One option we have considered might be to re-photograph the affected
images in situ, using these copies in any new albums created to hold
the photographs.  At this stage we do not believe the negatives were
transferred at the time of deposit, neither do we know if they still

We would appreciate any suggestions as to how to approach this

Jonathan London
Head of Preservation Services
National Archives of New Zealand

                  Conservation DistList Instance 14:19
               Distributed: Thursday, September 21, 2000
                       Message Id: cdl-14-19-018
Received on Friday, 22 September, 2000

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