The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 18, Number 1
Apr 1994

Canadian National Archives Lab Joins CCI

by David Grattan

Reproduced with permission of the Canadian Conservation Institute of the Department of Canadian Heritage, from the CCI Newsletter, No. 13, March 1994, p. 10.

The Conservation Research Laboratory of the National Archives of Canada has become part of the Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI). In the planning phase for several months, this merger was finally completed at the beginning of November 1993.

Thus, at a special reception, Dr. Klaus Hendriks and his colleagues Paul G/gin, Joe Iraci, and Jeff Warner were welcomed to the Institute. Paul, Joe, and Jeff have joined CCI's Conservation Processes Research Division, and Dr. Hendriks has become Senior Scientist in the Conservation Research Services Directorate.

This merger makes sense for several reasons. Pooled resources can be used more efficiently. For instance, paper testing equipment can be usefully shared between both laboratories, and CCI's arsenal of analytical equipment can be applied to archival and library problems. In a period of declining resources, it is one way in which the research for the National Archives and the National Library might be preserved and continued.

This merger also allows CCI to develop work in several new areas, thereby recognizing the full significance of conservation research for archives and libraries. Dr. Hendriks is particularly noted as an expert of international standing in the conservation of photographs, and the possibility of being able to work in this and in associated areas of conservation adds greatly to CCI's capabilities.

There are several very pressing issues at present. Of prime importance, perhaps, is the development of standards for permanent paper. Here, the issues are rather complex because no Canadian standard for permanent paper exists. The need to prepare one comes from the development of new papers from "TMP" or "CTMP" pulps. These papers contain various amounts of lignin, which is banned from permanent paper in existing standards such as those written by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). However, paper manufacturers have data that show that these new types of paper may well have the stability to achieve permanency. This has to be investigated before a standard can be written, and CCI will be collaborating with the Pulp and Paper Research Institute of Canada (PAPRICAN) on a project to measure the effect of lignin on permanency.

Also of great importance is the mass-deacidification project. The two laboratories, both of which have been conducting research in this area, will be pooling efforts on this project to improve efficiency.

The merger may also allow the initiation of research into the conservation of non-traditional media. Magnetic media as well as other forms of recording such as vinyl discs and compact discs are increasingly raising conservation and storage problems for archives and libraries.

Our new colleagues [writes Dr. Grattan] bring with them considerable qualifications and experience as scientists, and CCI staff are delighted at the prospect of working with them.

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