Contact: Craig D'Ooge (202) 707-9189

July 26, 1995

Library Awards Contract for Book Preservation

The Library of Congress has awarded a contract to Preservation Technologies Inc. (PTI) of Glenshaw, Pennsylvania, for demonstrated application of the firm's Bookkeeper III mass deacidification process, a technology that neutralizes the acids in paper to prolong its useful life. The contract calls for PTI to treat at least 72,000 books during the next two years. The primary focus of this initiative is to ensure uniform, effective deacidification treatment of processed books and to enhance work flow, including book handling, storage, packing, and transportation procedures.

The Senate and the House Appropriations subcommittees of the Legislative Branch have approved the Library's proposed action plan to begin using the new Bookkeeper deacidification technology while continuing to evaluate other methods. The Library continues to encourage other companies with deacidification technologies and operational equipment capable of mass treatment to come forward, if their processes have the potential to meet or exceed the Library's technical requirements.

Acidity plays a significant role in the rapid deterioration of paper. Millions of acidic publications in libraries and archives throughout the world illustrate a well-known problem resulting primarily from the large-scale introduction of chemically produced paper in the mid-19th century. While deacidification as a potential solution has been scientifically investigated over the last 50 to 60 years in several countries, the Library of Congress -- with strong support from Congress -- has paid special attention during the past two decades to the potential for neutralizing acids in books, manuscripts, and archival materials on a mass level to achieve economies of scale, rather than deacidifying materials page by page in a laboratory setting.

A recent Library-commissioned report on Bookkeeper indicates that the process deacidifies paper without posing environmental or human health problems. Unlike some other processes evaluated by the Library in recent years, it neither causes physical or aesthetic damage to materials nor imparts undesirable odors in treated books. The report (without appendices) is available on the Internet. The full title is: Buchanan, Sally, et al. "An Evaluation of the Bookkeeper Mass Deacidification Process: Technical Evaluation Team Report for the Preservation Directorate, Library of Congress." Copies of the textual pages of the report can be accessed by telnetting to LC MARVEL at "marvel.loc.gov" and logging in as "marvel." To locate the report on MARVEL, select "Libraries and Publishers (Technical Services)," "Preservation at the Library of Congress," then "Mass Deacidification: Reports." In addition, free paper copies of the Bookkeeper report (including all of the appendices not reproduced on Internet), as well as another report on the Library-developed diethyl zinc (DEZ) process, can be obtained by contacting Kenneth E. Harris, Preservation Projects Director, Preservation Directorate, Library of Congress LM-G21, Washington, DC 20540-4500. Telephone: (202) 707-1054; Fax: (202) 707-3434.

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PR 95-103
7/25/95
ISSN 0731-3527

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