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Subject: Mass deacidification feasibility study

Mass deacidification feasibility study

From: Jonathan Rhys-Lewis <jonathan>
Date: Friday, October 6, 2000
A feasibility study to investigate and make recommendations for a
collaborative approach to mass deacidification as part of the
national preservation strategy for the cultural written heritage

Archives and libraries have long been aware of the magnitude of the
problem of acidic paper, sometimes referred to as "brittle paper".
This phenomenon is the result of economic decisions, which caused a
reduction in the standards of manufacture of paper from about 1850.

Over the past thirty years, various attempts have been made by
commercial organisations, and also via research commissioned by
major libraries all over the world, to combat this problem. It is
now clear that if this threat remains unchecked, it has the
potential to lead to a massive loss, not only of information, but
also of heritage material.

During the 1990's however, several mass deacidification systems have
been developed which offer strong potential, and this has renewed
interest in Europe and North America.

Following a meeting held at the Public Record Office in November
1999, attended by representatives from a wide variety of archives
and libraries throughout the UK and Ireland, a Steering Group was
formed. A successful bid has been made to the British Library
Co-operation and Partnership Programme who awarded a grant for the
study. The project will complete by March 2001.

Aims and Objectives:

The primary aim of this study is to map out a collaborative approach
to solving the problems created by acidic paper.

The project aims to develop:

    *   criteria for the establishment of a commercial plant that
        would suit all the partners

    *   the best way of achieving a cost effective, collaborative
        use of such a plant by archives and libraries throughout the
        UK and Ireland The main objectives would therefore be to:

    *   enable the parties involved to define their requirements
        from a commercial organisation and so begin the process of
        ensuring sustainable access to the nineteenth and twentieth
        century written heritage

    *   identify potential funding sources for a national programme
        to commence and sustain this process

Anyone interested in contributing to this project please contact:

    Jonathan Rhys-Lewis
    Project Consultant
    +44-1206-515 498
    jonathan [at] rhys-lewis__freeserve__co__uk

Questionnaire and further project details : National Library of
Wales web site <URL:>

Jonathan Rhys-Lewis
Archive Preservation Consultant
161 Maldon Road
Essex CO3 3BL
+44 1206 515498 (phone/fax)

                  Conservation DistList Instance 14:22
                Distributed: Saturday, October 14, 2000
                       Message Id: cdl-14-22-001
Received on Friday, 6 October, 2000

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