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Subject: Laser print damage to paper

Laser print damage to paper

From: Martin Juergens <post<-at->
Date: Thursday, August 22, 2013
Robyn Waymouth <robyn.waymouth [at] thewomens__org__au> writes

>I have just noticed in a correspondence file from 2000 that some of
>the pages, most probably printed by a laser printer, now have very
>distinct rust brown shadowing of the text on the back of the
>page--you could read it quite clearly (with a mirror).  Given that
>this file, and possibly many others with the same problem, are
>designated for permanent retention under our Public Records Act,
>this is potentially a serious problem. I'm unable at this stage to
>identify the printer or the paper, but it only occurs on some
>discrete items in the file.

Toner permanence issues are described in: Grattan, David. 2000. The
stability of photocopied and laser-printed documents and images:
General guidelines. Technical bulletin 22. Ottawa, Ontario: Canadian
Conservation Institute.

Grattan's information indicates that the staining you are seeing
very well may be rust stains that come from the use of iron oxide
(or ferrite) in the toner. These particles have on occasion been
used to impart magnetic properties to the toner, both in
single-component and in double-component dry toner powders. Given
that these are records, and not artworks, I suppose a remedy might
be to simply photocopy stained papers on a modern device that does
not use a ferrite-based toner, then discard the original. You could
also choose to use a paper that fulfills our current requirements
for archival storage while you are at it.

A different issue with laser-prints and photocopies made with dry
toner is blocking (two prints sticking together), and this is
something we may face on a more regular basis in the future in
archives and libraries. See these good articles on this topic:

    Palm, Jonas. 2007. Comparison of single and double-sided paper
    documents printed by copying machines and laser printers.
    PapierRestaurierung 8(1): 9-11.

    Palm, Jonas. 2012. Do safes protect modern laser-printed
    documents? Journal of PaperConservation 13(3): 27-31.

    Burge, D., A. Venosa, G. Salesin, P. Z. Adelstein, and J.
    Reilly. 2007. Beyond lightfastness: Some neglected issues in
    permanence of digital hardcopy. In International Symposium on
    Technologies for Digital Fulfillment, Las Vegas, Nevada, March
    3-5, 2007. 61-64.

Martin Juergens
Conservator of Photographs
Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

                  Conservation DistList Instance 27:10
                  Distributed: Monday, August 26, 2013
                       Message Id: cdl-27-10-003
Received on Thursday, 22 August, 2013

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