Document Preservation and Archival Storage


Historically, paper was made from plant fibers. In about the mid-1800's is was discovered that paper could be made from wood pulp. However, by the 1930's it was determined that this wood pulp-based paper, particularly in library books, was rapily deteriorating due to the acid used in the manufacturing process.

In the 1980's, standards were developed for acid-free paper manufacturing and by the 2000's some percentage of books/paper manufactured is acid-free. Consequently, if left untreated all books and papers manufactured during this period from wood pulp will eventually turn to dust. Ironically, paper manufactured before about the 1850's may ultimately outlast the more "modern" manufacture. See references:

Paper can be de-acidified to retard deterioration ... (TBA)

Archival paper: The international standard for "permanent" paper is ISO 9706 and for "archival" paper, the standard is ISO 11108. References:

General Notes, Comments and Links

From the Library of Congress website re preservation of photos:

Store photographs in proper enclosures made of plastic or paper materials which are free of sulfur, acids, and peroxides. Preservation quality paper storage enclosures are available in buffered (pH 7.5-9.5) and unbuffered stock. Stable plastic enclosures are made of uncoated polyester film (Dupont Mylar Type D or ICI Melinex 516), uncoated cellulose triacetate, polyethylene, and polypropylene. All materials used for storing photographic collections should pass the PAT (Photographic Activity Test) and will be marked as such by suppliers of high quality photographic enclosures. If relative humidity cannot be controlled consistently below 80%, plastic enclosures should not be used because photographs may stick to the slick surface of plastic.

Avoid acidic paper envelopes and sleeves, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic, rubber bands, paper clips, and poor-quality adhesives such as pressure-sensitive tapes and rubber cement. Buffered enclosures are preferred for deteriorated photographic prints on poor-quality mounts.

Articles, Misc. links


I have NOT dealt with any of the following but have seen them on various internet lists and postings.

E-Mail to Neal

Return to Genealogy Home Page

Copyright 1997-2006. All rights reserved.