Conservation DistList Archives [Date] [Subject] [Author] [SEARCH]

Subject: ANSI and ISO update for imaging materials

ANSI and ISO update for imaging materials

From: Doug Nishimura <dwnpph>
Date: Thursday, October 18, 2001
I just got back from the ANSI/ISO fall meeting in Fort Lauderdale,
Florida and an update is probably long overdue. Before I run down a
list of the most recent versions of standards of potential interest
and their status, I'll deal with some of the new issues.

The two major topics since my last update deal with digital images
and mounting/matting/framing/coating of prints. Let me remind people
that the ANSI (American National Standards Institute) standards
dealing with permanence and physical properties are being phased out
and will be replaced by ISO standards. Formerly different versions
existed as ISO or ANSI standards so that parallel standards would
not necessarily agree even though they were written essentially by
the same group of people. Currently the ISO standards are being
drafted by a joint international body meeting twice per year as a
committee and several sub-committees of ANSI as well as once every
three years as a working group of an ISO committee. Once the ANSI
committee has agreed on a text (as a committee draft (ISO CD), they
are balloted several times concurrently by both ANSI and ISO
(although only an ISO standard is produced from the process.)

I. Digital prints. There has been significant interest in this area
and the sub-committee responsible for the permanence of a variety of
prints. This is the largest group with over 40 members and it's
larger than the parent committee. Just to show how blurred the lines
are getting between processes here are a few minor points. This
group began as a color group dealing with conventional color
photographs including chromogenic, silver dye bleach (Ilfochrome),
dye diffusion (Polaroid), and dye imbibition (dye transfer). (I hope
that I haven't forgotten anyone.) We now are focussed on what were
once called "digital hardcopy" (ink jet, dye sublimation, thermal
wax, electrophotographic, etc.)

Of course chromogenic and silver dye bleach prints can also be
created from a digital file (and they're hardcopy materials.) There
is also objection to the terms "media" and "materials." We can't
even limit the scope by saying color only because monochrome ink jet
images are included. It has been proposed that anything that looks
like a photograph should be called a photograph (including ink jet),
but I'm not sure that everyone agrees with that either. Anyway, you
can see how complicated things are.

The sub-committee has broken into seven task groups to deal with
various issues. I've already talked about most of these before so I
won't say much here.

    *   Humidity fastness deals with the potential problem of bleed,
        migration, and transfer of the image under high humidity

    *   Water fastness deals with the problem of image damage
        including complete solubilization, bleed, transfer, and
        surface change (such as gloss) when a print either gets wet
        and is left to dry or gets wet and is wiped or blotted. In
        many cases, it seems to be safer to leave water on the print
        to dry on its own rather than blotting or wiping.

    *   Fingerprint deals with the problem of fingerprints affecting
        either the printability of a substrate or the subsequent
        appearance of fingerprints during long-term storage or

    *   Indoor light deals purely with light stability under
        fluorescent or simulated daylight exposure. I'll say more
        about this later.

    *   Outdoor weathering deals with images that are intended for
        use outdoors; primarily for commercial purposes.

    *   Dark stability deals with the stability of images stored in
        the dark.

    *   Gas fading and air exposure deals with the effects of both
        atmospheric pollutants and exposure to moving air. This area
        has been identified as very important to both light fade
        testing and dark stability.

One of the most significant results that came out of the meeting is
the need for public education. Consumers have accepted the idea that
light stability was the important factor and more or less was the
answer to the question, "how long will this last?"

In the early days everyone, including the industry believed that and
now we realize that many of the new technology printing methods are
very sensitive to a variety of factors. It was agreed that it would
be misleading and a disservice to consumers if they judged stability
on a single factor and that education is needed. Some prints,
surprisingly will fade fairly quickly in the presence of moving
clean air and these prints as well as those sensitive to atmospheric
pollutants must be framed. The impact of air and atmospheric
pollutants is significant enough that it can severely alter the
difference between accelerated light or dark stability tests and the
results of real-life storage or display. The interactions between
air, pollutants, light, heat, and humidity are often so significant
that there is no easy answer to the question, "how long will this

II. The second area of interest is in regard to
matting/mounting/framing/coating of prints. The group dealing with
processing turned over performance standards for pressure sensitive
adhesives and dry mounting tissues to the permanence group since
both standards really deal with post processing activities and not
processing. If you're curious, the two standards are:

    American National Standard for Photography
    (Processing)--Pressure-Sensitive Adhesive Systems for Use in
    Mounting Photographs--Specifications


    American National Standard for Photography--Thermally Activated
    Adhesive Dry Mounting Systems for Mounting

The sub-committee is working towards updating the two standards to
include permanence issues relating to the effects of the adhesive
(and carrier where applicable) on the mounted photograph and to
convert the updated documents to ISO standards. Currently there are
no parallel ISO documents. In addition, the sub-committee is hoping
to produce a standard for the mounting/framing/matting/coating
(currently primarily spray lacquers and UV cured coatings such as
Scotchguard (formerly known as Photoguard)). There are several
people from the photo conservation community who are or will be
recruited for help (all are members of the sub-committee) and the
manufacturers will also be invited to add their perspective.
(Apparently Seal and 3M, among others, were involved in the creation
of the original adhesive standards cited above.)

One last thing. The joint technical commission responsible for
electronic media (magnetic tape and optical disc) consisting of
members of ANSI sub-committee IT9-5 and members of the Audio
Engineering Society are working on a standard dealing with the care
and handling of magnetic tape. Functionally this is more or less a
companion to ISO 18923 which deals with storage. Tentatively, the
document will deal with handling techniques, handling environments
(potentially different from storage environments), use, cleaning,
maintenance, transportation, disasters, training, and archival
issues. It is still early in the creation of this document and it
hasn't reached the CD stage yet.

Standards created by the parent committee fall into three
categories: specifications, test methods, and recommended practices.
This new draft falls into the latter category. Recommended practices
don't tend to require extensive lab work and therefore are usually
one of the faster documents to produce (although not as fast
technical reports.) Specifications and test methods may take much
longer. (Work on the document that will be 18929 was started before
I joined the standards group in 1987. It never was an ANSI standard
and is only at the DIS stage at ISO after more than 14 years of

I'm hopeful that the tape care and handling document might be ready
for publication in the next 3 years or so. The standard number
reserved for this publication is tentatively ISO 18933. People
dealing with magnetic tape in collections should know that these
important issues are being addressed at this time (even though a
standard may take several years to produce.)

On to the standards update. Just as a reminder, ISO standards are
balloted first as CDs (committee drafts). Once they've passed the
scrutiny of the originating committee, the document becomes a DIS
(draft international standard). At this point all of the members of
ISO have the opportunity to comment. Usually this is a fairly easy
step since most of the ISO member bodies interested in this area are
also members of the committee or sub-committee that drafted the
original document. Virtually all of the comments and objections
should be addressed at this stage. As a last assurance, ISO has an
FDIS ballot (final draft international standard). Since virtually
all comments should have been addressed at the DIS stage, this is
usually another easy step. Once the FDIS has been approved, the
document is sent to Geneva to be published as an ISO standard.

    ANSI/NAPM IT9.1-1996; ANSI/ISO 10602:1995
    Imaging Materials--Processed Silver-Gelatin Type Black-and-White
    Film--Specifications for Stability

        This document is largely intended for manufacturers, but
        includes specifications for residual silver and hypo
        (thiosulfate). This document is in the process of being
        withdrawn. The replacement, ISO 18901:2001 is currently
        being balloted as an FDIS (final draft international
        standard.) I don't know when this ballot closes, but I would
        wait rather than buying the existing standard.

    ANSI/PIMA IT9.2-1998
    Imaging Materials--Photographic Processed Films, Plates, and
    Papers--Filing Enclosures and Storage Containers.

        This ANSI document was withdrawn 2001-07-23 and the
        replacement, ISO 18902:2001 is currently in the publication
        process and should be out soon. The major change to this
        document is the combination of recommendations for
        black-and-white and color photographs. ISO is now
        recommending an alkaline buffer in all paper enclosures
        whether for black-and-white or color.

    ISO 18906:2000
    Imaging materials--Photographic films--burn characteristics for
    safety film

        This was published last December and the ANSI standard
        (IT9.6) was withdrawn in January.

    ISO 18911:2000
    Imaging materials--Processed safety photographic films--Storage

        This ISO standard was published last November and ANSI
        IT9.11 was officially withdrawn in June of this year.

    ANSI/NAPM IT9.13-1996
    Imaging Materials--Glossary of Terms Pertaining to Stability.

        There is currently no ISO equivalent to this standard. A new
        ISO version just finished the CD stage in September and
        still needs to pass the DIS and FDIS ballots.

    ISO 18915:2000
    Imaging materials--Methods for the evaluation of the
    effectiveness of chemical conversion of silver images against

        This was published last December and the ANSI standard,
        IT9.15, was officially withdrawn in January.

    ISO 14523:1999
    Photography--Processed photographic materials--Photographic
    activity test for enclosure materials.

        As you may recall, this document was published just before
        the new numbering system came into effect. ISO standards are
        normally numbered sequentially regardless of the area of
        interest so a standard for refrigerated trucks may come
        right next to a photographic standard. This system makes it
        difficult to find the standards of interest so the committee
        petitioned ISO to reserve a contiguous block of standard
        numbers. Since many people are familiar with the ANSI
        numbering system, ANSI IT9.XX standards are converted to ISO
        189XX standards. When this document is revised it will
        become ISO 18916 following the new numbering system. ANSI
        IT9.16 was withdrawn in March of 2000.

    ISO 18917:1999
    Photography--Determination of residual thiosulfate and other
    related chemicals in processed photographic materials--Methods
    using iodine-amylose, methylene blue and silver sulfide.

        This was published in June 1999 and ANSI IT9.17 was
        withdrawn in December of that year.

    ISO 18918:2000
    Imaging materials--Processed photographic plates--Storage

        This was published in March 2000 and ANSI IT9.18 was
        withdrawn in October of that year.

    ISO 18920:2000
    Imaging materials--Processed photographic reflection
    prints--Storage practices.

        This was published in July 2000 and ANSI
        IT9.20 was withdrawn in October that year.

    ISO 18923:2000
    Imaging materials--Polyester-base magnetic tape--Storage

        This was published in June 2000 and ANSI IT9.23 was
        withdrawn in December.

    ISO 18924:2000
    Imaging materials--Test method for Arrhenius-type predictions.

        This was published in August 2000 and ANSI IT9.24 was
        withdrawn in October that year.

    ANSI/PIMA IT9.25-1998
    Imaging Materials--Optical Disc Media--Storage.

        This ANSI document was officially withdrawn in July. The ISO
        document ISO 18925:2001 is currently out for an FDIS ballot
        that closes in December. I would expect the new standard to
        be available by mid- to late- 2002.

    ISO 18928
    Imaging materials--Unprocessed photographic films and
    papers--Storage practices.

        This document is a new standard handed over to the
        permanence group by another ISO working group. It is
        currently at the FDIS stage and the ballot will close in
        November. This will replace ISO 10331. There was no parallel
        ANSI document.

    ISO 18929
    Imaging materials--Wet processed silver-gelatin type
    black-and-white photographic reflection prints--Specifications
    for dark storage.

        The title of this document may be confusing because we had
        to specify that it was for dark storage only. It is the
        print analog to ISO 18911 (dealing with black-and-white,
        wet-processed, silver-gelatin film.) Mainly this is a
        specification for manufacturers to meet (dealing with things
        like physical properties of the base.) For consumers, it
        includes (as 18911 does) residual silver and hypo
        (thiosulfate) limits for black-and-white, wet-processed,
        silver-gelatin prints. This is a new standard and there is
        no existing ANSI or ISO equivalent. This is currently at the
        DIS stage which will close in February (2002).

Two technical reports were also recently published:

    ISO/TR 18930:2001
    Imaging materials--Protocols for outdoor weathering experiments.

        This was published in June.

    ISO/TR 18931:2001
    Imaging materials--Recommendations for humidity measurement and

        This was also published in June. It is primarily written for
        labs running experiments that need humidity control in a
        limited environment such as a desiccator or chamber.
        However, the section about humidity measurement methods is
        relevant to collections as well.

Douglas Nishimura
Research Scientist
Image Permanence Institute
Rochester Institute of Technology
Member ANSI IT9, IT9-2, IT9-3, ISO USA TAG

                  Conservation DistList Instance 15:33
                 Distributed: Friday, October 19, 2001
                       Message Id: cdl-15-33-007
Received on Thursday, 18 October, 2001

[Search all CoOL documents]

URL: http://