Mass deacidification

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Mass deacidification is a term used in Library and Information Science for one possible measure against the degradation of paper in old books (the so-called "slow fires"). The goal of the process is to increase the pH of acidic paper on a large scale. Although acid-free paper has become more common, a large body of acidic paper still exists in books made after the 1850s because of its cheaper and simpler production methods. Acidic paper, especially when exposed to light, air pollution, or high relative humidity, yellows and becomes brittle over time.[1] During mass deacidification an alkaline agent is deposited in the paper to neutralize existing acid and prevent further decay.[2]

Contents

Current Services

There are several commercial deacidification techniques currently on the market.

  • The BookKeeper process is a non-aqueous, liquid phase process that uses magnesium oxide.[3] BookKeeper is available through Preservation Technologies, L.P. with plants in the U.S., Spain, Japan, Poland, The Netherlands, and South Africa.[4]
  • The CSC Book Saver uses carbonated magnesium propylate for deacidification.[5] It is available through Conservación de Sustratos Celulósicos S.L. (CSC) (Barcelona, Spain).[6]
  • The Papersave process was developed by Battelle Ingenieurtechnik GmbH and is, therefore, sometimes referred to as "the Battelle Process". The process uses magnesium titanium alkoxide.[5] It is available in Europe through Nitrochemie Wimmis (Wimmis, Switzerland) under the name of Papersave Swiss[7] and the Zentrum für Bucherhaltung (Leipzig, Germany).[8]
  • The Wei T'o process uses methoxy magnesium methyl carbonate, or isopropoxy magnesium isopropyl carbonate,[9] and new products are coming out in 2008. Wei T'o is less commonly used for mass deacidification treatment than for single item deacidification. Wei T'o products are available through Wei T'o Associates Inc.(Matteson, USA).[10]

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