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Subject: Storing acidic paper

Storing acidic paper

From: Mark Hingley <mark.hingley.nro>
Date: Thursday, October 10, 2002
Deborah Rohan <deborah.rohan [at] cambridgeshire__gov__uk> writes

>Does anyone have opinions on acid-free versus non acid-free
>packaging for already acidic documents? ...

I think that this is a very interesting debate. I have, once or
twice, been asked quite earnestly for an acid free envelope or
folder for a particularly nasty looking item 'to protect it' with
the implicit assumption that the enclosure will halt its decay. This
invites the response that it is probably the packaging which needs
the protection.

Buffered storage products might have the benefit of protecting other
documents stored in proximity from acid migration, but the item
itself gains little, if any, advantage. Archive text is not very
expensive and is suitable for making simple enclosures, but there is
of course the factor of staff time, which might push the cost of
bespoke envelopes above that of off-the-peg 'archival' supplies. I
know of four flap, archival quality folders (245mm x 365mm)
manufactured in mainland Europe, which cost only UKP 0.35 ($0.55,
0.55 Euro) each. Would a standard office quality one be any cheaper?

The use of 'archival' quality folders/envelopes/boxes even for very
poor items is justified on the grounds of maintaining standards and
not further diluting the overall quality of the bulk of stored
material. There are mass de-acidification initiatives under
development, but whether curators and conservators will see these
systems as suitable for archival, as opposed to library materials,
remains to be seen.

Mark Hingley
Conservation Section
Norfolk Record Office

                  Conservation DistList Instance 16:27
                Distributed: Thursday, October 10, 2002
                       Message Id: cdl-16-27-006
Received on Thursday, 10 October, 2002

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