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Re: acid free?

I may be able to speak for that since I was Archival Product Manager
then... When it's packed, by Gaylord or anyone else for shipping it's not
packed in archival materials... Actually most mills don't even pack them
that way. The Archival corrugated board should have had a pH of about 8
when Gaylord got it/shipped it. It doesn't hang out there very long. If
it's the "C" flute (thicker) that's also a recycled stock, but it did pass
the PAT (Photo Activity Test) when I sent it out, as did the "virgin" "E"
flute (thinner) I helped bring in. NOTE: I left Gaylord after about a year.
I doubt any of the competitors are much better or worse at this, and
believe that all the common ones: Hollinger, Conservation Resources,
Gaylord, University Products, Light Impressions are essentially
honest.  The product is also essentially completely undifferentiated and
all work towards the same LC/NARA specs. Another thing to remember is that
while testing is done on a spot basis, they tend also to get their specs
from the mill. Mills like to produce in large batches, but not all of these
sell, so stock gets old. Then it sits in a warehouse at the distributor,
then it gets shipped, perhaps to you... During that time the material ages...

As for "archival" being a buzz word, I'd say (and have said) that it is.
It's not just the material being used, but how, and a host of other
variables such as environment. When I give workshops on buying "archival"
people (archivists /librarians) seem flabbergasted to hear that if I store
newsprint in an acid-free/buffered box the box won't stay that way
indefinitely and that the material will continue to age. They buy Permalife
bond to paste/mount clippings on and then wonder why the paper is turning
yellow, or store it in their attic./basement...

Archival can mean many things, in many circumstances. To me it means long
term stability... I have no (de)illusions of permanence except, perhaps,
with some of the plastics (mylar, polypro/ethylene). Even then the material
inside will continue to age.

In a word though (need to stop rambling) "archival" is a buzz word, over
used/hyped, by marketing people to sell materials to people who really
don't know their materials. Like Creative Memories folks who sell acid-free
stickers to put on photos in scrapbooks. Don't ask them how to get the
things off again... Conservators... who know just set specs and expect
these to be followed. Some like LC will even test upon receipt.


>Should I reserve the term 'archival' for other materials that I know to be
>buffered against acid development through age and environmental exposure? (I
>have some 'archival' corrugated board from Gaylord that measures pH 5.39.
>It's been sealed in the original shipping carton for nearly a year).
>Are these buzz words without real meaning in the marketplace?

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