The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 22, Number 7-8

Standards News from ISO

Subcommittee 10 (under Technical Committee 46 of the International Organization for Standardization) is the ISO group that works on standards for library-related ("Information and Documentation") matters, including permanent paper. A week or two ago, a packet of papers came to the Newsletter office, from Ivar Hoel, Secretary of SC10. Here are the highlights:

Last May, when it met in Athens, one of the resolutions passed concerned ISO 9706, the permanent paper standard passed a few years ago. The resolution stated that it could not be revised yet to allow unlimited lignin content, as Bruce Arnold and Norayr Gurnagul were recommending, since the results of ongoing research on this topic have not been published yet. Among the 13 delegates at that meeting were Helmut Bansa and Anna Haberditzl from Germany and Bruce Arnold from the U.S. Rolf Dahlø is the chairman. (Norayr Gurnagul attended as an observer.)

SC10 has had three standards published in its ten years of existence, the chairman said:

ISO 9706: 1994, Information and documentation -- Paper for documents -- Requirements for permanence

ISO 11108: 1996, Information and documentation -- Archival paper -- Requirements for permanence and durability [i.e., for greater permanence than ISO 9706 specifies]

ISO 11800: 1998, Information and documentation -- Requirements for binding materials and methods used in the manufacture of books

Currently there are five prospective standards in the works. Briefly, they concern:

Permanence and durability of writing, printing and copying on paper

Document storage requirements for library and archive materials

[Library binding]

Permanent and durable boards used for bookbinding and document storage purposes

Archive boxes and file folders for paper documents

The storage requirements topic is a tough one. No standards body has yet succeeded in completing a standard on this subject, probably because a standard would have to apply to such a wide variety of materials with different requirements. Nevertheless, the subcommittee seems close to agreement on the 1998 draft. Twenty-six countries voted for it, and the USA was the only country voting against it. All the comments were anonymous.

The U.S. comments were from one or more people who appeared to be well-informed and to have strong opinions. One comment suggests adding text to say that "research is still in progress to determine whether water mist systems are effective in high density storage systems utilizing compact shelving or in repositories employing very high shelving." Other U.S. comments go on for two pages, most of which is in fine print.

Seven pages of unresolved issues regarding the document storage draft standard are listed for discussion at the next SC 10 meeting. Some of the issues are: maximum height of the ceiling to reduce fire hazard; systems to provide warning of water hazard (burst pipes, leaking roofs, etc.); illumination; ventilation and air quality; and cleaning and disinfection.

A similar list of issues for the library binding draft standard, two pages long, includes comments on backing, oversewing, side sewing and animal glue, endpaper construction and the weight of reinforcement paper.

A revision of the fourth edition of ISO 5466: 1996 (Photography--Processed safety photographic films--Storage practices) was also in the packet. It has been sent out for balloting and all votes are to be in by May 11, 1999. The normative text is ten pages long, and there are a dozen "annexes" (informative appendices).

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